To the editor: Finally, with the conviction of ex-Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, we have some justice for the many former jail inmates who were routinely beaten. ("Former L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca found guilty on obstruction of justice and other charges," March 15)
Years ago, my brother had a drug problem and did 45 days in a county jail. He said he was beaten more than once — "just part of the deal," he told us. What really troubles me is that after they cut their teeth as sheriff's deputies by working in jails, the guards went out to police the county, taking the violent mentality they developed with them.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and the current sheriff need to continue to look at serious reform in the department.
Stephen McCarthy, Monrovia
To the editor: At 8 a.m. on Christmas Day in 2001, I deaconed the Mass at Men's Central Jail in downtown L.A. In the front pew of the jail's chapel sat then-Sheriff Baca with one of his deputies. Behind him were about 400 inmates.
There were no weapons, helmets or extra security in sight.
When the Mass ended, Baca exited first. At the door, as the inmates filed out, each received a Christmas card and a "Merry Christmas" greeting from the sheriff.
The Times' front-page headline should have read, "Sheriff, beware the Ides of March." Julius Caesar is now not the only leader stabbed in the back on March 15. It seems our justice system is concerned primarily with finding a law, any law, that is broken so someone can be locked up.
I pray for those who guard, those who judge and the all the men, women and children in detention.
Michael Salcido, Monrovia
To the editor: We owe a huge debt of gratitude to the juror who refused to capitulate to the other 11 who were voting not guilty during Baca's first trial. To that individual, I tip my hat.
Jay James, Pico Rivera