Ex-Sheriff Villanueva will testify on gangs in department

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Former Sheriff Alex Villanueva has agreed to testify before the Civilian Oversight Commission regarding deputy gangs, according to the Los Angeles Times.

This decision, communicated through his lawyer in a December letter, marks a significant shift from his previous stance of resisting subpoenas.

Villanueva’s attorney, Linda Savitt, confirmed his intention to appear in January and respond to questions under oath. This turnaround follows a county judge’s move to schedule a hearing to determine if Villanueva, now running for county supervisor against Janice Hahn, should be compelled to adhere to the commission’s subpoenas.

Sean Kennedy, chair of the oversight commission, remains cautious about this commitment, recalling a previous instance where Villanueva reneged on a similar promise.

The context involves a 70-page report by the commission’s special counsel earlier this year, condemning deputy gangs as a “cancer” and calling for a stricter policy against these groups by Sheriff Robert Luna. Despite subpoenas, Villanueva and former Deputy Sheriff Tim Murakami did not testify in the public hearings that informed this report.

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The controversy traces back to 2020 when the Board of Supervisors endowed the commission with subpoena power, later confirmed by voters through Measure R. Subsequently, California Governor Gavin Newsom enacted legislation granting similar powers to oversight bodies nationwide.

Initially, Villanueva questioned the legality of a subpoena regarding his handling of COVID-19 in jails, branding it a “public shaming effort.” This led to a court battle, which he circumvented by voluntarily responding to the commission.

Despite facing multiple court cases due to further subpoenas, Villanueva managed to avoid a contempt hearing when his lawyers appealed for higher court intervention. An appeals court later ruled in his favor, requiring a judge to first mandate compliance with the subpoena before declaring contempt.

In a recent move, county lawyers initiated this two-step legal process. In response, Villanueva’s lawyer informed the commission of his client’s readiness to testify, a contrast to Murakami, who continues to show no such inclination. Murakami’s refusal, previously attributed to a medical condition, remains unchanged, and his lawyer has not responded to recent inquiries for comment.

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Pig's feet.
Pig's feet.
1 month ago

He has a very Savvy Attorney. He will need her to keep his feet out of his mouth.

Kevin
Kevin
2 months ago

Great to hear this, nobody is above the law. Glad he was voted out of office, his leadership (or lack thereof) of the Sheriff’s department really set it back.

greeneyedguy
greeneyedguy
2 months ago

I’m so glad this guy isn’t the LA County Sheriff anymore.

Cy Husain
2 months ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Affirmed ❗ We should also point out that ex-law enforcement 🐷 doesn’t do to well in prison and, even worse in the job market with a felony conviction.🤣

Steve Martin
Steve Martin
1 month ago
Reply to  greeneyedguy

Villanueva is just another example in a long line of Sheriffs which reflects the foolishness of electing someone to head the Sheriff’s Department. The Sheriff is a Department of the County of Los Angeles which should be answerable to the Board of Supervisors rather than an independent elected official. Electing a Sheriff made sense when the Sheriff lead posses and chased cattle rustlers but our long line of elected Sheriffs have simply stonewalled meaningful reform and modernization of the Department. The pubic would have real accountability if the Sheriff was appointed by the Board of Supervisors rather than being beholden… Read more »

Cy Husain
1 month ago
Reply to  Steve Martin

The problem was basically solved by Los Angeles County, Measure A, Removal of Sheriff for Cause Amendment (Passed in the November 2022 election) allowing the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors to vote to remove the elected sheriff from office for cause. Alex Villanueva campaigned and won election as a Highly Educated Progressive reformer just like George Gascón🏆, only to betray us later. He could of done the same thing to the LA County Board of Supervisors if appointed but, now they are empowered to get rid of him❗👏🏽

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