Last month, Federal officials in Los Angeles issued indictments against 18 current and former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department deputies as part of an ongoing Federal Bureau of Investigations probe into the county’s jail operations.  The deputies face a variety of charges, including obstruction of justice, conspiracy, civil rights violations, and intimidation of federal agents involved in the investigation.

Deputies are accused of using excessive force against both inmates and visitors, threatening FBI investigators, falsifying inmate location records, and concealing an FBI informant whom the deputies suspected of cooperating with the federal probe.

In addition to the federal probe, the investigation uncovered potential misconduct that could rise to the level of violations of California state law. The American Civil Liberties Union sued the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 2012 over its administration of Los Angeles County jails.

Obstruction of justice and conspiracy are among the most serious charges the accused deputies face. Possible federal criminal penalties for obstruction of justice can range from probation to 30 years in prison, depending upon the circumstances of the obstruction and the past criminal record of the accused.

US Attorney Andre Birotte, Jr. indicated that the actions of the accused deputies demonstrated a pattern of obstructive behavior that was in his words “institutionalized.” Obstruction of justice can be considered a serious federal offense, especially for those offenses that include witness intimidation, jury tampering or retaliation against a witness, juror or law enforcement officer.

The conspiracy charges against the arrested deputies may result in a prison sentence of up to five years, based on the felony nature of the obstruction of justice charge. To be convicted on conspiracy charges, the prosecutor does not have to prove that criminal actions occurred as the result of the conspiracy, but rather only that the deputies had an agreement to commit one or more criminal offenses and that they committed an overt act to further the conspiracy.

If you’ve been accused of obstruction of justice, conspiracy or think you may be facing these serious federal charges, you need the help of an aggressive federal criminal defense attorney like Robert M. Helfend.

Mr. Helfend is a noted federal criminal defense attorney with a nearly 30-year reputation for providing competent criminal defense.  Contact the Law Offices of Robert M. Helfend toll-free at (800) 834-6434 or locally at (310) 456-3317, (818) 591-2809 or (805) 273-5611 for a consultation.  Robert M. Helfend is an experienced Federal criminal defense attorney who can help!

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