EYES of ARGUS.net - Blogging the Elk Grove Recall Effort

Eyes of Argus watches over the political world of Elk Grove, Sacramento, it's surrounding areas and the great state of California. Edited by Jason Daniel, a Concerned Citizen dedicated to the advancement of truth in our local government. Who is Argus? George Washington said that "The Eyes of Argus are upon me." This Blog judges the dignity and class of the political world as we know it... because the Eyes of Argus are still watching... E-mail the editor at jason@eyesofargus.net

June 01, 2005

WHEN GOOD SHERIFFS GO BAD: Baxter Dunn gets 6mo Jail/6mo home/40,000GR lighter – Will Sacramento County Learn the Lessons that he can teach us?


First, let me start this post by saying sorry to good old’ mike and Jim. This posting is not going to be pretty.

I know that you both surely hate it when we bring up the fact that this whole conflict of interest fiasco with the sheriffs’ contract really should have earned you more than a recall alone. It should have earned you both jail time. Plain and simple. Perhaps you really have a hard time accepting the fact that – after you thought the dust was going to settle – you now find yourselves smack daub in the middle of a Recall fight. You will not win, im sorry to say. The public trust was broken one too many times. You are not above the law and neither was Baxter Dunn – the now defunct big daddy head cheese sheriff that ruled over San Joaquin County. You see good ol’ Baxter (kind of a cool name) was fairly politically un touchable and had won four elections for king Sheriff. Pretty large accomplishment for a local cat, right? The problem was, Baxter was just a little too high on his own power. Just think about it… the most powerful Top Cop of the County handed 4 elections on a silver platter (no body could beat Baxter – he creamed everybody that ran against him).

So, Lets do the math…..

SHERIFFS POWER + POLITICAL POWER UNCHECKED = GOOD SHERIFF GONE BAD

So, as this Grand Jury issue has gone on, if you listen to Jimmy and Mikey, Sheriffs can make totally huge blunders and its everybody else’s fault (if you believe that) or if you use logical sense, they can walk point blank into conflict of interest, racketeering and shake downs.

For Background, Dunn was part of a group who extorted a Power company to stop them in their bid to build a power plant at the port of Stockton. Dunn and friends wanted another company (that was going to pay them for the help) to build there at the same spot instead. Dunn and friends then began a few shelter companies to cover the payoff money that was to have been coming to them from the other power company if the plan worked – but it never did. They were busted without really making the money. It was the attempt that counted. That was the crime.

The plan hit a stand still when the Power Company that they were trying to discourage would not withdraw its bid and so the Dunn crew went into full Acton by holding political meetings with them, commanding them to appear before the San Joaquin board of Supervisors and during this time Dunn used his power to put pressure on them to quit on their bid for the property. He showed up at the meetings in his official capacity as law enforcement to strong-arm them and intimidate the opposition. Sound familiar? (Where was Baxter’s gun??!!)

This is called a conspiracy and Dunn was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit extortion. In contrast, Cooper and Leary conspired to get the law enforcement contract approved. What’s the difference?

Dunn also, according to the account in the court documents, used his official capacity as law enforcement to successfully influence and to assist an entity that he was working for in gaining a political and eventual financial advantage. By having a financial interest in the matter himself- This is called a Conflict – of – Interest.

NOTE - THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT: The conflict of interest charge is not contingent on if the offender got any money from the moment of conflict; it’s the fact that there is a clear connection in which the offender logically has the ability and motive to gain.

Lastly, Dunn was charged with making a false statement when he lied to a federal agent when questioned about a whether he had planned a public appearance before the San Joaquin Board of Supervisors on a particular day. The question was: “did you meet with others and plan your appearance?” Baxter said no, when it was well know that he had met before the meeting with his co – cronies to plan his show of support. Maybe Baxter should have said, “You know, I think that it’s the city attorney fault.” Or the better line, “What’s conflict -of -interest?” and don’t forget the always popular, “We need smart people.”

So, now you know the rest. Baxter got caught and Baxter is going to the slam. Was it worth it? Baxter resigned from being sheriff as part of his plea bargain. This is what Baxter had to say in an article from the Sacbee this morning,

I made a wrong call in one instance," Dunn said. "I think it's important for me to step up to the plate and take responsibility."

After all the garbage that this guy put on the trust of the citizens, that is really the least he could do. Own up.

So goes the lesson of good old Baxter Dunn. Oh ya…the pay off was going to be about $250,000 dollars. Was it worth it?

So I ask you, the kind reader, to compare the stories of the three sheriffs tonight. All got caught – but only one went to trial. Where is the justice? Sure, Baxter’s story was much more attractive to the average Joe but the same line of corruption runs through them all.

What is the main difference? Well Dunn’s story is….well…done. And Cooper and Leary’s is really just beginning. Will more come out? Will the people who really know what cooper and Leary’s true motives were step forward. It’s not over and it’s not overblown like cooper and Leary want you all to believe. And it certainly is not as personal as Mike Leary (The Sergeant Formally Know As…) would like you to believe.

We are talking about the rule of law. We are talking about truth in our government and being excruciatingly tough on corruption. That’s why I say shame on the DA for going so soft on these guys. What message does that send? Cooper and Leary have a leg up on the common man because the common man does not work around and have the ability to study the activity of criminals on a day to day basis. Cooper and Leary know what is takes to confuse the law. Remember, According to Lt. Leary, “The Grand Jury is made up a bunch of common people who don’t understand conflict – of – Interest.”

So Mike, that means you do.

Since when did we decide to only fight and confront evil in Sacramento county when knew that we could win? What ever happened to the good old way of fighting evil and doing what is right despite the cost? I guess I missed the “We now only fight corruption in Sacramento county when it's convenient” memo.

This “going soft on crime” wave that is sweeping Sacramento is just killing me. What happen to the collective backbone of law enforcement in this county? Didn’t anyone think about the fact that law enforcement needs to be held to a higher standard?

Oh..I guess we just promote them after a scathing Grand Jury investigation.

Enough of my pontificating. Please read about Baxter’s transgressions again then compare them with my “Reasons for Recall” essay found @ www.recallcooperleary.com

Sure, there are some clear differences, but you must admit the staggering similarities. Then again, after reading it, you will have to slap your head in wonder (Baxter dunn or no Baxter Dunn) at the egregious acts committed by these two political wonders. It truly is staggering.

So, again as I try to end this long rant – the moral of this posting it this: Let us wake up in Sacramento County and remember the tale of Ex-sheriff Baxter Dunn and let us learn from the fact that he was taken to task. No matter how “popular” he was.

By the way, Dunn was ordered to report to prison by 2 p.m. June 22.

SOURCE DOCS:
http://www.recordnet.com/daily/news/articles/060105-gn-2.php

http://www.recordnet.com/articlelink/060105/news/articles/060105-gn-11.php

Dunn gets 6 months, $40,000 fine
Former San Joaquin sheriff is spared a harsher sentence after he aids prosecutors in lengthy corruption case.
By Sam Stanton -- Bee Staff WriterPublished 2:15 am PDT Wednesday, June 1, 2005
http://www.sacbee.com/content/news/story/12988851p-13835728c.html

Baxter Dunn, who was driven from his job as San Joaquin County sheriff in January by scandal, was sentenced Tuesday to six months in federal prison and a $40,000 fine.
Dunn, 58, also will serve six months under house arrest after his prison sentence for pleading guilty to one count of honest services mail fraud.
The guilty plea agreed to in January stemmed from a wide-ranging scandal that wrecked the careers of four other prominent San Joaquin County politicians.
Dunn was the best known of the group and saved himself from a stiffer sentence by providing "substantial assistance" to federal investigators, officials said.
He could have been sentenced to up to two years in prison, but U.S. District Judge Morrison C. England Jr. said Dunn already is suffering from the "humiliation" of the scandal and that his 38-year career in law enforcement mitigated the need for a longer prison term.
"As sheriff, your accomplishments were many, they were great," England said. But, the judge added, "you started to believe your own clippings."
A co-defendant, J. Tyler Reves, also was sentenced Tuesday, receiving five years of probation and 240 days of home confinement. Reves had been an aide to former San Joaquin County Supervisor Lynn Bedford. Bedford and co-defendant N. Allen Sawyer, former head of Gov. Gray Davis' Office of Criminal Justice Planning, also have pleaded guilty and are awaiting sentencing June 7.
A fifth defendant, lobbyist and rancher Monte McFall, insisted on a trial and was convicted in March on 17 counts of attempted extortion, conspiracy, mail fraud and witness tampering.
McFall and Dunn had once been close friends, but Dunn cooperated with investigators in the case against McFall, although he did not testify against him.
On Tuesday, Dunn distanced himself from McFall and his actions, referring to him as an "associate" who had made "some serious misjudgments in this case."
McFall faces up to 20 years in prison at sentencing Aug. 23 for his role in the scandal, which involved the group's efforts to lure energy companies to the Stockton area and during which McFall was accused of shaking down some officials for payoffs.
Dunn, who was elected sheriff four times since 1990, resigned as part of his plea agreement, and he said after his sentencing that his role in the scandal was an aberration in a life of public service.
"I made a wrong call in one instance," Dunn said. "I think it's important for me to step up to the plate and take responsibility."
Dunn's attorney, Wayne Ordos, asked that the former sheriff serve his prison time either at Lompoc Federal Prison or at the Federal Prison Camp at Nellis Air Force Base near Las Vegas.
Dunn was ordered to report to prison by 2 p.m. June 22.
After he serves his sentence, Dunn said, he plans to "enjoy life" and remain active in the Stockton area.
Because he listed his resignation on county forms as a retirement, Dunn was able to claim his pension for his 38 years of service to the Sheriff's Department.



15 Comments:

At 9:42 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sheriff Heidelbach is a "nice guy", but unfortunately like most nice guys at the Sheriff's Office, they lack the fortitude and tenacity necessary to tackle the entrenched corruption within the administration. The San Joaquin County Sheriff's Office is made up of a very few dangerous criminals, a few petty criminals, and a whole lot of nice guys who lack the fortitude or tenacity to even acknowledge reality.

Baxter only promoted people above the rank of lieutenant that he knew was either willing to commit crimes, or at the very least were willing to keep their mouth shut when crimes were being committed around them. The problem with this situation is the truth is so complicated and ugly the public will never understand what is really going on inside the snake pit Baxter created.

When it comes time to elect a new sheriff, I hope the public is smart enough to stay away from candidates who were in Dunn's inner circle.

Captain Rick Seely was not promoted by Baxter. Hopefully he will have the courage to take on the criminals who currently still work in the Sheriff's Administration.

 
At 9:50 PM, Blogger JDaniel said...

Wow. You do sound like you know your stuff. Thanks for your contribution.

It is so true that there is corruption that is deep rooted in both the San Joaquin and the Sac sheriffs department. When you speak of the different levels of criminals im assuming that you are talking about the folks with badges - and with your line of thinking I am totally with you.

I think that if we work to expose the truth and spread the word, use free speech and make the issue plainly know online, then change can come to any form of corrupt government. I share your thoughts on the next election for sheriff. It will really be up to the people. I will attempt to blog on that election when it comes around. I will do my part.

Remember: Snakes will die IF they are not fed!

 
At 11:34 PM, Anonymous corruption kills said...

J Daniel:
Thank you for your comments.

One way to evaluate the corruption level of a sheriff's department is to analyze the way they hand out concealed weapon permits.

If you discover your county has a large number of permits issued to developers,watch out...

Developers need traffic and crime impact reports signed off on major projects.

At least in the case with San Joaquin County, many developers knew that lobbyist Monte McFall and Sheriff Baxter Dunn actively worked to get the majority of the Board of Supervisors elected.

Dunn "encouraged" his deputies on special assignments to walk precincts for his cronies.

Any special relationships between developers and sheriffs should be looked at with a jaundice eye.

The public does not realize (or maybe even care) just how deeply entrenced corruption can root itself into a microsystem like county government.

The key to uncovering corruption is to follow the money. As many people now know from following the papers, Baxter Dunn had a company called "SMTM" which stood for "Show Me the Money." Yes, I know, how disgusting... When it comes to dirty cop-criminal-politicans, that is good advice.

 
At 1:37 AM, Blogger JDaniel said...

Dear Corruption,

I am receiving a grand education.

I do believe that I will look into areas that you have outlined in respect to Elk Grove/Sac sheriffs department.

The easy issuing of traffic and Crime reports and the open arms and ease to build that developers enjoy in this city is truly staggering.

To have TONS of pork barrel projects all rolling in a city this size at the same time is telling as well as troubling. The question is why? I have a few theories.

Payoffs for campaign contributions is the easy answer – and may also simply be the only one - but I would submit another one…

The perpetual payoffs. The council helps to create “needs and reasons” for the outsourcing of multiple major projects all at the same time – projects with have major ramifications on the future of developments. These "small" starter projects will eventually lead to the necessity of these same developers being called upon to handle all further development because an attachment has been created. They are locked in and guaranteed business for years in the same city.

What does the council get out of it? They virtually secure the fact that the citizens will re-elect them simply for the fact that these “small” projects turn into “large” projects which can take years and who better to politically manage them over the years than the ones who started the projects in the first place. The factor of local politics.

Sinister election security. And of course the developers will continue the payoff of large contributions each election that comes along during this fabulous relationship between our politicians and developers.

You mention special relationships between developers and sheriff politicians… You should see Cooper and Leary’s last political expenditure reports. Pretty much everybody that gave to them were developers or construction. EVERYONE.

Mind boggling.

 
At 8:18 AM, Anonymous corruption kills said...

J Daniel:
I am new to the blogging world. When I try to find this blog after the Dunn article you posted, it says "zero comments." When I click on "zero comments" I find our comments. Am I doing something wrong?

I guess anyone can pretend to be "Corruption Kills" which could confuse this blog, since I do not have to put in a password to use this name.

Okay, now let's get back to business. Do you ever notice that in city after city local city council will spend tons of money to get elected to a position that supposedly pays next to nothing...Things that make you go hhmmmm.

The ultimate recipe for disaster is when you combine the inherent bullshit that goes along with any hierarchy and then throw in the paramilitary component as is the case with law enforcement.

In the case of San Joaquin County, Internal Affairs became the gestapo for Baxter Dunn. He used IA as a tool to focus on anyone he perceived could bring light to his own criminal activity.

When Baxter's own criminal associates who worked under him were suspected of anything from mild trangressions to full blown criminal activity, he would use his IA whores to manufacture the "truth" as needed.

Nobody, including the FBI ever puts in the effort to effectively monitor IA activities, so the result is you have the foxes watching the hen house.

Citizen review committees can sometimes help, but often they become a disaster too. Either they are a bunch of hand picked Freemasons with an agenda to protect the status quo at all costs, or they are ultra-liberal cop-haters that believe force is never necessary in law enforcement. In other words, they are like most grand juries...worthless.

The established media is so worried about getting sued or spending money on actual investigative reporting that they just stick to barfing up press releases from government agencies and then calling it news.

I know by now that you realize that your work is dangerous. I respect your courage.

 
At 9:32 PM, Blogger JDaniel said...

Corruption,

No, you’re not doing anything wrong; blogger was having problems last night I think. I was having the same issues. I am currently using blogger to host this blog and at times they experience the occasional glitch or two. I would suggest creating a blogger log in with password if you want to keep your username protected (which you should cause I think it’s cool). The glitch seems to be worked out now.

It’s funny that you should say that about the striving to win a local election that pays peanuts. It does make you wonder…. I have often wondered myself.

Baxter’s IA “Gestapo” is an intriguing concept to me. How exactly is IA set up? How was Baxter able to use its power to his advantage and to protect/further his corrupted agenda?

I am almost a believer in a “citizens review committee” - but I don’t see exactly how one would be worth its salt without power to investigate and to recommend that action be taken when wrong doing is discovered. Where would they get their power? I think that this concept should be given serious thought Here in Elk Grove – but first things first – our current corruption problem with our two council/sheriffs members.

Thank you for your encouraging words. And ya… I do have a general idea that this kind of free speech attack on the sheriffs department, will not only not make me many sac county sheriff friends, but I am risking being the victim of the rumored retaliation that I have heard so much about.

I believe that I am prepared and supported. If we don’t fight it – if we don’t talk about it openly, then they win. Thanks so much for your honest comments. I believe you. Some people insist on staying in a fantasy world and they still don’t believe that Baxter was as corrupt as we know he was/is. They are certainly not helping the problem.

 
At 11:16 PM, Anonymous corruption kills said...

J Daniel you asked the follwing:

Baxter’s IA “Gestapo” is an intriguing concept to me. How exactly is IA set up? How was Baxter able to use its power to his advantage and to protect/further his corrupted agenda?

At San Joaquin County, two sergeants (handpicked by the Sheriff) handle the investigations, and their investigations get reviewed by a captain who supposedly determines what course of action is appropriate. The fact is Baxter had absolute control of his henchmen, and everyone in power would do exactly as they were told. (By the way, in all fairness, the two current SJSO IA sergeants are decent guys. Unfortunately they have ZERO power.)

Some say Baxter would initiate bogus investigations against his enemies, and then make sure his cronies were always kept away from scrutiny. Is this really true?

HERE IS A FACT: Assistant Sheriff John Drummond was "investigated" by internal affairs because he "allegedly" ordered two sergeants assigned to the courthouse to essentially eavesdrop on the county grand jury in hopes that Baxter could be given a head's up on anything coming his way. This "allegedly" occurred around the same time the federal corruption probe was being conducted.

Assistant Sheriff John Drummond was apparently cleared of any wrongdoing by IA. We know for sure Drummond was never terminated, nor did he have any formal criminal charges brought against him.

In all fairness, it should be said that maybe Assistant Sheriff John Drummond was entirely innocent.

Since we are being fair, we should point out that Felon Baxter Dunn had the final word as to whether Assistant Sheriff John Drummond attempted to obstruct justice on the convicted felon's behalf.

Would it be fair to say there was a bit of a conflict of interest there? Does the public trust the previous judgment of a now convicted felon?

The FBI at one point was concerned that Baxter Dunn had initiated a bogus investigation against FBI SA Andrew Manson and DA Investigator Ken Melgoza. (I believe KCRA Channel 3 still has an article floating around on this on the internet, I will try to find the link for our readers so they can reach their own conclusions.)

I am unable to go into great detail about this, but I will poise this hypothetical question to our readers. If a convicted felon sheriff was willing to initiate a bogus investigation against the FBI, is it reasonable to suspect this same felon would consider initiating bogus investigations against his subordinates who were not willing to commit crimes for him?

 
At 11:21 PM, Anonymous corruption kills said...

http://www.thekcrachannel.com/news/1733862/detail.html

Cut and paste the above, and make up your own mind..

Did Baxter Dunn interfere with a federal investigation, or was he innocent?

 
At 1:58 PM, Blogger JDaniel said...

Corruption,

Point well Received

The IA set up is only 3 guys? Wow. Now it makes perfect sense on how Baxter could control things and make them go his way. For the IA folks, I would say that it is so dangerous and wrong to allow any unfair investigations to be undertaken. Climbing inside their head and putting aside how it is evil as it is, it’s also very stupid.

And that’s just it, eventually the law enforcement officer becomes corrupted by the power over their subordinates and it makes them stupid. Makes them take it too far.

You know, in the grand scheme of things, I believe that this was truly how Baxter Ran things. Frankly, when a man of Baxter’s experience and stature suddenly decides that a “shakedown” is a great idea and an idea that will work to boot – you know that he has been crooked for quite a long time and he truly believes that he can get away with it.

A shakedown is a fairly complex plan, and theirs was no different. This one involved a number of powerful governmental people and it had to go of just right in order for it to work – we all know that it didn’t but here in lies the greater issue, I believe.

Baxter must have developed a long pattern and history of breaking the law and using his power to intimidate, because a big time sheriff just doesn’t wake up one morning and then starts to decide that he is going to start shaking down big business and create “SMTM”. A sheriff who has been breaking the law ENDS UP there.

So in my mind the augment that Baxter has been corrupt for years and has grown into his “reign of Terror” to me is true. He has proven it to me.

To answer your question about McFalls Tax paperwork, yes, I believe that Dunn was involved. He was just that confident in his own skill at misdirecting the truth away that he thought that he could help out his crony. He was also showing desperation in my opinion. Baxter knew what was going down and that he was too close to the fire.

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Corruption Kills said...

Dear JDaniels,

Would you be willing to create a blog (I am a computer idiot for one thing) dedicated to the problems associated with San Joaquin County?

Sheriff Candidates are throwing their names in the hat now, and we someone with your abilities and integrity to create a medium where ideas and honest opinions can be chaired.

The FBI looked into many, many allegations against Baxter Dunn, but as Baxter bragged to his cronies at work, "An indictment is a lot different than a conviction."

The power plant deal was only the tip of the iceberg. What a shame baxter only got six months in a Club Fed and six months of being grounded.

Baxter is an expert at playing the system like a fiddle. Anyone who has read "The 48 Laws of Power" will have a better understanding of where leaders like Baxter derive their powers from.

 
At 9:06 AM, Blogger JDaniel said...

CK

Sorry that im late to respond to your last post.

Yes, I would be very interested in helping with the cause. I could certainly create and manage a San Joaquin version of Argus.

Do you think that there would be a healthy response to the Blog from the folks in your area?

I can certainly track the political events and it would certainly provide a forum for free - and if need be - anonymous speech.

That is my mission and I would love to help bring the people of your area together. All info posted will remain – no one can stop the word form getting out - and I do believe that we and all in your area who would support the Blog can truly make a difference.

Let me know.

 
At 1:06 AM, Anonymous corruption kills said...

j daniels:

Thank you so much...I saw your "Put a Fork into Dunn" work...fabulous....I will get the word out secretly to the honest employees at the SJSO so your new link will catch on. I don't think people will easily find our chat. Should we cut and paste our conversation to link it to your new Dunn stuff so people will find it?

You are my hero

 
At 12:43 PM, Blogger JDaniel said...

LOL LOL!

Ha! Thanks so much! It was fun to write. Sure, I will repost the entire posting and all with these comments on top. All new comments will be easier to find.

And Yes! Please get the word out to all! This is the time. If we build momentum before the next election – the truth WILL compel that the best person win. We all can make the difference.

I am now going to begin to plan a version of Argus for SJC. Until then all SJ posting will stay on this Blog. When the new Blog is completed – I will transfer all of them over.

Tell the honest employees that the Eyes of Argus are on their side – and they are my heroes!

 
At 2:00 PM, Anonymous corruption kills said...

JDaniel:

I do not want to confuse people. When you make the switch over, I will begin to covertly advertise the new SJ Blog.

Thanks so much for fighting the good fight.

 
At 8:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous #1 Some of actually DO know what is going on behind closed doors at SJSO ... and it trickles down to the DA's office too!

 

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