LA Times: Carona Sentence Recommendation is 78 Months Behind Bars

The LA Times reports today that disgraced and convicted felon ex-sheriff Mike Carona might be looking at more than six years behind bars if the judge follows the probation office sentencing guidelines.

This detail was revealed in a footnote in court documents filed yesterday.  From the story:

The probation report has been sealed. But the recommendation that Carona serve 78 months in federal prison was revealed in a footnote of a motion filed by prosecutors in response to attempts by Carona’s attorneys to have the conviction thrown out.

Carona was convicted of one count of felony witness tampering in January and acquitted of five other felony charges related to allegations that he misused the powers of his office to enrich himself and others, including his wife and a longtime mistress.

The witness tampering charge relates to Carona’s attempts to have former Assistant Sheriff Don Haidl lie to a grand jury that was investigating the sheriff’s administration.

  7 comments for “LA Times: Carona Sentence Recommendation is 78 Months Behind Bars

  1. rlh
    March 24, 2009 at 5:38 pm

    It doesn’t surprise me that the government wants to put Carona away for as long as possible – they’ve spent enough time and money on it by now that they’re fairly vested. It also, sadly, doesn’t surprise me that they’d sneak the gist of a supposedly sealed report into a footnote on a publcly available document. Ooops, was THAT supposed to stay secret? My bad . . .

    Mind you, I have no affection for a human cootie like Mike Carona. But the (perhaps sad) fact is that a jury exonerated him of most of the really serious charges against him. The witness tampering charge he got nailed on is relatively minor. It takes real nerve (to say the least) to claim that such an offense calls for more than six years behibnd bars. One reason the trial wound up so poorly for the government was its overreaching; it seems history is repeating itself.

  2. R. Scott Moxley
    March 24, 2009 at 9:52 pm

    Dear RLH,

    If you think premeditated attempts by a sitting California sheriff to sabotage a federal grand jury investigating bribery and other corruption inside the Orange County Sheriff’s Department is “relatively minor,” well, then, it’s a good thing you’re not brave enough to tie your identity to your nonsense.

    As far as you alleging “real nerve” misconduct by the federal prosecutors because they noted the federal probation report sentencing recommendation for the disgraced ex-sheriff, well, then, once again, you reveal you’re either disingenuous or frighteningly misinformed.

  3. Paul Lucas
    March 24, 2009 at 11:17 pm

    I find it ironic that he was found guilty of trying to cover up, and will spend time for a crime he was acquitted of.

  4. March 25, 2009 at 12:00 am


    I presume you wrote your comment incorrectly. Carona was convicted of witness tampering by the jury. Whatever his sentence is, he will be spending time in prison for that and not the other crimes alleged.

    It is a bit ironic that he was convicted of trying to cover up crimes that he was not convicted of. Kind of like Al Capone; convicted of tax evasion and not for the criminal activities the he got his money from.

    Of course, Carona going to jail is still not a foregone conclusion. He could always have his conviction thrown out on appeal.

  5. rlh
    March 25, 2009 at 10:50 am

    It’s never fun to step into the “we hate Carona with the heat of a thousand suns” furnace, I guess.

    Mr. Moxley, compared to the offenses he was charged with (and which I, as an outsider who didn’t hear the testimony, believe he was eminently guilty of), the witness tampering charge is indeed relatively (note the adverb) minor. Mr. Prevatt is right that there’s a bitter (for Carona at least) irony in his being convicted for covering up crimes he’s not guilty of (sez the jury at least). I’m no criminal lawyer, but I have worries about whether he can get out of the conviction on exactly those grounds – it seems that a predicate element of the offense is lacking. That, however, I’ll leave to wiser heads than I.

    Now, as to the revelation of the sentencing recommendation: I don’t care if this guy is a disgraced ex-sheriff, the neighborhood milkman, or Charles Manson. The sentencing recommendation by the probation department was supposed to be confidential. Period. Sneaking a peek at its contents via a footnote to the prosecutors’ latest brief is as much a breach of the Court order calling for confidentiality as if they’d held a news conference with Gloria Allred. It was, simply put, dirty pool. The fact that you (and I) both want this guy punished does not and should not alter that fact.

    Let me repeat: Mike Carona is a human cootie, a vile cartoon caricature,a blowhard pseudo-tough snake oil salesman who wormed his way to his post as sheriff via mendaciousness, the glad hand, and corruption. There, is that strong enough for you? BUT HE GOT ACQUITTED of the most serious charges. I don’t like that, and I know you don’t – you engaged in a fairly distasteful character assasination campaign in the Weekly against some of the jurors when you didn’t get the result you wanted from them. But that’s how the system works. Deal with it.

    Certainly Carona’s former position and his lack of remorse are factors that would argue for a stiffer sentence, and I’d personally like to see him rot. But personal desires for revenge, or retribution, are lousy ways to run a criminal justice system (an argument against the death penalty and victims’ rights initiatives that to me gets too short shrift). The fact of what he was convicted of must govern. That offense is not as serious as the bulk of those he was charged with. The last and worst result, which I’d hate to see happen, is for this guy to get some sort of pretend victory (as he’s claimed over his trial result) because the prosecutors overreached as well on sentencing. Can’t you just see the nauseating scene if an overlong sentence recommendqation, imrpovidently adopted, gets thrown out by an appellate court? I think I’d puke up a kidney. Better to give him a fair and moderate sentence and let him rot.

    And as for the personal attacks on my intelligence and my choice to blog using a screen name, well, I thought Mark Landsbaum was the only guy in OC insecure enough to do that, while peddling his “global warming is a fraud” nonsense. Thanks for reminding us all that blind ideology, condescension, and eye-gouging venom, know no party lines.

  6. RHackett
    March 27, 2009 at 4:29 am

    I haven’t read a word of this on the FlashReport. Can anyone tell me why such an important story might be missing from “California’s most significant political news?”

    I have no love lost for Carona, and I have no doubt the judge will force to him some time behind bars. I doubt it will be 6.5 years.

    Bottom line is the Feds were able to get rid of this piece of filth that was so stridently supported by the OC GOP.

    One has to love Scott Baugh’s comments that his group would have never supported someone like Carona had he known that Carona was unfaithful. I can only say, “and Liberace was gay?” Scott (Baugh), everyone knew but you. wink wink. Your righteous indignation is duly noted.

  7. R. Scott Moxley
    March 31, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    Dear RLH:

    While you’re ridiculously claiming that a federal conviction for sabotaging a grand jury investigating police corruption in OC is, in your words, “relatively minor,” the rest of us, including the federal judge on the case, are moving ahead in reality. Note events of the day, pal.

    Your second point–the one where you suggest that prosecutors did something unethical by identifying the federal sentencing recommendation for Carona’s punishment at 6.5 years–is also increasingly ridiculous.

    I’m guessing that Judge Guilford would have reprimanded the Dept. of Justice by now if that was the case. He hasn’t. But then again, he may not be as on the ball insightful as you.

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