Former Undersheriff Paul Tanaka Should Not Remain Out of Prison During Appeal Process: Federal Judge 

Paul Tanaka, once one of the most powerful law enforcement officials in Los Angeles County, was sentenced in April 2016 to five years in federal prison for interfering with an FBI investigation into jail abuses by sheriff’s deputies. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

Paul Tanaka, once one of the most powerful law enforcement officials in Los Angeles County, was sentenced in April 2016 to five years in federal prison for interfering with an FBI investigation into jail abuses by sheriff’s deputies. (Credit: Al Seib/Los Angeles Times)

A federal judge Wednesday ruled that former Los Angeles County Undersheriff Paul Tanaka should not remain out of prison while he appeals his conviction on obstruction of justice charges.

Because Tanaka’s attorneys will now appeal the judge’s decision, plans that called for Tanaka, 58, to begin serving his five-year sentence next week will be postponed.

U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson, who presided over Tanaka’s trial in April, rejected claims by Tanaka’s attorneys that the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is likely to overturn the conviction because of several mistakes during the original trial.

Those mistakes, the attorneys argued, included an improper instruction Anderson gave to the jury and his decision to allow prosecutors to question Tanaka about his involvement in a controversial clique of deputies.

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