Thursday, March 15, 2007

Does the FBI Support Full On Judicial Corruption?

Interesting that the attorneys currently going gang-busters in the Nevada's Governor Jim Gibbons' corruption case, ran into a brick wall in San Diego.

(Raise your hand whose surprised.)

When they wondered why Judith McConnell routed all of the ball park cases to herself, San Diego FBI agents said they hadn't gotten the Green light in DC to open a formal investigation.


That's core politics, not investigative work. Since when must a local office ask permission before investigating corruption? If that's true what's next?

Unfortunately, next is generally more corruption at an expanded level.

Consider the pattern within the District Attorney's Office, which may explain the too cozy relationship with the DA behind the FBI's systematic slacking.

Consider: Bill Gore who didn't investigate judges when he headed up the FBI, is now working with the District Attorney's Office.

Consider: District Attorney's Office now houses Casey Gwinn and who can explain why the FBI isn't investigating Gwinn particularly after San Diego's $20,000,000.00 Kroll report described San Diego's "Culture of Corruption" during a time GWINN was City Attorney.

Since our tax dollars are paying for this, shouldn't the public demand accountability? Or a refund? Otherwise history will simply continue repeating itself, with agents who should be fired, drawing paychecks instead, and as history demonstrates; the crooks in the District Attorney's Office have operated at the highest level.

Former deputy DA enters guilty plea

Longanbach could face jail for running private business on county's time

By J. Harry Jones

November 10, 2001

The former head of the district attorney's economic fraud unit pleaded guilty yesterday to a felony charge of grand theft for using county employees and equipment for his personal business.

Peter J. Longanbach, 56, could face up to three years in prison and the loss of his license to practice law. A sentencing hearing is scheduled for Jan. 18. [Update - Longanbach easily avoided jail. With a nod to Justice San Diego Style; Longanbach was fined and sentenced to teaching poor kids how to play golf.]

Longanbach admitted he operated his real estate business on county time out of the district attorney's downtown offices.

"I used San Diego district attorney staff to prepare personal documents," he wrote in his guilty plea form. "I used San Diego District Attorney's Office fax, copy machine and telephone equipment for personal purposes, and I worked on private matters during district attorney office hours."

In a plea bargain with the state Attorney General's Office, Longanbach and state prosecutors agreed to give San Diego Superior Court Judge Kenneth So wide latitude in deciding Longanbach's punishment.

Although Longanbach pleaded guilty to a felony, his attorney, Pat Swan, will be allowed to ask So to reduce the charge to a misdemeanor, which could allow him to continue practicing law. The attorney general will argue against a reduction.

While Longanbach technically could be sentenced to as much as three years in prison, Deputy Attorney General Adrianne Denault told So the state will seek no more than one year in local jail.

Longanbach also agreed to pay San Diego County $25,000 in restitution for the money stolen by his use of the secretaries and equipment.

Outside of court, Swan said the restitution is far more money than he thinks Longanbach, a Rancho Santa Fe resident, should have to pay, but said it was agreed to in order to dispose of the case.

Longanbach retired in March 2000 from his position as one of District Attorney Paul Pfingst's department chiefs after state investigators searched his house and the District Attorney's Office for evidence.

The allegations were initially raised within the District Attorney's Office by secretaries, legal assistants and prosecutors who worked under Longanbach and complained to their superiors.

Pfingst said he reprimanded Longanbach but was unaware he continued misusing staff and equipment. Pfingst's discipline in the case has been cited by many of his critics in what has become a sharply divided office.

Earlier this week the San Diego Deputy District Attorneys Association returned a vote of no-confidence in Pfingst's leadership. Two-thirds of the prosecutors who voted cast ballots against Pfingst.

A special grand jury indicted Longanbach in February on 12 felony charges following a 17-month investigation by the state.

Thirty-four witnesses testified before the grand jury, most of them fellow employees and prosecutors who worked with Longanbach.

Had he been convicted at trial of all counts, Longanbach could have faced eight years in prison.

The indictment was dismissed yesterday as part of the plea. Instead, the new grand theft charge was filed and admitted by Longanbach, who has been free without bail.

"This whole process has been extremely expensive and wearing on his family," Swan said, explaining why Longanbach agreed to the deal.

Longanbach left the courthouse without commenting.

Pfingst, through his spokeswoman Liz Pursell, said it was inappropriate to comment on the plea.

"This case has not been concluded," Pursell said. "We still have a sentencing in January."

Copyright 2001 Union-Tribune Publishing Co.