Orange County's Bad Sheriffs: A Brief History

With the world going ga-ga about our federally indicted sheriff Mike Carona, what better time to take a trip back and revisit the county's more-jerkish sheriffs? Just a brief history, ma'am:

THEO LACY (1891-1895; 1899-1911): Presided over the last lynching in Orange County history.

LOGAN JACKSON (1931-1939): The orange grower who colluded with the District Attorney's office and other orange growers to brutally suppress the 1936 Citrus War. Issued the threat heard 'round Depression -era America: "Shoot to Kill."

JIM MUSICK (1947-1974): During a trial charging participants in the Citrus War, the then-deputy sheriff strolled around the courtroom brandishing a Tommy gun while flanked by two other deputy sheriffs. Wrote a shocked Cary McWilliams years later in his 1946 classic Southern California Country: An Island in the Land, "In the courtrooms of the county, I met former classmates of mine in college, famous athletes of the University of Southern California, armed with revolvers and clubs, ordering Mexicans around as though they were prisoners in a Nazi concentration camp.”

(Quick aside: the above three incidents involved Mexicans. Why are we not surprised that even in the past, the OC Sheriff's Department harassed wabs?)

BRAD GATES (1974-1999): Carona's predecessor, and the moron he vowed not to emulate. Too late!


All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >