Illustration by Bill Hunt
Policing authority is an ego boost. Just ask Mike Carona. Around a year before the FBI arrested the Orange County sheriff for corruption in 2007, Carona showed up at a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department facility with a four- or five-SUV entourage. South Central-hardened LA deputies who observed the arrival assumed a Secret Service detail had accompanied then-Vice President Dick Cheney. But OC's top cop--a glad-handing politician and career bureaucrat who'd never made a single arrest in his life--jumped out of a government vehicle amid heavy guard, a scene that prompted laughter at the absurd grandiosity.
From pampered office-holder to convicted felon (circa 2009), Carona's fall is now the stuff of history. U.S. District Court Judge Andrew J. Guilford issued a term of 66 months in prison and, in one of the most noble and necessary stern sentencing lectures in county history, slammed the disgraced cop for thinking he was above the law. Lying officers weren't tolerated in his courtroom, Guilford told a man who clearly didn't think he would serve a minute in prison. Following his conviction and on the way to the penitentiary, Carona earned a second identity: Inmate 45335-112.More »