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A Whistleblower Leaves Jail

Last week, Bob Mullally walked out of jail, finally free of the legal furor that turned his life upside down. Mullally, 59, served 45 days for violating a 1997 civil court order and leaking 79 confidential files detailing domestic-violence complaints involving LAPD officers to a KCBS-TV reporter.

A subsequent investigation by the police department’s inspector general affirmed the TV revelations, documenting how LAPD officers suspected of domestic violence received favored treatment from their department. (See: "Life of a Whistleblower", June 6 - 12.)

The reward for Mullally, a criminal-defense consultant, was a jail term at Oxford Federal Prison in South Central Wisconsin. “It was nothing more than a warehouse,” he said, “holding people who could have been sentenced to home arrest. They didn’t even make a pretense of rehabilitating or re-training people.” He spent his first night in a solitary-confinement cell with lights blazing. “I was strip-searched three times during intake and given only a long T-shirt to wear,” he said. “I was first assigned to clean toilets, then I got to wash dishes. Finally I got promoted to bussing tables in the cafeteria.”

Inexplicably, he was initially labeled a wife-beater. “Somehow that story got around, and I was getting a lot of dirty looks and hostility. But I finally got things straightened out, and one guard even told me, ‘Way to go.’”

Mullally says he is still trying to make sense of his odyssey. He also has to find a job and a place to live. “I just can’t believe the courts continue to hide information about police officers abusing their wives and children. I want to come back to L.A. and talk to the City Council about what happened.”

He’s heading home to Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to nail down a new job and a place to live. “I feel optimistic and, most importantly, I finally feel free.”