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LAPD Rampart Division Trial: 2000

Convictions Overturned

The three convicted officers were to be sentenced on January 16, 2001. However, on December 22, 2000, Judge Conner overturned their convictions after a series of hearings in which she investigated allegations of juror misconduct and the use of flawed evidence during the jury's deliberations. According to the judge, the jurors considered the wrong evidence and failed to decide a key issue in the case, i.e., whether Buchanan and Liddy were struck by a vehicle driven by a gang member in July 1996. As Conner stated in her ruling:

While recognizing the enormous pressure on the community, on the police force, on the district attorney's office, and on the courts to 'fix' the Rampart scandal, this court is only interested in evaluating the fairness of the proceedings and determining whether justice was done in this case.… This court cannot simply look the other way and ignore the improprieties, innocent or not, intentional or unintentional, that served to deny a fair trial in this case.

On January 11, 2001, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced its decision to appeal Judge Conner's ruling. The matter is currently pending before the California Court of Appeals. In the meantime, prosecutors hope that whatever information Perez's former partner, Nino Durden, has will help bring further indictments and encourage other officers to cooperate with their investigation.

Mark Thorburn

Suggestions for Further Reading

Los Angeles Times (September 15, 1999-March 2001).

Additional topics

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