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LAPD Rampart Division Trial: 2000

A Crooked Cop's Arrest Opens The Floodgates, Indictments And Trials For Only A Handful

Defendants: Michael Buchanan, Paul Harper, Brian Liddy, Edward Ortiz
Crimes Charged: Conspiracy to obstruct justice, filing false police reports, lying under oath
Chief Defense Lawyers: Harland Braun (Buchanan), Joel Isaacson (Harper), Paul DePasquale (Liddy), Barry Levin (Ortiz)
Chief Prosecutors: Laura Laesecke, Anne Ingalls
Judge: Jacqueline Conner
Place: Los Angeles, California
Date of Trial: October 4-November 15, 2000
Verdicts: Harper: not guilty on all charges; Buchanan: guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice and of two counts of perjury; not guilty on the other charges; Liddy and Ortiz: guilty of conspiracy to obstruct justice and of filing false police reports; not guilty on the other charges
Sentences: None. On December 22, 2000, Judge Conner overturned the convictions on the basis of jury misconduct. As of March, 2001, her decision is under appeal

SIGNIFICANCE: The arrest in 1996 of a crooked cop who was assigned to the Los Angeles Police Department's (LAPD) Rampart station led to one of the largest police scandals in American history. It also served to confirm the belief of many who feel that the entire LAPD is corrupt and can't be trusted.

Rampart is an eight-square mile area in Los Angeles west of the city's downtown core. Densely populated, it is home to approximately 375,000 residents, most of whom are working class immigrants or members of a racial minority. Rampart is also one of the busiest and most dangerous beats for the Los Angeles Police. However, not all of the officers who patrol the area play by the book.

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