Book Club Recommendation for October, 2008
Blue Ribbon Panel report issued July 2006
The Search for Real Reform Seven Years Later....
Q: IS IT FOR REAL?
A: NOT! DAH!
Q: ARE YOU TOO BUSY TO READ THE REPORTS?
A: OUR 30 SEC DIGEST FOR THOSE TOO LAZY TO READ THE REPORTS:
."Unanimously, criminal defense attorneys and civil plaintiffs' attorneys believe ... innocent people remain in prison. " p60
Los Angeles Superior Court must be“examine[d for] its role in accepting pleas from innocent defendants and failing to detect police perjury or the conviction of the innocent.” p58
"...law enforcement, prosecutors and judges - inexorably chose containment. It is not that individuals or entities conspired to cover up corruption; it is that when a window on its true extent opened, they simply closed it." p48
Q: WHAT EXACTLY ARE WE TALKING ABOUT?
A: HERE WE GO!
A. SUBJECT MATTER - INNOCENT CITIZENS, STILL IMPRISONED IN LA.
Plainly speaking, it is a certainty that there are some innocent citizens, by now imprisoned well over 10 years as a result of routine false evidence produced in court by the police. The subject matter is this unknown number of innocent citizens that remain locked up ten years after the investigations were initiated, as a result of the fact that the investigations were never completed.
B. THE ENIGMA - HOW MANY SUCH CITIZENS ARE STILL IMPRISONED
A basic concern of the Blue Ribbon Panel was that after multiple investigative committees over 7 years, and numerous reports, and many millions of dollars spent, nobody knows the extent of the problem.
Q: WHAT IS INPROPERINLA’S TAKE ON THE SITUATION?
A: WE GOT TO DO IT, BUT WE GOT TO DO IT SMART!
C. THE ANSWER - THE NUMBER WILL DEPEND ON THE METHOD AND STRINGENCY OF INVESTIGATION, AND ACCORDINGLY RANGE BETWEEN 100 AND 10,000.
Let me take the plunge and guess, with no committee appointment and no budget appropriation --
The number will entirely depends on the methods of investigation and stringency of criteria used to evaluate records of past litigations:
1) If the investigation would proceed along the lines of previous investigation, using traditional methods, and starting from cases where there is at present a specific allegation on record of false evidence by police, seeking to confirm such false evidence, then the number of innocent citizens found imprisoned would be between 100 and 1000. The primary reason would be that again, the investigation would never be completed.
2) However, if the investigations take innovative approaches, specially constructed for dealing with such large scandal, and supported by highly skilled statistical computerized modeling, then the number of innocent citizens found imprisoned would be between 1,000 and 10,000.
D. RECOMMENDATION - SMART COMBINATION STRATEGY FOR ACCURATE, DEFINITIVE, FAST, CHEAP RESULTS, HEAVILY RELYING UPON COMPUTERIZED DATA ANALYSIS AND STATISTICAL APPROACHES.
1) Full authority must be vested with a U.S. Special Counsel, leading the investigation, and explicitly charged to investigate the integrity of the justice system in LA, including police, prosecutors, and courts, both criminal and civil.
2) Such Special Counsel must immediately secure access to all computer systems of police, prosecutors, and the courts.
3) All existing evidence must be first compiled and indexed, and in parallel - existing indexing files, which were previously denied to investigators must be discovered.
4) Phase I investigations should proceed in full speed in cases where there is already reliable evidence of false prosecution, based on previous investigations that were never concluded.
5) Phase II investigations must be initiated in parallel, based on analysis of the whole body of existing data, statistical modeling, and attempts to derive patterns that would allow expediting of the investigation, and reducing its cost, based on heuristic models combined with continued random sampling.
Such combined approach should allow exhaustion of the investigation within reasonable time and budgets.
a. If Officer A appeared in the Courtroom of Judge X, then it is highly likely that conviction be found false upon review .
b. If Officer A and Officer B appeared in the Courtroom of Judge X, then it is extremely likely that conviction be found false upon review . .
c. If Officer A and Officer B, under the guidance of Prosecutor Y, appeared in the Courtroom of Judge X it is practically a certainty that conviction be found false upon review.
6) Phase III investigation must be instituted in parallel to Phase I and Phase II. Phase III will constitute of statistical computerized monitoring of results as they are accumulated, and statistical models should be constructed in advance in consultation with law enforcement and judicial authorities:
When a certain threshold be reached for any given police, prosecutor, or judge, that would be deemed substantially different than peers, and also be deemed conclusive evidence of a pattern of repeat, routine obstruction of justice, all conviction achieved through the involvement of such individual be overturned first, and such cases be screened in reverse - for those that require repeat prosecution, rather than the opposite.
7) Phase IV - Similarly, separate investigation be instituted in parallel to Phase I, II, III, and proceed based on statistical analysis of results as they are accumulated. The goal of Phase IV would be to predict the length of time and cost of the investigation, propose ways to saturate and exhaust the investigation at fastest cheapest way, and adjust such predictions as results are accumulated.
Q: WHAT ABOUT THE UNSPOKEN QUESTION?
A: YOU MEAN FALSE DEATH SENTENCES?
Obviously that is part of the problem. Those who favor death penalty would like never to think about this issue – false convictions and false death sentences, and those who oppose death penalty cannot stop thinking about the prospect.
According to newspaper reports Judge Jacqueline Connor issued in recent years at least one death sentence. Given that she was particularly fond of the Rampart officers and even gave Officer Perez in 1998 a recommendation letter based on his performance in her courtroom (later recanted as false), one can only hope that death row does not move too fast.
Q: NEED MORE INFO?
A: NO PROBLEM – HERE IT IS…
Reading the latest report, published in 2006 by the "Blue Ribbon Panel", appointed by LAPD to investigate LAPD's failure to produce previous reports regarding the scope of the Rampart scandal, and the degree to which the LAPD addressed the deficiencies revealed in that scandal, reveals the following pattern: One committee after the other is appointed by police to investigate itself, in an effort to establish why the previous committees failed, and invariably such committees are denied access to the relevant data, especially any indexing data that would allow an overview of the scope, or extent of the problems as a whole, and the degree to which such problems were at all addressed. . The latest report candidly admits that most inside the police believe that the scandal was far from being addressed, and that many innocent citizens are likely to remain incarcerated, 10 years after the beginning of investigations.
Q: ARE FAQ’s YOUR FAVORITE WAY TO DIGEST NEW MATERIALS?
A: NO PROBLEM – HERE IT IS…
• What is the true reason why the investigations are never completed? As the Blue Ribbon Panel puts it - true investigation could have resulted in catastrophic failure of the justice system in LA... the risk is too high...
• How did the investigations fail in reality?
The courts, police and prosecutors failed to allow investigators full unlimited access to computerized data, and with that brought the investigations to a halt.
• What is the Blue Ribbon Panel recommendation? Yet another investigative committee, but here they depart somewhat from the official line, and state that it must be an external investigation... . • What was done since then? Nothing that we know of... . • What have we been asking the U.S. Department of Justice for months? U.S. Special Counsel investigation, which is exactly the mechanism provided by law for situations such as described by the Blue Ribbon Panel - "an external investigation", where local conflicts prevent true investigation of material deficiencies in the law enforcement and justice systems.
• What response have we been given so far? No response at all...
• Why is a Special Counsel the way to go?
A special Counsel is quintessential, since it is the only authority that could force the LA Superior Court, prosecutors, and the LAPD to open up their computer systems and provide the indexing data that is required in order to first assess the scope of the problem, and then estimate what is required for completing such investigation, then master the required resources, conduct the investigation and provide credible reports.
The alternatives have been tried and failed too many times in the past 10 years. .
The citizens of LA owe it to their peers, who are incarcerated but innocent, to complete this investigation.
Q: WOULD YOU LIKE TO READ SOME ORIGINAL QUOTES?A: HERE WE GO
"The real story about Rampart is that no one really knows. I know people still on this job that were part of this crew. The investigations were botched so early on, and the guys on Perez's crew sat down. But at least one or two are still working. The investigations were botched so badly by IA .. Now [PSB] wouldn't botch [the investigations like that].... They wouldn't tell Perez' sergeant that they're following him..." .
Los Angeles Institutions Failed to Respond Adequately to the CRASH Crisis
The facts that best support this conclusion arc that a federal court had to take over Los Angeles police reform and that no public entity conducted an independent investigation with the capacity, authority and resources to properly investigate the extent of the alleged corruption or its causes. In addition, after numerous scandal related criminal trials and pleas, multiple LAPD investigations and over 80 internal Boards of Rights, four major reports and a failedcivil grand jury inquiry, the following basic facts about the Rampart CRASH corruption remain unknown or disputed:
• Whether the scandal was about two officers guilty of isolated criminal misconduct or about policing systems that tolerated routine abuse and criminality by a significant subcult in its ranks.
• How many officers committed crimes or serious misconduct.? The scope of misconduct at issue (ranging from unjustified shootings, framings and beatings to falsifying arrest reports and fabricating probable cause).
• How many officers committed crimes or serious misconduct.
• The scope of misconduct at issue (ranging from unjustified shootings, framings and beatings to falsifying arrest reports and fabricating probable cause).
• The extent of Rampart CRASH-like misconduct in the CRASH units of other divisions, other specialized units and LAPD policing generally.
• The extent of corrupt acts, if any, by Rampart CRASH alumni who graduated into Metro, Internal Affairs and other coveted and specialized units.
• Why CRASH supervisors and others in LAPD silenced whistleblowers who tried to warn about CRASH insubordination and misconduct.
• How many of Perez' specific allegations were fully investigated and verified.
•sd Why the DA's declination memos explaining the reasons for not charging Rampart related cases submitted by LAPD did not address a number of cases of alleged misconduct, including several allegedly unjustified shootings.
• How many officers were administratively investigated or sent to Boards of Rights as a result of Perez' allegations.
• Why an after-action report on LAPD's response to the CRASH crisis could not get written.
• Why the Boards of Rights were allowed to fail on such a large scale,
• Whether the USCIS (formerly known as the INS) investigated Perez' allegations that its agents helped deport gang members or others who filed complaints against LAPD officers.''
"While the criminal justice system could sustain overturning scores of criminal prosecutions tainted by Rampart CRASH corruption, thousands could have meant the collapse of the entire LA County criminal justice apparatus."
"Facing a choice between containment or catastrophic failure, the operators of any system-law enforcement, prosecutors and judges-inexorably choose containment. It is not that individuals or entities conspired to cover up corruption; it is that when a window on its true extent opened, they simply closed it."
" Dealing with scores of writs, the Los Angeles Superior Court had to
examine its role in accepting pleas from innocent defendants and
failing to detect police perjury or the conviction of the innocent.
Public Defenders saw their long ignored complaints about incompetent
investigations, routinely fabricated probable cause, frequent
police perjury and excessive force briefly acknowledged, but had to
confront their inability to effectively check the abuses they observed.
"Conclusion 1.20. Most Believe that Justice Was Not Served . Several officers told the Panel that they believe that officers who were culpable in the CRASH corruption escaped sanction; they remain in the department and, in some cases, have been promoted. Many also believe that innocent officers were unfairly investigated or prosecuted and the lives of several officers were arbitrarily destroyed. Unanimously, criminal defense attorneys and civil plaintiffs' attorneys believe that the extent of the corruption was covered up, guilty officers got away and innocent people remain in prison. When the Board of Inquiry report, the one who had the most resources committed to (well over 200 command staff), was published, in March 2000, it was clear that it was an incomplete effort to generate some quick results, and at least one follow-up report was to be completed later on: p63: ”In the spring of 2002, the Los Angeles Times published an article reporting that the promised after-action report, originally to be published in early 2001, was now more than a year overdue.
”... by the time William Bratton took over as LAPD Chief in October 2002, no report had been issued.
”In February 2003, Chief Bratton called the department's effort to account for its handling of the Rampart scandal "totally inadequate," and called for an independent blue ribbon panel to address the issue. . Rampart Boards of Rights were supposed to be instituted for each of the individual cases that were identified in the Rampart scandal, but were never investigated in full, or even in part, by the time of the publication of the Board of Inquiry report. It was supposed to be the mechanism of completing the investigation of that part of the problem that was identified by the Board of Inquiry investigation, but was cut short. Obviously that would have been only a partial effort, in and of itself, since it is openly admitted that the Board of Inquiry was never able to assess the scope or extent of the problem. And yet, even this partial effort was allowed to fail and was never completed.
Rampart Boards of Rights .
The Rampart Related Boards of Rights Largely Failed
The Panel identified approximately 400 internal Investigations commenced by the department relating to the CRASH crisis. Approximately eighty-six of these investigations resulted in internal Boards of Rights. These numbers are approximate because the Panel was unable to obtain complete information regarding the Rampart related Boards of Rights. The department's failure to maintain any kind of centralized repository of Rampart CRASH material forced the Panel to reconstruct the profiles of Rampart related administrative investigations and Boards of Rights, including complaint file numbers and names, before Professional Standards Bureau could provide the Panel with any Rampart related Boards of Rights material.
The response by police to the Blue Ribbon Panel report was of interest in that it failed to ever mention past present or future investigation into the Rampart scandal abuses that were the reason the Panel was instituted, and were the subject of its report.
Obviously the LA Superior Court and the DA office, the two other parts of the justice system that the Blue Panel Report recommends must be investigated relative to the integrity of the system, have not produced any response that we know of.
A: WOULD YOU LIKE THE REFERENCES FOR THE REPORTS?
Q: HERE IT IS, BUT TAKE IT EASY, DON’T GET TOTALLY SUCKED IN… SEE WHAT HAPPENED TO ME..,
Check it out:
1) Blue Ribbon Panel report
2) Chief Bratton Reacts to Blue Ribbon Report
July, 2006 - Los Angeles