Rampart: A Crying Need to Restore Police Accountability

10 Pages Posted: 25 Oct 2009

See all articles by Carol A. Chase

Carol A. Chase

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law

Date Written: 2001

Abstract

While the misconduct that occurred in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart Division is a scandal, it is not surprising in light of the lack of accountability for police officers who engage in questionable conduct as part of a criminal investigation. Officers who violate the law during criminal investigations are not held directly accountable for their actions. Rather, the penalty for such misconduct is suppression of evidence. Moreover, police officer perjury in support of criminal cases has become so widespread that it is widely referred to as “testilying.” Judges are reluctant to recognize and reject perjured or exaggerated police officer testimony because of the unpopularity of suppression rulings and the pressure that has been exerted on judges who make such decisions. In order to avoid future Rampart-style scandals, we much change our rules to permit direct punishment of police officers for violations of the law. We also need to encourage prosecutors and judges to be more critical in their evaluation of police officer accounts of their criminal investigations.

Keywords: Los Angeles Police Department, Rampart, police misconduct, police officers, criminial investigation

JEL Classification: K14

Suggested Citation

Chase, Carol A., Rampart: A Crying Need to Restore Police Accountability (2001). Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review, Vol. 34, 2001, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1493808

Carol A. Chase (Contact Author)

Pepperdine University - Rick J. Caruso School of Law ( email )

24255 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, CA 90263
United States

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