Los Angeles County prosecutors rejected more than 75 percent of officer misconduct cases that the Los Angeles police and sheriff’s departments referred last year for criminal prosecution, says the Los Angeles Times. Among the rejected cases were those of a sheriff’s deputy accused of lying on the witness stand, of a deputy accused of stealing $6,000 from a jail inmate, and of a deputy who allegedly had sex with an inmate in a jail closet. Overall, Prosecutors filed charges in 75 percent of the more than 57,000 felony cases referred for prosecution in 2002. Last year, prosecutors declined to file charges in 111 of 141 officer misconduct cases referred by Los Angeles sheriff and police departments, says a report by Merrick Bobb, a special counsel whose report is due for release today. “It’s not easy to prosecute cops and the D.A. doesn’t like to lose cases,” said Bobb.
A prosecutor the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office, saying that the percentage of filings is low because police departments refer marginal cases so that prosecutors can provide an extra level of scrutiny for problem officers. “They’re afraid that someone is going to accuse them of covering up a case. So they bring us a great many cases they know are going to be rejected,” said prosecutor Curt Hazell, adding that his office aggressively pursues cases against officers when they are supported by evidence.