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EDITORIAL RETRYING RAMPART.

SUPERIOR Court Judge Jacqueline Connor's decision to overturn the convictions of three policemen in the Rampart corruption scandal comes as little surprise, but poses a challenge and an opportunity for new District Attorney Steve Cooley.

Cooley must now decide whether he will pick up where his predecessor, Gil Garcetti, left off and retry the three officers.

The pressures Cooley can expect to face in making his decision will be intense. Activists and his subordinates alike will likely demand a retrial, while Los Angeles Police Department defenders will call on him to drop the charges. His eventual decision may well set the tone for future Rampart-related questions under his administration.

Cooley must resist the politics and the clamor.

He must base his decision solely on the one relevant question: Do his prosecutors have the evidence to pursue a just and successful conviction?

If not, pressing forward with another trial would be an unscrupulous waste of time and money. Likewise, it would be a travesty of justice were the district attorney to take a pass on a winnable case merely to avoid controversy.

Either way, Cooley's decision will draw fire from one side or the other, which heightens the importance of his being fair and judicious. He will need to examine the issue closely and to explain his decision carefully to the public.

This is a tough, politically perilous choice that Cooley would probably rather not make. But it's also a chance for him to prove his fairness and his integrity to the people who just elected him.
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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Dec 27, 2000
Words:256
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