Judge Overturns Award To Key Figure In Rampart Case

August 9, 2005

LOS ANGELES — A judge has overturned a $6.5 million jury award to a man who was sentenced to prison in an assault case involving Los Angeles police officers later linked to the Rampart scandal, attorneys said Tuesday.

Javier Ovando, who was sentenced to 23 years and four months in prison in that criminal case, claimed he was incompetently represented by Deputy Public Defender Tamar Toister. Ovando sued her and Los Angeles County in 2000.In May, Ovando prevailed in his lawsuit, but Monday Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Tricia Ann Bigelow overturned the jury award and granted Toister a new trial, according to attorney Gregory Moreno, who now represents Ovando.The judge cited jury misconduct and legal error in her ruling, according to Ovando’s attorneys, who called the decision “a slap in the face to the jury system in this country.”A message left with Girard Fisher, who represented Toister in the case, was not immediately returned.Ovando was paralyzed when former Los Angeles Police Department officers Rafael Perez and Nino Durden shot him on Oct. 12, 1996.In his criminal trial the following year, Ovando said a rifle was planted on him, but the officers claimed Ovando, a 19-year-old gang member at the time, assaulted them.Later, an LAPD internal probe on widespread corruption within the Rampart Division found Perez and Durden had falsified reports and planted evidence.Ovando’s sentence was overturned in September 1999, after he had served nearly three years. The city paid him $15 million to settle his lawsuit against the LAPD.In the civil trial against Toister that wrapped up in May, Perez testified that he and Durden shot Ovando and planted evidence. He also was asked to tell the jury the fabricated story he gave in 1997 and then answer questions on what really happened.Moreno used the testimony in an attempt to show how Toister missed the inconsistencies in the rogue officer’s story during the 1997 trial.His former attorney never believed in his innocence, Ovando said.

Posted by on Aug 9 2005. Filed under Rampart Police Scandal. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

1 Comment for “Judge Overturns Award To Key Figure In Rampart Case”

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