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Police Chief's Daughter Fails to Appear in Court

September 30, 1998

The daughter of Los Angeles Police Chief Bernard C. Parks failed to appear Tuesday in Justice Court in Las Vegas on drug charges.

Michelle Lynette Parks, 37, was scheduled to appear before Justice of the Peace Nancy Oesterle to enter pleas to cocaine sales and trafficking charges.

She has been free on her own recognizance. Oesterle set a new hearing for Oct. 13 and said she would issue a bench warrant if Parks did not show up.

Her attorney, Robert Langford, said it is typical for the attorney to make initial appearances such as he did Tuesday.

He said he had been in contact with Parks, who has been on medical leave from her job as a clerk typist at one of the LAPD divisions. She has worked for the department for 18 months.

After the court hearing, Langford would not say where Parks was, or why she did not appear in court.

She is accused of conspiring with Reginald Gathwright to sell 20 grams of cocaine to an undercover Las Vegas police officer in June. Parks allegedly drove Gathwright, 21, to the transaction.

She was charged in a Sept. 3 warrant with one count of conspiracy to sell cocaine and one count of trafficking. If convicted of the charges, she could face a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison.

"We intend to vigorously challenge the charges," Langford said after Tuesday's hearing. "She had nothing to do with the crime she is charged with."

LAPD Officer Eduardo Funes said earlier there would be no comment from the chief.

Cmdr. David Kalish said the department was conducting an internal administrative investigation into the case.

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