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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

6 More Rampart Convictions Overturned

March 24, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A Superior Court judge on Thursday overturned six more convictions tainted by alleged misconduct by officers from the LAPD's Rampart Division.

The court action brings to 46 the number of cases dismissed in the ongoing corruption scandal, district attorney's officials said.

The latest round of reversals involved drug and weapons charges against three adults and three people who were juveniles at the time they were arrested by Rampart anti-gang officers from 1996 through 1997.

As with most of the other cases that have been overturned, the dismissals were based in large part on the testimony of ex-officer-turned-informant Rafael Perez.

Perez, who is serving a five-year prison sentence for stealing cocaine, is cooperating with authorities and providing information on alleged police crimes and misconduct.

Cases were overturned against:

* Charles Edward Harris, 42, who pleaded guilty to cocaine possession and was sentenced to three years in prison in February 1998.

* William Florian Zepeda, 28, and Argelia Maritza Diaz, 25, who pleaded guilty in 1998 to selling cocaine and were each sentenced to two years in prison.

* Three other defendants, whose cases were handled during a closed court hearing because they were juveniles, had various weapons and drug cases dismissed.

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