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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA / A news summary

2 More Cases Overturned in Rampart Scandal

May 18, 2000

LOS ANGELES — A Superior Court judge Wednesday overturned the felony convictions of two more men whose prosecutions involved former Los Angeles Police Department officer-turned-informant Rafael Perez.

Wednesday's actions, which involved two men sent to prison in 1996, brought to 84 the number of convictions that have been vacated since the LAPD's Rampart corruption scandal began.

In one case, Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler granted the prosecutors' request to overturn the conviction of Salvador Luis Arias, 25, who was arrested by Perez and his then-partner Nino Durden for being a felon in possession of a firearm. Arias subsequently was sentenced to four years in prison for violating probation on a 1994 drug conviction. Perez since has said that he was lying when he said he saw the man holding an assault rifle and found ammunition in his pocket. Fidler's action terminated Arias' parole.

The judge also overturned the conviction of Gerald Joseph Peters, 32, who pleaded guilty in 1996 to possession of cocaine and was sentenced to two years in state prison. Perez told investigators that Peters' arrest report was fabricated and that two other officers involved in the arrest did not see Peters drop a film canister containing cocaine, according to the writ. Peters was released from his parole on the 1996 conviction.

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