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Racketeering Law OKd in Rampart Suits

September 03, 2000

Re "Judge OKs Use of Racketeering Law in Rampart Suits," Aug. 29: Am I really supposed to believe that our Police Department is now an organized crime perpetrator? Why do the bad acts of a few police officers begin a new round of "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire"? Are we fixing the problem by unjustly burdening the taxpayers, who aren't really to blame? No, the taxpayers simply become more disgusted with attorneys and the legal system in general.

It is regrettable that the bad acts of a few officers resulted in unjust convictions. The victims in these cases are entitled to reasonable compensation, but that should not be defined as a Lotto payoff at the expense of the taxpayers. And what about the individuals who really did commit the crimes but will now be rewarded because of legal technicalities? Will the district attorney's office review these cases for possible retrial based on legally obtained evidence or simply recommend that checks be written?

Perhaps the bottom-feeding attorneys who come up with these ridiculous legal strategies will be designated as vexatious litigators rather than rewarded for chasing the almighty contingency/class action dollar.

RICHARD A. SCHOENFELD

Los Angeles

* It does not take a genius or a lot of reflection to determine the few major causes of a dramatic rise in violent crime in Los Angeles (Aug. 29). Patrol officers' morale is low and their self-initiated "stop and question" fieldwork is practically nonexistent. Just answer your radio calls and go home. No personnel complaints, no second-guessing on use of force, no ACLU/Stephen Yagman lawsuits on so-called "racial profiling" or anything else they can dream up.

And the gangbangers and street thugs know this. They can and do act with impunity now. Things will get a lot worse, and there's no amount of reconfiguring police deployment or inventing new "programs" by Chief Bernard Parks that will change things until there is such a howl of rage from the crime-besieged public that the street cops and detectives can again do their jobs.

ALAN V. WEINBERG

Woodland Hills

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