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Roberto Andrade

Summary of Rampart Scandal
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Roberto Andrade was one of approximately 170 men and women wrongfully convicted because of misconduct uncovered during an investigation into the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart division.

On June 10, 1997, Officer Rafael Perez of the Los Angeles Police Department and Officer Nino Durden raided Andrade’s apartment in the Rampart neighborhood west of downtown. The raid happened after Perez stopped Olga Alatorre while she was on her way to visit a relative. A confidential informant had told police that Alatorre was involved with drugs. She was searched and police found a small amount of crack cocaine on her. Perez reminded her that she was on parole and could be punished if she didn’t help him. She said she lived with her boyfriend and two other men, brothers named Andrade. She said that one of them was selling cocaine from the apartment.

Officers found Roberto Andrade at the apartment, and they saw a marijuana plant in a pot on the balcony. Andrade said it belonged to his brother, Alberto. Officers then went into his brother’s bedroom and found cocaine as well as approximately $2,800 in cash. Perez took about $1,000 and reported the rest in the inventory from the crime scene.

Roberto Andrade was charged with cultivation of marijuana and possession of cocaine for sale. He denied any knowledge of the drugs in the bedroom and said that Perez had grabbed his throat and threatened him during the search of the apartment. Andrade and Olgatorre had a joint trial in Los Angeles Superior Court that September. Perez and another officer, Nino Durden, both testified falsely that they had only found $1,800 in the bedroom. Alberto Andrade, Roberto’s brother, testified that the cocaine was his. It’s not clear whether Alberto was ever charged.

Roberto Andrade was convicted on both counts on September 16, 1997 and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Approximately a year later, on August 17, 1998, Perez was charged with theft, possession of cocaine, and forgery after cocaine went missing from a police evidence locker. The jury deadlocked at his trial (with a majority voting for conviction) in December 1998. Police investigated further, and additional charges were filed against Perez. Just before his retrial on September 8, 1999, Perez pled guilty to eight drug charges and struck a deal with prosecutors. In exchange for a sentence of no more than five years in prison, he agreed to disclose the misconduct that took place at the Rampart station.

Andrade’s case was one of those. Perez told investigators that he had stolen the money from the bedroom. But he denied planting any drugs or other evidence and said that he didn’t threaten Andrade.

After the disclosure, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a petition for writ of habeas corpus to vacate the two convictions. It said, “After investigating this allegation, the District Attorney’s Office no longer has confidence in the evidence. The petition was granted on April 13, 2000, and Andrade was released from prison.

Andrade filed a civil-rights lawsuit against the officers, the Los Angeles Police Department and others. He settled for an undisclosed amount.

– Ken Otterbourg

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Posting Date: 12/11/2020
Last Updated: 12/11/2020
State:California
County:Los Angeles
Most Serious Crime:Drug Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1997
Convicted:1997
Exonerated:2000
Sentence:10 years
Race/Ethnicity:Hispanic
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No