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Samuel Bailey

Summary of Rampart Scandal
https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/PublishingImages/Los_Angeles_County.png
Samuel Bailey was one of approximately 170 men and women wrongfully convicted because of misconduct in the Los Angeles Police Department’s Rampart scandal.

Los Angeles Police Officer Rafael Perez arrested Bailey on August 23, 1996 after police raided a party because they said a man wanted for murder was going to be in attendance. According to the arrest report and Perez’s testimony at a preliminary hearing, Bailey was stopped outside the party and Perez saw him discard a revolver. Bailey, who was then 32 years old, was charged with possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He pled guilty in Los Angeles County Superior Court on September 24, 1996 and received a sentence of 32 months in prison.

On August 17, 1998, Perez was charged with theft, possession of cocaine, and forgery. 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 would cooperate with an investigation into the Rampart operations and the misconduct committed by himself and other officers.

In Bailey’s case, Perez said he never saw Bailey in possession of the weapon. A confidential informant had told officers there was a sawed-off shotgun inside the house, Perez said. As he told investigators on October 1, 1999, “So, we knew that shotgun was there before we even went to the location. It [the arrest report] describes me and when we arrived at the location, observing Mr. Samuel Bailey out in front. He put his hand on his waistband, as we arrived. We told him to stop. And he turned around and started to walk away. As he walked away, we could see with his right hand he drops a revolver. And then, he complies with the rest of the commands. And he's taken into custody. All that was fabricated. That weapon was recovered inside the house somewhere.”

Perez said that he had wanted to arrest Bailey because he had heard from an informant that Bailey was planning an attack on Perez.

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office filed a petition for a writ of habeas corpus on November 30, 1999. It was granted that day and Bailey was released from prison. In its motion, the DA’s office said it had concluded that “perjury may have been committed at the preliminary hearing and that the judgment of conviction” should be overturned. Separately, Otto Castillo was also wrongfully convicted on a weapons charge based on Perez’s perjury in this case. He was shot to death on May 8, 1999, prior to any court action. Roy Montes, who was at the same party, was also exonerated.

Bailey later 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:Weapon Possession or Sale
Additional Convictions:
Reported Crime Date:1996
Convicted:1996
Exonerated:1999
Sentence:2 years and 8 months
Race/Ethnicity:Don't Know
Sex:Male
Age at the date of reported crime:32
Contributing Factors:Perjury or False Accusation, Official Misconduct
Did DNA evidence contribute to the exoneration?:No