University of Iowa News Release
March 22, 2004
Award-winning Investigative Journalists To Speak On Police Corruption March 30
Two top investigative journalists will speak on police abuse of power Tuesday, March 30, at the University of Iowa. Los Angeles Times reporters Scott Glover and Matt Lait, winners of numerous journalism honors, including their paper's highest annual award, will discuss "The Rampart Police Scandal: Breaking the Code of Silence" from 7 to 8:30 p.m. at in Room 101 Biology Building East.
Glover and Lait's campus visit is part of the Hageboeck-Daily Iowan Professionals in Residence Program, which is sponsored by the UI School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the William Randolph Hearst Foundation, William and Eleanor Hageboeck and The Daily Iowan. In addition to their public lecture, they will speak during several journalism classes and address students in the UI College of Law.
Glover and Lait in 1999 uncovered the notorious Rampart corruption scandal in the Los Angeles Police Department. Over a four-year period, the reporters wrote more than 100 stories detailing abuses by Los Angeles police officers. It was one of the most egregious cases of systematic police abuse in the history of the police department. Newspapers across the country carried the story.
Known as the "Rampart Scandal," the case involved multifaceted misbehavior by members of the anti-gang unit in the department's Rampart Division. The conduct ranged from filing false police reports, perjury, planting evidence, sending innocent people to prison and cover-ups of unjustified police shootings.
The scandal roiled the judiciary, the defense bar and the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office. Gang members who had pleaded guilty in cases involving the crooked officers were freed. The city of Los Angeles paid millions in civil damages. Months of special habeas corpus hearings were called.
The scandal raised a plethora of legal issues, including:
-- The role of criminal defense lawyers in advising clients whose credibility in front of a jury would be no match for that of trained, but corrupt, officer-witnesses.
-- Legal requirements for prosecutors to turn over evidence of prior misconduct by an officer whose testimony was key to a criminal defendant's case.
-- The responsibility of the prosecution to notify the entire criminal-defense bar of prior cases in which a discredited police officer was a witness.
-- Prosecutors' responsibilities in cases in which they suspect a police officer is giving false information in reports, affidavits and testimony.
Glover and Lait earned several honors, including an investigative reporting award from the California Newspaper Publishers' Association, for their work on the Rampart series. The series also earned them Times-Mirror's 1999 Journalist of the Year recognition, which they shared with Times foreign correspondent Paul Watson. They were selected for the award from among dozens of other reporters working for New York Newsday, The Baltimore Sun and other publications in the chain.
Both are currently assigned to an investigative beat focusing on law enforcement issues.
Glover, 37, a 1992 graduate of San Francisco State University, has worked at daily newspapers in Oregon, New Jersey, Florida and California. He joined The Times in 1997. He has won numerous awards for investigative reporting over his 12-year career, including the prestigious Livingston Award for Young Journalists. He was the co-winner of that award in 1996 for a series of stories published in the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel on pawnshops dealing in stolen property. The series prompted several changes to state laws regulating the industry.
Lait, 40, a 1987 graduate of the University of California at San Diego, has been a reporter with the Los Angeles Times for 14 years. He has covered many beats, including police, courts and city and county governments. Lait led the Times' coverage of Orange County's municipal bankruptcy. He has won numerous local, state and national awards for his reporting and was part of a team of reporters who helped The Times win a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1997 North Hollywood bank shootout. Prior to joining The Times, he worked as an editorial assistant and reporter for two years at the Washington Post, first at the paper's Los Angeles bureau and then in Washington.
STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.