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Rampart-FIPs (Falsely Imprisoned Persons)
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Rampart-FIPs (Falsely Imprisoned Persons) were and are those who were documetned during the massiveRampart scandal investigation (1998-2000) to have been falsely convicted and falsely sentenced to long prison terms by the Superior Courts of California for the County of Los Angeles. PBS Frontline estimated their numbers at many thousands,  almost exclusively Black and/or Latinos. The latest Rampart scandal report- Rampart Reconsidered (2006) - by the Blue Ribbon Review Panel - documented their ongoing false imprisonment -hardly any were freed over the past decade, and senior police, prosecutors and judges were documented as refusing to allow their release. The same report also documented the self-evident - that all investigations of the affair, their own included, were entire failures, and we still did not know the fundamental facts in the matter. From the perspective of a decade, review of the published materials, and additional evidence accumulated regrading the justice system in Los Angeles County, may allow better evaluation of the causes underlying the scandal. Regardless, the ongoing confinement of the Rampart-FIPs was inescapably concluded to be a Human Rights disgrace of historic proportions.
Retrospective evaluation of the investigation and its aftermath
Upon review of information accumulated over a decade, a reasonable person would most likely conclude: (a) That all investigations were failures, because they were undermined through collaboration of local and federal agencies; (b) That those who came forward and provided information were severely punished, and those who obfuscated were handsomely rewarded;  (c) That the background for the false imprisonment was most likely tied to profiteering by law enforcement (both local and federal) related to control of illicit drug markets in Los Angeles County; (d) That the foundation for such collaboration between local and federal agencies was established at least as far back as the early 1980s, in the documented drug trafficking by CIA to Los Angeles County, as part of Iran-Contra - in what was purportedly illicit fund-raising efforts for purchasing weapons for the Contra, banned by a U.S. Congress embargo; (e)That there was no evidence to suggest that such practices ever ceased, but evidence to the contrary, albeit circumstantial, did exist;(f) That the claims regarding "collapse of the justice system" if the Rampart FIPs were to be freed,in fact most likely related to information held by the Rampart-FIPs on this matter, which would be fatally damaging to the Los Angeles justice system as we know it today; (g)That judges were deeply involved in the matter, and (h) That Judge Jacqueline Connor, whose career started in the DA's office, was probably a central figure in this plot, and her conduct in the First Rampart Trial was as much motivated by saving her own skin, as by bias towards the defendants; (h) That the concern was that if they the defendants were imprisoned, that they would attempt to cut deals with prosecutors to shorten their terms; (i) That the upside down stick and carrot policy was in fact instituted to enforce the code of silence; (j) That the case of Richard Isaac Fine provided full evidence of the power wielded by the judges of the LA Superior Court, to have their unlawful conduct sanctioned by review courts up to the Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, 9th Circuit, Alex Kozinski.
Any attempt to place the case of the Rampart-FIPs in perspective must conclude that the case was of global and historic proportions. Events that led to the false imprisonments of the Rampart FIPs were defined as unprecedented already a decade ago, by a leading constitutional scholar.
Historically comparable cases were hard to define. The Japanese American internment, - mostly of those who resided in the West Coats of the U.S., during World War II might be considered of the same class - albeit over half a century apart. The number of persons involved was much larger, exceeding 100,000, including entire families who were relocated into camps. However, such detentions, which started in 1942 and ended with the conclusion of the war, were of much shorter duration. Moreover, for most of the detainees conditions at the camps were not nearly as harsh as those of the Rampart-FIPs. Moreover, in 1988, Congress passed and President Ronald Reagan signed legislation apologizing for the detentions as founded in "race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership", substantial reparations were disbursed to survivors.
Alternatively - the ongoing, controversial detentions at Guantanamo Bay (GITMO), which were and are contemporaneous. Others similarities between the Rampart-FIPs and GITMO detainees include documented serious violations of Human Rights, and the response to such documentation by the U.S. Government, under the Presidency of George W Bush - by appointment of Civil Rights Overseers, as described above. In both cases, some would argue that the Overseers had limited if any material effect on Human,Civil and Constitutional Rights conditions of the GITMO Detainees or the Rampart-FIPs, respectively.
Outside territories traditionally controlled by the U.S., the ongoing, also controversial detentions in Iraq, by U.S. forces, were again contemporaneous, and again accompanied by documented abuses of Human rights, such as in Abu-Ghraib.
The lack of attention to the case of the Rampart-FIPs by the U.S. Government, even under President Barack Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder, in disregard of the magnitude of such false imprisonments, which were largely along racial lines, appeared destined to make the Rampart-FIPs into an enduring U.S. Human Rights disgrace of historic proportions, and a permanent stigma for the U.S. justice system. It must also be concluded that lawlessness in Los Angeles County, which was tolerated by the U.S. federal government for the past three decades, remained unchanged.
The ongoing disregard for the problem remained inexplicable, especially with with President Barack Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and new U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sonia Sotomayor, who were all self-identified as Black and/or Latinos, while the Rampart-FIPs were almost exclusively Black and/or Latinos. Plausible explanations included well-entrenched racial biases, that even such leaders could not overcome. More likely, the explanation resided in strong local interest in keeping the Rampart-FIPs falsely imprisoned, as documented by the Blue Ribbon Review Panel, and relative weakness of the US central government under both Presidents George W Bush and Barack Obama, which made any corrective actions unlikely.
The case of the Rampart-FIPs was also likely to undermine any claims by the U.S. Government that international interventions, past, present, or future, were conducted under the colors of enforcement of Human Rights pursuant and ratified International Law.
1) Rampart-FIPs - the full Wikipedia entry