Monday, June 08, 2009
DA Puts Death Penalty On The Table For Accused Detective
Los Angeles, CA— According to a press release the Los Angeles District Attorney has charged LAPD Detective Stephanie Lazarus with capital murder with special circumstances of burglary and personal use of a handgun.
The charges came as a result of a re-opened cold case investigation into the killing of 29 year-old Sherri Rasmussen in 1986.
The decision on seeking the death penalty is yet to be made by prosecutors. This kind of a charge will undoubtedly affect the chances Lazarus has of being released on bail pending her trial. Prosecutors will have to disclose some of their stronger evidence against Lazarus to justify a denial of bail.
The next step will either be a public preliminary hearing or a secret Grand Jury Indictment. I suspect they will opt for a Grand Jury in an effort to keep the facts of the case from public view.
I expect that Lazarus will have a lawyer fighting for bail tomorrow when she appears in court for the first time. A date will most likely be set for a preliminary hearing that will later be vacated once there is an indictment. Then there will be an arraignment and a formal plea will be entered to the charge.
This will all be followed by a one to three year period for discovery and motion practice. I suspect it will be very difficult for Lazarus and her family to pay for what they need in order to receive a fair trial.
At some point the evidence that gave rise to this arrest and prosecution will be made public. Perhaps the defense will show some of their evidence that’s needed to support various motions.
Deputy District Attorney’s Shannon Presby and Shelly Torrealba with the District Attorney’s Justice System Integrity Division filed case.
The only thing that seems certain is that this career police officer is in for a very rough ride ahead.
Update: The civil lawyers are circling this officer like the sharks they are!