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Criticism of D.A.'s Office Was Unwarranted

* In the Oct. 20 edition of The Times, the imposition of the death penalty for three Bryant Family members was reported (“3 Bryant Family Members Given Death Sentences”). Accusations made by defense attorneys regarding a deputy district attorney’s conduct in the case were reported in the story. What was not made clear in the story is that on March 4, 1993, the appellate court issued a 31-page opinion finding the accusations made by defense attorneys to be “not supported in the record.” The defense motion to recuse the office of district attorney was a tactical move made to gain advantage for their clients. The appellate court rejected the allegations made by the defense attorneys as without merit.

The Bryant case was a very complicated and difficult one. The success of the district attorney’s office in achieving the death penalty against three of the defendants is largely attributable to the early, hard work of Deputy Dist. Atty. Jan Maurizi. The commendable work of the prosecutors who ultimately achieved the death penalty verdicts was substantially based upon her early preparation of the case. Maurizi is the epitome of what the taxpayers of L.A. County want in a public prosecutor--skilled, well-prepared and dedicated to bringing the worst of the criminal element to justice. Any implication to the contrary based on meritless accusations of defense attorneys is a false one. Repetition of the allegations without reporting the appellate court’s ruling finding them meritless and not supported does a tremendous disservice to a very fine prosecutor.

STEPHEN L. COOLEY

Cooley is head deputy, San Fernando branch, L.A. County district attorney’s office

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