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LAPD pressured murder confession from teenager, court rules in overturning conviction

A federal appeals court has overturned a teenager’s murder conviction, saying Los Angeles police violated his rights by denying his request for a lawyer and pressuring him into a confession.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Friday that detectives in 2005 continued to question then-14-year-old Jessie Rodriguez about a gang-related shooting even after he requested an attorney. The shooting weeks earlier left one person dead and another wounded.

A three-judge panel of the court said detectives threatened Rodriguez by telling him he was going to soon be charged with murder and suggesting that cooperating would result in leniency. The court said Rodriguez’s subsequent confession was coerced.

Prosecutors can retry Rodriguez. The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office referred comment to the state attorney general’s office, which did not immediately respond to an email.

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