A judge today limited the amount of psychological
information that city attorneys may review in preparing a defense against a
civilian LAPD employee’s allegations that a detective deliberately overlooked
evidence that delayed a policewoman’s murder arrest.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Johnson said the defense is
entitled to plaintiff Jennifer Francis’ records dating from January 2009 to the
present, which he said is the time period in which she alleges she began
fearing retaliation and having concerns for her safety. He said her medical
information prior to that date was not relevant.
Lawyers for Francis maintained that the subpoenas issued to two
psychologists who interviewed Francis could reveal private information of a
Francis sued the city in October 2013, alleging LAPD Investigator Cliff
Shepard ignored the results of DNA tests that Francis performed as a
criminalist in the LAPD’s Scientific Investigation Division. Those results
gained importance years later when another detective determined that LAPD
Detective Stephanie Lazarus killed romantic rival.
Francis alleges that Shepard knew Lazarus had ties to the victim and did
not want to consider her a suspect. Francis also claims she was told by
supervisors beginning in 2005 to ignore possible evidence implicating Lazarus
in Sherri Rasmussen’s slaying.
Trial of Francis’ case is scheduled for next April 4.
Rasmussen, a nurse, was found beaten and shot in February 1986 in the
Van Nuys townhouse she shared with her husband, whom Lazarus had dated.
Lazarus was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced in May 2012
to 27 years to life in prison.
-City News Service