Convicting an officer is a tough challenge, experts say

Jurors are usually sympathetic toward police officers and even when prosecutors get a conviction, the sentence may be reduced.

  • Police Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, left, and Fullerton Police officer Manuel Ramos appear in court in Santa Ana.

    Police Cpl. Jay Cicinelli, left, and Fullerton Police officer Manuel Ramos… (Paul Rodriguez / Associated Press)

By Jack Leonard, Times Staff Writer

Murder charges against on-duty police officers — such as the one announced by Orange County prosecutors in the Fullerton beating case — are rarely filed, and successful prosecutions in such cases are almost unheard of in California.

Legal experts said jurors who are naturally sympathetic toward law enforcement are not easily persuaded that an officer has committed the ultimate crime, even after seeing video of the death.