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Notes on the Mehserle Arraignment of 6/18/09.
This a summary of the June 18, 2009 arraignment of Johannas Mehserle, BART officer, who shot and killed Oscar Grant at the Fruitvale BART Station on January 1, 2009 while Grant was lying face down with his hands behind his back, and another officer, Sgt Pirone had his knee on Grant's neck.
Clear understanding gained from my last attempt to get into the courtroom during Mehserle's preliminary hearing had me up, out, and at the courthouse door at 6:40 Thursday morning. But I discovered that no matter how early one arrives, assertiveness is required to maintain a position in the line. However, the good news is that this time, everyone in line got in! And so did many others who came after we were seated, because the arraignment was held in a larger courtroom on the 7th floor.
Judge Jacobson reiterated Mehserle plea of not guilty and advised Mehserle that he could waive his right to trial within 60 days. Prosecutor David Stein wanted the trial set for mid-September, but Mehserle’s attorney, Michael Rains, opposed, stating that was too soon for him to complete his preparations. The Judge asked Rains if he intended to file a Change of Venue Motion. Rains stated that he did intend to do so, but needed time because of the extensiveness of transcripts. The judge said in response that he supposed that Rains was well along in his preparations. Rains affirmed that he was, and the judge set the Change of Venue Motion for mid-September, between 9/ 11 – 9/18, 2:00 pm., and a trial date for October 13, 9:00 a.m. He then reminded both attorneys that the gag order remains in effect, and that they should be even more cautious about not discussing the case as the trial approaches.
The next activity on the case will be Rains’ filing of a 995 three weeks from the arraignment, and a 977 on July 24, in Department 10. Mehserle was excused from appearing at those routine filings, and from the mid-August appearance between the 10th and 17th that Rains has to make to inform the judge about being on track with the dates for the Change of Venue Motion and the trial.