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Judge Refuses to Delay Change of Venue Hearing in Murder Trial of Johannes Mehserle, 9/25/09: PDFs
Defense attorney Michael Rains lost yet another round in court on Friday, September 25th, as he continues to try to defend his client in the case of The People of the State of California versus Johannes Mehserle. Rains did get the court to set bail for Mehserle back in January, but since then he's lost three in a row.
Rains tried to use the lengthy preliminary hearing to avoid Mehserle's trial for the murder of Oscar Grant III, but the judge declared then that there was enough evidence of malice (i.e. intent) to proceed to trial. Rain's attempted to use a 995 motion to have the court declare that there was judicial misconduct during the preliminary hearing and that therefore the case should be dismissed, but the judge in that hearing, Judge Thomas M. Reardon, declared that the Judge C. Don Clay's conduct in the preliminary hearing was proper. After having filed yet another motion to stymie justice in the case, this time a 977 change of venue motion to get the trial moved out of Alameda County, Rains attempted to have his own hearing on venue delayed.
The change of venue hearing was set for this Friday, October 2nd, but Rains tried to have it delayed dependent upon the health of Edward Bronson, a witness who specializes in trial venue changes and who conducted a poll of potential Alameda County jurors for the change of venue motion. Bronson apparently recently had major surgery and his doctor predicted he would not be well enough to testify for two months. But Judge Morris Jacobson, who also presided over the bail hearing, didn't have confidence that Bronson would be ready in two months nor in Rains' claim that Bronson was the only "expert" witness who could support his motion to move the trial. The judge offered Rains a few extra days to secure and prepare an alternate witness and ordered that the change of venue motion be heard no later than Tuesday, October 6th at the Alameda Superior Court at 1225 Fallon Street in Oakland.
Notes from inside the court room:
Special Hearing on Attempt to Continue/Delay Change of Venue Hearing, 9/25/09 Judge Morris Jacobson, 7th floor, Alameda Superior Court House Mehserle not attending - Prosecutor Stein and Michael Rains met Tuesday, Sept 22nd to discuss how to proceed with motion (45min-hour) - expert Bronson ill for two months - Stein: originally another witness could testify in his place, survey taken. Winkelman, but he's not qualified. Wants to cross-examine Bronson and his conclusions regarding survey. - Judge: Dr. Bronson's associates can review his work and testify - Rains: Craig New, Portland, expert witness knows Bronson and Winklin. Preference Bronson testify, having been involved in case, 40 years experience, 7 years PhD, 10 years in field - Judge: Bronson is 80-years old and had emergency life-saving surgery and no guarantee he'll be ready in two months despite what doctor says now. to Rains: can you have alt witness ready in week as scheduled? or two? - Stein silent - Judge: request denied, but calls recess in hearing and tells Rains to call alt witness now then Stein and Rains confer on if Oct 6th will work (later all agreed to hold change of venue hearing on October 6th)