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California | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice

Tony Pirone Might Require Extradition to Compel His Testimony at Mehserle's Murder Trial
by dave id
Wednesday May 26th, 2010 12:15 PM
Is Tony Pirone attempting to avoid testifying in Johannes Mehserle's trial for the murder of Oscar Grant? The Alameda County District Attorney's office has filed papers to force former BART police officer Tony Pirone (fired April 22nd) to testify in the murder trial of Johannes Mehserle, set to begin with jury selection next week. Apparently, Tony Pirone is no longer a California resident, and it appears from the court document that he currently resides in North Carolina as a hearing will be held in that state to compel Tony Pirone's appearance in the trial. The request ends with a statement that, due to Pirone's hostility towards the prosecution, "If necessary, the People of the State of California will extradite ANTHONY J. PIRONE in the event that he fails to appear."
pic_tonypirone.jpg
pic_tonypirone.jpg

Johannes Mehserle's defense attorney, Michael Rains, has submitted his list of potential witnesses for the trial and strikingly not included was former BART police officer Marysol Domenici (herself fired March 24th). Domenici's exclusion was probably due to her horrendous performance during Mehserle's preliminary hearing in Alameda County Superior Court where she was exposed as lying numerous times.

Is Rains having second thoughts as well about the possible trouble Pirone might cause Mehserle in court if Pirone were to testify? Tony Pirone was included in Rains' witness list, although that list was filed with the court after the request to compel him to testify was made by the DA, so perhaps Rains felt it somewhat inevitable that Pirone would be at the trial anyway. Surely, police-friendly Rains is in contact with Pirone and shares intimate knowledge of what Pirone's intentions are regarding any potential testimony. Is Rains coaching Pirone on how to resist testifying? Is Pirone resisting testifying of his own accord?

With the trial set to commence on Tuesday, June 1st, in Los Angeles County Superior Court, it seems unlikely that a hearing has been scheduled in North Carolina before the trial begins. The District Attorney's office has requested that Tony Pirone be present from June 7th through June 25th (and the DA even offers to pay for travel-related expenses, something Oscar Grant's family will not receive as they spend a month in Los Angeles), but it is uncertain how quickly the interstate issues can be handled. Will that process delay the trial if Pirone cannot be compelled to testify in time? Will the trial proceed without Tony Pirone should any extradition process become dragged out? And, most importantly, how might all this hinder a vigorous prosecution of Johannes Mehserle for the murder of Oscar Grant?

§Mehserle Defense's List of Potential Witnesses, May 11th, 2010
by dave id Wednesday May 26th, 2010 12:15 PM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

pirone was paid up until his firing last month. how long has he lived out of state?

with his most-favored status with the DA willing to shower money on him to testify and his being out of state now is it at all possible he'll ever be charged for his role in the murder of Oscar Grant, the coverup, and his perjury in the prelim?
by 5/27 UPDATE
Thursday May 27th, 2010 4:53 PM
By Bay City News Service | Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2010 12:07 pm

The lawyer for a former BART police officer today blasted a prosecution motion seeking to compel the officer to testify at the upcoming trial of Johannes Mehserle, who shot and killed an unarmed passenger in Oakland early on New Year's Day 2009.

Former BART officer Mehserle, 28, is charged with murder for the shooting death of 22-year-old Oscar Grant III on the platform of the Fruitvale station shortly after 2 a.m. on Jan. 1, 2009.

The motion, which was filed by Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Scott Jackson on May 4 but wasn't made public until this week, alleges that former officer Tony Pirone is hostile toward the prosecution and asked that an attendance hearing be conducted in North Carolina to have Pirone extradited to California if he fails to appear for Mehserle's trial.

Pirone's attorney, William Rapoport, said today the prosecution's motion is "premature" and "irresponsible" because Pirone voluntary accepted a subpoena from an inspector in the district attorney's office on Tuesday. Rapoport said Pirone also accepted a subpoena from Mehserle's lawyer, Michael Rains.

Pirone will appear voluntarily at Mehserle's trial and "is not hostile to either side," Rapoport said. He said Pirone still lives in California.

Rapoport said he didn't learn about the prosecution's motion until it was reported on a local TV station Wednesday night.

"Why didn't they call me?" he said.

He said he believes prosecutors "are trying to smear my client all over the press without justification."

District attorney's spokeswoman Teresa Drenick said she can't comment on the motion or Rapoport's remarks because there's a gag order in the case.

Jury selection for Mehserle's trial, which was moved to Los Angeles County because of concerns about whether he could get a fair trial in Alameda County, is scheduled to begin on Tuesday.

Rains has admitted that Mehserle shot and killed Grant but claims that the shooting was accidental because Mehserle meant to use his Taser gun but fired his gun by mistake. Mehserle resigned a week after the shooting and is free on $3 million bail.

Mehserle is a graduate of New Technology High School in Napa and also attended the Napa Valley College Police Academy.

Pirone and former Officer Marysol Domenici were the first officers to arrive at the Fruitvale station after the fight was reported.

BART fired Domenici in March and Pirone in April. Both are appealing their dismissals.

Rains included Pirone on his list of defense witnesses for Mehserle's trial but omitted Domenici. He called both Pirone and Domenici as defense witnesses, as well as other BART officers, at the preliminary hearing.