Saturday, June 6, 2009

Oakland is Going to Burn...

Okay. I've held my tongue on this for quite a while now, but after Thursday's ruling that Johannes Mehserle must stand trial for MURDER, I can no longer remain silent.

Alameda County Superior Court "Judge" Don Clay made statements during the conclusion of the preliminary hearing such as...

"There is no doubt in my mind Mr. Mehserle meant to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun, not a Taser,"

and

"It's a dangerous act, an intentional act, a deliberate act."

yet he is on record as saying during the prelim that...

he was "heavily swayed by eyewitness Daniel Liu..."

and

referring to a video shown during the prelim he said "it does not show his state of mind. No one can tell me what Mehserle's thoughts were at the time."

and

the expert "can't tell us his (Mehserle's) motor skills and what he was thinking."

and

when refusing to allow a defense witness to testify, "Bryson's testimony doesn't add anything" to the case...

and

"None of this (the enhanced video) is relevant to the court. There's nothing new in the analysis. The witness (the video expert) wasn't there."

and

"These young men, as the videotape shows, did nothing to justify the use of deadly force."

and

He said Grant and his friends might have been loud and argumentative, but Mehserle committed "an unlawful killing with malice and without legal justification."

So, what you're saying then, "Judge" Clay, is that none of the witnesses you refused to allow to testify in Officer Mehserle's defense know what his mindset was, but you do?

An expert in use of a Taser cannot tell us from the video that Officer Mehserle intended to use a Taser, but you can tell us from the very same video that the "young men" did "nothing to justify the use of deadly force"?

An expert witness, or other officers who were actually there at the time "can't tell us his (Mehserle's) motor skills and what he was thinking", but you, after seeing nothing more that the evidence presented in court, can? Yes, "Judge" Clay, you said it yourself, "There is no doubt in my mind Mr. Mehserle meant to shoot Oscar Grant with a gun, not a Taser,". Those are YOUR words.

"Judge" Don Clay, I hope you can sleep at night when Oakland goes the way of Los Angeles, circa 1992. You have ordered a person to stand trial for a trumped up charge, of which no one has ever seen evidence in support.

Perhaps you are concerned that if you put Officer Mehserle on trial for some lesser charge, such as manslaughter, for which there is AMPLE evidence, the nay-sayers will riot and burn down your expensive house on the hill. So instead, you give them what they want in charging him with MURDER, even though they are completely ignorant in the ways of criminal law, an area in which you are supposed to be expert.

It is very clear from his statements that "Judge" Clay had already made up his mind before the preliminary hearing began. He had already decided that Officer Mehserle was guilty, and he was not going to allow Michael Rains to present any evidence to the contrary. This is justice? I'm not aware of any written document that allows a judge to contort the evidence to fit his or her own ideas of what happened. A judge is supposed to look at ALL of the evidence, not just the evidence that supports his or her own version of the incident.

"Judge" Clay, you are a hypocrite. You tell us that what we are seeing on the videos is not true. Yet you insist that what YOU see in the videos is gospel. You tell us that the defense witnesses cannot tell us Officer Mehserle's state of mind at the time of the incident, yet you claim to know that the incident was malicious and premeditated. Make up my mind "Judge".

"Judge" Don Clay should be removed from the court. He has shown beyond a shadow of a doubt that he is unfit to wear the black robe and sit on the bench. He refused to allow Officer Mehserle's attorney to present the witnesses and evidence he needed to show Officer Mehserle's state of mind, yet he did nothing to stop John Burris from telling us Officer Mehserle is a murderer, and that Oscar Grant was a "peacemaker". All "Judge" Clay did was parrot the words of Burris, and placate the ignorant rioting masses of Oakland for the time being.

When Officer Mehserle cannot be found guilty of Murder because there is no evidence of malice aforethought, he will be a free man. He cannot later be tried for manslaughter, because he will already have been tried for murder. Our Constitution prevents double jeopardy, but I would guess the rioters will not care.

When Oakland burns, I won't say I told you so...

19 comments:

Just me... said...

The only thing I can think is a heavy sigh... It doesn't matter what the truth is.. Placate the more 'primal' of the masses.. Throw a few good people to the wolves.. Fail to punish others correctly.. These things just make me tired...

MotorCop said...

I have no problem saying, "I told you so."

kd said...

I've been in a new-baby-induced stupor and I had no idea the ruling came on Thursday. I'm speechless... but I have to agree with you. oy vey.

Texas Ghostrider said...

In your state can he be tried for murder and found guilty of manslaughter? Start buying ammo now, y'all might need it.

Beat And Release said...

Just one example of why I refuse to move back to California, despite missing the geographical beauty of the state.

koquersivi said...

Of course, since the NYPD now wants 'smart guns' so they'll stop blowing EACH OTHER away (or maybe just the black ones), it's pretty evident most cops don't know their gun from their own assholes.

BootedCop said...

Judges are first and foremost, political. This guy obviously doesn't have the balls to judge properly and gave in to his political survival concerns. I predict a change of venue to another county (my guess would be Sacramento County), and in 2010 or 2011 whenver this entire thing is over one of two things will happen:

The jury will be offered no option other than 2nd degree murder and he'll be acquitted and Oakland will burn, or that the jury will be given the option of involuntary manslaugher, Mesherle will be convicted of that, and Oakland will burn.

Alex said...

Would this be grounds for appeal if the officer is found guilty?

2 wheel terror said...

"Judge" Clay is just as much if not more of an idiot than "Judge" Ito was during the OJ trial. Judge Clay was not impartial during the prelim and he should do the criminal justice system a favor and get his ass off the bench.

Just another example of why I'm leaving California when I retire.

David Woycechowsky said...

First, so far as I know, Judge Clay's ruling does not preclude the trial judge from instructing on a lesser charge. For example, when Ryan Frederick was tried for the murder of Jarrod Shivers, the jury got instructed on the lesser charge of manslaughter and indeed found him guilty of that. Judge Clay only said that the murder charge could go forward and not that lesser charges could not go forward.

Perhaps more importantly, Judge Clay knows that the police took statements from the police witnesses on the day of the shooting, before the videos started popping up a few days later. One of the police witnesses on the platform even admitted that he spoke to Officer Mehserle about the shooting, even though Officer Mehserle was not talking to investigators.

What Judge Clay is thinking is "where are those reports of what the other police witnesses said immediately after the fact and before the videos came out?" Judge Clay knows the answer. He knows that they said things that don't jibe with the video. he knows that all the witnesses could get in serious trouble for what was in those pre-vid reports. he knows that those pre-vid reports don't mention Officer Mehserle mentioning a Taser. His opinion notes that the one LEO who did admit to talking to Mehserle said that Mehserle mentioned no Taser.

the upshot is that Judge Clay knows that the Taser defense is something cooked up after the videos came out. Now he could have worded his opinion in a way to cast some suspicion on the other BART PD Officers. Instead, he chose to phrase things in such a way so that people would not think to ask what the other BART Officers said on January 1, 2009. This was a big favor from him and he didn't have to do it.

However, he did draw the line at letting the Taser defense go forward. It would have been torn apart at trial for exactly the reasons I am saying in this post anyway.

To address Officer Smith's comments, I am understanding him to say that police will not have their own riot if Johnannes Mehserle is found guilty of, say, felony-murder. This is good, of course.

To ask a question of Officer Smith: is this the first time you have ever complained about a judge implying guilt at a proceeding like this one? I get the feeling it is.

TheBronze said...

This pretty much explains everything:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/40625451@N00/2025624614

Officer "Smith" said...

koquersivi said...

"...it's pretty evident most cops don't know their gun from their own assholes."

I presume from your comment that you have never been trained in the use of a firearm or Taser, and have never had to get used to new equipment. Johannes Mehserle had been issued his Taser only a short time before this incident. He carried it in such a way as to draw it with the same hand as his gun (a method with which I do not agree, but then again, I wasn't involved in this incident).

Because he possibly drew the wrong weapon, and because New York police officers have recently shot some of their own who were off duty, in plain clothes, and all we know of those incidents is what the news media tells us, you make such a blanket statement as we don't know our guns from our assholes?

Officer "Smith" said...

Woycechowsky,

I knew you'd chime in, and you naturally didn't let me down.

What you have done by posting your comment, is shown that you are no better than "Judge" Don Clay. You have told us what HE was thinking, based solely upon the information you have gleaned from the news media.

I must assume, for the sake of this conversation, that you have not spoken personally with Mr. Clay and heard his opinions first hand.

By rattling off with your opinion of what Mr. Clay was thinking when he made his decision, you have placed yourself in the same class of individual in my book.

You said, David, that "Judge Clay KNOWS that the Taser defense is something cooked up after the videos came out." (Emphasis mine)

How does he KNOW this? Is it not possible that grabbing the wrong weapon while in a stressful situation is still a true defense? Was the testimony by Officer Pirone that Officer Mehserle said "Get back Tony, I'm going to Tase him." a lie? Or perhaps Officer Domenici's testimony that Officer Mehserle said "I thought he was going for a gun." was a lie. Or perhaps these are just the statements heard by the respective officers and related to the court from their recollections. We don't know because we were not there.

Some people who were actually there will not be able to provide their recollection of the events because the good Judge didn't allow the testimony.

You also said "What Judge Clay is thinking is "where are those reports of what the other police witnesses said immediately after the fact and before the videos came out?"" Whoa, you got me caught up in a quote inside a quote... "He knows that they said things that don't jibe with the video?"

Who didn't say at least SOMETHING that didn't jibe with the video? Every single person who was present on that BART platform at the time of the shooting will have a different recollection of the events preceding and following the incident.

Is it fair to allow the ones who were already yelling "FUCK THE PO-LEECE" to provide their anti-cop biased version of events before the court, but not to allow others who may or may not be biased in Officer Mehserle's favor, or (God forbid) maybe even, say it with me here kiddies, UNBIASED?

Perhaps we should find every one of the several hundred people who witnessed the shooting then got back on the train and left the scene and let them tell their version of what happened. Then we will have several hundred stories that differ subtly from one another, and with the video. Then the judge can say that those peoples' statements are also irrelevant if they aren't aligned with his preconceived notion of what "really happened".

The whole point of our judicial system is to provide a fair and impartial judgment to the accused. This cannot be done if ALL relevant evidence is not allowed in court.

David, you're absolutely correct that the police will not have our own riot if Mehserle is found guilty. We have more intelligent ways of expressing our grievances than throwing rocks and bottles, breaking windows, looting, and setting fire to the city.

As for whether or not this is the first time I have complained about a judge in such a proceeding, how could you possibly know what I have and have not complained about in my life? I'll give you the short answer. YOU CAN'T BECAUSE YOU DON'T KNOW ME!

Just as Mr. Clay cannot know what happened on that BART platform any more than any of us who were not there.

Some people are simply incapable of understanding this simple logic.

David Woycechowsky said...

Was the testimony by Officer Pirone that Officer Mehserle said "Get back Tony, I'm going to Tase him." a lie? Or perhaps Officer Domenici's testimony that Officer Mehserle said "I thought he was going for a gun."

Your question about Officer Tony Pirone is right on point. If Officer Pirone gets up and testifies at trial that he heard the Taser comment, then the prosecutor (assuming he really is going for a conviction) is going to make Officer Pirone read his 1 Jan. 2009 report of the incident in court. That would be bad for Officer Pirone(and probably for Defendant Mehserle as well). That is what Judge Clay is telling the defense attorney between the lines.

As far as Officer Domenici's testimony, Judge Clay acknowledged that Defendant Meheserle may have a defense based on the idea that Mehserle Oscar Grant was going for a gun.

Front Porch Society said...

Heh, David, go bark up some tree that actually cares to hear your voice. Your opinion on this case is just that - an opnion. You were not there nor were you that officer so you know nothing of what that officer was thinking.

Officer "Smith" said...

David Woycechowsky said...

"That is what Judge Clay is telling the defense attorney between the lines."

There you go again, telling us what Mr. Clay was thinking. I'm beginning to think you're clairvoyant.

What am I thinking of right now?

David Woycechowsky said...

It is easier to read Mr. Clay's mind than Mr. Mehserle's because Mr. Clay made a written report. And because I read several judicial opinions a day and have for a couple decades now. One begins to develop a sort of expertise through experience.

Mrs. "Smith" said...

woycechowski, why don't you go back to your patent office and play with your papers. You may be a lawyer, but you have no idea what was going through Mesherle's head when the shooting happened. And that, sir, is the only thing that counts. There's more for you to read at my blog. Why don't you stop by and see how a non-law enforcement person other that you might look at it. Think you can deal?

Tommy Gilley said...

This was a long time ago, but after blog pages full of black and white suddenly things have gotten grey.