Saturday, November 06, 2010
Reminiscent of the absurdity of a San Francisco jury finding Dan White guilty of manslaughter for the assassinations of George Moscone and Harvey Milk because he ate too many twinkies, Judge Perry ruled that Mehserle was involuntary acting upon muscle memory when he killed Grant:
A judge sentenced ex-BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle to the minimum term of two years in prison Friday for fatally shooting unarmed train rider Oscar Grant, saying he believed the former officer's testimony that he had confused his pistol for a Taser.
Mehserle, 28, faced as many as 14 years in prison after he was convicted in July of involuntary manslaughter and a separate charge of intentionally firing a gun at Grant at the Fruitvale Station in Oakland early Jan. 1, 2009. But Judge Robert Perry threw out the firearm conviction before sentencing Mehserle in Los Angeles County Superior Court, saying there was no evidence to support it.
Meanwhile, in regard to killings by the US miltary on the other side of the world:
Perry's remarks suggested that, had the prosecution won the murder conviction it sought, he would have overturned it because he found no intent to kill.
Mehserle's muscle memory took over in this moment of great danger and stress, the judge said. No reasonable trier of fact could have concluded that Mehserle intentionally fired his gun."
Any explanation by police officers or US troops is apparently sufficient.
In another top case, eight Marines were initially charged with murder or failure to investigate the killings of 24 Iraqis that occurred after a roadside bombing that killed a Marine. Six have had charges dropped or dismissed, and one was acquitted.
Marine Staff Sgt. Frank Wuterich, the squad leader, is scheduled to go to trial Sept. 13 on reduced charges of voluntary manslaughter in nine of the 24 deaths and other crimes in the November 2005 shootings in the town of Haditha.
Last year, a Marine accused of killing an unarmed Iraqi detainee during a 2004 battle to recapture the city of Fallujah pleaded guilty to dereliction of duty after the government dropped a murder charge as part of a plea agreement.
The other two defendants were acquitted, one by a military jury and the other by a civilian court after he completed his military obligations and was beyond the reach of a court-martial.