Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Kazuyoshi Miura Case: Pre-Trial Hearing April 23rd, 2008

There is a pre-trial hearing today in the Miura case. Kazuyoshi Miura is accused of conspiring to murder his wife back in November, 1981 on Fremont Street in downtown Los Angeles. He was tried and convicted in Japan for her murder, but the decision was overturned by a higher court.

Mark Geragos will be arguing for the defense to quash the re-issue warrant of arrest which is currently holding Miura in Saipan, a U.S. Territory.

Miura's defense team in Saipan are hopeful that Geragos will be successful in blocking the extradition of Miura to Los Angeles because of a recent ruling in a similar case in San Diego.

In May 1988, Celestino Menedez Martinez murdered his wife in San Diego County and subsequently fled to Mexico. He was arrested in Mexico and tried and convict of that crime in his native country and served six years of an 11-year sentence. When he reentered the US, he was rearrested for his wife's murder.

Less than a week ago, San Diego Superior Court dismissed murder charges against Martinez. In 2004, California amended their law to allow prosecutions of individuals accused of crimes in the US even if they have already been tried and convicted of the same crime in another country. However, Martinez murdered his wife before this new law went into effect. The San Diego court ruled that Martinez's indictment was invalid because "it infringes the principle that laws must not be applied retroactively."

It will be interesting to see if Gerago's motion will be successful.

I'll say it again. This case is huge in Japan, Miura's native country, where he is a big celebrity. (Think Briteny Spears big. Yep. That big.) My understanding is there are easily a hundred Japanese reporters currently in Los Angeles trying to feed the Japanese people's desire for news, any news involving Miura. The hearing will be held in Department 100, which I understand is a very large courtroom on the 13th floor of the Criminal Court's building. I am going to attempt to get one of the few public seats available. I have no idea whether or not I will be able to blog from the courtroom. I was informed yesterday by the court's Public Liaison's office that if the laptops are too noisy, they will be removed from the courtroom. Once I get down to the courthouse, I will certainly blog from the hallway if I can find someplace to sit down.

12:30 PM
I'm here in the cafeteria of the Criminal Court building. In about ten minutes, I'll go upstairs to the 13th floor, Department 100. When I reach the building, there are about 9-10 Japanese photographers waiting on the walkway right behind the building. I take a photo of them with my phone, and I'll upload it later when I get home. They are all right in front of the employee/attorney entrance to the building, and are probably waiting for Mark Geragos's arrival.

Inside the building, there is a large sign written in Japanese right beside one of the security screening checkpoints. I see Alan Parachini squatting down, working on the scanner belt, and one of his staff is with him. It looks like they are prepared for the onslaught of reporters. On the sign on the second line is the number "100" and on the third like is the number 1 then 3.

I pass the selection of food in the cafeteria, and see that it is just as bad as the last time I ate here. It's all most 12:45 now, and I'm going to pack everything up and see if I can find a bench right outside the courtroom. Hopefully, I'll get a connection up there. If not, I'll get on my cell and report to donchais who will post my notes.

There are at least 3 dozen Japanese journalists and 1/2 a dozen American. 1 Japanese still photographer...been at Blake, Spector trials...just a waiting game now!