You remember the Oscar Grant shooting, right? Perhaps you remember that the cop who shot and killed him, Johannes Mehserle, was tried and received a manslaughter conviction for shooting Grant while he was laying on his stomach, hands cuffed behind his back? Well, it was only a matter of time before the cop and his lawyer came up with something to keep Mehserle from serving time.
The prosecution in the Mehserle trial said that no cop has ever mistakenly drawn a gun from the opposite hip, when trying to taser someone. Apparently Rains found a case in which a cop was let off the hook for shooting someone, using the same “I thought I was pulling out my taser” excuse. In this Kentucky case, Lt. Bill Jones was breaking up a fight and pulled out a gun, from his opposite hip, instead of his taser. He shot and wounded a man. The jury in that case did not indict the officer. Rains feels that the jury in his client’s case would have been hung if they were aware of this Kentucky case. So he wants a new trial to introduce this evidence.
Rains is also looking to get Mehserle’s time reduced by requesting that the gun enhancement charge be overturned. According to San José Mercury News, in his filing, Rains says that there was a mistake made in the instructions given to the jury:
…the jury’s decision on the gun enhancement shows that it was confused about what the enhancement was intended for. That confusion, he said, was caused by the court mistakenly allowing the jury to consider the enhancement even if it came to an involuntary manslaughter conviction.
Should Grant supporters be worried? I don’t know much of anything about the law, but I’m concerned. I don’t want that man to get a lighter sentence or, God forbid, get off completely.
- Mehserle’s lawyer seeks new trial (sfgate.com)
- Oscar Grant Killer Wants New Trial (theroot.com)
- Ex-BART Cop Mehserle Demands New Trial in Oscar Grant Killing (alternet.org)