Michael Rains to defend Ex-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle

Posted on January 22nd, 2009 by bile
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Former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle, charged with murder in the fatal New Year’s Day shooting of an unarmed rider in Oakland, has hired a prominent defense attorney to represent him.

By hiring Michael Rains and his Pleasant Hill law firm, Mehserle turned to one of the best-known defenders of Bay Area police officers suspected of misconduct. Rains is frequently quoted as a legal expert by media outlets, including The Chronicle, and provided commentary on Mehserle’s case until he was hired.

Among those Rains has represented was one of three former Oakland police officers, known as the Riders, who were tried twice after being accused of crimes including fabricating evidence against suspects. Jurors acquitted the officers of some charges and deadlocked on others, resulting in mistrials.

Rains is also representing Barry Bonds in the former baseball slugger’s perjury case, in which federal prosecutors have accused the ex-Giants outfielder of lying to a grand jury about whether he knowingly used steroids. That trial is scheduled to begin in March.

Rains made a brief appearance Wednesday in Alameda County Superior Court in Mehserle’s case. Also in court was Christopher Miller, who had been representing Mehserle. Miller is a partner at a Sacramento law firm more known for work in labor and employment law and on workers’ compensation cases.

Mehserle did not appear in court with the attorneys, who scheduled a Jan. 30 hearing in front of Judge Morris Jacobson. The judge must decide whether to grant bail to Mehserle and allow the 27-year-old former officer the opportunity to leave Santa Rita Jail in Dublin before trial.

Mehserle’s defense is being paid for by a statewide fund for police officers. The BART police union pays into the fund.

Rains did not return calls seeking comment Wednesday.

Mehserle was charged with murder by District Attorney Tom Orloff, who said Mehserle had committed an intentional, unlawful act when he shot 22-year-old Oscar Grant to death at BART’s Fruitvale Station. Mehserle and other BART officers had pulled Grant and several friends from a train about 2 a.m. while investigating reports of an onboard fight.

Grant put up a brief struggle, but was lying facedown, with both hands behind his back, when Mehserle shot him, Oakland police investigators said.

Mehserle has not offered a public explanation for the shooting and has declined to talk to criminal investigators. He quit the BART police force Jan. 7 after two years on the job rather than be interviewed by internal affairs inspectors who could have brought a disciplinary case against him.

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Ex-BART Officer Johannes Mehserle pleads not guilty in the shooting of Oscar Grant

Posted on January 16th, 2009 by bile
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OAKLAND, California (CNN) — A former police officer for the Bay Area transit system pleaded not guilty Thursday in the New Year’s Day shooting of a passenger at an Oakland rail station.

Johannes Mehserle, 27, appeared in a packed Alameda County courtroom, with his supporters separated by a courtroom aisle from relatives of shooting victim Oscar Grant III and other spectators. Mehserle is charged with shooting Grant, 22, in an incident that spurred violent protests in Oakland after being captured on video.

Mehserle resigned his job as a Bay Area Rapid Transit police officer days after the shooting, and he was arrested in Nevada earlier this week. Thursday’s proceedings took less than five minutes, with Mehserle appearing behind heavy windows in an enclosure out of view of all but a handful of spectators.

Superior Court Judge Robert McGuinness ordered the ex-officer held until his next hearing, scheduled for January 26.

BART police had been called to Oakland’s Fruitvale station January 1 after passengers complained about fights on a train.

Officers pulled several men, including Grant, off the train when it arrived at Fruitvale, and video taken by witnesses showed Mehserle shooting Grant in the back as another officer kneeled on the man.

Investigators have not said whether Grant was involved in the fight.

The shooting spawned public outrage and a string of protests that led to more than 100 riot-related arrests.

Thursday’s proceedings drew an overflow crowd to the courthouse, with some would-be spectators grumbling that they could not get into the hearing.

Certainly a “stunning” turn of events.

Related Stories: First Story . Second Story . Third Story . Forth Story

BART officer, Johannes Mehserle, arrested on murder warrant in New Year’s Day shooting of Oscar Grant

Posted on January 14th, 2009 by bile
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The BART police officer who fatally shot an unarmed man on an Oakland train platform and then refused to explain his actions to investigators was arrested Tuesday in Nevada on suspicion of murder, authorities said.

Johannes Mehserle, 27, of Lafayette was taken into custody in Douglas County, Nev., said Deputy Steve Velez of the Douglas County sheriff’s office. The arrest was also confirmed by David Chai, chief of staff to Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums.

Mehserle was arrested in the New Year’s Day shooting of Oscar Grant, a 22-year-old supermarket worker from Hayward who was lying facedown after being pulled off a BART train by police investigating a fight. An Alameda County judge signed an arrest warrant alleging murder, and Mehserle surrendered without incident, authorities said.

The shooting, which was recorded by passengers in videos widely circulated on the Internet and television, prompted public outrage, and some viewers said that the shooting appeared to be an execution.

Sources said Mehserle was in Nevada because he feared for his safety after death threats were made against him. Douglas County is 15 miles south of Carson City in northwestern Nevada and includes part of Lake Tahoe.

Mehserle’s attorney, Christopher W. Miller of Sacramento, confirmed early today that his client was arrested on suspicion of murder. He said he would not comment further until a news conference today.

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BART Officer Johannes Mehserle resigns while being investigated in the shooting of unarmed Oscar Grant III

Posted on January 8th, 2009 by bile
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Oakland, CA (AHN) – The Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) police officer being investigated for allegedly shooting to death an unarmed man on New Year’s Day has resigned, BART said on Wednesday, the same day protests over the shooting turned violent.

Johannes Mehserle, a 27–year-old two-year veteran of the transit agency was scheduled to speak for the first with investigators about the shooting on Wednesday. His attorney and his union representative appeared at the meeting on his behalf with a letter of resignation that is effective immediately, BART said in a press release that did not mention the name of Mehserle.

“BART investigators have urged the officer to meet and cooperate with the transit agency’s investigation into the fatal shooting… The BART Police investigation will continue to seek and examine all available evidence and will continue its full cooperation with the ongoing independent investigation by the District Attorney,” the agency added.

The same day, a peaceful protest in Oakland turned violent and a funeral service was held for victim.

An afternoon demonstration at the Fruitvale station in Oakland, where the shooting occurred, began peacefully but escalated into a riot as protesters smashed storefronts and cars and forced the shut down of transit stations at 12 Street and Lake Merritt. And Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums had to assure a crowd of angry protesters in front of city hall.


Oscar Grant, 22, was killed January 1 in a shooting at a subway station in California’s Bay Area.

The officer involved in a New Year’s Day shooting that left a passenger dead in a crowded Oakland, California, subway station resigned Wednesday, a Bay Area Rapid Transit spokesman said.

BART spokesman Linton Johnson said in a statement that the officer’s attorney and his union representative submitted the resignation at a meeting Wednesday morning with BART police investigators. The officer was going to be at the meeting but did not show up, Johnson said.

The resignation was effective immediately.

Shortly before the funeral for the passenger, 22-year-old Oscar Grant, Johnson said the officer had received death threats.

The BART officer fatally shot Grant in the back after he and some friends were pulled from a train car following a report of an altercation, according to a BART statement.

On Tuesday, attorney John Burris filed a $25 million claim with BART in which he identified the officer as Johannes Mehserle. Several local media outlets had already identified the officer.

Burris alleges in the claim, “Without so much as flinching the Officer Mehserle stood over Grant and mercilessly fired his weapon, mortally wounding Mr. Grant with a single gunshot wound to the back.”

Victim of false rape claim must pay £12,500 for bed and board in jail

Posted on January 13th, 2008 by bile
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A man wrongly jailed when a woman cried rape has failed to prevent being charged £12,500 for his “board and lodging” while in prison.Warren Blackwell, 38, spent three years in jail as a convicted sex attacker until his ‘victim’ was unmasked as a fantasist.

It was revealed he has been awarded £252,500 compensation for his lost years – but minus the estimated cost of his food and accommodation while behind bars.

Mr Blackwell said he had failed to stop the money being siphoned off after his lawyer told him there was little to be done about it.

The father-of-two, said: “It’s the principle of the thing. They slam you in jail for three years and four months, brand you a sex attacker, leave your family to cope without you, then turn around and say sorry but demand £12,500 for living expenses incurred during your time inside.

Mr Blackwell was jailed on the word of a woman who claims he seized her at knifepoint outside a village club early on New Year’s Day 1999, marched her down an alleyway and indecently assaulted her.

She picked him out of an identity parade and a jury found him guilty, even though there was no forensic evidence and he had no previous convictions.

The conviction appears to have been a sham. That’s sad enough. This taking of room and board costs is pretty disgusting. £12,500 seems pretty low, I doubt that their prison system is that efficient, so perhaps he’s making out in that regard but it’s no less heinous. How can anyone defend this?

New Year’s Congressional Resolution: Obey the Constitution

Posted on December 18th, 2007 by bile
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From those who brought you Operation Live Free or Die:

How do we make that happen?

This New Year, American citizens will file petitions requesting that Congress force the Federal Government to obey the Constitution.

Imagine the shock of the press when several U-Haul trucks pull up to the Capital Building and dozens of volunteers file out carrying sacks of mail to deliver to our elected officials! Each 100,000 petitions will total 6,000 lbs of mail!


We are appalled with the suspension of Habeas Corpus although no invasion or insurrection exists. We are sick of illegal signing statements that change the meaning of our laws. We can not stomach how Congress has ceded the power to declare war to the Executive branch. We are ashamed of how people have been tortured in our names.

Therefore We Undersign this Petition…

We the People of these United States of America, hereby petition our Congress to resolve this new year to Obey the Constitution, the supreme Law of the Land.

This petition shall be an endorsement of the people’s continuing faith in the Republic, incorporated by-way-of the strict enumeration of powers assigned by the People, to the Government, as dictated by our Constitution.

Therefore, we request that each member of Congress, publicly resolve toward a redress of our grievance: The Federal Government’s growing disregard for the Constitution of the United States.

I think this could have been a good stunt but given the short period in which it has  to get the letters out I don’t see how they could even come close to their goal.