General Crime

*Oakland Judge Cites Mehserle’s Rights As Reason For Postponing Hearing

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A judge today cited former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle’s rights as his primary reason for postponing Mehserle’s preliminary examination on charges that he murdered Oscar Grant III early on New Year’s Day.Alameda County Superior Court Judge C. Don Clay said shootings on Saturday that left three Oakland police officers dead and a fourth on life support are “a tragedy.”However, he said, he doesn’t necessarily agree with an assertion by Mehserle’s lawyer, Michael Rains, that the incidents could have affected Mehserle’s hearing if it had gone forward today.Nonetheless, Clay said he recognizes that Rains’ attention to Mehserle’s case has been diverted because Rains knows all the officers who were killed and his law firm represents the Oakland police officers’s union.Clay told Rains, “Mr. Mehserle has the right to have your undivided attention. His constitutional rights are important.”Clay postponed Mehserle’s preliminary examination until May 18. The hearing will determine if there’s enough evidence to have him ordered to stand trial on charges that he murdered Grant at the Fruitvale BART station in Oakland.The judge he believes Mehserle’s case “is moving at warp speed” because even with the May court date, Mehserle will have his preliminary examination much more quickly than most murder defendants in Alameda County.However, Grant’s mother, Wanda Johnson, said outside court that she’s upset that the hearing was postponed, saying she thinks the hearing should still have gone forward today.”I don’t want this case to continually be put over and over again,” Johnson said, saying, “it’s not fair to me as his (Grant’s) mother.” “I cry every night for my son. No one knows how I feel for my son,” she said.Mehserle, 27, resigned from the BART police force a week after Grant’s death in the Fruitvale station incident, which provoked widespread public outrage. The incident occurred when Mehserle and other BART officers responded to reports that two groups of young men were fighting on a train.Mehserle, who is free on $3 million bail, was dressed in a black suit at his brief court appearance today.

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