This drives me crazy. The judge can make decision to over-rule the jury based on his own objective observation of the facts. What is the point of pretending to have a jury trial and making jury instruction? He is showing his bias very clearly. The jury made a decision include the use of the gun in the manslaughter conviction because of the law’s requirement.
Ordinary manslaughter does not involve guns because if one uses a gun, the law presupposes the intent is to kill. The law need not be reinterpreted just because the offender is a cop. Any individual who was not a cop would have been convicted of of murder. So, the jury decided to give the cop a pass but still to differentiate from ordinary manslaughter. What Mesherle did was worse than manslaughter. And this turned out to be very representative of how ordinary people saw the issue as well.
Watching the video, I don’t think you can tell what Mesherle is thinking after he shot Grant. His partner testified that Mesherle first tried to claim that Grant was going for a gun. He now says that he doesn’t remember saying that.
I do not think Grant was resisting arrest. Grant had not done anything. The cops had no reason to arrest him. He was face down on cement, being held down by two officers.
But Judge Robert Perry threw out the gun-use charge in his Nov. 5 sentencing decision an imposed the minimum two-year sentence for manslaughter.
Citing Mehserle’s testimony, videos of the shooting and the officer’s astonished reaction, Perry said no reasonable juror could have concluded that Mehserle had intentionally used a gun, a legal requirement for the sentence increase. The judge said the evidence also showed that Grant had resisted arrest, that BART officers were poorly trained in Taser use, and that Mehserle was remorseful.
As a result, Mehserle, who has been in custody since his conviction, will be eligible for release in about six months. He would have had to serve at least four years in prison if sentenced on the gun charge. His lawyers are appealing the conviction.