Wednesday, April 29, 2009

BART Cop Lawyer Throws Hail Mary

by Robert Gammon
Wed, Apr 29, 2009 at 1:04 PM

The trial of ex-BART cop Johannes Mehserle is nowhere near to getting started, and yet his lawyer is already attempting a Hail Mary legal maneuver that has virtually no chance of success. Attorney Michael Rains has asked an Alameda County judge to disqualify county District Attorney Tom Orloff and his entire office from the case, and replace them with Jerry Brown's Attorney General's Office, according to the Chron. Rains contends that Orloff sent two Oakland cops to question and arrest Mehserle after the former BART cop had already lawyered up. Rains says that's a big legal no-no, because Mehserle can't be questioned after he has an attorney, unless that attorney is present. The only problem with Rains' argument is that the cops never got to Mehserle because he had turned himself in on charges of murdering Oscar Grant. So at best, Orloff ordered the cops to do something they shouldn't.

But since they never did, it looks like Rains has virtually no shot of actually getting Orloff disqualified. In fact, even if the cops had questioned Mehserle, the chances of getting an entire DA's office thrown off a case are virtually nonexistent, according to legal experts the Chron interviewed. Still, you got to hand it to Rains, like any good defense lawyer, he knows how to go on the attack. No wonder cops, up and down the state, love him.

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