06/07/2010

Defense's dilemma: Should ex-BART cop testify?

By Demian Bulwa
San Francisco Chronicle

SAN FRANCISCO, Ca. — The only person who knows for sure why former BART police Officer Johannes Mehserle killed an unarmed train rider is Mehserle himself. But whether he will explain the shooting at his murder trial is an open question - and a monumental one.

Although Mehserle has a constitutional right not to testify, jurors will expect to hear from him because his state of mind is key to his defense and because he was a law officer trained to report his actions, said several attorneys and trial consultants.

But while Mehserle has an opportunity to connect with jurors, the experts said, he also faces significant risks if he opens himself up to cross-examination about the shooting of Oscar Grant during an arrest at BART's Fruitvale Station in Oakland on Jan. 1, 2009.

Read more at the San Francisco Chronicle


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