Prosecutor seeks prison for Johannes Mehserle

October 26, 2010 6:45:32 PM PDT
The sentencing of former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle is now less than two weeks away. He's already been convicted of involuntary manslaughter for the shooting death of Oscar Grant. Attorneys on both sides made their cases for why they think Mehserle should either go to prison or get probation. Justice will not be served if Johannes Mehserle is sentenced to probation -- that's the argument prosecutor David Stein made on Tuesday in court filings. He says Mehserle's defense that he mistook his gun for his Taser, shows a lack of remorse and that prison should be the only punishment. He wrote, "Punishment for the unlawful taking of a human life and for the attempt to cover up criminal conduct by testifying under oath that the shooting was the result of 'Taser confusion.' " Oscar Grant's family attorney John Burris says Mehserle should be ineligible for probation. "I feel very strongly that Mr. Mehserle tried to get away with this," he said. "He's already been given a break with the lesser sentence, the lesser conviction because the more appropriate would have been either voluntary man or second degree murder," he said. But probation is exactly what Mehserle's attorney says his client should get. Attorney Mike Rains included letters of support for Mehserle; one from a former BART officer who says Mehserle was a victim of poor police training. He says probation does not mean Mehserle will go unpunished -- he's been in custody for more than four months. He lost his career and he is reviled by an entire community. Rains wrote, "His release would promote rehabilitation. It would permit him by supporting his family, by working hard, by talking about his mistake publicly to do whatever he can to make up for his tragic error." ABC7 Legal Analyst Dean Johnson says it is unlikely Mehserle will get the maximum 14 year sentence. "A real possibility for the judge would be to place Mehserle on probation; as a condition of probation to sentence him to a period in county jail," he said. Mehserle remains in custody in a Los Angeles jail and he will be sentenced in Los Angeles on Nov. 5.
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