San Francisco 8 Judge Philip Moscone agreed to sign an order later this week allowing Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim to return to New York State for their parole hearings. Both Herman and Jalil waived their rights to be present at conditional examinations of 5 witnesses as well as agreed to not resist extradition back to California once they have made their appearances in their NY State Parole hearings. The prosecution made no objections to their move once these legal conditions were met. The arrangements and the NY State responsibility have yet to be set.
Judge Moscone had earlier ruled that conditional examinations could take place and be scheduled of prosecution witnesses that are either old or in poor health in advance of a preliminary hearing or trial. He also ruled that these examinations must meet the standards of trial, meaning that additional discovery be turned over to the defense that would allow thorough cross-examination of these witnesses. He did not, however, order the San Francisco police to provide specific areas of discovery, stating that these matters were up to the prosecution to obtain and turn over. Many items, reports and files, as well as physical evidence, remain missing in this 36-year old case.
The Judge has yet to rule on defense requests to obtain information about the witnesses to be examined that would allow thorough investigation about their histories, competence and reliability. That ruling will be made in written form in the near future.
The prosecution is asking that two witness examinations take place "in camera" (not in open court) because of witness fears of personal danger. These requests appear to serve the function of instilling prejudice - implying that the defendants and their supporters represent some threat to these police witnesses. This is clearly designed to perpetuate the political goals of this prosecution and has no basis in fact. Judge Moscone will rule on this request in writing.