July 18, 2008
The first of several prosecution witnesses appeared in closed sessions this week in the San Francisco 8 case. These "conditional exams" of five witnesses who are old and in poor health are taking place as they may not be available at trial. They are testifying in advance of the preliminary hearing scheduled for September 8th.
Jack Girot, a former SF Police Officer was in court for two days and was questioned about a "stolen bicycle" report filed at the Ingleside Police Station in 1971. The notes he took are lost or destroyed. The report originally prepared by Girot as "enhanced" by unknown person or persons with additional information not provided by Girot. He could not identify the people who made the report. A co-authored Erdalatz and McCoy intra-departmental memo puts an additional Black male in the police station at the time of the stolen bicycle report with no reference to the source of the information. Girot could not identify any of the defendants in the case from either their current photographs or photos from 1971.
The next exams are scheduled for August 22 & August 25-28.
Judge Moscone had Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim appear unshackled in court for the first time, when neither the SF County Sheriff (who runs the jail and security in the courthouse) nor the prosecutors objected.
The California State Prosecutors office has not allowed the defense to see the text of a proposed agreement to return Herman and Jalil to New York state for their parole hearings. The delays make it unlikely that they can have their legally-guaranteed hearings before the September preliminary hearing. Prosecutors are saying that until the extradition papers are signed, they remain confidential and will not be presented to Judge Moscone to sign.
Judge Philip Moscone had earlier (on May 22) signed an order allowing Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim to return to New York state for their parole hearings. All parties agreed that the move would be temporary; Herman and Jalil waived their rights to fight extradition back to California.
This is a vindictive and mean-spirited procedural delay. Strong arguments were made to guarantee Herman and Jalil's right to "pursue their liberty interests" and have parole hearings. Both have served over 30 years in prison as model prisoners. Both were targeted originally by COINTELPRO as members of the Black Panther Party.