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Japanese murder suspect to come to U.S.?

September 5, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Japanese media is calling a case that could come to Torrance, the "Japanese O.J. Case." Dozens of reporters and photographers from overseas were in Torrance on Friday. The group was there to cover a request to throw out the criminal case against a Japanese businessman accused of having his wife killed in Los Angeles.

Inside the Torrance Superior Courtroom, attorneys from both sides argued the fine points of Constitutional, international and state law. They were trying to determine whether Japanese businessman Kazuyoshi Miura will be extradited to the United States. If Miura is extradited, he would stand trial for his wife's death 27 years ago.

Miura is accused of having his 28-year-old wife, Kazumi, shot in the head during a trip to Los Angeles in 1981. She died in Japan a year later.

Miura was arrested in the U.S. territory of Saipan during a business trip in February 2008. He claims he should not answer to courts in the United States because he already stood trial in Japan, where he was acquitted of his wife's murder.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos argued double-jeopardy rules should protect his client from a second trial in the U.S.

"The last act, which triggers the protection, is the conviction or the acquittal. That's jeopardy. They want to jump over the jeopardy and go to the time when you raise the defense. That has nothing to do with it," said Geragos in court Friday.

Prosecutors insist, however, that Miura was never tried for conspiracy to commit murder.

"Because as far as the federal Constitution and the California Constitution is concerned, it's not double jeopardy. They're different sovereigns. And so he can be tried," said a member of the prosecution while in court Friday.

Prosecutor Alan Jackson brought the focus back to the victim.

"We never, at the D.A.'s office, lose sight of the fact that the ultimate goal is to seek justice for someone whose name never even came up today. And that's Kazumi Miura. She's still the victim in this case and she deserves - richly deserves - the justice that this District Attorney's office, and this county, can provide for her," said Jackson.

Defense attorney Mark Geragos says that he is "cautiously hopeful" about the outcome of this hearing.

The judge will issue his ruling on Sept. 26.

 

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