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Miura’s double-jeopardy defense invalid

•  Practice Focuses     updated  2008/03/13 14:25

LOS Angeles Deputy District Attorney Patrick Dixon, who was assigned to prosecute murder suspect Kazuyoshi Miura, says the Japanese businessman’s double-jeopardy defense is invalid.

California no longer consider foreign convictions or acquittals a deterrent to prosecute defendants, he said.

“Double jeopardy penal codes sections were amended in 2004 to no longer include foreign convictions or acquittals as a bar to California state prosecution,” said Dixon in his sworn statements filed yesterday in the CNMI Superior Court.

Dixon, who was twice named the “Prosecuting Attorney of the Year” in California, said they have “sufficient evidence to secure a conviction.”

“I have carefully examined the case, and verily believe that the facts stated in the accompanying proof are true and that the fugitive is guilty of the crimes charged,” Dixon said in court documents.

Miura was arrested at Saipan’s international airport before boarding  a plane to Tokyo on Feb. 22.

The CNMI government denied him bail because he is facing murder-related charges in California — a nonbailable offense in the state as well as in the commonwealth.

The Los Angeles county charged him with murder and conspiracy to commit murder in connection to the death of his 28-year-old wife in 1981.

Unknown assailants shot Miura on his left leg and his wife on the head in a parking lot in L.A. 27 years ago.

His wife died and he collected $700,000 in insurance benefits.

In 1985, Miura was charged with attempted murder for a previous incident and was sentenced to serve six years in jail.

While serving that sentence, he was charged with the 1981 murder of his wife. Japan’s lower court convicted him of the offense but the country’s high court overturned the verdict upon appeal in 1998.

Miura’s defense team said their client’s acquittal is enough and should be respected by the U.S. justice system.

But Dixon said  justice should be served to Miura’s wife.

“The investigation of the case revealed that the defendant had solicited four people to commit the murder of his wife…. Before making these solicitations, he took out two separate life insurance policies on his wife and made himself the beneficiary,” said Dixon. “He took out a third policy one day prior to the shooting. The defendant later collected $700,000 in insurance proceeds.”

Miura was served the governor’s warrant of arrest on Wednesday at 5:46 p.m.

He was supposed to make a court appearance but his defense team, upon the consent of the government, agreed to reschedule it for March 19.

Mark Hanson, one of Miura’s three legal counsels on island, said they want to take their time reviewing the 40-page documents submitted to the Superior Court.

“We want to make sure that (Miura) understands everything about the governor’s warrant. What it means and what we plan on doing about it before the initial appearance on Wednesday,” Hanson told reporters.

He said L.A.-based celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos and his team of legal experts have not filed anything yet pending an affidavit that will come from Japan.

“That affidavit is very important because Bill Cleary is in Japan. He’s a legal expert in Japan and he’s working for Mr. Miura. (He’s) a law professor…. It will support the motion to quash the warrant on double jeopardy grounds in California. But it’s not yet finalized,” Hanson said.

Four other Japanese lawyers are defending Miura. Their names, however, were not available as of press time.

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