- The defense motion to dismiss or reduce the charges against Professor Harran
- The prosecution's response
- The defense's response to the prosecution
Friday, April 26, 2013
Patrick Harran preliminary hearing to be decided today
Drs. Jyllian Kemsley and Michael Torrice of Chemical and Engineering News will be in court today for Los Angeles Superior Judge Lisa Lench's decision in the preliminary hearing on the charges against UCLA professor Patrick Harran.
Professor Harran has been charged by the Los Angeles County District Attorney with 3 felony counts of violating California labor law in connection with the death of his research assistant Ms. Sheri Sangji in December 29, 2008 due to burns from a failed syringe transfer of over 160 milliliters of 1.67 M t-BuLi in pentane.
Over at The Safety Zone, Dr. Kemsley has posted an analysis of the three new legal documents available that summarize the defense and prosecution's positions after the preliminary hearing:
It is quite good, so you should definitely read it. She notes that the prosecution notes that the defense tends to quote out of context; I agree. I asked prosecution witness Dr. Neal Langerman his opinion of the defense's characterization of the statement; he demurred from commenting.
After reading all the documents, I think there are a lot of differences in opinion on facts of the case, including Ms. Sangji's experience level. (In its response, the defense moves backward a little and now says that "Ms. Sangji was more experienced and better trained than most chemists at her level." I am glad that they've finally admitted that they're grading on a curve.) It will be interesting to see how Judge Lench rules on the "willful" charges -- to a great extent, the legal arguments rest on whether or not Professor Harran could have been "willful" if he did not know he was violating the law at the time. Believe it or not, the hackneyed phrase "Ignorance of the law..." makes it into the prosecution brief.