Monday, August 26, 2013

Well, that was quick: Harran defense motions denied

From C&EN's Jyllian Kemsley and Michael Torrice, a tweet (40 minutes ago):
Judge denied Harran 3 motions to dismiss-next date 10/3-details later from @mmtorrice at 
 The Sangji case grinds onward.

UPDATE: Here's Patch's pretty decent write up of the today's Harran hearing, including this nice snippet of dialogue from the hearing:
Sangji's contract was with the university, not Harran, O'Kane argued. And the charges against the professor apply only to employers, not supervisors, according to the defense's interpretation. 
Judge George G. Lomeli disagreed. 
"The court concludes that he's an employer. Period," Lomeli said. Harran had the authority to recruit, interview and hire personnel, the judge said. 
Even if that weren't true, Lomeli added, Harran was a "supervisorial employee" subject to criminal charges under the relevant labor laws.
Also, here's C&EN's very detailed write-up of today's hearing, including this very key snippet about all of these legal issues:
Judge Lomeli denied this motion as well, stating that the district attorney’s evidence “managed to establish the requisite burden of proof of a ‘strong suspicion’” that Harran committed the charged crimes. He pointed out that the case had not reached a stage in which the district attorney had to prove its case “beyond a reasonable doubt.” 
That last sentence is key.

UPDATE 2: Here's the Los Angeles Times story. Nothing new in the story, but you should really click through to the story to see the picture of Professor Harran. I don't know him at all, so perhaps I project -- but I can see the wear of the process on his face. 


  1. Motions from the defense to dismiss are like that guy at the party trying to pick up every girl in the house. It costs nothing to ask, and you might get lucky.

    Expect them to ask for a dismissal after the prosecution has presented its case.

  2. The villagers are massing with their torches. Most of the villagers (and prosecutors) tanked their science courses, so good luck with getting any kind of reasoned hearing.

    "He's a witch, burn him". (with apologies to Monty Python) gr

    And don't even get me started on the subject of the lack of personal protective equipment. I learned better in middle school!

  3. Grind is right. This process has already taken forever and no substantive judgments have been made yet.

  4. "The court concludes he's an employer. Period," Lomeli said. (Patch write up).

    Well, if UCLA is anything like my public university, a professor and even a search committee of professors has absolutely no hiring authority. The most any faculty employee is given is the authority to make a recommendation to the administration on who to hire. Upper administration reserves the right to do the hiring, per se, and the includes the right to refuse faculty recommendations.

  5. As harried [pun or not] as most faculty are these days, torn between meeting escalating research expectations and teaching courses, not to mention everything from janitorial work (just unstopped the drain in my laboratory), to entertaining visitors and students, and the general jocular attitude one is expected to project despite the fact hazards are every- and anywhere present in organic laboratories--such freedom from distraction makes it very difficult to ensure against accidents. Some have called for implementation of industrial standards in academic laboratories as the answer. If so, academic laboratories may as well be shut down completely. Let industry assume the costs of training and education. Academe for the most part wants all the benefits and none of the cost. [reposted]