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And today the Judge did... NOTHING

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  • axxinjaxxin
    Source:http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080917/NEWS04/80917036/1006 Judge delays decision on whether to release George Jurors who convicted
    Message 1 of 2 , Sep 17, 2008
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      Source:http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080917/NEWS04/80917036/1006

      Judge delays decision on whether to release George
      Jurors who convicted man of killing wife are among protesters

      BY AMBER HUNT • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • September 17, 2008


      As his courtroom teemed with family members, friends, prosecutors and
      protesters, Macomb County Circuit Court James Biernat levied another
      in a growing list of surprises this morning when he held off on
      deciding whether Michael George – the so-called Comic Book Killer –
      would be released on bond.

      George will remain in the county jail at least until Friday awaiting
      Biernat's written decision. Biernat last Friday overturned a jury's
      verdict convicting George of killing his wife, Barbara George, in the
      back of the Clinton Township comic book store they owned in July 1990.

      A new trial date is set for Dec. 2.

      Biernat's decision sparked an outcry from jurors, who said they were
      thoughtful and deliberate when deciding George's fate. Several jurors
      joined dozens of other people protesting outside of the circuit
      courthouse before the morning bond hearing, carrying homemade signs
      reading, "Keep Convicted Killers Behind Bars" and "Nothing `Comical'
      About Murder."

      Biernat on Friday said the case was too flimsy for a reasonable jury
      to find George guilty. He made the ruling despite having twice denied
      defense requests to toss out the case during the trial.

      It's extremely rare for a judge to order a new trial after a jury has
      reached a verdict. The prosecution plans to file an appeal with the
      state Court of Appeals within the next two weeks.

      "I think it's a travesty," said jury foreman Garry Kuzinskoski, a
      45-year-old sales engineer.

      "We went through every piece of evidence," added juror Madette Bui,
      39, a registered nurse. "Everybody agreed on first-degree murder. We
      knew exactly why we were deciding it."

      Joe Kosmala, George's lawyer, praised Biernat and lambasted the jury,
      calling it "renegade" and saying that jurors disregarded the judge's
      instructions. He accused them of considering the penalty attached to
      the charges – juries aren't allowed to weigh penalties – and decided
      he was a murderer because the prosecution painted him as a liar and
      philanderer.

      Bui's jaw visibly dropped as Kosmala spoke.

      "He wasn't in that room with us," she said after the hearing. "He
      didn't hear what we talked about."

      George was arrested in the slaying last year and charged by Prosecutor
      Eric Smith's cold case unit. The case was circumstantial: The murder
      weapon was never recovered and there were no witnesses to the crime.

      "Although it was all circumstantial, it was all still evidence, and
      all of it pointed to him," said juror Sandra Layne, 50, an elementary
      school custodian, who stood outside the courthouse with a sign
      reading, "The jury has spoken."

      In requesting a new trial Friday, the defense brought forth police
      reports that weren't discovered until after the trial. One included
      information about a man who knew the Georges and left town soon after
      the slaying.

      Bui said that information wouldn't have changed her verdict.

      "I hope our verdict stands," she said, "but if that doesn't happen,
      they need to get a brand-new jury and a brand-new judge."

      On Friday, Biernat accused Assistant Prosecutor Steve Kaplan of acting
      inappropriately during the trial, in part because he showed a picture
      of George in his closing argument that hadn't been admitted into evidence.

      Layne laughed at the idea that the photograph swayed the jury's
      decision. The picture, she said, "was just hokey."

      The key evidence, she said, came from a longtime customer who said he
      called the comic book store and Michael George answered the phone
      around the time police believe Barbara George was murdered. Michael
      George had told police he was at his mother's house in Hazel Park in
      the hours surrounding the shooting.

      "I was 100% from the day we decided to convict him, and I'll be 100%
      until the day I die," Layne said.

      Biernat's ruling also has drawn harsh criticism from Smith, who, since
      the Friday ruling, has refused to offer defendants who come before
      Biernat any plea deals.

      Smith said that he's taking a stand against a judge who has gotten too
      soft on crime.

      "This was just another example of that," Smith said. "It's time for us
      to stand up for the victims of crime in Macomb County."

      Smith said he was offended Biernat held off on deciding the bond
      issue. Biernat scheduled today's hearing on Friday, after he ruled for
      a new trial.

      "He set this date. The families came out. He should have been ready,"
      Smith said.

      Of the three motions that faced him, Biernat ruled on just one: He
      refused the prosecution's request that he recuse himself from the
      case. He delayed ruling on another prosecution request that he
      postpone the rescheduled Dec. 2 trial date until the state's Court of
      Appeals gets a chance to review the case.

      Biernat said he ruled fairly throughout the trial and even avoided
      media coverage of the case to maintain his objectivity. He even
      avoided a post-conviction episode of NBC's "Dateline" program, he said.

      But he criticized Smith's office for "vilifying attacks on the court"
      in the days since he ordered a new trial. He said it could taint a new
      jury pool and "is contrary to the spirit of the law."

      Joe Kowynia, Barbara George's brother, left the hearing disheartened.
      He said Biernat seems hell-bent on freeing George, and he expects
      Friday's written ruling to allow him bond.

      It's unusual for a judge to allow defendants facing first-degree
      murder charges to post bond. Biernat set a $1-million bond; the family
      had to pay 10% and buy a GPS tether that kept George under house
      arrest at his mother's. George, his two daughters and his second wife,
      Renee, live in Pennsylvania.
      -----------------
      Just as a side note, do you know what we call protesters and activists
      outside of courtrooms? Unemployed. LOL.
    • batmiteforever
      Yeah I read this too, how about this quote: Bui s jaw visibly dropped as Kosmala spoke. He wasn t in that room with us, she said after the hearing. He
      Message 2 of 2 , Sep 17, 2008
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        Yeah I read this too, how about this quote: Bui's jaw visibly dropped
        as Kosmala spoke.

        "He wasn't in that room with us," she said after the hearing. "He
        didn't hear what we talked about."

        How about this woman didnt read or get to hear what was in
        this "LOST" file but feels the verdict should stand. Yeah that sounds
        fair. The police and prosocuter with hold evidence...excuse me "FIND"
        a folder no nix that sombody gets a moment of honesty and clues
        investigators to it's existence...but too bad...how dare they give
        him a new trial. What kinda BS is that...this is still America right
        and we all get to defend our selves, dont we? What are they afraid of
        their moment in the spotlight being wiped out or extending the 15
        minutes a little longer? Sit down, shut up and let this play out
        fairly for once.........please.
        --- In pittscomicon@yahoogroups.com, "axxinjaxxin" <axxinjaxxin@...>
        wrote:
        >
        > Source:http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?
        AID=/20080917/NEWS04/80917036/1006
        >
        > Judge delays decision on whether to release George
        > Jurors who convicted man of killing wife are among protesters
        >
        > BY AMBER HUNT • FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER • September 17, 2008
        >
        >
        > As his courtroom teemed with family members, friends, prosecutors
        and
        > protesters, Macomb County Circuit Court James Biernat levied another
        > in a growing list of surprises this morning when he held off on
        > deciding whether Michael George – the so-called Comic Book Killer –
        > would be released on bond.
        >
        > George will remain in the county jail at least until Friday awaiting
        > Biernat's written decision. Biernat last Friday overturned a jury's
        > verdict convicting George of killing his wife, Barbara George, in
        the
        > back of the Clinton Township comic book store they owned in July
        1990.
        >
        > A new trial date is set for Dec. 2.
        >
        > Biernat's decision sparked an outcry from jurors, who said they were
        > thoughtful and deliberate when deciding George's fate. Several
        jurors
        > joined dozens of other people protesting outside of the circuit
        > courthouse before the morning bond hearing, carrying homemade signs
        > reading, "Keep Convicted Killers Behind Bars" and "Nothing `Comical'
        > About Murder."
        >
        > Biernat on Friday said the case was too flimsy for a reasonable jury
        > to find George guilty. He made the ruling despite having twice
        denied
        > defense requests to toss out the case during the trial.
        >
        > It's extremely rare for a judge to order a new trial after a jury
        has
        > reached a verdict. The prosecution plans to file an appeal with the
        > state Court of Appeals within the next two weeks.
        >
        > "I think it's a travesty," said jury foreman Garry Kuzinskoski, a
        > 45-year-old sales engineer.
        >
        > "We went through every piece of evidence," added juror Madette Bui,
        > 39, a registered nurse. "Everybody agreed on first-degree murder. We
        > knew exactly why we were deciding it."
        >
        > Joe Kosmala, George's lawyer, praised Biernat and lambasted the
        jury,
        > calling it "renegade" and saying that jurors disregarded the judge's
        > instructions. He accused them of considering the penalty attached to
        > the charges – juries aren't allowed to weigh penalties – and decided
        > he was a murderer because the prosecution painted him as a liar and
        > philanderer.
        >
        > Bui's jaw visibly dropped as Kosmala spoke.
        >
        > "He wasn't in that room with us," she said after the hearing. "He
        > didn't hear what we talked about."
        >
        > George was arrested in the slaying last year and charged by
        Prosecutor
        > Eric Smith's cold case unit. The case was circumstantial: The murder
        > weapon was never recovered and there were no witnesses to the crime.
        >
        > "Although it was all circumstantial, it was all still evidence, and
        > all of it pointed to him," said juror Sandra Layne, 50, an
        elementary
        > school custodian, who stood outside the courthouse with a sign
        > reading, "The jury has spoken."
        >
        > In requesting a new trial Friday, the defense brought forth police
        > reports that weren't discovered until after the trial. One included
        > information about a man who knew the Georges and left town soon
        after
        > the slaying.
        >
        > Bui said that information wouldn't have changed her verdict.
        >
        > "I hope our verdict stands," she said, "but if that doesn't happen,
        > they need to get a brand-new jury and a brand-new judge."
        >
        > On Friday, Biernat accused Assistant Prosecutor Steve Kaplan of
        acting
        > inappropriately during the trial, in part because he showed a
        picture
        > of George in his closing argument that hadn't been admitted into
        evidence.
        >
        > Layne laughed at the idea that the photograph swayed the jury's
        > decision. The picture, she said, "was just hokey."
        >
        > The key evidence, she said, came from a longtime customer who said
        he
        > called the comic book store and Michael George answered the phone
        > around the time police believe Barbara George was murdered. Michael
        > George had told police he was at his mother's house in Hazel Park in
        > the hours surrounding the shooting.
        >
        > "I was 100% from the day we decided to convict him, and I'll be 100%
        > until the day I die," Layne said.
        >
        > Biernat's ruling also has drawn harsh criticism from Smith, who,
        since
        > the Friday ruling, has refused to offer defendants who come before
        > Biernat any plea deals.
        >
        > Smith said that he's taking a stand against a judge who has gotten
        too
        > soft on crime.
        >
        > "This was just another example of that," Smith said. "It's time for
        us
        > to stand up for the victims of crime in Macomb County."
        >
        > Smith said he was offended Biernat held off on deciding the bond
        > issue. Biernat scheduled today's hearing on Friday, after he ruled
        for
        > a new trial.
        >
        > "He set this date. The families came out. He should have been
        ready,"
        > Smith said.
        >
        > Of the three motions that faced him, Biernat ruled on just one: He
        > refused the prosecution's request that he recuse himself from the
        > case. He delayed ruling on another prosecution request that he
        > postpone the rescheduled Dec. 2 trial date until the state's Court
        of
        > Appeals gets a chance to review the case.
        >
        > Biernat said he ruled fairly throughout the trial and even avoided
        > media coverage of the case to maintain his objectivity. He even
        > avoided a post-conviction episode of NBC's "Dateline" program, he
        said.
        >
        > But he criticized Smith's office for "vilifying attacks on the
        court"
        > in the days since he ordered a new trial. He said it could taint a
        new
        > jury pool and "is contrary to the spirit of the law."
        >
        > Joe Kowynia, Barbara George's brother, left the hearing
        disheartened.
        > He said Biernat seems hell-bent on freeing George, and he expects
        > Friday's written ruling to allow him bond.
        >
        > It's unusual for a judge to allow defendants facing first-degree
        > murder charges to post bond. Biernat set a $1-million bond; the
        family
        > had to pay 10% and buy a GPS tether that kept George under house
        > arrest at his mother's. George, his two daughters and his second
        wife,
        > Renee, live in Pennsylvania.
        > -----------------
        > Just as a side note, do you know what we call protesters and
        activists
        > outside of courtrooms? Unemployed. LOL.
        >
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