Thursday, August 20, 2009

An update from Stephanie White (Its a month late and its my fault)

July 14, 2009 court date events

Friday, July 17, 2009 at 10:50am
Greetings Mightie Mike fans

I'd like to first thank everyone for being so patient with me as I get over the jetlag and emotional baggage that comes with the court case.

Sitting in court, we held photos/keepsake ash memorial of Mike as the Judges & court waited nearly an hour for the Sauna's lawyer to appear. After he finally did arrive, court was called back into session and we heard the testimony of an ex- sauna employee, the floor manager of the men's floor. He was working the night Mike was murdered. This is the sauna employee we've been waiting on to come to court since Feb 12, 2009.

While the court carefully tip toed around the "how & why" Mike was unconscious to begin with, he was questioned about events after Mike was unconscious. The ex-employee admitted (as finally revealed to me by Mr. Hwang after much pestering for details) that the sauna staff was fully aware that Mike was unconscious in the shallow pool for at least 30 minutes before taking any action on his behalf. The ex-employee would not look at me directly nor let me look into his eyes, leaving quickly after court so there would be no opportunity.

We might remember at this point that the Good Samaritan law wasn't passed by congress until May 23, 2008, barely two weeks after Mike's murder. Even without the protection of a Good Samaritan law, there is no penalty for calling 119/112.

The lawyer for the Provence (representing the EMT & local public safety inspection office) had previously requested that he be able to call the EMT workers to the stand. These are the very same EMT who told Mr. Hwang they planned to lie on the stand. (we might note there are no laws/penalities for perjury in Korea)

After hearing the testimony of the ex-sauna employee, the head Judge closed the case without hearing the silver tongued testimony from the EMT. The verdict will be submitted to the court system on August 25 at 10am. We do not appear in court for the "reading" of the verdict. Sometime that afternoon, Mr. Hwang & the other lawyers will receive an email giving the basics of the verdict. Two weeks later they will all receive a paper copy of the verdict with full details from the three Judges. (Similar to the American Supreme Court verdict process)

The opposition lawyers/Mr. Hwang will have 30 days from August 25th to appeal the verdict. (Which is actually just two weeks, as they would need the detailed paper verdict to complete the appeal paperwork). Mr. Hwang feels confident that the Judges will side in my favor and the likelihood of appeal is small.

According to Mr. Hwang, it seems "my grief has pushed me to go too far" and I've pushed to the limit 'making Korea look bad". An appeal would prolong my time in Korea and give me more opportunity to gather what supporting evidence I can as well as continue to have the police files translated at a cheaper rate than I would get in the US. even if one of the opposition lawyers files an appeal, the Head Judge can deny it. We would have the same Judges again should that happen.

While, avoiding "counting my chicks before they hatch" decisions do need to be made on whether a foundation/charity or advocacy group will emerge from this. I've been contacted by Bill Kapoun's mother and hope to continue contacting more families of victims so that we (fams of the murdered) and the expat community can work toward doable goals and raising awareness. Somethings (like foundation/charity) can not be done without the support/volunteerism of the expat community. Your opinion is welcome and you are encouraged to express yourself.

Thank you again for your help, support, words of kindness and el mucho grande vibes sent out for Mike's sake. For that, I'm forever in your debt.

In humble thanks
Mightie Mike's Mom

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