Legal motion disputes Okinawa's claim to Marine
By DAVID ALLEN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: February 12, 2003
NAHA, Okinawa — Japanese police delayed too long in their decision to claim jurisdiction over an attempted rape complaint filed against a Marine major in December, his lawyers claimed in a motion filed Monday in Naha District Court.
Okinawa attorney Toshimitsu Takaesu said that on Nov. 8, Okinawa police told the U.S. military Brown was a suspect in an alleged sexual attack Nov. 2 near Camp Courtney.
Under the U.S.-Japan status of forces agreement, Takaesu said, Okinawa police then had 30 days to announce they wanted to handle the case.
“They informed the military that Major Brown was a suspect on Nov. 8. But prosecutors did not announce they were exercising jurisdiction until Dec. 16,” Takaesu said during a news conference Monday at the Harborview Hotel.
“That was too late,” he said. “They failed to meet the deadline, and jurisdiction should therefore be reverted to the U.S. military.”
Takaesu also filed a petition for Brown’s release from custody, claiming that Japanese police officials failed to exercise jurisdiction properly.
Naha District Court officials could not be reached for comment Monday afternoon.
Brown, 39, assigned to the command element of the 3rd Marine Expeditionary Force, was arrested Dec. 19 after he was indicted on charges of attempted rape and destruction of private property. A woman, a temporary Camp Courtney employee, had complained that Brown tried to rape her Nov. 2 when she offered him a ride to his off-base home.
She said he grabbed her cellular phone and threw it into a stream when she attempted to call police.
Brown denies the attempted rape charge. He told police the woman became upset with him when he spurned her sexual advances and she grabbed his wallet. He told police he tried to wrest the wallet from her but failed and instead threw her cellular phone out the car window in frustration.
The trial is to start March 13.
Brown hired Takaesu, a former Okinawa prosecutor, and New York attorney Michael Griffith last month to take over the case. Both have handled international criminal cases. Griffith was to arrive on Okinawa on Tuesday.