|Defense files appeal of ruling on evidence in murder trial|
|By Connie Skipitares|
San Jose Mercury News
|Article Launched:06/13/2007 01:35:19 AM PDT|
Defense attorneys for Maurice Nasmeh, accused of killing Jeanine Harms in 2001, are asking the California Supreme Court to review a recent appellate ruling in the case that allowed key evidence to be used at his trial.
The filing last week includes a request to stay Nasmeh's trial on murder charges until the state's highest court determines if it wants to do the review. The court, which has no deadline to act, can turn down the request. Nasmeh's next appearance in a Santa Clara County court is scheduled for June 25.
The 6th District Court of Appeal in San Jose last month sided with Santa Clara County prosecutors who argued in favor of allowing key fiber evidence gathered in a search of Nasmeh's SUV to be used at his trial.
The defense had argued that police should have limited their search of the vehicle to items that had been listed in the search warrant, which did not specifically include a search for fibers.
Prosecutors said police had the right to search and impound the vehicle because they had probable cause to believe that it contained evidence of a crime and was used to dispose of Harms' body. The appellate court agreed, saying impounding the SUV for more than three weeks did not render the search unreasonable.
The case landed in the 6th District Court of Appeal after the district attorney's office challenged a Superior Court decision that ruled police had violated their warrant by keeping Nasmeh's car too long.
Subsequently, Superior Court Judge Linda Condron said that the crucial fiber evidence could not be used at a future trial.
Harms, 42, disappeared from her Los Gatos duplex on July 27, 2001, after a date with Nasmeh, a 43-year-old Campbell architect, whom she had just met that evening. Her body has never been found. Nasmeh, who has pleaded not guilty, remains in Santa Clara County Jail without bail.