Supreme Court Denies Release in Higashi-Sumiyoshi Case

Previous posts on Higashi-Sumiyoshi Case here (part 1) and here (part 2).

This is an arson case where a couple (Tatsuhiro Boku and Keiko Aoki) was convicted in 1999 of setting their house on fire and killing an 11 year old girl (Aoki‘s daughter) in Higashi-Sumiyoshi Ward, Osaka Prefecture.

Boku and Aoki each filed a petition for retrial to the Osaka District Court in 2009, and were granted a retrial in March 2012.  The presiding Judge stated in the decision that the petitioners’ confessions were unreliable and unreasonable from a “scientific viewpoint”, taking into consideration the result of the new experiment.

The prosecutors instantly appealed the ruling, and the retrial petition is currently being reviewed by the Osaka High Court.

Osaka District Court had also ordered Boku and Aoki’s immediate release. The prosecution also appealed this ruling. Osaka High Court agreed with the prosecution and reversed the District Court’s decision. The petitioners then filed a special appeal to the Supreme Court, but it denied the appeal on September 18th. The Supreme Court merely stated that the conditions of special appeal did not meet in the case. It did not even go into the actual facts of the case…

Even in the rare instances where a retrial is granted, the appeal process may take years. After the lengthy appeals process, the actual retrial process may take even longer…

A statement by the supporters can be found here (in Japanese).

2 responses to “Supreme Court Denies Release in Higashi-Sumiyoshi Case

  1. Kana,
    I assume fire science has advanced in Japan as it has here in the US?

  2. Phil,
    I am sad to say it has not advanced much yet in Japan… However, I think lawyers and scholars are just starting to realize that there is a debate going on in the US. I hope I can introduce what’s happening in the US in terms of the most recent fire science!

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