Here is an article about the Ohsaki case by mainichi.jp:
Court rejects appeal for retrial over 1979 murder case
KAGOSHIMA, Japan (Kyodo) — The Kagoshima District Court rejected on Wednesday an appeal for a retrial filed by a woman who was convicted and served a 10-year prison term for killing her brother-in-law in 1979 in Kagoshima Prefecture for insurance money.
The decision came after the district court had initially decided to reopen the case involving Ayako Haraguchi, now 85, in 2002, which was overruled by the Fukuoka High Court in 2004. The high court’s decision was eventually upheld by the Supreme Court.
The murder occurred in October 1979, when Kunio Nakamura, 42, was found dead in a cattle stable beside his home in the town of Osaki, Kagoshima.
Haraguchi and three others — Nakamura’s two brothers and a nephew of his — were subsequently arrested and indicted over the murder. The eldest brother was her husband at that time.
The four were found guilty at the district court the following year, and the three men did not contest the ruling. But Haraguchi has persistently pleaded not guilty and fought through to the Supreme Court, which ruled against her and let her 10-year prison term stand, based on confessions by the three.
Following her release in 1990, Haraguchi filed the first appeal for a retrial in 1995 with the district court, which ruled in favor of her.
After the plea was rejected by the high and top courts, she filed the second appeal for a retrial in 2010, with her defense team arguing the three men, considered her accomplices, were mentally incompetent and forced by investigators into confessing to the crime.
In giving the ruling Wednesday, Presiding Judge Hiroaki Nakamuta said, “It is unlikely that they were forced to confess,” as the extent of the three’s mental capacity “had been revealed to some extent and was taken into consideration in the decision (at the Supreme Court).”
The defense team said Haraguchi will file an appeal immediately.
“It’s a shame that the court rejected our appeal,” Haraguchi said after the ruling, adding she will keep fighting against it.
At the latest court, the defense team also submitted new evidence, including a forensic report showing doubt over the court’s finding that the victim was strangled with a towel as well as a psychologist’s written opinion stating the confessions of the three were most likely not based on their personal experiences.
The latest court, however, dismissed the evidence, saying it was not enough to alter the finding.
The court also rejected an appeal for a retrial filed in 2011 by relatives of Haraguchi’s late ex-husband.
Among the three men, the nephew also filed an appeal for a retrial before he committed suicide in 2001. His mother took over the plea but it was subsequently shelved after her death in 2004.
March 06, 2013(Mainichi Japan)
Article about the Fukui Case also by mainichi.jp:
High court turns down plea for retrial over 1986 murder case
NAGOYA (Kyodo) — The Nagoya High Court on Wednesday turned down an appeal for a retrial filed by a 47-year-old man who served a seven-year prison term for the 1986 murder of a junior high school girl in Fukui Prefecture.
The defense counsel for Shoji Maekawa, who has always maintained his innocence, will appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court.
The ruling came after the Kanazawa Branch of the high court decided in November 2011 to reopen the case on the grounds that “reasonable doubt” exists over whether Maekawa had killed Tomoko Takahashi, 15. It said changes in the depositions of acquaintances whose testimony was central to his conviction called into question their credibility.
The branch also said it was doubtful the victim’s stab wounds were created only by two knives as determined in the previous ruling, suggesting the existence of another weapon.
Although there was no direct evidence tying Maekawa to the murder, the prosecutors lodged an objection to the 2011 ruling, prompting the high court to examine the branch court’s decision.
In Wednesday’s ruling, Presiding Judge Hiroshi Shida said, “The changes in the depositions of the acquaintances could be explained in a reasonable manner, and they are fully trustworthy.”
Shida also said the defense side failed to present “clear proof” that could lead to reopening the case.
In the initial ruling, the Fukui District Court acquitted him in 1990, raising doubts over the acquaintances’ depositions, but the high court found him guilty and sentenced him to seven years in prison, a term finalized by the Supreme Court in 1997.
Takahashi was found murdered in her home in the city of Fukui on March 19, 1986. No decisive material evidence was found, leading investigators to rely mostly on the testimony of Maekawa’s acquaintances that they had seen him wearing blood-stained clothes and heard him confess to the murder.
March 06, 2013(Mainichi Japan)