At a brief hearing on March 6 the key matter of discovery was held over (postponed). The Preliminary Hearing is still scheduled to start June 8, 2009 and conclude by September 3, with court four days a week straight through. The Preliminary Hearing will determine whether there are grounds to bring the case to trial.
In the matter of discovery, there is still no resolution to defense demands for complete discovery – not that anything new has been produced by the prosecution after over 37 years. Now that we have passed the 2-year anniversary of the "new" charges (charges that were dismissed in the 1970s by San Francisco prosecutors), the prosecutors are still reluctant to turn over "non-discoverable" evidence, information about FBI wiretaps, contact information for potential key witnesses, forensic tests about weapons (some weapons were destroyed or sold by New Orleans police), and the names of agents and examiners whose fingerprint analysis exonerates all the men charged in the SF 8 case. [Note: results of the weapons tests were finally released in January and they show no match between the alleged weapon and the scene. See court updated from January 23 below.]
To listen to the prosecution explain it, evidence is not being withheld with intent. Yet some of these very requests for information (discovery) were raised in court in 2007 and have still not been met.
Despite understandable objections by both Herman Bell and Jalil Muntaqim over delays, the preliminary hearing in the San Francisco 8 case has now been set for June 8 to September 3, 2009. Both Herman and Jalil are essentially locked down in the SF County Jail, and continue to have their rights to parole hearings in New York state denied.