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DURING FLIGHT, PLEASE STOW VALUABLES IN SECURE LOCATION A woman who claims she’s being deemed guilty simply by association brought her case recently to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Yuami Yoshida, arrested by the INS on charges of bringing illegal immigrants into the country, said she was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. She didn’t even know the immigrants. She was sitting near them in the plane, sure, but she never even spoke to them. In August 2001, three families living in the Fujian province of the People’s Republic of China paid $50,000 each to someone named “Snakehead.” In return, one person from each family was guided on a complicated journey intended to gain them illegal entry into the U.S. First, the three clandestine travelers — Zhuan, Cheng and Yue — were taken from China to Thailand. Next they were given aliases and shuttled to Japan en route to Los Angeles. Eventually, a male escort dropped them at Japan’s Narita Airport, where he pointed to a woman standing at the bottom of a flight of stairs. The woman, Yoshida, ambled quickly away with the three in tow, never saying a word or making eye contact. The four boarded a flight to Los Angeles, Yoshida sitting one row behind the three, still silent. Then, after Yoshida landed in Los Angeles, an INS inspector noted a “suspicious bulge” in her clothing. She admitted that she had the boarding passes of two of the illegal aliens hidden in her underwear. Also, in her traveling papers, Yoshida claimed the Miyako hotel in Las Vegas as her final destination. The hotel doesn’t exist. Eventually a jury sentenced Yoshida to nearly four years in jail. In his opinion upholding the sentence, Judge Stephen Trott detailed the court’s thinking, with no little degree of sarcasm: “While there may be some situations involving an unlucky airline passenger who innocently walks through an airport ahead of aliens, simultaneously shows up at a gate with a group of aliens, boards an aircraft at the same time as aliens, and is seated directly behind the aliens for the duration of the flight, this situation is clearly distinguishable.” Added Trott: “A jury could reasonably conclude that Yoshida’s real purpose for the trip was to participate in the smuggling operation, rather than to stay at a nonexistent hotel.” — Jason Dearen WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING After turning in their verdict in the Chiron Corp. v. Genentech Inc. litigation, jurors got a memento from Sacramento federal court Judge William Shubb. He gave them each a copy of a Recorder cartoon depicting opening statements by Genentech attorney John Keker, of Keker & Van Nest, and Chiron counsel Harold McElhinny, a partner with Morrison & Foerster. In the cartoon the attorneys have put the judge and jury to sleep describing the arcane science behind the patent dispute. “Some of the jurors laughed,” said Shubb, who was sympathetic to the difficult task they had in evaluating the case. “This was probably the hardest case for a jury to understand that I’ve had,” he said. “It would have been easy [for the jurors] to halfway doze off but none of them seemed to ever stop paying attention.” McElhinny joked that the cartoon offered clues as to his colleague’s game plan. “I should have recognized from this cartoon that the paper had spotted Keker’s strategy,” McElhinny said. “He put the jury to sleep so it didn’t listen to what I said.” The two had battled over who would open first and Keker prevailed. They also fought over who would be seated closest to the jury, which McElhinny said is perceived to be an advantage. The Chiron team got seated adjacent to the jurors, but it didn’t seem to do them any good. In its Sept. 6 verdict, the jury sided with Genentech, concluding that the Chiron patent does not cover Genentech’s Herceptin breast cancer drug. Chiron suffered another defeat Thursday when the judge denied its motion for judgment as matter of law requesting that he overturn the verdict. Shubb has handled about half a dozen patent cases but this was the first to go to trial. He said it was remarkable for the “cutting edge science and technology” it involved. As for the lawyers, they also made an impression. “You can tell good lawyers and these were two of the best,” Shubb said. “It’s not so much their knowledge and skills with the jury. It’s knowing when to speak and not to speak and having a good perspective of what you should say and when.” — Brenda Sandburg ANOTHER TRIAL, ANOTHER NAP Alameda County prosecutor David Hollister warned jurors sitting in the Oakland “Riders” police misconduct trial last week that it would take him a while to get through his opening statement, but nearly everyone in the jam-packed courtroom — reporters, curious attorneys and the judge — seemed riveted during his day-long exposition. In fact, some veteran court gadflies made shocked murmurs when Hollister held up enlarged photos of a man who was allegedly beaten by one of the three fired police officers on trial. But one juror in the front row just couldn’t keep his eyes open, despite the graphic descriptions and the prosecutor’s Power Point presentation. The man dozed periodically through many parts of the session. But his nap apparently wasn’t disruptive enough to earn a rebuke from the attorneys or the judge. — Jahna Berry INTERNATIONAL COURT A bilingual note was introduced by attorney Angela Alioto last week while testifying in her case against fellow lawyer Waukeen McCoy, whom she accused of stealing three clients in the Wonder Bread race discrimination litigation. Under cross-examination by McCoy’s attorney, Michael Davis, Alioto tried to remember anyone she might have talked with about the matter. “Pincco Paulino,” she said at one point. San Francisco Superior Court Judge Robert Dondero looked puzzled and asked: “Who’s Pincco Paulino?” “That’s Italian for John Doe,” Alioto replied. Dondero just smiled. Later in the trial, the judge told Davis that he was leading the witness with his questions and sustained an objection. “I’ve learned from the best during the course of this trial,” Davis said, turning around to nod in a friendly fashion at John I. Alioto, his sister’s attorney in the case. — Dennis J. Opatrny

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