Japanese prosecutors adopted appropriate course of in Alkonis case, licensed skilled says

Navy Lt.  Ridge Alkonis crashed his car into pedestrians and parked vehicles at a soba restaurant parking lot in Fujinomiya, Japan, May 29, 2021.

Navy Lt. Ridge Alkonis crashed his car into pedestrians and parked cars at a soba restaurant parking lot in Fujinomiya, Japan, May 29, 2021. (US Navy)

Japanese authorities passed by the e-book coping with the case in direction of a Navy officer for the negligent-driving deaths of two Japanese residents in May 2021, in line with a Japanese lawyer who’s represented US service members.

Lt. Ridge Alkonis, 34, who was primarily based at Yokosuka, reported July 25 to begin serving his three-year sentence in a Japanese jail. His supporters, along with a US senator and a advisor, urged President Joe Biden’s administration to get Alkonis freed. They allege the daddy of three was mistreated by Japanese police, who illegally held him virtually a month, and was denied a superb trial by the Japanese courts.

Yasutoshi Murakami, an lawyer with the Higashi Koenji Laws Company in Tokyo who has prosecuted and defended circumstances involving individuals lined by the standing of forces settlement between the US and Japan, disagreed.

“Inside the case of Alkonis, he was arrested off-base in flagrante delicto – or immediately following the crime – which means the police observed the need to arrest him as a result of flight menace and/or hazard of destroying proof,” he suggested Stars and Stripes by cellphone Friday.

Murakami acknowledged the dimensions of Alkonis’ detention was moreover by the books.

Suspects in felony circumstances may be held as a lot as 23 days with out an opportunity to submit a launch bond until they’re formally charged, in line with data from the Japan Federation of Bar Associations.

Alkonis was charged on June 18, 2021, 20 days after his arrest. The additional six days of detention had been licensed because of they acquired right here after the official prices, Murakami acknowledged.

A determine in Shizokua District Court docket docket convicted Alkonis on Oct. 18 of negligent driving inflicting lack of life; the Tokyo Extreme Court docket docket dismissed Alkonis’ attraction on July 13. He had pleaded for a suspended sentence.

His family have pinned their ultimate hopes to free him on a lot of US politicians, family spokesman Jonathan Franks suggested Stars and Stripes by cellphone on Tuesday.

Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, and Rep. Mike Levin, D-Calif., every allege that prosecutors violated sections of SOFA, the settlement that governs the rights and duties of individuals in Japan with the US military. SOFA covers service members however moreover Safety Division civilian employees, contractors and their households.

Levin, in a Friday piece of email to Stars and Stripes, argued that Japanese authorities didn’t show “passable set off and necessity” to keep up Alkonis in custody as required by the settlement.

Alkonis was driving collectively along with his family after a hike on Mount Fuji on May 29, 2021, when his car plowed into pedestrians and parked automobiles exterior a restaurant in Fujinomiya, about two hours from Yokosuka.

A woman, 85, died that day; her son-in-law, 54, died June 11, 2021. A second woman, 53, the daughter and partner of the alternative victims, was injured.

The one function to keep up Alkonis in custody afterward was “a priority that he would destroy proof, which on this case is inconceivable,” Franks acknowledged, “or proof that he was a flight menace, which is de facto not actual trying because of Japan is an island , and the Navy has his passport.”

Alkonis testified Aug. 24 {{that a}} case of acute mountain sickness precipitated him to lose consciousness behind the wheel. The district courtroom docket and appellate courtroom docket dismissed his argument.

Franks alleged {{that a}} second SOFA violation occurred all through Alkonis’ trial, when a court-appointed translator made a lot of errors, along with incorrectly translating the time interval “acute mountain sickness” into “altitude sickness.” He acknowledged the two are medically distinct.

The Services for Sickness Administration and Prevention defines altitude sickness as a bunch of three syndromes, the mildest and commonest of which is acute mountain sickness.

SOFA requires {{that a}} “competent interpreter” be made accessible if necessary.

The courtroom docket’s refusal to admit a Navy medical examination as proof, and Japanese regulation enforcement’s failure to conduct its private examination, constitutes an unfair trial and a third doable violation, Franks acknowledged.

Lee, all through a July 25 speech on the Senate floor, acknowledged the Japanese authorities “didn’t lots as trouble to conduct an passable investigation” and had been most likely “attempting to make an occasion” of Alkonis.

He moreover known as on the US authorities to “take every step doable” to barter with Japan and “convey Ridge residence.”

Levin made comparable suggestions and acknowledged he’s working to be sure that any SOFA violations are addressed.

Murakami acknowledged if there have been any suspected SOFA violations, Alkonis’ attorneys and US Forces Japan should have raised these concerns with the courtroom docket.

The US Embassy in Japan and Naval Forces Japan referred all questions regarding the case or SOFA to USFJ. USFJ acknowledged Stars and Stripes’ request for contact upon Friday, nonetheless as of Wednesday had not responded.