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OAKLAND — The attorney of one of the Ghost Ship victims mother’s reacted to the defendant’s motion made public Monday, saying that Derick Almena is pointing the finger at everyone else, but himself. The attorney who represents Sami Long Kopelman, the mother of 34-year-old Edmond Lapine, who perished along with 35 others at the warehouse fire on Dec. 2, 2016, reacted to the motion that asked for the plea deal to be reinstated. The plea bargain that defendants Almena and Max Harris had agreed to for their charges of 36 counts each of involuntary manslaughter, was rejected earlier this month by Judge James Cramer. They would have received nine years and six years in jail, respectively.
“The motion filed how to choose the best pointe shoe yesterday by the attorneys for Mr, Almena demonstrates that his propensity to point the finger in every direction other than at himself knows no limits,” said Paul Matiasic in a statement Tuesday, During a two-day sentencing hearing for Almena and Harris, Matiasic read out loud Kopelman’s victim impact statement for the court, In it, she addressed the judge directly, saying something to the effect that unless he had lost a child then he couldn’t know what it felt like, Cramer stopped the attorney from reading and said in open court “I have,” indicating he had lost a child..
In the motion, Serra writes that he nearly “fell off his chair” when he heard the judge’s response and says he would have tried replacing the judge, had he known of that conflict of interest. “The argument that the judge should not have presided over the sentencing due to his own life experiences is as shallow in its creativity as it is unsupported in the law,” Matiasic said. In the motion, Almena’s attorney Tony Serra argues that Cramer gave his word that he would go along with the negotiated plea deal, which had been brokered by Judge Morris Jacobson, who was unavailable for the sentencing for personal, unknown reasons.
Matiasic said that Almena’s argument that the judge had an obligation to merely go along with the plea deal would mean that the victim impact statements, two days worth, were “mere procedural nicety — which they are not.”, After hearing the impact statements, in handing down his decision Cramer indicated that he felt that Almena was not remorseful enough in his how to choose the best pointe shoe statements, and therefore rejected the plea deal, Although he said he felt Harris took responsibility in his statements, the plea bargain was a package deal, and both were rejected..
Matiasic said the judge was impartial when he rejected the plea. “The rejection of the plea deal clearly was borne out of Almena’s utter inability to demonstrate contrition,” he said. In his statement to the court during the sentencing hearing, Almena said that he would have given up his own children’s lives, and would have died along with the 36 people, a statement that some victim’s family members took offense to. “If I could give each of you my life, and my children’s lives, I would,” Almena said.
Related ArticlesJury selection in Ghost Ship trial set for AprilProminent Ghost how to choose the best pointe shoe Ship prosecutor resigns weeks before case goes to trial “I should have died that night, It would have been an honor to try and save your families’ souls,” Almena said. “I’m guilty, I’m guilty for believing we were safe.” He and his family stayed in an Oakland hotel that night when a dance party inside the warehouse went so wrong, Almena and Harris are due back in court on Sept, 7 to set a potential trial date, which is expected in January or February..
While the Lavagem do Bonfim isn’t known nearly as well as Rio de Janeiro’s Carnival, the massive parade-cum-street-party rivals its southern cousin when it comes to sheer cornucopian musical celebration. Held in the northeastern city of Salvador da Bahia, the heart of Afro-Brazilian culture, the Lavagem is an annual ritual that brings millions of people onto the streets for a percussion-driven procession featuring bands and social clubs navigating the route on truck bed. But revelry isn’t the only point of the party. The massive parade ends at the steps of the 18th-century Church of Nosso Senhor do Bonfim, where white-clad Baianas, Afro-Brazilian women who are devotees of the syncretic Candomblé faith, wash the stairs, dance, chant and offer Yoruban blessings to those in attendance.
On Sunday, Sept, 2, Berkeley’s Brazilian cultural center Casa de Cultura hosts a festival marking Brazilian Independence Day with its 14th annual Lavagem celebration, A noncommercial community event with no corporate sponsors, the Lavagem regularly attracts some of Brazil’s most celebrated artists, The event opens in the morning with free dance classes and features performances on the how to choose the best pointe shoe main stage beginning at 11 a.m.; the Lavagem procession and blessing take place at 2 p.m, This year’s musical roster features a stellar cast of musicians, including an all-star ensemble gleaned from the faculty of just-concluded Brazil Camp with guitar great Alessandro Penezzi, mandolin master Danilo Brito, cavaquinho expert Alessandro Cardoso and percussionist Brian Rice, Other acts include Maracatu Pacifico, with special guest percussionist Pitoco de Airá (from the city of Recife, another vital northeastern center of Afro-Brazilian culture), Santa Cruz samba band SambaDá, Xaxado Mission with special guest Vitor Gonçalves on accordion and vocalist Catia Lund..