NAHA, Okinawa Pref. – The Naha branch of the Fukuoka High Court has dismissed U.S. Marine Maj. Michael Brown’s appeal against a lower court conviction for attempted molestation, citing a “procedural error” that the defendant blames on the court.
According to the written dismissal dated Thursday, the high court branch received only a photocopy of the written application for the appeal from the defense. The Rule of Criminal Procedure stipulates the document needs a handwritten signature.
Brown’s lawyer, Toshimitsu Takaesu, said, “It is a procedural error on the side of the court.” He said that when he took the original and a photocopy of the document to the Naha District Court, a court official put a receiving stamp on both of them and returned the original to him.
In July, the district court in Okinawa sentenced Brown, 41, to a one-year prison term, suspended for three years, for attempted molestation and property destruction.
Brown, who has maintained his innocence, appealed the district court ruling.
According to the district court, Brown tried to molest a woman on the morning of Nov. 2, 2002, in a car in Gushikawa, Okinawa Prefecture. He was also found guilty of throwing the woman’s cell phone into a river after she tried to call police.
His district court trial took an unusual turn when the woman testified that she had not wanted to press charges against Brown and demanded that all charges be dropped.
Brown had been charged with attempted rape but the district court convicted him of attempted molestation.
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