The Kawashima Wrongful Arrest Incident 冤罪川嶋事件

Summary of the Case: In the morning of November 26, 1981, a body of male gangster, who was killed by shotgun, was found in a suburban farm of Ichihara, Chiba pref. On May 24, 1982, Hideo Kawashima, who resided in Ohami Shirasato-cho and ran a snack bar, was arrested for suspected robbery and murder. He possessed a shotgun and was leasing the bar from the victim. Mr. Kawashima initially denied the homicide. However, he was forced to make a false confession by the inspector's violence, one week after the arrest and was prosecuted for robbery and murder on June 14. Up to now, he has continually denied the confession.   January 18, 1988 Sentenced guilty with sixteen year's imprisonment by Chiba District Court   June 19, 1989 Dismissal of appeal to Tokyo High Court   March 15, 1994 Dismissal of appeal decided to the Supreme Court          of Justice   March 22, 1996 Applying for retrial to Chiba Distirict Court   January 28, 2000 Dismissal of the application was decided   January 31, 2000 Immediate complaint was made   March 21, 2000 Mr. Kawashima was paroled Judgement of the Established Sentence: Mr. Kawashima had been leased a bar from the victim. While he was thinking to give up running it due to business slump, he was said by the victim to choose either to sell it off at about 8 million yen or to by it himself. Furher more, he was distressed by the victim's demand to transfer his shotgun. On November 25, 1981, they were to meet to discuss these issues at 8:00 p.m. and Mr. Kawashima took his shotgun. When he reached Kongochi, Ichihara (The site where the body was found), a murderous urge came up to his mind around 8:15 p.m. and he discharged three shots and killed him. The Issues of the Case (1) Identity of Weapon One issue is whether the following two impressions are the same or not; impressions made between three fired cartridges cases (Site cartridge case) left behind the scene of crime and impressions of a fired cartridge casee (Kawashima cartidge case) which was shot by the shotgun that Mr. Kawashima voluntarily submitted. (Supplement) Among the impressions (Firing pin impression Breech face impression Ejector mark Cartridge stop impression) made when shotgun was fired or inspected, the shape of is obviously different between two even by the prosecutor's evidence. As for the impression from to , they are regarded to be the same or similar according to the prosecutor's evidence (Fukuda Report), whereas the defense lawyer's evidence (Nagasaki Report) regards that they are all disagreed. The High Court sentence was made by adopting Fukuda Report concerning to and the reason why was desagreed was explained in the judgement that Mr. Kawashima plotted to destroy the evidence after the crime by altering the firing pin. However there is no concrete recognition of whether it was paracticable in the decision. The judgement regarded Fukuda Report to be definitive evidence of identity of weapon. (2)Probability of Crime by Mr. Kawashima and the Time of Homicide Mr. Kawashima was working in his bar as usual in the night of November 25 and he was once out before 8:30 p.m. If he was a criminal, the crime should have been taken place during this moment. However, Mr. Kawashima insisted that it was only 15 to 20 minutes while he was away from the bar, meaning it was impossible even to get the criminal site and back. On the other hand, the prosecutor insisted that it was 35 to 40 minutes and barely possible for him to do it. The issue was whether we could determine the exact time of homicide to the minute in relation to the limited probability of his crime. (3)Relaiability and Voluntariness of the Confession Mr. Kawashima asserted that he was forced to make a false confession by the inspector's voilence after the arrest. Accordingly, the issuse arisen as to whether his confession was volitional and true. Judgement of Ruling (1)Disputed Point 1 Fukuda, the expert witness of the prosecutor side said merely, "it seems that the impression made in the percussion cap was processed", as the reason of its non-coincidence. He did not verify whether it was really possible to process it. The ruling that the cartridge was fired from Kawashima's gun, however, was made because the other impressions looked alike and the cartridge was left behind at the site to be found dead. (2)Disputed Point 2 All the people employed by Kawashima testfied that Kawashima was in his snack bar until a little after ten past eight p.m. The ruling that he left there a little after ten to eight p.m. (it is possible to go and return between the anack bar and the murder site), was made, taking the lady's testimony that she did not see Kawashima in his snack bar and heard only the car sound from the closed inside of the her room. The reason why the testimony of all the employees of Kawashima's snack bar was disregarded was not mentioned. Characteristics of the Case (1)It is almost impossible that Kawashima could have committed murder in the circumstances of this case. Only if Kawashima was a murderer, he would leave the snack bar named "Karudan" a little after ten to 8:00 p.m. and return around half past 8:00 p.m., murdering and going back and forth within above forty minutes. It is possible but requires all the actions to be just done. It is strange that suddenly two people went to the field where there were no lights and people. Even in Kawashima's false confession, they met in front of a school first and the victim led to the field. Considering its loss time, a crime is impossible even if his absence of its snack bar was assumed in ruling. His finger print was not found in the cartridge case left behind at the site to be found dead, which is presumed that the incident may have been the plotted muder case. (2)Insufficient Jugement The expert opinion (evidence)of Fukuda in Science Investigation Research Institute was saying the followings, regarding the impression comparison between the cartridge case found at the scene and Kawashima's one; even if the impression made in the percussion cap was not coincided, breech face marks ejector impression and cartridge stop impression coincided; therefore, two sorts of cartridges were judged to be fired from the same gun. ~③ are impressions made by the identical firing opportunity, and so①~③ must coincided supposing they were fired from the same gun. The reason why a part does not coincide must be clear. In general, the impression made in percussion cap is considerd to be the most important in the impression comparison. Furthermore, the establishment of the judgement methode that the identity is approved by the partial coincidence even if the other impressions do not coincide is doubtful. Fukuda said merely, "there is a possibility that it was processed", without adding any concrete reason about non-coincidence of the impression made in percussion cap. Issured Point for Retrial = Exclusion of Fukuda Opinion Decisively Important Issue Though Fukuda's opinion is insufficient in view of his method, his opinion was reinforced through the trial. Because the court appointed the other expert for itself and he took the detailed micrographs and his opinion with them. And Fukuda gave his evidence, using these micrographs. As a result, concerning the other similarities of impressions except the impression made in percussion cap, his expert opinion was reinforced. Thus, it is extremely difficult to turn over the situation. But it is not too much to say that it is possible that all the evidence will be reversed if its point is turned over. The Attorneys for Kawashima submited, as decisive evidence for his innocence, the expert opinion that it is impossible to process a firing pin under the circumustance of dissolving the shotgun normally, and no trace was found anywhere in Kawashima's gun to be generally added when processed the shotgun under the circumstance of dissolving it. However, the Attorneys' allegation has not been accepted in the retrial process. At present, Mr. Kawashima and his Attorneys have appealed to the Supreme Coourt. ////////////////////////// Why did I made a false confession? – Mr. Kawashima told you the reason - Cited from his submission to the Supreme Court( Dec., 1989) - I have never done anything wrong, and spent busy but peaceful days with family, just as same as other local citizen, until that day. On that day, still I remember the course at that time very well, that is, the local police suddenly came to me at our home, showed me an arrest warrant, and put handcuffs on me before family. They took me to the police station, and detained me in a cell there immediately. I am sure that if such a process should happen to any person of innocence, as everyman could easily understand, the normal balance of mind of such a person must be lost. And the same situation I had to be fallen into. They took me to a narrow investigation room with no window, just with a desk and a small lamp, and pressed me with questions, but the story was forged among them in advance, and they had continued the interrogations every days and nights since my detention, 12 hours one day on average, 6days in total, and forced me the false confession which was, of course, along with their story. The Kawashima Campaign ask; the innocent must be innocent One Japanese gangster was killed by a shot-gun on 25th November in 1981 at the Ichihara City in Chiba Prefecture near the Metropolitan Tokyo area. Mr. Hideo Kawashima was arrested, and forced to make a false confession under the inhuman conditions during the long detention and interrogation as described above. But since the beginning stage of the court, he has consistently insisted on his innocence. The only one physical evidence in this case is the three bullets which were, the police insisted, shot by Mr. Kawashima's gun. But the firing pin impression of the bullets of the police evidence were absolutely different from his gun's ones. In addition at the time of murder, he did not go to the spot, but went to the noodle shop nearby to have a soba noodle, but he found it was closed temporary only at that day. These are strong evidences for his innocence. Nevertheless the Supreme Court decided his conviction. As a result he had to be detained in prison for such a long valuable 18 years. During those 18 years in prison, he had always been the best behaved prisoner. But he had continued to insist on his innocence, and therefore he could not be given a parole. He was released almost at the end of 18 years at last. Immediately after the release, he joined our Campaign and began it faithfully, and has continued it with us until today. The local court inexcusably dismissed his retrial application in January 2000, and we immediately appealed the case to the Tokyo Appellate Court. The case still belongs to it. We are expecting the Court's decision of reopening the trial. Your help, even a very one word of encouragement to Mr. Kawashima, must give the strongest power for our Campaign, and eventually give a big impetus for the furtherance of the criminal justice in Japan. We are looking forward to hearing you. The Office of the Kawashima Campaign Boso-Horitu Chiba Office Jichitai-Fukushi Center, Nagasu 1-10-8, Chiba 260-0854, Japan Tel: (international)+81-43-225-1461, (national) 043-225-1461 Fax:(international)+81-43-225-9488, (national)043-225-9488 Email: fwkp1872@mb.infoweb.ne.jp
Why did I make a false confession?

Why did I make a false confession? by Hideo Kawashima  Submission to the Supreme Court Dec.,1989

I have never done anything wrong, and spent busy but peaceful days with family, just as same as other local citizen, until that day. On that day, still I remember the course at that time very well, that is, the local police suddenly came to me at our home, showed me an arrest warrant, and put handcuffs on me before family. They took me to the police station, and detained me in a cell there immediately. I am sure that if such a process should happen to any person of innocence, as everyman could easily understand, the normal balance of mind of such a person must be lost. And the same situation I had to be fallen into. They took me to a narrow investigation room with no window, just with a desk and a small lamp, and pressed me with questions, but the story was forged among them in advance, and they had continued the interrogations every days and nights since my detention, 12 hours one day on average, 6days in total, and forced me the false confession which was, of course, along with their story. The Kawashima Campaign ask; the innocent must be innocent One Japanese gangster was killed by a shot-gun on 25th November in 1981 at the Ichihara City in Chiba Prefecture near the Metropolitan Tokyo area. Mr. Hideo Kawashima was arrested, and forced to make a false confession under the inhuman conditions during the long detention and interrogation as described above. But since the beginning stage of the court, he has consistently insisted on his innocence. The only one physical evidence in this case is the three bullets which were, the police insisted, shot by Mr. Kawashima's gun. But the firing pin impressionof the bullets of the police evidence were absolutely different from his gun's ones. In addition at the time of murder, he did not go to the spot, but went to the noodle shop nearby to have a soba noodle, but he found itwas closed temporary only at that day. These are strong evidences for his innocence. Nevertheless the Supreme Court decided his conviction. As a result he had to be detained in prison for such a long valuable 18 years. During those 18 years in prison, he had always been the best behaved prisoner. But he had continued to insist on his innocence, and therefore he could not be given a parole. He was released almost at the end of 18 years at last. Immediately after the release, he joined our Campaign and began it faithfully, and has continued it with us until today. The local court inexcusably dismissed his retrial application in January 2000, and we immediately appealed the case to the Tokyo Appellate Court. The case still belongs to it. We are expecting the Court's decision of reopening the trial. Your help, even a very one word of encouragement to Mr. Kawashima, must give the strongest power for our Campaign, and eventually give a big impetus for the furtherance of the criminal justice in Japan. We are looking forward to hearing you. The Office of the Kawashima Campaign Boso-Horitu Chiba Office Jichitai-Fukushi Center, Nagasu 1-10-8, Chiba 260-0854, Japan Tel: (international)+81-43-225-1461, (national) 043-225-1461 Fax:(international)+81-43-225-9488, (national)043-225-9488 Email: fwkp1872@mb.infoweb.ne.jp