Volume 90 Issue 37 | p. 7 | News of The Week
Issue Date: September 10, 2012 | Web Date: September 7, 2012

California Chemistry Professor Arraigned In Lab Death Case

Lab Safety: Court enters not guilty plea for Patrick Harran, sets preliminary hearing for Oct. 9
Department: Science & Technology | Collection: Safety
Keywords: Sangji, UCLA, Harran, death, safety, lab safety

A judge in a Los Angeles County court moved forward last week with arraignment of University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick Harran on three felony labor code violations. The court entered a plea of not guilty for Harran because his attorneys had objected to the arraignment altogether.

Harran was in charge of the UCLA laboratory where, in 2008, research assistant Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji was severely burned in a fire; she died 18 days later from her injuries. Because of the judge’s decision to move ahead with the arraignment, Harran’s attorneys withdrew a motion, filed on July 26, that challenged the chemistry professor’s arrest warrant as well as the credibility of a California state investigator whose report on the accident was used to charge Harran.

LA County Superior Court Judge Shelly Torrealba scheduled a preliminary hearing for Oct. 9. Evidence in the case will be heard on that court date, and a decision will be rendered on whether prosecutors have enough evidence to support a criminal trial. Harran’s defense team says they will reserve the right to bring up objections made in their July motion to dismiss.

At last week’s arraignment, LA County Deputy District Attorney Craig W. Hum said that discussions of a plea deal between his office and Harran’s attorneys had ended.

Chemical & Engineering News
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