Thirty-five years ago, a San Francisco school bus driver was convicted of shooting a police officer with a pistol, seriously wounding him. After serving four years is in prison for the crime, Richard O’Neal, 58, an alleged former member of the Black Liberation Army, now is back in prison in connection with the 1971 attack, says the San Francisco Chronicle. Prosecutors say they can now prove the shooting was an “overt act” in a broader conspiracy to kill officers.
O’Neal’s arrest has outraged relatives and friends; prosecutors call it justice delayed. A judge may decide tomorrow whether to lower his $3 million bail. Prosecutors said O’Neal’s role as a conspirator means he bears responsibility for other crimes – even if he didn’t directly commit them. Diane Marie Amann, a criminal law expert at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law, said O’Neal’s prison term did not constrain prosecutors from trying O’Neal for conspiracy. She said cases like his are unusual and raise difficult questions because of the “gut-level sense that prosecutors get one bite” at defendants.