Post written by Michael Torrice
Attorneys for University of California, Los Angeles, chemistry professor Patrick Harran were in court today for a status check on the chemist’s compliance with an agreement with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office. Harran made the deal in June so that the DA’s office would eventually drop charges of four felony violations of the state labor code stemming from a 2008 fire in his lab that led to the death of research assistant Sheharbano (Sheri) Sangji.
Judge George G. Lomeli said in court that he had reviewed reports submitted by the DA’s office and determined that Harran is complying with all terms of the agreement. Lomeli set the next status check for May 21, 2015.
In the June deal, Harran agreed to complete community service and pay a $10,000 fine. After five years, if Harran has complied with all terms of the agreement, the DA’s office will drop all charges.
After the hearing, Deputy DA Craig W. Hum said that his office receives reports from Harran’s attorneys detailing what the chemist has done to comply with the agreement. Investigators for the DA’s office then verify the claims in the reports.
The UCLA chemist has paid the $10,000 fine to the Grossman Burn Center. He also has developed and started teaching a chemistry course for South Central Scholars, a volunteer organization that helps prepare Los Angeles area high school students for college. In court, Thomas O’Brien, Harran’s attorney, said that the chemist had started his first several hours of nonteaching community service at the UCLA hospitals. Harran must complete 800 hours by the end of the five-year term of the agreement.