Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Caplan falls on her sword; Lunch with Mr. Dunne

Monday, court started earlier than usual outside the presence of the jury. Sara Caplan, wearing a peach colored suit, waited while a few other issues were brought before the judge. The Judge decided that the contempt hearing would continue this afternoon.

At 1:30 pm, Ms. Caplan appeared before the court in a different suit, all black. She had removed virtually all her jewelry she was wearing in the morning session. Her attorney, Mr. Nassiter made one last bid to sway Judge Fidler on charging Ms. Caplan with contempt. Judge Fidler rejects all Nassiter's pleadings, citing where he has previously ruled. But Nassiter wasn't done.

Nassiter: Isn't it on dangerous legal ground; isn't the isue of calling this attorney to testify against her former client, also, a dangerous issue...

Judge: (interrupting Mr. Nassiter) Yes, and I'm satisfied that I'm on correct legal grounds with this. Of course it is. I realize that.

And with that, the Judge outlines how the court participants needed to proceed. Alan Jackson called Sara Caplan to the stand where she took the oath and answered a few questions about being a defense attorney, and that she has been in practice for over 25 years. Then Mr. Jackson asked Ms. Caplan questions about the night she was at the Alhambra residence and what she observed. After the first question. Ms. Caplan reads from a prepared statement.

A: (Heavy Sigh.) I have great respect for this court, for the constitutions of the United States and the State of California, and for my ethical obligations as criminal defense attorney in this state. It is my honor and my privilege, to uphold all of these, as I am required to do as member of the State Bar of California. In light of my obligations to assert my clients attorney-client privileges, his fifth and fourteenth amendment due process rights to fundamental fairness, and sixth amendment rights to effective assistance of counsel, I respectfully cannot answer your question.

And that's how it went for the next six of the seven questions. Ms. Caplan, became more and more emotional each time she said she could not answer even though she was directed by the Judge to answer the questions. Ms. Caplan started to break down during the last two questions and was openly crying on the stand.

The Judge stayed the contempt order to be placed in jail while Ms. Caplan pursued an appeal with the appellate court.

Prior to this hearing, I had quickly headed down to the first floor cafeteria to grab a salad and water to go with my lunch that I usually bring. Mr. Dunne, who sometimes eats in the cafetera, occasionally has lunch with Bruce Cutler from the defense team. Mr. Dunne comes up to my table and asks if he could join me. I tell him, "I would be honored." I sat in rapt attention as Mr. Dunne gave me a short synopsis of something that happened while he was covering the O.J. Simpson trial. Over one weekend, he was flown to meet Princess Diana. He was one of the journalists considered to interview her at the time, but the interview eventually went to an English journalist, Martin Bashir. Mr. Dunne expressed what a delightful and warm person Princess Diana was to meet. Princess Diana was following the trial he was covering, and during that meeting, Mr. Dunne said that Princess Diana correctly predicted that the jury would acquit Simpson.

I will write more on this days courtroom events when I get caught up to writing my Trial Notes coverage.


Sherbie said...

You just get all the good scoop, Missy! :-)

Why do you think Caplan changed clothes? At first, I thought, "Well, she didn't want to wear her jewelry and 'good' suit in case she got sent directly to the pokey." But she already knew that the judge would stay the contempt order until she had a chance to appeal...so I guess that wasn't it.

Think she just knew what every woman does -- that black is very slimming? LOL

Thanks so much...you're the best! :-)


Sprocket said...

Hi sherbie,

I think she changed into "go to jail" clothes, preparing for the worst that day.