Monday, July 23rd, 2007
This is an unedited draft entry.
I catch an 8:05 am bus. This means if I'm lucky I will get on the 9th floor by 9:15 am. I grab a seat in the front. Several people are napping or trying to with their heads leaned back and eyes closed. I know the feeling. I barely had four hours of sleep last night. Up too late because Mr. Sprocket was trying to get a new lap top to work with a specific palm pilot he needs for his job that will run tests on these big expensive Honeywell thermostats. No luck. Mr. Sprock is like a dog with a new bone when it comes to anything electronic. He can't put something away and work on it later, so he's up until the wee hours of the morning figuring out the problem. He will have to take the laptop back and get one that is loaded with Windows XP, instead of Vista. The palm pilot won't work with Vista, and the configuration of the computers that have Vista, won't let you load Window's XP on them. So last night, he was not a happy camper.
It's quite muggy out this morning. When we finally got up, we found a light misting shower was already under way. It's been months since Southern California has seen rain, and I had to get a few items undercover of the patio.
On the bus, I have an Uh-oh moment. Last night, I had wedged my large metal letter opener inside my trial notebook, and I never took it out. This means I'm going to have to abandon it to a trash if I want to clear security at court. Sad, because I've had this one for a long time, back to my banking days. As I exit the bus, it goes in the nearest trash can. I brought an umbrella today, just in case. The bus is totally full now, and a few people are standing. It's usually the ride home where I have trouble getting a seat. When I get down to the Red Line station platform, it's empty. I just missed the 8:29 am train.
Finally on the next train, I peer through the windows as the train switches to the southbound track. I am able to look back for a moment and see some open spaces in the tunnels for the first time. Tucked back into one cubby hole, I spot a mid-sized truck parked like it belonged there all the time.
As soon as I get on the 9th floor, I head straight for the courtroom. I see Spector and his deal-of-the-century wife are already in the courtroom. Rachelle is actually wearing something more court appropriate for the second day in a row. It's a long plaid skirt with a bit of a pleat of some sort at the bottom back area, and a black velvet jacket with a mandarin collar and large silver buttons. Have I mentioned she's getting a "killer" wardrobe out of her deal to be arm candy on the arm of a man who could easily be her grandfather? The only problem is, too many of these outfits are totally inappropriate for a murder trial. Her hair is pulled back into a ponytail (the only look I've seen on her that is actually somewhat acceptable for her hair). It's been heavily rumored that the two bodyguards that come into court every day hate Rachelle with a passion, because she often sends them off to do menial errands for her. (At the time I wrote in my notebook about her wardrobe for this day, I honestly thought that "maybe" she finally "gets it," but my thoughts are short lived. The very next day she comes to court in the worst outfit I've seen yet. I can't even print what Dominick said about it. Stay tuned for my upcoming Tuesday coverage where I will describe this latest piece of work she arrived in.)
John Spano of the LA Times is back. Peter Y. Hong is wedged in between him and Harriet Ryan in the back row. CAA notices that there is a "new and improved" still photographer today. It's 9:27 am and we are wondering if Cutler is going to show like it's been reported in the press. A few minutes later he strolls right on in. Dixon says to Plourd when he enters, "Hey! Nice Haircut!" I see Bruce and Phil greet each other. The bailiff comes over to the row behind us and makes one of three interns spit out his gum. A woman I've seen in the courtroom very early on, (I think she used to work for the court in some capacity) Jeanne, greets Linda Deutsch and they hug. Rod Lindblom, the black haired family attorney turns around to greet CCA and asks how I like the Magic Castle. "I loved it!" I reply. John Taylor, the other family attorney says to me, "I read your posts. I liked it very much." "Thank you," I reply. He then tells CCA he reads his posts too! CCA tells Rod he will get him some free passes to The Magic Castle.
9:35 am and I see the Asian transsexual is back in the courtroom with her female friend from before. They come in and sit in the back row. The odontologist, Josesph Anselmo is back on the stand, and Plourd continues his direct examination. Unbelievably, he's describing how crowns are put on. I can see this is going to be just another "stellar" day of testimony for the defense. How is this relevant? I'm sure everyone was just on the edge of their seats waiting to find out how dentists number teeth. I can't believe that Plourd subjects us (again) to a blow up image on the Elmo of the mouth with that device that pulls the lips back every which way. Ewwwww!
I see that Miriam Hernandez from local ABC channel 7 has snuck in the courtroom and is sitting in the back row by the door. Alan Parachini is here in the corner by the pool photographer. Then suddenly, John Spano takes off, carrying his laptop case. The odontist says the tooth material in vial #10 was "lost," but he's very vague about the fact that he was the one who lost the material. CAA leans in to tel me about another word I've misspelled on one of my blog entries. I'd really like to hire him as my editor, but I'm afraid I can't afford him lol! Fawn leans in to whisper to John Taylor. There are a few more questions then Jackson finally steps up to cross this witness.
Jackson gets the odontist to admit that porcelain is harder than any other substance, material in the body. Harder than human bone. He testifies that it is extremely hard, yet also brittle nad will shatter. 9:50 am Brunon enters the courtroom and sits beside Rachelle in the front row. Jackson asks the witness if in his opinion the muzzle flip of the gun caused the crowns to shatter. That's about all Jackson asks, and Polurd tries to redirect his witness. Anselmo admits that he doesn't know anything about "muzzle flip, and that's it for the teeth guy.
There now is a bit of confusion in the courtroom as to which witness the defense is going to call next. Several court clerks or interns come in and immediately start taking notes. Next up: Stuart James. Linda Kenney Baden directs her witness. As we soon find out, Stuart James is a consulting forensic specialist. This is the second blood stain analysis expert the defense calls as a stand in for Dr. Lee. Unfortunately for the defense, he's not a doctor, he doesn't even have his masters, he just has a bachelor's degree. He's basically a hired gun who gives classes, lectures to other academics who are actually in the field. And, he wrote a book with his business partner. Rosen turns his chair completey around and discusses something intently with Plourd.
I look over at Steven (who writes these great pieces on the trial for the LA Weekly) and he looks soooooo bored. Rachelle is having a hard time keeping her eyes open. I can't imagine she enjoys being here. Brunon has a notepad on his lap and is takin notes. Plourd is flipping through some papers and a thick stack of files. A juror yawns and I yawn reflexively. Beth Karas enters the courtroom and takes her usual seat by the camera operators. She has on this gorgeous sea foam suit and matching knit top. It goes perfect with her blond hair.
As the "expert" (cough) talks on and on about his books and taching, CCA keeps shaking his head. CCA says his educaton was in tiny third and fourth rate schools and he mostly taught others. It's 10:25 am, and Linda Kenney Baden is still going over his CIV! Rashelle is still struggling with staying awake~maybe she was up late last nght~and her arms are crossed over her chest. One juror appears to be a bit jittery wile this expert is going on and on. The juror is shaking the foot of their crossed leg and twiddling their pen. The witness tries to engage the jury, but I don't see, at least from my perspective that they are hanging on every word like they were with Dr. Herold. The jurors don't appear to be taking much in the way of notes.
Two salt and pepper haired gentlement come into court. One sits on the defense site, The other manages to find a seat in the back row on the end. I watch Beth scribbling notes as fast as she can. She has an ear piece connected to her blackberry and is usually on it, but now, she is taking extensive hand written notes. Maybe she is writing down what someone is communicating to her over her blackberry. Another somber faced gentleman with pepperd hair in a blue suit enters the courtroom.
Finally, the morning break is called, and Jackson speaks with Stuart James about blood spatter. I try to make a guess about the men who came in after court started. At first, they didn't look like friends of Spector; I thought they might be more investigators. But later, I change my mind and think that they might be. Jackson compliments Dominick on his "power tie" he's wearing today, and say's he might want to borrow it. From my understanding, Dominick's tie collection is legendary. I agree with Alan, it definitely is a power tie. I overhear a bit of gossip about Spector's former assistant. She had six kids with four different men.
11:05 am and we are back on the record. When the jurors reenter the courtroom, juror #6 goes over to the witness stand and fixes the microphone! I actually miss this bit of juror activity because I'm trying to quickly read something Dominick has asked me to look at and give back to him. I find James' testimony boring. All this testimony about what he teaches...who sporkin' cares? What has he actually done in the field? How long has it been since he's worked an actual case?
It appears that Court TV has actually located the shelf at the university where Henry Lee's original dissertation rests on. Yep. That's it. The shelf location, lol! However, they are so short staffed over at Court TV, they can't send someone over there to go get a copy. We find out that with graphs and diagrams, it's only ninety-nine pages. CCA says that most are at least three hundred pages. Personally, I wouldn't know.
CCA leans into me and says exactly what I've been thinking. How many crime scenes has James processed? When the witness testifies that the proper procedure is to cut out the carpet and take it back to the laboratory, I lean into Dominick and say, "This is all BS!" HE smiles and chuckles. I look around behind me and I see I've missed Sandi Gibbons entering the courtroom. James then says that, ~as if it's of any importance! "My lab preceded ASCLAD." (This is the governing body that sets standards and certifications for crime labs across the US).
AJ looks to me like he's lost weight. I bet the number of hours he putting into this case are astronomical. I see Plourd motion to Rachelle and she leans in to hear what he has to say. Detective Tomlin enters the courtroom and sits in the back row. I'm so bored. I just decide I'm not going to write another note until AJ's cross, but then, Rosen gets up to pass a note to Linda Kenney Baden. So, I decide to watch the jurors. Most in the back row are leaning back in their chairs and a few are rocking. There is a spatter image on the chair and a few jurors are leaning forward now to see better.
A man with wavy white hair enters and sits along the back row. It's a different one that the usual one I've seen who comes in to support Spector. This guy has on a very bright yellow shirt covered with small images of fruit. Now there is something new on the Elmo! It's a photo of all the defense experts examining the jacket at possibly the ME's crime lab. There's Dr. Lee in the photo, and I wonder if this is all that the jury will see of Dr. Lee. CCA writes me a note: The defense experts are all quoting each other. Ten minutes to go. Seven minutes to go.
Steven took off at the last break after asking a question of Chris Plourd. Steven not only covers the high profile celebrity crimes beat, he also does local theatre reviews. Five minutes to go. It so quiet between exhibits, we can hear the clock ticking. Someone from the DA's office comes in and sits beside Sandi Gibbons. The clacking of the keys on the laptops seems louder than usual today. Finally! Judge Fidler calls the lunch hour three minutes early. Before we even exit for lunch, CCA wishes he could cross examine James himself. Dixon and Rosen are at the bench, but it doesn't seem to be something that is on the record, because the court reporter is not recording what they are saying. The fruit shirt guy is talking to the bodyguards. I finally ask Ciaran where I can read his coverage online. He says that local NBC channel 4 usually has his stuff, but it's without a byline. Other local papers will also have his coverage without a byline such as the Whittier News and the Pasadena City News.
Finally back in the courtroom, I hear the last part of a conversation where Rosen is saying to someone in a joking manner, "I don't want to cause any trouble," and Dominick who is just entering the room says, "I do!" Rosen and CCA exchanged quips about the rain we had this morning and how it is pouring in New York right now. Dominick asks me, "Did you know that Michael Bay is John Frankenheimer's son?" And of course, I don't know this, because I don't follow Hollywood or this type of news. Dominick reads the various web blogs I've printed out for him. He tells me that when he went to see an episode of "Jury Duty" being filmed, that they were already taping their 65th episode. I find that amazing. CCA chats with Peter Y. Hong for a bit and the rest of us wait for court to start. CCA confirms for me that the "name for the area of the court where the attorneys are is called "the well" of the court. I had always wondered what the term was.
The regular white haired guy is back and the two guys from this morning are now all sitting together and chatting in the second row of the defense area. Fawn's friend is here for the afternoon session. I've seen her at the Red Line station. CCA gets the family attorneys to sign a copy of their wrongful death filing he got off the net. Looking on over at Spector, I see he is currently animatedly talking to Cutler. His eyes are wide open and his arms are moving about, and then he places his hands on his cheeks. CCA points out to me that AJ has a marked up copy of Stuart James' book at the prosecution table. The courtroom is empty compared to the morning session. " Talk about blood spatter, and you sure can empty a room," CCA says.
We're finally back on the record, and Linda Kenney Baden continues with the direct examination of Stuart James. I give myself a mental note to get more notebooks. Rachelle talks to a man I don't recognize who is sitting in the first row. Maybe it's another defense expert or a defense assistant. The defense is now up to "10" A's for their exhibits. that means it's the 234th document/exhibit that the defense has presented. This group of jurors are usually quite stoic, and are often hard to read. Currently, they don't look like they are hanging on the witnesses words. That could be because they've heard way more about blood spatter than they would ever want to know by now. A juror coughs, and the judge looks over to ensure everything is alright with them.
I see the person by Rachelle is taking notes. So this must be someone who works for the defense team. Several jurors are leaning back and stretched out, getting comfortable in their seats. I didn't need my sweater. It was just right in 106 this morning. Detective Tomlin exits the courtroom. A tall young man comes in right after with what looks like to be a thick wad of appears and he takes a seat by the door against the wall. It's 2:00 pm. Linda Kenney Baden is finally done with the direct of James, and Jackson gets up to cross.
Someone with two young kids, preteens or just barely teen boys, are sitting in the back row by the door. A juror looks out at the gallery and has a smile/laugh when the witness bumps the microphone. Spector is slumped in his chair. Elbows on the arm rests, hands interclasped and resting in front of his face. The two guys who came in this morning and sat on the defense side leave. Jackson uses a new green laser pointer and says, "Birthday present." Judge Fidler gets a smile on his face and shakes his head.
AJ then leans in and tells the family about photos that he's going to put up on the Elmo. Fawn closes her eyes and Mrs. Clarkson looks down. And for some reason, as I see these photos of Lana again, my eyes start to well up with tears and I feel quite sad.
Another trial watcher, a rather large woman who's been here once before enters the courtroom and sits beside Linda Deutsch. Last time I saw this woman in court, she was sitting right behind Fawn and actually leaned into her to ask her a question. I was quite surprised because all the accredited press knows to not approach the family.
Those two kids are still sitting against the back wally and have obviously been "parked" in the courtroom. Since I no longer see the woman who was squatting down beside them for a moment when they first came in, I'm wondering where the boys parent/guardian went, and why in the world she would park them in a 9th floor courtroom, where all the cases are murder cases. Beyond me. 2:40 pm, Detective Tomlin comes back in the courtroom and five minutes later, the afternoon break is called.
CCA finds out from Peter Y. Hong that Henry Lee's dissertation was on E. Coli. At 3:05 pm, the jury reenters the courtroom and we go back on the record. Dominick and I talk a bit about the jurors. There is one juror who we think is a real gentleman. Dominick thinks he has the "air or aristocracy" about him. This is the juror who always hold the little gate door for the rest of the jurors to walk through when they enter or exit the courtroom. Regarding the blood stains on the chair (that James thinks is going on about right now) CCA feels that the padding on the arm of the chair would absorb the blood, and not be the source of the spatter that James testifies could be satellite spatter. The courtroom is even more empty now, and the kids have been picked up. Rachelle is now sitting alone on the defense side and Brunon has been missing since I think the morning break.
I've never seen a witness tap dance around something so obvious as committing to where Lana Clarkson's head was in relation to the chair. Oh Goody. He actually commits to her head being over her body. I have to commend Ciaran, a very serious and competent reporter. He's taking copious notes all through this crap. Dominick and I barely write a thing. A few jurors look out at the gallery. The most important part of the cross is, that Jackson gets James to place the white jacket within two feet of the face of Lana Clarkson. Back on redirect, Ms. Baden asks questions about the arm of the jacket, and if it could be in a strange over the head position, and her witness readily agrees. Jackson recrosses James with one or two questions and then finally at 3:30 pm, this witness is off the stand.
The prosecution now presents their last witness for their case, Detective Tomlin, and Dixon performs the direct examination. Tomlin states that he was in control of the evidence. Rosen takes notes at the defense table. This is all about the lost piece of evidence by Henry Lee. Tomlin is here to get the final nail in the coffin that the prosecution never received this missing evidence. At first, I think this is foundation for Stan White, and they are still going to try to call him. Tomlin states that they didn't receive anything that looked like a small white object with irregular edges. He also states that he didn't receive any tape recordings from Tawni Tyndall either. Dixion has no more questions, and Plourd gets up to cross Tomlin.
First off, Plourd is asking something about the piece of carpet that was collected by the defense team. Are they really goin in the right direction by questioning the fact that the criminalists didn't collect the carpet? This is so sad this cross. Tomlin puts it into persepective by saying that they try their best not to tear up people's homes when they collect evidence. As I look back towards the courtroom door, I see waht I think is a sheriff's face, peeking through the tiny window in the door. Plourd is done with his cross, and Jackson redirects.
Q: You were present when the house was turned over (to the defense)?
Q: Were they wearing booties?
Q: Did you ever get that small white object?
There's no recross, and the prosecution rests, without calling Stan White. The jury is finally excused, and there is a bit of court business that has to be dealt with. Since there already was a dark morning scheduled for Tuesday, all parties agree that this would be a good time for the defense to present their standard eleven eighteen motion to dismiss. This is a standard motion that happens at the end of the prosecutions CIC, and it's all done for any possible appellate issues. It's thought that this will only take an hour, so court is adjourned until 11:00 am tomorrow. I decide that I don't really need to see this, and will just come for the afternoon session. CCA and I take the Red Line home. The time goes by quickly as we discusss the merits of the case and how boring the testimony was today.
Once I get a seat on the Orange Line bus, one of the things I wonder about is, how does the family sit in front of me day in and day out? How did they tolerate those two supposedly "friends" of Lana lie and lie and lie about their loved one? How in the world were they able to sit there, through all that wretched crap the Pie and Jennifer Hayes Riedl spewed? Would I have been able to sit there, if I were ever, somehow in their shoes?
It's like I so wanted them to make a demonstraton of sorts. To stand up in the middle of it all, and turn their backs on the Pie (and/or Jennifer) and walk out. Or release a statement to the press through their attorney. Say something in response to how Lana was slandered on the stand. I don't know that I would be able to remain silent, but then again, I am not living their pain. I know ther are some who feel that it's "not right" that Donna Clarkson and her daughter sit beside their attorney's every day in court. But personally, I find it hard to fault them for that. They've chosen not to speak to the media and that is their right. I see their attorneys as more of an insulation between themselves and the press, and maybe, if I was in their shoes, I would want the same thing. So it's hard for me to put a judgement on that decision.
I almost forgot. I would like to give a shout out to a blogger in London, England, Anthony Samuelson. Anthony blogs about his life and interests. He took a break during some of the trial but lately, he is back to including coverage of the Spector trial. His blog is called, The Life and Times of Anthony Samuelson. Please stop by and take a look.