Phil Spector's retrial for the murder of Lana Clarkson over five and a half years ago kicks off today with 300 jurors showing up at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center today and tomorrow. Judge Larry Paul Fidler's courtroom 106 is not large. A placard on the wall indicates the seating capacity is "80."
Here's how the process works. 75 potential jurors will show up in the morning and squeeze into 106. Another 75 will show up in the afternoon. The same process will be repeated on Friday. There may be a pre-screening process to exclude those jurors who can not serve due to hardship reasons. The remaining jurors will then receive a detailed questionnaire to fill out and turn into the court at a later date. Copies of the jurors questionnaires are then turned over to the prosecution and the defense. I'm betting that sometime later, the questionnaire will released to the public.
During the first trial, the initial stages of jury selection was not open to the public. The reason was logistics. There just are not enough seats in the gallery and jury box to accommodate any extra bodies in the courtroom. Ciaran McEvoy, who covered the first trial for City News back then, told me that he waited out in the hall (possibly for days) until there was a free seat that he could occupy.
Yesterday, it was agreed that the kick off of voie dire would be moved back one week from October 14th to October 20th, to give counsel more time to review the jurors responses.
Back on September 15th, Spector's lead counsel, Doron Weinberg made an initial petition to the court for Spector to replace his 1 million cash bond with "his own property." The people objected. This could possibly reduce the bond to half it's current amount. Fidler responded that this is a lengthy process to get the property valued and to determine if there were any title liens. He would allow the defense to submit [the request] "under seal." It may be a while before we get to know if Fidler approves a bond reduction or a property swap for the cash bond. This could be an indication that Spector is hurting for cash, seeing as how he's got a few lawsuits pending for nonpayment of royalties and hotel bills. If he really is hurting, why not sell his catalog? Do you think Spector would consider parting with that continual cash cow to pay his lawyers? It could just be like Michelle Blaine has indicated on her blog, Spector is typically not fond of paying bills.
OJ Simpson's defense in his robbery trial rested yesterday and this morning, all parties are currently hammering out jury instructions. Those of us who have watched this trial on The Legal Edge, are anxiously awaiting the start of closing arguments. There is the hope that the jury will receive the case sometime today. Tomorrow is the 13 year anniversary of the "not guilty" verdict in OJ Simpson's infamous murder trial. OJ Simpson is currently facing 12 counts, including kidnapping. How astronomically coincidental would it be if this jury reaches a verdict tomorrow?
Kazuyoshi Miura is currently sitting in a jail cell in Saipan, waiting to be picked up by LAPD detectives and returned to Los Angeles to stand trial on conspiracy murder charges. It's been speculated in the Asian press that this will not happen until sometime next week. On September 26th, Judge Van Sicklen ruled that double jeopardy applied, and he could not be tried on the murder charge. Miura was convicted of the 1981 murder of his wife, Kazumi, in downtown Los Angeles in his native Japan but the verdict was later over tuned by a higher court. The Japanese are fascinated by all things Miura, and his notoriety and murder trial in Japan are often called "Japan's OJ case."