January 7, 2008
#29 Dr. Louis Pena (LA Co. Deputy Coroner; performed the autopsy on Ms. Clarkson; currently under redirect)
Accredited Press inside the courtroom: One possible gentleman in the back row, unidentified.
Due to Truc Do presenting to Dr. Pena, Lana Clarkson's activities over the last few days before her death and asking him to consider them regarding Ms. Clarkson's "state of mind" the prosecution will be adding a few more witnesses to their witness list as proof of those activities.
Since I need to work on sewing orders tonight and tomorrow, I will be updating this entry covering yesterday's testimony and today's events over the weekend.
January 7th, 2009, Trial Notes: (unfinished, draft entry)
9:09 am: We are supposed to start at 9:15 am to day but I hear Wendy say one of the jurors is late. Judge Fidler comes out to sign some documents for detectives and he’s wearing a very nice sweater vest with a matching tie. From here, the color of the vest and tie look like a very pale olive color with a cream shirt. He looks sharp.
There are two people in the front row who greet Mr. Jackson when he comes in. The suited gentleman is holding a large file folder. Mrs. Clarkson is back. I then hear the bailiff say the juror is going to be 30 to 40 minutes late. So much for trying to get as much as possible out of this day.
Spector gets up from the defense table to sit with Rachelle in the front row. He reads a white sheet of paper with some typing on it. Rachelle puts her arm around Spector’s shoulder.
AJ and the man in the front row talk a bit about Ric Ocampo and his assignment in a Compton courthouse handling misdemeanors. There’s an interesting coincidence. A young man who was a student intern in the DA’s office when Ric was there, went to law school, graduated, and is now Judge Ocampo’s calendar deputy. A tall slender gentleman from the DA’s office enters and sits beside AJ & Truc’s clerk.
9:27 am: Pat Kelly from the PIO enters. Two student looking individuals enter. Rachelle is now leaning her head on Spector’s left shoulder. Spector’s head is slumped down and it appears as if his eyes are closed. Other than a bit of chatter between AJ, Truc and the court reporter (they’re discussing rock bands) the courtroom is virtually silent.
The day before I found out that the young man who is filling in covering all the AV (audio/video) for the defense is from New York and works in Jennifer Barringer’s office. Detective Tomlin, Bill Ferguson (one of Mrs. Clarkson’s attorneys) and Mrs. Clarkson reenter the courtroom. After a time, Spector slowly moves back to his seat at the defense table.
Dr. Pena is still on the stand.
Juror #15 finally arrives and when she enters the jury room to join the other jurors there is a cry of like, “Hooray!” It’s 9:55 am and we are waiting for Judge Fidler to take the bench.
Truc begins her redirect of Dr. Pena. She starts off with the gun in the mouth with Clarkson’s purse over the shoulder issue questions by Weinberg and clarifies that Weinberg took the issue out of context from the last trial. Weinberg interrupts Ms. Do to state that she’s misstating evidence. While the Judge is looking over the first trial transcript, Ms. Do asks to present the question another way. Truc asks if the purse on the shoulder was was swayed his opinion in MOD. Pena states that one point wasn’t an issue that swayed his opinion on self inflicted verses homicide.
Truc then proceeds to the 26 female suicides in the study that Dr. Lakshmanan conducted. Weinberg objects. He states that for the record, he “received no such evidence.” He then goes onto repeat again what he states is the only discovery he ever received from the prosecution.
Truc moves onto the left bruise to the tongue, and clears up any confusion that was caused under cross. I remember when Dr. Pena was asked this in the first trial and I remember his answer. In the first trial he did tell the jury that he didn’t think the bruise was caused by an explosion so his testimony is consistent with this trial.
10:14 am: Some Spector supporters show up and sit with Rachelle. It’s two men who have come to court once or twice before for this trial. One man I believe came to part of the first trial. A few moments later, a break is suggested.
Outside the presence of the jury, Truc and Weinberg battle out the issue of the data that Dr. Pena states Mr. Weinberg requested. Weinberg is denying he ever asked the doctor to compile this information. Dr. Pena has stated that it’s in his notes of the meeting with Weinberg to compile this data. Weinberg states, “There’s absolutely no question that I did not receive this in discovery.” AJ explains that it was his understanding that this was something the defense requested. He goes onto say, “This is nothing that we were going to use in our case in chief.” Dr. Pena just complied with the defense’s request. Weinberg replies, “Let me set the record straight. The only thing I’ve receive from the prosecution because the original trial transcript are two small documents.” (This is the same statement he’s made every time he’s complained about discovery violations by the prosecution.)
I note that there are a few other public people in the gallery. AJ explains what he believe happened. That there was an unintentional oversight. AJ just assumed that Dr. Pena forwarded a copy of this document to the defense. Dr. Pena stated on the stand that he made sure to add a note (that may be somewhere back at the office with his copy) to AJ to please forward this to the defense. Weinberg insists that he did not request this information. Fidler rules that this was an innocent error and there was no intentional discovery violation. Weinberg is given time to go over these reports that he requested be compiled.
Weinberg presses on with the Judge. “The document we were given is dated June 8th, 2008. It’s addressed to AJ. It was sent “to” Mr. Jackson. I find that completely inconsistent with what Mr. Jackson first testified to.”
Truc says, “Mr. Weinberg opened the door with questions on cross to Dr. Pena and to Detective Lillienfeld about suicide cases they’ve investigated.
Weinberg still complains that the prosecution didn’t turn it over.
Fidler states “I still don’t see it as deliberate. I’m not going to let Ms. Do us it until you have the ability to review the material. I’m not precluding it, [I’m just tabling it for now.
Weinberg states “It doesn’t appear that this information will support her conclusion.”
Fidler tables the material and it can be gone into later. The court reporter’s work out switching right after these issues are discussed. Spector needs a break to use the restroom and the bodyguard escorts him down. After they leave Rachelle gets up to join them. I wonder if she is still going into the restroom with him like I was told she did during the first trial.
10:48 am: Louis Spector and Frieda arrive and a few moments later the jury reenters the courtroom.
Back on the record. Truc has Dr. Pena review the 24 cases that Dr. Lakshmanan identified in his 2004-2006 study. This was all gunshot wound suicides in those years and there were 755. A few of the statistics of this study were presented 11% were women (80). Weinberg objects to this and they approach the bench.
More statistics are presented that are a bit different. 755 total, 80 females, 675 males. Of the 80 females 24 were intra oral GS wounds. Truc presents the first case for Dr. Pena to review. Weinberg objects again. “It appears that all Ms. Do is doing os talking about issues they have no first hand knowledge about.” Counsel approaches the bench again.
Weinberg is objecting more today than he was during direct. Weinberg is nodding his head as Fidler rules. As AJ speaks Weinberg is shaking his head. Fidler speaks and now Weinberg is shaking his head. I’m not clear who won this round.
Back on the record, Dr. Pena admits that he tried to review this material and he pooped out at midnight. He only got through the first case in the huge binder. Truc states they will return to this issue after he’s read the cases.
Truc asks Dr. Pena, “In your personal cases [...] did you have a prior case of a woman with no psychiatric history; no prior attempts and goes to a stranger’s home and commits suicide?” “No,” Dr. Pena testifies.
Truc moves onto the bruise on the tongue. Truc goes over other injuries in the autopsy report that he did not assign causes to the injuries and this ins normal and standard. Normally, the coroner does not opine on how an injury occurred. Prior to AJ and Ocampo asking him what might have caused that bruise, he had never considered it before. The defense tried to make it appear as if he “reconsidered” the cause. That was actually the first time he considered what the cause could have been, right before the first trial started.
Truc now addresses the barrel and the crane of the gun. Truc has Dr. Pena look at the anatomical head again. He states that the spine on the model is not accurately placed inside the head. Dr. Pena states that the tongue in the head is not to scale or accurately depict Ms. Clarkson’s tongue.
TD: Aren’t there a lot of variables that you can not account for, [in regards to the gun entering Ms. Clarkson’s mouth]?
TD: What if Lana had her mouth open to scream? [...] What if Mr. Spector had forced the gun into her mouth? [...] What if the gun was twisted to the side so that it entered her mouth on it’s side? [...] There are lots of “what ifs,” correct?” [...] (All this time, that familiar photo of Lana, smiling is up on the ELMO) She has quite a big beautiful smile, doesn’t she?
DW: Objection! Relevance.
TD: There’s just too many “what ifs,?
The last area Truc is going to go into are the e-mails. Dr. Pena states that he did not fin any evidence of suicidal idolation in her e-mails. The e-mails didn’t come up during the last trial. During the first trial he did have a whole box of writings and e-mails.
TD: It was certainly more than the four e-mails that Mr. Weinberg read to you, correct?
Dr. P: Yes.
Now Truc does something that I felt was sorely needed. She goes over a selection of Lana’s e-mails with Dr. Pena. These e-mails go from the time of her wrist accident up until her death. The first one she starts off with is date stamped 1/5/2002. It’s a mass e-mail to many people. She tells everyone about her injured wrists. The next e-mail is dated 2/28/2002. It’s very upbeat about attending the Grammy's. Another e-mail dated 3/4/2002. The next one is dated 2/9/2002.
TD: I’m sorry to go so far back in time about her injuries, but Mr. Weinberg asked about her state of mind regarding this injury.
The next e-mail is three months after her injury. She’s back out with friends and having a ball. The next e-mail is dated 3/15/2002. This e-mail is about asking someone to look into her possibly playing “Zena” at Universal studios to supplement her income.
Each and every time, Truc is asking Dr. Pena to evaluate the e-mail in regards to Lana’s state of mind regarding her injury.
Another e-mail, in September, 2002. She got the Chesterfield Cigarette girl Gig for [Europe] and in this e-mail she wrote how thankful she was to be on the planet.
TD: Dr. Pena, she appears to be upbeat and positive about her career?
(The first trial jury after they hung IIRC, stated they would have want to have a psychological autopsy. E-mail after e-mail after e-mail about her positive attitude.)
Another e-mail is presented to Dr. Pena. It’s a follow up, a “P.S.” to one that Weinberg presented where she stated she wanted to stay in. She’s asking someone if they want to go see “Young Frankenstein” on the big screen.
Dr. P: That was a good movie, Young Frankenstein. [....] This shows an upbeat attitude and wanting to go out.
Weinberg then asks to approach the bench and there is a conference.
The gentleman and woman in the front row who spoke with AJ leave the courtroom. Fidler calls the lunch break early and court resumes at 1:00 pm.
More to come.