Sunday, February 1, 2009

Phil Spector Retrial: Day Thirty-five, Part II, & Scout Kitty Update

January 29th, 2009 (This is an unedited, draft entry)

Defense Witnesses: #2 Stuart James (forensic scientist and blood spatter analysis expert; testimony complete)

Accredited Press inside the courtroom: Harriet Ryan of the Los Angles Times in the afternoon session

I get inside the courtroom right around 9:30 am. Rachelle is wearing a deep purple jacket (and I think matching slacks) that matches the blanket she is usually wrapped up in. People in the gallery often times are wearing their coats since the courtroom is on the cold side. Spector is already at the defense table. There are no other supporters here this early. Linda from San Diego is here and the defense witness Stuart James is waiting in the seat that Linda Deutsch sat it during the first trial: the very end of the second bench row. Later in the day, someone tells me that when Spector entered the courtroom, he stopped and greeted James by taking his hand and holding it for a time.

Wendy, Judge Fidler's clerk comes out and tells the defense that Monday will be dark. A juror has to take his wife some place for extensive medical tests. You can tell that Weinberg is not happy about this from his body language. Wendy says that she told the jurors they have to give everyone more notice because witnesses are flying in from other places. Later, Linda tells me that from what she over heard next Monday is only dark in the afternoon, it's not dark the entire day.

9:33 am: The death chair is brought in on a flatbed cart and Pat Kelly from the PIO is here. When Truc enters and starts to set up their computers, someone asks Truc how she's feeling. Truc replies, "I'm feeling a lot better, thank you." Still, I can hear the scratchy, gravel in her voice when she answered. There's a lone man in the back row wearing a black leather jacket. I've seen him in the courtroom several times.

The regular bailiff, Kyle is back. AJ and Truc set up their table and get the chair ready for his cross. The DA's clerk, Josh, (I find out later he has passed the bar and is an attorney) works on setting up the prosecution's files on their side of the table. Officer Williams is in his regular spot in the comfortable chair against the back wall. I notice that AJ has five textbooks at the podium with him. I try jot down the titles on the spines of the books as quickly as I can before AJ steps in front of them. From top to bottom they are: Forensic Science (by James & Nordby), Principles of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (James, Kish, Sutton), Bloodstain Evidence (James, Eckert, Eckert), Bloodstain Pattern Interpretation (James), and Principles of Bloodstain Pattern Analysis (1st Ed.; James, Kish, Sutton).

Josh is at the witness stand adding pages to the prosecution's evidence book. The Clarkson family has already arrived and AJ leans in and tells Donna that at some point he will be putting the chair up on the prosecution's table throughout the rest of his cross so the jurors can see it easier.

9:44 am: Wendy calls the jury and the bailiff calls for cell phones to be turned off. I instinctively checked my phone and it's good thing that I did since I forgot to set it to silent.

The people enter the billing statement of Stuart James. James testifies that he did not receive the STD subpoena via Mr. Weinberg. Mr. Weinberg didn't provide it to him. James states he never received it. He only received from Mr. Weinberg a verbal (or email) request. The billing statement only has around $16,000 worth of billing on it. The documents don't reflect the amount that he testified the day before he has billed the defense team. James replies to AJ, "You're trying to suggest I lied?!!!!!" AJ replies, "I've suggested no such thing."

More DA clerks enter and sit in the second bench row. Fidler asks to see the STD and as he reads it Weinberg asks for a bench conference. Weinberg makes some sort of pleading with the judge at the bench. I turn around and I notice that Harriet Ryan is not here. At the bench, when Fidler asks AJ a question, he shakes his head then Weinerg speaks and Weinberg is also shaking his head. When they step away from the bench it looks like the issue has been dropped because there are no more questions to James about the STD or his billing.

AJ asks more questions about the power point presentation he presented to the jury. During the first trial, James presented a power point video for the jury but it's been significantly added to for the retrial. James states that he did prepare the power point video for the trial, but that it would ultimately be used in his teaching seminars, also. James states that it has not been used for teaching, yet.

AJ goes over the power point presentation frame by frame by frame. In each frame, AJ asks if that information or demonstration was meant to replicate anything in this case. Each time, James states that this was just for "teaching purposes" for the jurors, and not meant to replicate anything.

AJ replays the video of the falling drop of blood from a distance of 1 meter. AJ asks if the video is meant to show anything that happened in this case and James replies, "No." AJ makes it clear that there is nothing in this case where there was a drop of blood like that in the video.

AJ replays the video section of an aluminum baseball bat hitting a pool of blood. AJ makes it clear to the jury through James's answers that a baseball bat has no application to the facts of this case.

There are series of images on the video are from one of James's books. In the video presentation, the images were a separate slide each. AJ puts up a photo of the entire page of James's book, where all the images are on one page with text explaining the images. Again, James states, "...it's a teaching mechanism to show spatter patterns. It's not meant to be related to [this case]."

The next images on the power point are of a bullet going through a bloody sponge. AJ says, "I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but are you saying that this is supposed to be representative of the facts of this case?" James answers, "No."

AJ: Spatter is not something you always expect to see? [...] There may be very little and there may be a lot. You can't always expect to see... a lot?

I believe James answers that this is correct. Two people come to sit on the defense side of the room with Rachelle Short.

AJ continues to go over every slide and then comes to the demonstrations on satellite spatter. Truc lets out a noticeable cough at the prosecution table.

AJ: Was it your intention that this type of event answers questions about the crime scene? [...] All the satellite spatter falling from a meter? [...] You had other videos, correct, that these gentlemen did?

SJ: This was a three month project that was made available to anyone [in the forensic science community].

The chair is up on the prosecution table now, and AJ enters it as people's next in order.

AJ: Do you have any indication of where on this chair, where blood fell from 100 centimeters?

SJ: Well, of course not.

AJ: Why did you choose a 100 centimeter drop when you had a variety of other videos to choose from, when you know as an expert, when you know it has nothing to do with this case?

SJ: These were the only two [that showed satellite spatter being created]. [...] This video is only meant as a teaching aid. They were the only two high speed videos to show a spattering event.

AJ continues to go over almost every slide in the power point presentation and that they do not apply to this case. More slides are reviewed.

10:22 am: Detective Tomlin enters 106.

He then moves onto the enlarged photographs that he introduced via Dr. Lynne Herold of the stain on the right cuff edge of that white wool jacket. AJ tacks these large photographs up on the cork bulletin board between the witness box and the jury box.

You have to understand that this blood stain is very problematic for the defense. Dr. Herold has testified that this stain is impact back spatter from the gunshot wound. Because of the location of the stain, right on the lower folded cuff edge and how spatter travels, Dr. Herold contends it proves that Spector's right arm/hand was bent in a position that would be associated with holding a gun and pointing it at Lana Clarkson's face.

During the prosecution's case, other enlarged photographs were shown to the jury explaining about impact spatter and how the velocity of spatter will force the blood down into the deeper layers of the fabric's woven fibers. The enlarged photos also show how transfer stains will stay more on the surface of the fabric, verses being deeply embedded. Experts agree that you can't "always" distinguish the two but these characteristics can help an examiner form an opinion.

The prosecution had Dr. Herold draw on white board examples of what spatter stains look like that have directional velocity. They appear elongated and will often times have a "void space" and a small dot at the end. They look very similar to an exclamation point.

!

That little dot at the end is often referred to as the "tail." In fact, there is a stain exactly like this on the wood stanchion of the right chair arm as well as one on the dorsal side of Lana's (left?) hand, partway between the webbing of her thumb and her first knuckle of her index finger. This is what spatter experts look for to determine the directionality of bloodstains. They can tell "where" items where in relation to the spattering event. Scientists can also measure the width and length of these directional spatter stains and determine quite a bit more information about the event from the calculations.

During direct examination, James states this blood stain on Spector's cuff is a transfer stain. To back up his opinion, he stated that three professional associates, who he has the utmost respect for and their combined total expertize is over 100 years of experience, all agree that this stain is a transfer stain, and not spatter.

But lets go back to the enlarged jacket cuff images that Jackson had made of the micro photos Dr. Herold took of this stain. Dr. Herold took the fabric, and had it photographed in the lab with the folded cuff edge, lying flat. I've taken a piece of flannel fabric and photographed it with a fold in it similar to the photograph that Jackson showed the jury. I'm using this just to give you a little bit more of a visual as well as to help explain the blood stain. I'm in no way trying to recreate the folded cuff.

Pressed Fold in Flannel Fabric


In the image the prosecution showed the jury, the fold was pressed down more, but I've kept the fold with a bit of a rise in it, just to show the fold. It was difficult for me to get a good image of the fold any other way.

The blood stain in contention was an elongated stain right on that folded edge, on the bottom of the cuff. It's overall length was no more than the length of a tiny ant, possibly 4 millimeters long. In the enlarged photos, you could see that on each side of the fold (the part of the jacket that would be on the outside and a part of the jacket that would be on the inside of the cuff) there are void spaces. These void spaces are so tiny they are no more than a single strand of yarn of the woven fabric, and then the stain continues after the void spaces on each side of cuff fold. What this suggests, is that this stain is directional spatter coming directly at the cuff edge from Ms. Clarkson's mouth and the void spaces suggest the continuation of the stain on the other side of the void spaces are the "tails."

When confronted with the enlarged photographs, James defends his expert opinion that this is a transfer stain and not directional back spatter. People come and go from the courtroom. James states that he has seen this many times before and it occurs in "folding document phenomenon." (I know that statement doesn't sound like it makes much sense, but that's what is in my notes.) The tone in AJ's voice with his next question in response to that answer is one of disbelief.

AJ: Is it your testimony that, to create a void...from a single fold of a width of yarn? [...] Does it have anything to do with the fact that all three of these experts (he consulted with) were hired by the defense team?

DW: Objection! Facts not in evidence! (This objection is over ruled.)

After some hemming and hawing by James that Paulette Sutton wasn't hired by the defense he finally agrees that she was also paid by Mr. Spector. (Pex, one of the experts he consulted, will testify after James. The other expert, Kish, is his business partner.)

AJ: All three who did your peer review, they were hired by Mr. Spector?

SJ: It sounds like we are all in cahoots.... (and I believe he goes onto explain that they're not).

AJ: I didn't use the word cahoots; I said cohorts.

There's a bit of laughter in the courtroom from this. (AJ did use the word cohorts in the first part of his cross. I believe that was on the prior day.)

Stuart James stands his ground that this stain is a transfer stain. AJ gets one last question in on this issue, stating that the folding had to have occurred on each side of the cuff fold, the width of a single strand of yard to create that void space.

Unless you've sat through several trials and have a basic primer about blood stain spatter analysis it can get pretty confusing. My first education in spatter came at the Robert Blake criminal trial. In the car on the way home, I was trying to explain the cuff edge stain to Mr. Sprocket and he kept insisting that the physics of spatter on fabric would be different than what I was telling him. It's easy to get confused. To me, the tiny blood stain on the folded cuff edge looked exactly like the enlarged example photo of impact spatter in a book that AJ showed the jury.

AJ then moves onto the issue of luminol. On direct examination, James contended that luminol is not the best application to search for spatter. A better way would have been to excise the carpet from the foyer, and look at it under a stereo microscope. AJ asks him if luminol can be as sensitive as one in a million parts? James replies, "At that dilution, you will never get DNA out of it." AJ continues, "It's so sensitive, that it may give a glow on something so tiny it's of no practical value to a scientist, correct?" "Correct," James answers.

AJ asks if spattered blood is a type of distribution. James agrees that it is. AJ then asks, "Your belief is, luminol is not a good tool for spattered blood? At what time did you come to that conclusion?" James responds, "It's been bantered back and forth in scientific circles. [...] But for spatter overall, in our practice, it's not recommended."

To challenge James on this opinion, he puts up on the ELMO, excerpts from James's book, the first edition back in 1998 where luminol is recommended to find many different types of blood stains, including spatter. James states that he doesn't necessarily agree with that and replies, "It's come under questioning."

10:44 am: Spector's adopted son, Donte, enters 106.

James states that in his current teaching, he doesn't recommend it be done. AJ then goes to his latest edition book, published in 2005, where the exact same statement appears. James states that "Lowel (sp?) wrote that chapter. He wanted to include that in the book although I disagree with it."

10:45 am: The morning break is called. I'm told that during the break, there was some sort of "pep rally" in the hallway for the defense. I don't see it since I stayed inside the courtroom and that's all of a description I was given.

11:07 am: The jury reenters the courtroom from the jury room.

AJ: Thanks for staying with us and showing such patience.

SJ: Do I have a choice?

There's a bit of laughter in the courtroom resulting from this banter.

AJ: Good point. Neither do I.

AJ asks James about spatter coming out in a cone shape and James replies that's theoretical.

Looking over on the defense side of the room, I see Tawni Tyndall, one of the defense investigators. I'm not sure exactly when she entered 106.

I'm not sure if AJ asks or if James replies that, there are items that can get in the way (of spatter).

AJ: But the farther away the distribution is, it's less closer? (Meaning, there is less spatter farther out and the space between the pattern left is more.)

SJ: That's generally correct.

AJ: You indicated that you would not be able to interpret something that you can't see. But as an expert, you can give me certain precepts.

SJ: Well, that depends. I think it's paramount to drawing a conclusion from some source of information that's not verifiable. [...] If it's not verifiable, I can not make a conclusion.

I believe AJ says he understands that and then shows James a quote from his book that mentions scientists should take into consideration "statements by key witnesses." AJ then asks him whether or not he was provided the field notes of Jamie Lintemoot.

DW: Objection! Fidler over ruled Weinberg and states, "That issue has been hotly debated." Fidler goes onto say something to the effect that it's up to the jurors to decide.

I'm not sure who makes the next statements. Unfortunately my notes are not clear. James was never provided the field notes. He was just told the information orally and that it's complicated by no photographic documentation.

AJ then gives James a hypothetical about blood spatter getting on hands in this event and as part of the question he demonstrates with his fingers intertwining. James's answer to the hypothetical is no.

AJ moves onto clotted blood on the bloody diaper/rag. James agrees that the blood on the rag was clotted before the face was wiped.

The next issue is the slip dress. James states that he thought he stated yesterday that you can't use the directional arrows on the slip dress to determine where the blood came from, because the slip dress was bunched up. (On direct, James stated that he believes some of the stains on the slip dress are satellite spatter because of the arrows pointing in different directions.)

11:34 am: Truc exits 106 quickly because of a coughing fit. She reenters shortly after.

AJ's next issue is the overall pattern of blood stains and James replies that he knows where AJ is going with this. It's the "Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence" statement coined by Kish that appears in their books together.

AJ takes more text from the book and puts it up on the overhead screen. The quote goes something like this, but it's not exact. (I could not get it all jotted down.) Many attorneys attempt to view the absence of blood spatter on (someone as evidence); it's not evidence and is not conclusive of an (individual) not being involved.

AJ then moves onto James's experiments he did on the ladies wool jacket he purchased. AJ put the photos up on the ELMO from the power point presentation and clarifies that the
experiment and the blood spatter that was produced on the jacket has no meaning in regards to the crime scene. The blood James dropped, he dropped from an approximate height of 12 inches. You can see the experiment placed spatter on the jacket in almost a rough, horizontal line at exactly the same height. AJ asks James where on Spector's jacket, there are horizontal stains resembling those in his experiment. James concedes that there are none.

AJ: Knowing what you know, what is your explanation of the distribution for pattern stains on Mr. Spector's jacket.

SJ: They could be from a spattering event or they could be from satellite spatter when produced....

AJ's next demonstrations have to do with a plumb bob. He asks James to point out on the chair where the stains on the padded chair arm and on the stanchion and on the seat cushion near the stanchion came from. AJ asks, "All I'm asking you is, if it's coming from up here, where did it come from?"

The lunch break is called.

1:11 pm: I'm back early from lunch over at the underground city. I see Donte on one of the 9th floor hallway benches, reading a book. Almost every time he's come to court, I've seen him bring a book.

Inside the courtroom, the chair is being brought out again. I see Weinberg go up to the bodyguard and they walk out together. As they exit 106, I overhear Weinberg ask him, "What's going on?" (At the afternoon break, we find out what Weinberg must have been asking the bodyguard.) Spector is sitting in the gallery in the second bench row. He's talking to Donte sitting beside Rachelle in the first bench row.

1:27 pm: The DA's clerk, Josh, brings in the prosecution's cart. I see at the defense table, Spector has some orange type drink. There are two small bottles of it there. At the witness stand, Weinberg and James are going over a document.

When AJ enters the courtroom, he mentions to Linda and myself that he smells pasta. I'm guessing that's what the jurors had for lunch and the smell is coming from the jury room.

1:31 pm: Rachelle is intently texting on her blackberry. Not long afterwards, Donte leaves 106. A tall, large black man enters. He greets then shakes hands with the Spector's bodyguard. They both exit 106. The bodyguard then comes back in and motions to sheriff Williams in the back row. They both step outside 106.

1:35 pm: The large black man is back in 106. He's sitting beside the bodyguard in the back row and then gets up and goes over to Wendy's desk.

When court resumes, AJ asks James where the blood came from that created the satellite spatter. Where is the source "above" these stains? James states it is from "cascading blood" down Lana Clarkson's jacket and purse.

The woman who has now been identified as Weinberg's wife enters 106.

AJ confronts James on this term. "This is the first time you've ever mentioned "cascade effect."

James then adds the word "turbulence" to also describe the effect he's talking about.

AJ confronts James that in his report, it doesn't say anything about cascading or turbulence.

1:39 pm: Donte reenters 106.

AJ: How did those stains on the chair, end up on Spector's jacket?

James mentions the cascading effect and states there had to have been a "rapid flow" of blood out of Ms. Clarkson's mouth.

AJ: How long would that rapid flow take place?

SJ: This would occur as long as there was blood pressure.

AJ: Taking into consideration Dr. John Andrews testimony, that Ms. Clarkson's heart beat after the gunshot wound was barely discernible (how do you account for that)?

SJ: It would take place as long as there was a large amount of blood in the mouth.

AJ tries to pin him down to a time frame. James states, "A short period of time." AJ then asks, "What is a short period of time?" James responds, "A few seconds."

More Spector supporters enter. It's three people who have been here before.

James testifies under cross that the blood cascading down from the mouth "bounced" on the padded arm of the chair and became spatter.

AJ asks him to find a place in his book where he documents this phenomenon, cascading blood flow. James replies, "It's more related to rapid (blood flow)." AJ presses him on. "That phenomenon is not mentioned anywhere in any one of these books?" For effect, AJ brings out all five of the forensic bloodstain pattern analysis books. James states there is a section on flow patterns in his book.

AJ states that he had to read all of these books. He states in his review of these books, there's not one word on "...cascading blood flow patterns that can result in satellite spatter. [...] Everybody (he lists the books) seems to have overlooked mentioning it."

SJ: It's not like we're passing over it lightly. It does come up in large falling volumes of blood.

AJ: Isn't the fact that the reason that it doesn't appear is because you made it up to account for blood stains?

James denies this is true. The handsome, tall black haired private investigator enters 106.

Next set of questions involves the plumb bob and AJ asking question after question about spatter and confronting James on his expert opinion that the stains on the chair and stains on the slip dress came from satellite spatter.

During all these questions, the chair goes up on the prosecution's table and back down and then back up again so the jury can see it and AJ frequently uses a laser pointer on stains on the chair. AJ asks, in order from blood to drip into blood, the blood has to come from somewhere, because the blood is controlled by gravity. James states that the blood can come off and have a parabolic effect and that's an exception to gravity. AJ repeats his answer back to him, confronting him on the "exception to gravity" statement. James corrects himself and states that is not an exception to gravity but an effect of gravity.

There are many questions regarding the stains on the chair and AJ frequently uses the plumb bob to make his point that James has never made it clear as to "where" the satellite spatter could have originated from.

AJ then puts the laser pointer in the spot on the chair approximately where Lana Clarkson's mouth would have been. He points it at a spot on the chair stanchion near the seat pad where there is blood that James has testified could only be satellite spatter. AJ questions, "That's a straight line and could have been from the gunshot, correct?"

I see Weinberg is leaning back in his chair and doing his nervous habit finger plucking his lips again. AJ puts on a vinyl glove and points to another area on the chair and asks James a question about another stain. "How about blood on that (area)?

2:06 pm: Harriet Ryan enters 106.

AJ shows James that the leopard skin purse on the outside of the chair stanchion, covers that area. So how could blood dripping into this stain, get on Spector's jacket? A photo of the purse covering that area of the chair is up on the ELMO. AJ uses a yellow legal pad over the same area of the chair in the courtroom.

AJ keeps asking James, how far that blood would had to have spattered. Each time James comes back an states, "It doesn't matter. I'm talking about the rapid flow of blood."

AJ then takes several other high speed slow motion videos (not in James's power point) but produced by the same team in New Zealand as the ones James presented in his direct testimony. AJ presents them to the jury and for James to comment on.

The first video show a single drop of blood being dropped from 10 centimeters (that's about 4 inches) into blood. The blood dropping into blood does not spatter and James agrees that blood dropped from that height into blood doesn't spatter. The drop couldn't break it's own surface tension.

Another video of blood being dropped from 20 centimeters (about 8 inches) and then another video after that. In each video, the blood being dropped into blood doesn't break the surface tension of the blood to make a spatter pattern.

There are several videos. Each time, the blood being dropped into blood from these low heights doesn't break the surface tension of the pool of blood below.

Another video where the blood is being dropped from 25 centimeters, which is just under 10 inches. Again, the blood being dripped doesn't break the surface tension enough to create satellite spatter that goes beyond that of a tiny rim of the pooled blood.

AJ confronting him on this evidence, asks him about the spatter on Spector's jacket. James still holds his ground and states that blood stains on the chair or Spector's jacket could be satellite or impact spatter or a combination of both.

AJ then confronts James with his testimony at the first trial where James testified that some of the stains on Spector's jacket had to have come from the gunshot event. James still agrees with that prior year testimony.

AJ: Taking that into consideration, where would he place Spector's jacket from Lana Clarkson?

AJ stands on the second step of the witness box steps. I'm not clear if AJ asks, or if James responded with this answer from my notes. One-and-a-half to two feet from Lana Clarkson's mouth.

AJ tells James he has one more question in regards to the cascade event. "Are you testifying to that because that's the defense theory that Spector was rendering aid?

SJ: No.

AJ: Has anyone on the defense (team) suggested to you that Mr. Spector was rendering aid?

SJ: No.

Several young men who look like DA interns wearing suits enter the courtroom and sit in the third bench row. Later, I confirm that they are interns.

AJ then reads to James, a scenario that Weinberg read to prosecution witness Steve Renteria.

I believe there are a few more questions and then AJ ends his cross of James. It's 2:40 pm, and Fidler asks Weinberg if he wants to start for five minutes then break, or does he want to take the break early so he can have a longer time on redirect and not be interrupted. Weinberg chooses to take the break now.

At the break, the issue of the photographs taken by the bodyguard and Rachelle Short grabbing the camera out of the PIO employee's hands is brought before Judge Fidler. This is covered in my prior entry.

Court finally resumes at 3:08 pm and James is under redirect.

Weinberg gets his witness to state that he's not here to support any theory for the defense. Weinberg asks him again if there is satellite spatter related to this chair. James testifies, "There is no doubt (in his mind)." Weinberg puts up the defense exhibit of the slip dress with the directional lines all over it.

At this point, I stop taking notes and try to remember all the words that were said during the hearing at the break. Weinberg is just getting his witness to say the same things he said during direct. Weinberg asks James, "And then there is this spot back here..." referring to the blood stain that is on the underside of the white jacket. Yet, Weinberg takes his right arm and wraps it around the front of his body to place it on the backside of his left. To me, he's clearly pointing in the wrong area of the jacket sleeve where that stain was found. James replies, "It's only one stain. You can't say much about one stain. One stain does not a pattern make."

Weinberg mentions the luminol test and the pantyhose, and asks James if there was blood on the pantyhose, could it have flaked off. James admits that he's only done experiments on warm-up jackets and not nylons. He states he would have to do experiments before he could comment. Weinberg asks quite a few more questions of this witness than what I've documented. He went over the stains on the chair again with James and how certain stains on the chair could not have been from the back spatter from Lana Clarkson's mouth.

At 3:54 pm Weinberg is finished with his redirect. On recross, AJ, asks just a single, critical question of the defense witness.

AJ: Based on the totality of the evidence did some of the back spatter (on the white wool jacket) come from the gunshot event?

In my opinion, this is the crux of the case, placing that white jacket within the short distance that tiny, one millimeter drops can travel when they are back spatter.

SJ: I'd have to say yes.

Court resumes Monday morning at 9:30 am.

Scout Kitty Update

Many of you have emailed me asking if I've received your donation to Scout's surgery fund, as well as asked how he is doing. Again, I want to thank everyone who was so generous in dipping into their pocketbooks during these tough economic times and helping to pay for his operation.

I thought I would share some photos of Scout, dating back to when he first arrived on our back patio and the indoor kitties used to watch him from out bed through the patio windows.

Sprocket & Jumpy watch Scout eat in 2006.

For a long time we fed Scout on the patio table.
You can see in the background we had a bed for him down inside a deep box and there was also the old cat tree that he first took refuge on during a rainstorm. But we also had another problem that cropped up with feeding him outside.


This baby opossum also had a momma opossum that was three times his size. They would get in his water bowl and go to the bathroom on his table. It was a big mess. So to solve this problem we slowly adjusted Scout to the indoors. There we could feed him until the opossum family moved on to a better food source.

Scout and Jumpy have become great buds who like to hang out together on the heated massage table.

And Scout is not afraid to share the water bowl in the dining room with Sprocket.

Even though he is adjusting to life on the inside, he still likes to look outside and dream of the life he used to have.

19 comments:

Pierre said...

Thank you sooooo much, Betsy!!!!! When I read you, it is as if I was with you in the court room!

What about Scout Kitty' update? Did I miss it?

Regards

Nanouk

Sprocket said...

I just updated the entry with the latest on Scout.

Anonymous said...

That defense expert is doing a great job--for the prosecution...lol. Maybe he can re-direct that fat bill for services rendered to the other side.
Can you imagine having to sit and read those manuals like AJ did? I'm glad he did--he made mush of that guy.

Anonymous said...

Wow Sprocket!!

What great detail...I felt I was there in the courtroom with you. I could feel the tension. I sure hope the jury got it this time! You described the testimony in such a wonderful way. Of course you always do. But, this entry was way beyond perfect.

Thank You,

Mary Beth

Liz said...

Wow is right - fabulous detail - if you keep up this level of reporting we will all become blood spatter experts!

many thanks as always

Sprocket said...

Thank you everyone. This entry was a real bear to write. Took me most of the day today.

A couple of things I'd like to add. I've received emails from people asking me about when the bodyguard is in the courtroom and if he knew about the no photography rule.

That's open to debate. There are times the bodyguard steps into the ante chamber and hangs out there. He then can easily step out into the hallway to talk on his cell phone. (I think he has a blackberry, just like Rachelle but I'm not 100% positive about that.)

I can sometimes hear when someone enters 106, and I turn around and see the person coming through the inner courtroom doors, but not always. For example, Pat Dixon is pretty crafty. He has entered 106 so quietly at times I don't catch him.

Even though Stuart James held his ground in his opinions, I don't think he accomplished much for the defense. That's just my opinion. In the end, AJ asked that critical question about the stains on Spector's jacket and James had to concede that at least some of them came from the back spatter from Lana's mouth. This means Spector's jacket was quite close to Lana, ergo, Spector was also close, within that 3 feet that Dr. Herold testified to, when the gun was fired.

This is just my opinion of course, but I think the rest of the cross that AJ did of James was just icing on the cake. I think it showed the jury that this expert could have a bias. And when AJ used a plumb bob over the chair, that was priceless.

Several times, AJ and Weinberg both got on their knees in front of the chair and asked James "where" Spector would have to have been, to have gotten satellite spatter on his jacket from the chair or purse strap.

To me, it just reinforced the ridiculousness of Spector possibly being on his knees beside Lana, tending to her to pick up that satellite spatter.

Christine said...

I think the defense witness really fell apart when AJ started showing things he's said in his book which he was either contradicting or making up. Then at the end he just got real stubborn and kept trying to stick to his point no matter what question AJ asked. Not a good idea, as it shows you are biased and will only answer one way no matter what the question. Also, AJ is smart enough to keep this witness in line and not let him overwhelm with useless technicalities. From what you have written it sounds as if AJ used the 70,000 witness to good advantage.

Sprocket, your entries are amazing. This is a great thing you are doing and you must be thanked manyfold for your efforts and diligence in this, as well as the clarity of your reporting. I find your reports even on these boring days extremely interesting.

Thank you so much!

Anonymous said...

Great work!! Thank you.
Tomorrow, Feb 3 is the sixth anniversary of the death of Lana Clarkson. I wonder if the DA will work this into the presentation or discusssion?
Wes J.

Anonymous said...

I just wish you devoted the same detail to direct examination of the defense witnesses as to cross.

One cannot get a fair flavor of how the defense is going otherwise.

What was the direct examination on whether the blood spatter can or cannot establish whether or not Spector's arm was in a shooting position when hit with blood spatter?

Second, is it just a single drop of possible spatter on Spector's "gun hand"?

If Spector was close enough to be holding the gun in Lana's mouth, one would expect the cuff and sleeve of that arm to be completely spattered in high velocity blood spatter, right?

Anonymous said...

Fabulous detail alright--of the prosection cross only....

How about equal detail in the defense direct, or does that not matter?

Sedonia Sunset said...

GREAT reporting, Sprocket, always!

But I'm clueless: What's a plumb bob?

shari said...

As always your writing is amazing. It makes me want to go out and cut my finger and do my own experiments....NOT!!!....this is fascinating stuff. Could you tell if the jurors were really understanding all of this??? It is so o o o complicated if you aren't someone like you (Sprocket) that has some background in this. Glad ot see Scout is better.

mControl said...

OMG Scout is looking fit as a fiddle these days and I am so glad to read he is adjusting to 'life on the inside'. I certainly hope that he continues to do well and finds that this new life will afford him a broad spectrum of adventageous new discoveries. Hugs for you and scout.

Sprocket said...

Christine:

I don't know for a fact that James was "making things up." AJ certainly suggested that in one of his questions on cross.

Wes J:
I don't know how that could happen. The defense is presenting witnesses. Maybe AJ could say something on cross (I don't know what though) with Dr. L, if Weinberg wraps up his direct tomorrow.

Anon @ 9:32 am & 12:04 pm:
It appears this is the same anon individual? Am I correct? If so, I'm sorry my trial reporting is not up to your standards. It's my opinion that no matter what type of coverage I did, I'm bound to have some disappointed readers.

I believe I already reported on the direct examination of Stuart James that his expert testimony is that the single blood stain on Spector's right cuff was atransfer stain. Ergo, meaning that it was not from the back spatter event and does not necessarily prove Spector's arm/hand was in a bent position towards Ms. Clarkson's face as the prosecution contends.

Understand that Mr. Weinberg did not ask his expert witness on direct where "he" would place Spector's white jacket in relation to the gun being fired. Under direct, he was not willing to reconstruct the scene to the degree that Dr. Herold did. All he was willing to state was that Lana Clarkson's head was within a 90 degree arc.

Under redirect, Weinberg did ask his witness about where Spector's jacket must have been for it to have gotten satellite spatter on it. (I mentioned that in my comment, above.) This was only after AJ asked him first on cross.

You also asked, "If Spector was close enough to be holding the gun in Lana's mouth, one would expect the cuff and sleeve of that arm to be completely spattered in high velocity blood spatter, right?

Ah, anon, that's what the individual who knows nothing about forward spatter and back spatter would conclude. But that's not what happens in the real world.

Even in the power point presentation that Stuart James presented to the jury, he stated that you will see less "back spatter" than "forward spatter."

And, often times, you do not see any spatter at all in a gunshot event. Both agreed to that. The experts have testified that there are several things that can affect how spatter travels. One of those things is velocity. Remember that the smaller the drop, the less mass it has to travel farther.

You are left with what evidence you are left with. Also understand that there was a significant blood flow down the right side of her jacket. That would have covered over/destroyed any spatter that was left in that area of the jacket.

The theory is, that blood comes out from the wound (either forward or back) in a three dimensional cone. That's the theoretical ideal and things in the real world are never exactly like they are in the lab. There are things in the way, that are at different distances from each other, and possibly moving that will affect how that "cone" distributes. You have to consider how far the blood falls, too.

The gun was in the way of that ideal "cone" distribution. There was back spatter on various areas of the gun that were facing Lana Clarkson's mouth. Dr. Herold testified to that.

Also, Experiments in the lab with blood saturated sponges can not be equated to what the criminalists see in an actual shooting.

They can give you an idea of how far blood will travel in an ideal setting.

They can tell you what the blood will look like on a horizontal surface and a vertical surface (whatever it lands on).

The can show you directional spatter and what it will look like.

But what they can never do is recreate what you would "expect" to see in an actual gunshot event. That's because we don't experiment on volunteers.

shari:
I think the jurors are getting it. The explanations by the expert witnesses under direct and cross are giving the jurors and excellent education in spatter, what you can derive from it and what you can not.

mControl:
Thank you so much! He is a wonderful kitty and we are lucky that he "found" us.

Christine said...

Sprocket, I have one more question, and it is about the jurors. In the last trial, we heard that at least one juror was considered by many to be a problem, and there was some description of who the jurors were at least as to their backgrounds. I am not sure I have heard anything much about this jury. Is that simply court procedure?. I realize you have said that you don't really look at the jury as you face the witness, but have you seen or heard anything of interest viz. the jury from anyone else if not from your own observation?

Anonymous said...

OK, I can accept that, in the abstract “often times, you do not see any spatter at all in a gunshot event.”

But, in the “real world” as you put it, and assuming as the prosecution case does, that Phillip Spector was holding a large caliber handgun placed in Lana Clarkson’s mouth when it discharged, one would expect more backsplash onto the sleeve of Spector’s long sleeved, cuffed jacket that necessarily mist have been inches from Lana’s mouth, than a single blood deposit the size an “ant” as you put it.

I am not advocating for Spector’s actual innocence; I am just pointing out that this is one of several counter-intuitive aspects of the prosecution case that may constitute reasonable doubt.

BTW, you previously reported that the DA investigator had physically inspected the Spector fountain in aid of corroborating (or controverting) the defense claim that the fountain has but an “on and off” switch (and therefore was not manipulated on a prior site visit). Any word on this report, or the status of whether the fountain will be on or not when the jury visits?

Sprocket said...

Christine:
We will find out about the jurors if/when they decide to talk to the press after the case is adjudicated. I made a conscious choice not to request a copy of the juror questionaires. I had a personal opinion that if I was on a jury, I would not want my answers printed in the press. Even though this information is public domain, I chose not to get it.

Anon @ 8:08 pm:
This is the last time I will answer this. I recommend you pick up a Bloodstain Pattern Analysis book (I recommend one of James & Kish's books) and start reading, because your expectation is different than what happens in the real world. Your argument smacks of the same trap that Paul Kish, James's associate states in their book many attorney's fall into. That absence of evidence is evidence. It's not.

Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence. Paul Kish wrote that and it applies to this case. The fact that no more spatter landed on Spector's right jacket sleeve is not evidence that Spector couldn't have held the gun and shot Ms. Clarkson.

With blood spatter, all blood stain analysis experts agree that you can't make those type of conclusions from the "lack" of blood spatter.

You are expecting something, projecting what you "think" should have happened without knowing anything about spatter. Your statement, "expect to see" is telling me, since there isn't the spatter that you expect should be there, it's absence is significant. It's not.

All it tells me is that not a lot of the "cone" spatter landed in that area/direction.

There are several areas where there was spattered blood. Lana's wrists; Lana's dress; the chair; the gun; the purse; Spector's white jacket. All these items had spatter.

We will never know, to a precise exact degree, where exactly Spector's hands/arms were and who's finger was on the trigger. That is of course, unless Spector decides to take the stand and tell the jury.

Fat chance that happening (just my humble opinion, of course), but who knows, maybe Spector will decide to take the stand in his second trial.

Dr. Herold testified (via reconstruction) where she felt the spatter told her where Spector's hands were, how close he had to have been standing to her in the chair, where Lana's hands possibly were, what position Lana's body was in and what items blocked other items from spatter. Think about that. What items blocked other items from receiving spatter.

How was Spector's body angled towards the blood letting event? Can you tell me?

Weinberg's expert would not commit. He stated that he could not determine which stains on the jacket (or the chair or the dress) were directional spatter or which stains were satellite spatter. So the defense expert's contention is that there were at least "two" spattering events and he would not say to any degree of certainty where Spector was situated when those events occurred.

But what he DID agree to was that some of the bloodstains on Spector's jacket were back spatter. That admission puts Spector's white jacket within the distances that Dr. Herold testified to, which would be two to three feet from Lana Clarkson's mouth.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, thanks for answering about the jury, and I respect your decision as to that. This is one reason your reporting is respected by so many of us. It is clear that you yourself listen to the case as the ideal juror should. -C.

Sprocket said...

C:
I don't know that I agree with that. I have made it clear that I am pro prosecution. My feelings about Spector's guilt or innocence are known.

In covering the second trial, I have tried my best to be more neutral in my reporting, but I also concede that it has been hard for me to do that. I've always admitted that I'm not a professionally trained journalist and I don't think I would ever want to be one either.