9:30 am: Hi everybody. I'm inside the courtroom and we just heard the first BUZZ exactly at 9:30 am (by my computer clock) that the jury has started deliberations. There are a bunch of attorney's and family in the courtroom for another case but the Judge is not on the bench yet. I got to see Dr. Carroll Adams for a moment who updated me on the Cameron Brown case. He said that Judge Pastor just returned from medical leave and is on the bench today. There is another case 107 will be trying before Cameron Brown that should take about two weeks. So they might get to starting the Brown case by the end of the month.
Inside 106, Juror #9 from the first trial Ricardo is there chatting with Linda from San Diego. Sitting next to me in the back row is Lindy, the CNN reporter. She tells me her official title is a producer. Pat Kelly from the PIO office is in the third row and I see her on a laptop. That's the first time I've seen her on one in 106.
I don't know if it's a case update in the matter that's going to be heard or not. There is a pretty, blond female prosecutor at the desk and she's got a big file in front of her. Once I know more, I'll try to write about it. I'm not that good on the laptop writing while people are speaking. Believe it or not, I'm better taking those type of notes by hand.
9:45 am: Linda from San Diego just told me that when the jurors came in, they didn't look any different than how they normally dress.
9:50 am: Wendy comes over to talk to Ricardo and give him a hug. They discuss the catering and Wendy says it's a struggle dealing with the different caterers. She also mentioned that she is trying to feed jurors and still adhere to Lent.
10:00 am: Pat Dixon just popped into the current case all set up to speak to the pretty female prosecutor. He left already.
10:04 am: Someone just asked in the comments what my final E-mail tally was. It's easier for me to answer here. I haven't counted them all yet. It's for certain over 325, possibly closer to 350. If there is NO VERDICT today, I will add more email addy's tonight, but not until then.
10:06 am: Bailiff Kyles just entered the jury room. Have no clue what for.
10:09 am: Katie and Lisa just showed up and are sitting to my left. Katie gave me a ride home last Friday and I left my sweater in her car. She brought it for me today.
I'm in the far back left corner of the courtroom. Lindy is reading the paper and Linda from San Diego and Juror #9 are still chatting. Terri Keith from City News is at the other end of the room on one of the plastic chairs against the back wall near the door.
10:20 am: My best guess on the other case is they are waiting for a defendant. Everyone at the table looks like an attorney. Just saw Fidler come out of his chambers for a moment then go back in. He was not in his robes. He was wearing a shirt, tie and a sweater vest. It's a look he's obviously comfortable with because I've seen him dressed like that several times.
Uh oh. Mr. Sprocket just called. I've got to step outside and call him back.
10:28 am: While I was on the phone in the hallway, I saw Wendy leave 106 and enter 107. I tiptoed over and opened the door to 107. The inner courtroom doors were propped open and I saw her enter 107's jury room. My best guess is, she is taking lunch requests, but I don't know that for certain.
10:32 am: BUZZ! They must be stopping for a bathroom break.
Someone just asked about the jury clock in the comments. Right now, we are at about 7 hours and 25 minutes by my calculations.
Katie is asking Ricardo about what it was like in the jury room. Juror #9 says, "The first day we kinda sat there looking like now what." And Ricardo suggested there be a straw poll. Juror #10 said they couldn't do that. Richardo says, "After listening to the first five women, it was hard for him to listen to the defense case. [...] He did not believe a single one of the defense experts."
10:41 am: BUZZ! They've started deliberating again.
10:43 am: Sherri finally arrived.
Ricardo tells us a little more about what went on in the first trial deliberations. "In the jury room during the first trial, people looked up to Ben because he was an engineer and an Elder in his faith. And they looked up to #2, because he was more outspoken and a newsman. He had a funny way of talking."
10:49 am: Linda Deutsch arrived and is speaking to Pat Kelly from the PIO. She's not even sitting down. Looks like, yep she leaves.
Ricardo says that Wendy told him the case we are waiting on now was something that happened in Lancaster. He thinks there are two defendants, and someone was set on fire.
11:03 am: Ricardo just told me that Wendy told him there will be a hearing this afternoon at 1:30 pm about Weinberg's LA Times article. Ricardo told Wendy that he saw Weinberg downstairs. Wendy said the only reason they are holding it in the afternoon is because they didn't think Weinberg was here.
It's quite noisy right now. Lots of chatting among the parties in the other case, and everyone in the back row is quite loud. The bailiff went into the little room underneath the screen, and one of the attorney's went in there too. So maybe the defendants are almost ready. Maybe they are putting them in street clothes.
11:21 am: We are still waiting on this other case. Richardo is still chatting about the first trial and what the jurors thought of all the attorneys. Chris Plourd put a lot of the jurors to sleep. The jurors were amazed that Plourd had Spector stand up and put his arm out as if he pointed a gun. During discussions, they couldn't believe he did that.
11:24 am: It's a woman defendant that's been brought in. The bailiff is unlocking her handcuffs now and attaching them to her chair.
Shes looks quite young. She has long hair. Now they are taking her back already. What's wrong? She's in jail blues.
11:27 am: Lindy says the guy who was twittering was Michael Linder from KABC radio. He's not here today.
11:31 am: Just heard Wendy say that lunch is here early for the jury. Wendy says to another officer that Officer Williams is across the hall with her other alternates.
11:33 am: TWO BUZZES!!!!
Officer Kyles is not in the courtroom right now, so I think they have to locate him.
11:37 am: Kyles enters from the jail area and is making his way over to the jury room.
11:39 am am: Kyles came back out and now is over at Wendy's desk. He did not have a paper in his hand.
11:42: am: BUZZ! They've stopped deliberating and Kyles just went into the jury room.
Answering a question in the comments area. Ricardo says, "I think he delayed the first straw poll because he felt we couldn't make an informed decision until they reviewed evidence."
11:45 am: Kyles just exited with a piece of paper in his hand!
11:45 We've just been informed that a juror is not well, needs to see a doctor and they won't be deliberating past 12 noon. And, something is going on in the other case. Fidler just stepped out for a second and then went back into chambers.
11:38 am: Juror #9 (from the second trial) is escorted out of the jury room by a bailiff. This must be the juror who is sick.
There are THREE defendants in the other trial. A woman in blue, a man in blue and a man in orange that have just been brought in and are now sitting behind the attorneys in the well.
Fidler is on the bench in the other case. Discovery motions. One of the defense attorney is asking about the penalty phase. And an attorney is also stating he doesn't know if he has all the photos.
Ms. Green is the prosecutor.
Doesn't sound like there are any issues that the court needs to address. Don't know if we want do deal with severance now or wait until specific pieces of evidence.
Ms. Green is asking for a witness to be ordered to be on call. Ordering more witnesses. They are calling a witness, the people in this case.
Danny Smith is the witness. In 2003 he was a deputy sheriff homicide division. At time he was a deputy for 20 years. He's currently retired. Investigated a missing person report regarding a William Whiteside. Also he was in contact with someone and those conversations were recorded.
The person was Valerie Martin, who was living with William Whiteside. She was his girlfriend. She was the reporting party, that William Whiteside was missing.
She went into another room in the trailer, changing her clothes and he heard noise. His partner and him went to investigate, and Valerie Martin was trying to escape from the trailer. She ran around the corner, started running south, when he caught up with her, she fell on the grass. Do you see Valerie Martin in the courtroom right now? Yes. He identified the individual.
When he first saw her running he yelled to his partner that she was running. One of them handcuffed her and asked her why she was running. They requested a female deputy from Lancaster for a female search. They waited for a shot period of time and there were no female deputies available.
They have to clear the courtroom to feed the jury. They will return at 1:45 pm for this case because they have a hearing at 1:30 in the Spector case.
And that's it. We're being kicked out.
I'll be back on once I get set up in the cafeteria.
12:36 pm: I'm in the cafeteria right now finishing up my lunch. Before I left 106 I tried to get a clarification from Wendy when the jury clock officially ended. Was it when they buzzed twice to get the bailiff in the jury room to let Kyles know a juror was sick, or was it the other single buzz I heard later. Wendy didn't know, so I don't have an "official" ending time on deliberations as of right now, but she said she would have to get that information to me later.
The juror who was ill, #9, a young man did not look green when he left but that really is hard to tell.
Regarding the hearing at 1:30 pm, I don't know who called for the hearing. It could have been the prosecution or it could have been the court. That is unknown. I do know that Linda from San Diego says she saw Mr. Jackson in the hallway before I arrived. She stated he had a paper in his hand when he entered 106 but she doesn't believe he still had it when he exited just a minute later. She said she wasn't sure.
Understand, Fidler may not see a problem with Mr. Weinberg's response to the LA Time's article. I've not seen the article in the paper; I've only seen it online where it is categorized in the OPINION section there. Remember, most everything in the article was put before the jury as part of Weinberg's closing argument, so I don't believe much of it is anything new.
Even if Fidler has a problem with it, I don't know what type of sanctions could be leveled against the defense now anyway. The jury is in deliberations. They can't be interfered with now. Maybe it is something serious, I honestly don't know. We'll hopefully find out at 1:30 pm.
12:57 pm: Apparently there is some confusion as to which juror is ill. It is Juror #9 from THIS TRIAL. I know it's a bit confusing since Juror #9 from the FIRST trial, Ricardo, was in the gallery in the morning.
1:22 pm: The hallway is packed with jurors from other courtrooms. Just saw Mr. Weinberg walk towards 106 and try the door. It's locked. He's still down there. I'm near the elevators grabbing the nearest seat.
Linda, who has been up on the 9th floor since 1:10 pm says she hasn't seen the jurors come out of 106 but they COULD HAVE left before that time. We don't know.
1:25 pm Looks like Weinberg entered 106. I'm heading down there now. More in a bit.
1:32 pm: Spector's #1 fan is here, dressed very casually. AJ, Truc, Joshua and one of the DA's clerks are here. So is Linda Deutch from the AP and Terri Keith from City News. When I left for lunch, I saw Linda at the other end of the hall and told her about the juror going home ill.
Wendy: Counsel ready for the jurors? (Or maybe she said Judge. Dunno.)
Judge on the bench. Prosecution called the meeting. Weinberg is asking for this in camera.
Simply want to bring to the court's attention something of note. Jackson brings up Weinberg's article
It is our position that is patently inappropriate. Mr. Weinberg is an experienced trial lawyer and he knows better. This should stop.
My concern was not for the jury, because after the court's admonition I don't think anyone is looking at the articles.
I think the court needs to at least inquire to see if the jury has [...] at least inquired to see if they've seen anything over the last few days.
Weinberg now speaks about where the article in the Times was in a place where the jurors might have avoided it. It was the second time in a very short period that individuals who have ties to the prosecution mentions me and my blog entry on Spector's statements.
The timing of that was extremely troubling and curious.
2:04 pm: I'm down in the cafeteria. The hearing is over. I was having trouble typing and keeping up so I reverted to hand notes inside the courtroom.
Weinberg used for his defense of writing the LA Times piece the entry that I put up on this blog regarding Spector's statements as well as the LA Times article. He states that what he wrote only appeared online and you had to go through a series to steps to find it.
When my blog is mentioned Judge Fidler interjects that he doesn't read blogs because he's not savvy enough to find them on the Internet. But he does read the LA Times.
There's more that I will get to when I get home. The last thing that Weinberg complains about is, my real time updates from the courtroom, insinuating that I am reporting information before the attorney's get it. He doesn't believe that should be happening. He mentions my reporting of the hearing at 1:30 and he also mentions my reporting that a juror is ill.
Fidler responds something to the effect that the public is here, if something is announced but he also agrees that something should not be released before the attorney's receive it. Wendy speaks up and states that she called Mr. Weinberg. Wendy also clarifies for the record that she told the PIO and they announced it to the room.
Ah, Mr. Weinberg, it's called the first amendment. As much as the defendant, and now Mr. Weinberg tries these tactics to intimidate me, I'll still keep coming back to report on this trial.
I'm going to head back home now. As soon as I get home an in my comfy chair, I'll update what I can from memory and the sketchy notes.
3:47 pm: Hi everybody! I'm home! What a blatant attempt by Weinberg to intimidate me. If you want to know what's going on inside the courtroom Weinberg, then put one of your staff in there to sit and wait. I'm putting in the hours. I hear the information announced just like everyone else in the courtroom does. This is so sad that Weinberg is worried about what a mere blogger is writing. I would think he would be more worried about the jury.
I'm going to go through the 40 or so comments that have been left since I've been traveling, get something to munch on and then add to what happened today in the afternoon session.
4:08 pm: Oh and by the way, I was not kicked or escorted from the courtroom. I left the courtroom when the hearing was over, just like Weinberg did. The Judge did not address me and tell me I couldn't be inside the courtroom, waiting on verdict watch. I've done nothing wrong. The only thing I've done is report on this trial. The reality is, the defendant and his wife can't stand that and now his attorney is trying to imply that I'm doing something wrong by waiting for the jury to reach a verdict and reporting what's announced inside 106.
It's a public space. I have every right to be there. It's desperate, if you ask me and shows where Mr. Weinberg is focusing his time. I'll write up more details from the hearing as soon as possible.
Update! April 1st, 2009, 5:53 pm
I find out in the hallway just before we go into 106 that it's the prosecution that called for the hearing at 1:30 pm. Inside 106, the defendant is not present for this hearing. It's Jackson that brings it to the court's attention about the piece in the Times that Mr. Weinberg wrote. Weinberg interjects that, before they begin, he feels that maybe this is better served by addressing this in chambers. He does not want to do this in open court. That's interesting. The Judge doesn't see any reason why they have to do that and so Weinberg has to settle for this being discussed in open court.
Since I was trying to type on my laptop what the attorney's were saying, I wasn't doing very well transcribing. Jackson spoke first. "It is our position that is patently inappropriate. [...] Mr. Weinberg is an experienced trial lawyer and he knows better. [...] This should stop. [...] My concern was not for the jury, because after the courts admonition I don't think anyone is looking at the articles. [...] I think the court needs to alt least inquire to see if the jury has at least inquired to see if they've seen anything over the last few days."
Weinberg then responds. Weinberg now speaks about where the article in the Times was not in a place where the jurors might have avoided it. Weinberg states that he felt he needed to respond to the Times article because it was the second time in a very short period that individuals who have ties to the prosecution (Weinberg must be referring to me, but who could he be talking about from the LA Times?). He then brings up the entry I posted where I COPIED DOCUMENTS THAT WERE IN FILED IN MOTIONS FROM THE LA SUPERIOR COURT WEB SITE. (These were all of Spector's statements AND the police reports the officers filed.) Weinberg states the blogger wrote misinformation, or maybe he said, "misleading" information. I'm not positive on the word. But that was his implication. Then, from memory, I believe he said something to the effect of, 'Information that was inadmissible to the jurors.' He then says "The timing of that was extremely troubling and curious." He then goes on about the LA Times article and his need to address it.
I wasn't able to keep up covering the hearing on my laptop so I put it down and switched to writing by hand.
Weinberg states, "My comments were not to influence the jury. It was in the "Blowback" section of the LA Times."
Judge Fidler asks if this was in the paper or only online.
Weinberg clarifies that it was online only and that you had to go look for it. Weinberg continues with, "My concern is for the criminal justice system only. [...] My opinion is that if there happens to be another acquittal, then the public would see it as justice for pay. [...] That is the reason, but I take it that the jurors are “not” (reading the Internet)."
Weinberg clarifies that the article, "is virtually what I said to the jury in court. Otherwise, it is exactly what I told the jury. [...] I only included the information from the NSA, in response to what the Times had reported in their own story. [...] I do think the Times story was implied to sway public opinion. I could have found some shill who signed it for me, (but I didn't)."
Jackson counters with, "The timing is what I’m concerned about. [...] I could care less about his personal opinion. [...] What I’m concerned about is, the first statement (in the article) is, in effect (an attempt) to influence public opinion and the timing. [...] Why didn’t he wait a few days until the case was resolved? [...] If this wasn’t an attempt to influence the jury... As an officer of the court, if he doesn’t know better then he’s ignorant. [...] Ms. Do and I didn’t write the LA Times article. [...] We were just as shocked to see the LA Times article as (he was). [...] This court told the attorneys not to try this case in the media."
Jackson goes on to say that that’s what they’ve done. They've honored the courts request. “My concern is to maintain the deliberating sanctity of this jury."
Weinberg responds, "If they were worried about the sanctity, we would have heard Monday or Tuesday about a terrible article in the Times. [...] I was worried about influencing public opinion and this was an attempt (to rectify that)."
Fidler addresses the court. "I did read on Monday the editorial. The Times is free to publish in its editorial section on any subject they wish. I was worried there was a concern about the jury. [...] My preference would be, there is no formal gag order on the attorneys. I’ve asked for your best judgment. [...] A juror has the flu.[...] I’m concerned about it spreading to other jurors. If jurors are intact tomorrow... (I will poll them on if they’ve read anything) ...I worry that the illness might spread. [...] If something like this happens again, please call me. Mr. Weinberg, you can reach me through the DA's office. [...] If we have a problem let's talk about it."
Judge Fidler then addresses the issue of bloggers. "About bloggers. I don't read them. I'm not savvy enough to find them. [...] I do read coverage in the Times. [...] I don’t know whether they (or the AP) have ties to the prosecution. I think the coverage in the Times has been fair. I don’t think anything else needs to be done."
Jackson states that they do not need to be here for the inquiry into the jurors. Weinberg says the same thing.
Weinberg then states, “I also don’t read blogs, but others do. Bloggers ought not to be getting information before lawyers or public get it. A blogger who has been sitting in the courtroom reported (?) at 11:30 am and then reported that a juror was ill at 11:45 am."
Fidler responds something to the effect that the public is here, if something is announced, (it's public knowledge) but he also agrees that something should not be released before the attorney's receive it.
Wendy speaks up when Mr. Weinberg first talks about this and tells him that he was called. She then adds, "For the record, I’ve announced it to the PIO and they announce it to the court."
And that was it. Hearing was over and the counsel exit for the next hearing to take place. Like I mentioned above, I wasn't "removed" from the courtroom. I wasn't addressed by the Judge. No one told me that I could not go back tomorrow and report in real time what was happening inside the courtroom.
How different is my jury verdict watch reporting different from the first trial, where you had cameras inside the courtroom recording everything that happened? There were accredited reporters writing blogs from inside this same courtroom then, too. How is this different? (As an aside, Lisa Sweetingham when she was with Court TV did the exact same thing for the Robert Blake trial during verdict watch in that case.) The truth is, it isn't. I'm not writing anything illegal. What I am doing is I am writing exactly what the other public individuals in the room are also seeing and hearing. If I hear a buzzer, I write about it. If I see the bailiff go inside the jury room I write that. Nothing different than what the other public people in the courtroom are also seeing and hearing. I would also like to point out that I was sitting in the far left corner of the courtroom in the back row. I had to wait until information reached me. I wasn't in the well of the court, right next to Wendy's desk, getting "insider information." I think it's quite sad that a defense attorney feels the need to try to insinuate that I'm somehow doing something wrong, in the hopes of possibly removing me from the courtroom. That has been a tactic of the defendant and his wife for a long time now. So far, it hasn't worked. I'm still here. I will continue to cover this trial until it's conclusion. You can count on that.