Monday, March 14, 2011

Stephanie Lazarus Pretrial Hearing 2

UPDATED March 17th, 2011 (See below)

Just a quick update to say that nothing was litigated today. Case has been held over to April 8th, 2011. Case calendar set at 0-30. My only news is a personal one. Even though it's in a leather case, my cell phone fell off my lap and broke while in court. It's dead in the water. I think it's been dropped one too many times. I had some short videos of Sprockey kitty on there when we brought him home from the San Diego clinic in the White Whale Work Truck...unfortunately, those are all gone.

I have to help Mr. Sprocket with a big project that will take about six hours. I'll write up my detail notes of the hearing and who was there later tonight.

More to come....

Update March 17th, 2011:

Monday, April 14th, 2011
As I enter the back entrance of the downtown Criminal Court Building (aka the Clara Shortridge-Foltz Criminal Justice Center) I see defense attorney Mark Overland holding onto the arm of Courtney Overland. In his hand is a blind cane. This is what I missed by arriving late last month. I had no idea that Overland is either completely blind or losing his sight.

When I get up on the 9th floor, Sherri Rae's family and friends are already here. Some gentlemen who appear to be detectives join them. Not long after, DDA Shawn Presby arrives and I almost don't recognize him. He's shaved off his beard. I like the new clean-shaven look. I think it's at this time that I overhear Presby tell the family that there is another case in front of theirs.

There's an older, tiny auburn haired woman talking to Courtney Overland and they both head to the ladies restroom down the hallway's left wing. It's a good guess that she is part of Lazarus's family. When the prosecutors head into the courtroom, I do too. If I didn't mention it before, this courtroom is an almost exact replica of Judge Fidler's courtroom, except its not as deep. Instead of four bench rows, there are three. I take my favorite spot I like to sit in during these pretrial hearings. Against the back wall in one of the plastic chairs, right next to the end of the last row of wood bench seats. (When testimony is being presented and I have to take hand notes instead of using my computer, I like to sit in the second bench row, directly in line with the witness.)

Paul Nunez sits with the detectives on the tiny benches on the right. The defense team's investigator, Bert Luper is here. I see him shake hands with the auburn haired woman and they chat. I note the court's phone number is posted in huge numbers over the bailiff's desk and I write it down in my notebook.

8:30 am: The court reporter is here and she sets up in the well area in front of the witness stand. The auburn haired woman takes a seat beside me. Of the five plastic chairs against the back wall, three closest to the inner courtroom doors have signs on the seat backs that say they are reserved for the Sheriff's Dept.

8:33 am: Judge Perry takes the bench. In Judge Ito's courtroom there are clocks on three walls. In this courtroom, there is a single clock on the back wall above my head. I take out my cell phone and put it on my lap. I note that the long benches have the blue seat cushions and seat back cushions.

Judge Perry is chatting with his court reporter about a party. "How many people were at the party?" he asks her.

Courtney Overland sits beside Bert Luper. As I glance over at her, I notice she has what appears to be a two page motion that she is reading. I have no idea if it is related to this case or not. I can't read the detail; just the cover page layout looks like the standard motions filed with the court. Mark Overland comes in with his cane and sits on the bench right beside me. I'm making a guess that he's not completely blind. You have to give kudos to him for continuing to practice law even though his eyesight might be failing.

Another case is being heard first.

Nunez and Presby come in and sit in the Sheriff's Dept. marked seats beside the inner doors.

The three defendants in the other case are brought in. (I cannot confirm the defendant name spellings on the following since this case is not listed in my E-mail notification of cases on calendar from the DA's office.)

People v Sepulveda, Baroe (sp?), Alvarez. There is one attorney for each defendant at the table. One of the defendant's is a woman (Baroe). One of the defendant's is in an Orange jumpsuit, instead of blue. There is a motion before the court to sever Sepulveda from the other two defendants.

Judge Perry indicates he is very disappointed. "We wait and wait and wait. Justice delayed is justice denied. Certainly I'm known to...."

The charges, subject of the case occurred in 2003! The preliminary hearing was last July. The prosecution is seeking death for one of the defendants.

As this hearing is going on, two jurors for the Judge's current case enter the courtroom and head back to the jury room. There is some holdup of the case. It's a committee in the DA's office. The Judge asks the prosecutor something to the effect if the committee is even aware of what the court's needs are for their decision. I miss the prosecutor's reply. The motion to sever is put over to April 26th. One of the attorneys requests an in camera review of some personnel records (for some agency that I miss). A sign language interpreter is requested for one of the defendants at the next hearing.

That ends the hearing for this case. Several people in the gallery file out after the defendants are taken back to the holding area.

The people who are left are here for either side in the Lazarus case, and some reporters.

Mark Overland enters the well. From the well he smiles at a gentleman in the gallery.

JP: (To Mark Overland) What's going on down there?

Judge Perry is referring to the case Overland is currently involved in, the Mattel Bratz case in an Orange County courtroom. He says something to the effect, I haven't seen your name in the paper in a few days. I believe Overland responds that the case will go to the jury April 1st. Judge Perry and Overland continue to chat about the Mattel Bratz case. After that chat is finished, Overland asks Judge Perry to see his client before they start. He also asks for an in camera with Judge Perry, with him and his assistant.

A man (looks like a detective) comes in to speak to Shawn Presby. They step outside the courtroom for a moment. Jurors for the current trial slowly come in a few at a time.

8:55 am: I discover that my phone has died. It fell off my lap and hit the floor one too many times. Judge Perry is on the bench, Mark Overland, Bert Luper and Courtney Overland wait at the holding area door to see their client. Judge Perry chats with the court reporter, mentioning something to the effect about possibly taking a week off in August.

Judge Perry informs the room, "We know Ms. Lazarus is in the building. It's just a matter of getting her up here."

I see two, possibly three reporters in the gallery on the benches far to my left. It's not anyone I recognize. I note that Courtney Overland has very dark brown hair that falls just past her shoulders. Under the stark fluorescent lights there appears to be hint of auburn. She's wearing an all black suit again with a silky appearing white top.

Lazarus must have arrived since Mark Overland and Courtney enter the holding area to speak with their client. Bert Luper comes back to sit in the gallery. I note the black box mounted on the wall right beside the holding area door. This must be the box the deputies have to store their weapons in before they enter the holding area.

Judge Perry tells his bailiff they will be starting a new trial today. There's some banter between them that is confusing to me. Is the judge really saying that some jurors come to court in inappropriate clothing and that they have to provide clothing for them?

9:08 am: Courtney and Mark Overland come out of the holding cell area. Lazarus enters the courtroom. Again, she's in an orange jumpsuit. Underneath, she's appears to be wearing a white, long-sleeved underwear type shirt just like last time.

Judge Perry goes on the record. Mark Overland, Courtney Overland for the defendant. DDA Presby and DDA Nunez for the prosecution. The case is at 28/60.

Mark Overland asks to put the case over to April 11th.

JP: Will you still be in trial? (Mattel Bratz)

The date April 12th is offered, that it might be better. The date that is settled on is Friday, April 8th. That's better for all counsel. Mr. Overland asks that the calendar be set at 0/30. There is a request for documents. Lazarus waves the speedy trial question from the judge and approves of the case being set 0/30. As Lazarus is let out of the courtroom, she searches the gallery for her family. When she locates the auburn haired woman sitting to my right, she flashes a big smile.

Mark Overland, Presby and Nunez chat momentarily. Outside in the hall while speaking to the family, one of the prosecutor's states, "That's it, I have to run." I don't have it in my notes, but I believe it's Presby. Several reporters wait to speak to Mark Overland. Paul Nunez speaks to the family and friends. I believe the other two suited gentlemen with them are detectives.

And that's it. I make my way back to my car and home to help Mr. Sprocket with a big automotive project he is going to undertake. I may blog about that on my sewing blog, or start a totally new blog on that altogether.

Stephanie Lazarus Case Coverage Quick Links


Anonymous said...

please update soon

Chris said...

Betsy . . . sorry for your loss re Sprockey . . . he will live on with you forever! Keep up the work and take care!

Sprocket said...

Thank you Chris,

I have many videos of Sprocket, these were during a special trip. We are hoping that we can retrieve them off the phone and that it's just the screen that has died.

Many projects going on today. I will try to get my notes for today up later tonight.

And for those of you who have written me about the Spector appeal analysis... that is a back burner issue for me at this point. I will get to it when I have time. It is not as important to me as the current case I am dedicated to. At this point, I'm not even interested in hearing the oral arguments. And besides, real life responsibilities to my husband's business come before that.

Why is it that some T&T readers see the words "legal scholar" and automatically ASSume that I don't have access to experienced and respected legal counsel? Why is that? Just because I'm a middle-aged semi-retired housewife? LOL! I personally may not use the correct "legal" terms 100% of the time but rest assured, my legal sources do. I often tend to paraphrase to make it easier for my non-legal minded readers. It really is disappointing for myself and my co-bloggers when these types of ASSumptions are made.

T&T readers should know that our stat counter has recorded literally HUNDREDS of law firms that have read T&T. (Yes, the law firm's name really does show up on the stat counter.)

And, we've received E-mails from real attorneys that have been affiliated with some of the other cases we've covered; not just the Spector case.

In addition, I am blood related to several licensed, practicing attorneys. And, one of my long-time clients and dear friends is a licensed attorney.

I promised my legal source that is giving me their Spector appeal analysis that they would remain anonymous which I will honor.

I will not be publishing their law license number (yes, they do have one) or the exact year they graduated from law school, except to tell you the decade (1980's) or the exact publications they have authored (several).

Remember, everyone has an opinion, and that's all it is: opinion. And every person has some level of bias, no matter how much they toot their horn that they don't.

Chris said...

Betsy . . . had no idea my simple Sprockey comment would launch you into that . . . just know how much we appreciate the gift of your time in producing the excellent work that you so graciously share with us. There are many sources out there for news (yes I'm an attorney) but I always find your site to be the best source for the cases I'm most interested in. Again, many many thanks! Passing note . . . my cat continues to string together one good day after another! Ciao

Sprocket said...

Chris, my apologies, lol! This was not directed at you.

By the way,

When one lowers themselves to utilizing an "Ad hominem" attack, they've lost the argument.

katfish said...

Sprocket you said,
"Lazarus enters the courtroom. Again, she's in an orange jumpsuit. Underneath, she's appears to be wearing a white, long-sleeved underwear type shirt just like last time."

If Lazarus is being held in the Central Regional Detention Center, word is (inmate Stacey Barker has complained in court) it's quite chilly in there so you may see her in them "cuddle duds" often.:)