Thursday, May 26, 2011

James Fayed Penalty Phase Verdict Watch Day 3

James Fayed, left with his lead defense attorney, Mark Werksman

6:31 am: I had a bit of a scare this morning. My laptop was very, very slow to come out of sleep mode this morning and I thought I might have lost my hard drive. The good news, my laptop finally started up and Mr. Sprocket was able to get my entire hard drive backed up this morning. (This means all my work that still needs to be edited and posted has been saved.) I am hoping once I get down to court my laptop will come out of sleep again and I can report in real time. If it gives me trouble, I will go to hand notes and update tonight from my husband's desktop.

Since ritanita is on a personal adventure today, for Casey Anthony coverage we recommend checking out the blogs on our Casey Anthony Case Coverage Quick Links List.

8:57 am: I'm in department 109. After about 10 minutes of sitting on the courtroom floor and struggling with my laptop, I was able to get the screen to come on. I could hear it boot up, but no screen. I could barely make out the windows if I held my laptop in my hands and moving the screen about to catch the light. While moving it around, I bumped the top/back side of the clam shell against the wood bench. Voila! The screen came on! I immediately stepped outside 109 and called Mr. Sprocket. He thinks I have a loose wire and that we should be able to fix it tonight. So now I'm not going to DARE to close my laptop today. I may leave it in the courtroom over lunch instead of risking trying to take it in the elevators and back through the 9th floor security again.

9:01 am: Judge Kennedy arrives. Shes wearing heels, a nice black skirt and blue-gray v-neck top and matching black sweater.

9:06 am: More jurors slowly file into the jury room.

9:08 am: Another juror makes it to 109.

9:09 am: BUZZ! They've started deliberating.

Judge Kennedy is on the bench and there is another case that is being held over to June 17th. Now a second case. For this case, I'm the only person in the courtroom gallery.

Mr. Malcolm Hearst (sp?) and the charge of stealing public funds. He's pleading guilty and getting probation for three years. Judge Kennedy is making him aware that if he violates his parole, he could get a sentence of up to four years in state prison. Court fees. Restitution to the City of Vernon. He's going to pay the City of Vernon back directly, to avoid a 10% tack on fee by the probation department. Gives up all his rights. I think this defendant will still get his pension from the state. Prosecution has no idea if that will happen or not. If there is something, it will be independent of this disposition. He is not able to work in any similar position as he has in the past. I believe he obtained illegal reimbursements for expenses. He admits to the charge, pleads guilty to misappropriation of public funds.

9:41 am: It's all quiet again in 109.

9:47 am: The other pretty Dateline producer (with gorgeous blond hair) is here today. She comes over to say hi and ask about the jury. I bring her up to date that it's been real quiet. Nothing's going on. We're just waiting.

9:58 am: A gentleman comes in to drop something off with the court. He looks familiar. Lori jokingly asks, "Did you come looking for your wife and find that she isn't here?" "No," he replies, "I'm just the courier service." Ah. This is the man whose wife is a court reporter.

10:15 am: The female public defender with short gray hair I've seen several times listening to testimony and closing arguments comes into 109 to speak to Lori. Darn. She's speaking so low I can't eavesdrop. And a minute later, she leaves again. It's just me and the Dateline producer in the gallery now. She's at the other end of the courtroom from me.

10:38 am: Lori comes back into 109. (I didn't notice when she left; I was on other web sites trying to catch up with the Casey Anthony case) She says, "How long was I gone?" Then she says something about how long her errand took. She then says, "They need to fix the elevator(s?)." It's my guess that with the private elevator down and having to take the public elevators it takes much longer than usual for the court staff to run errands or documents to other floors.

10:46 am: All quiet again. The clock ticks loudly. I can hear what sounds like a radio playing a country music song. I have no idea where it's coming from, but possibly in one of the back rooms behind the clerk's desk. It doesn't sound like it's coming from the hallway. I can usually hear footsteps echoing in the hallway since where I'm sitting is right on the other side of the hall.

10:49 am: I get up to stretch my legs and my low back. I hear Lori, busy typing away at her desk. Fayed's suit is hanging from the box where the bailiff stows his weapons when he goes into the holding area. I'm envious that the Dateline reporter is working on what looks like an iPad or ThinkPad. I've told Mr. Sprocket I really, really, really want an iPad2 for court since my macBook is a lead weight to carry around. In response, he asks me, "Do you want the new sewing machine or the new iPad?," as if I can't have both.

11:13 am: The jurors have not buzzed to take a morning break. "Maybe they will work through until noon.

11:17 am: Greg Fisher from CBS 48 Hours has arrived to keep us company. He's got this interesting white dress shirt on that has what look like tiny pucker lines in it. He's brought the paper with him. Judge Kennedy came out and is talking to her clerk about the American Idol finale. Judge Kennedy tells Sean her bailiff some bad news. "Kim Kardashian is officially off the market." I rarely follow celebrity news, especially those who's only job is to promote material wealth and excess. Well, I don't follow them except when they've been arrested that is.

11:26 am: Judge Kennedy, in speaking with her staff makes a prediction that we will have a verdict today.

11:35 am: The "truth wizard" Eyes For Lies has an interesting entry up on her blog titled Personality Identification at Zero Acquaintance. Check it out.

11:56 am: Sean tells us the jury is going to lunch.

11:58 am: The jury files out.

1:30 pm: Inside 109 again.

1:31 pm: BUZZ!

My Lunch Hour
With the problems I'm experiencing with my laptop, I left it open inside the courtroom (the courtrooms are locked over the ninety minute lunch period) and headed over to the underground city for a nice change from the courthouse cafeteria.

As I exit the building on Temple Street, I could swear I saw Roger Rosen (from the first Spector trial) leaning against the brick wall with his arms crossed over his chest and his lips pursed. I believe it was him. Our eyes locked. After I passed him, I confess I got a little satisfaction smile on my face. With all the grief I lived through that his client and the trial bride gave me through not one but two trials, I'm still here.

I go to my favorite place at the underground city, Leon's Kitchen. I can get a decent sized romaine lettuce salad there for just under $4.00. I usually try to bring my own turkey or lamb or fish because I haven't found a place that has anything decent or as good as Mr. Sprocket cooks. Besides, it also helps to keep my trial reporting costs down.

When I take my tray to find an empty table in the huge lunchroom that several restaurants share, I make sure to steer clear of the three female jurors who are having lunch together.

I'm getting kind of impatient for this case to be over so I can work on getting my synopsis up of the remaining days of the Stephanie Lazarus preliminary hearing. Greg Fisher and I were talking about the case this morning. We both feel that the prelim reads like a book. It's true. When I got the remaining days transcript right before the Fayed case started, I read them cover to cover. I couldn't put them down.

I've been told that her defense attorney, Mark Overland is a "very, very good attorney." At one time, he supervised over 400 attorneys in the L.A. County Public Defender's Office. He's a heavy hitter as far as defense attorney's go. What everyone will have to look for, is to see if he successfully is able to poke holes in the chain of custody of that saliva sample taken from a bite mark on Sherri Rasmussen's arm. Several people have asked me how the criminalists had the foresight to collect this evidence before DNA testing came into existence, much less accepted as physical evidence in a criminal trial. I recently had the opportunity to ask Senior Criminalist Dr. Lynne Herold of the L.A. County Crime Lab.

Smiling, Dr. Herold patiently explained, "Because of the potential to collect saliva." People who are "secretors" secrete their blood type antigen into other bodily fluids. So, back then, from a saliva sample criminalists could possibly determine the perpetrators blood type.

When I get back up on the 9th floor, it's early; only 1:10 pm. I look to see if the Dateline producer or Greg Fisher are back yet; they're not. I find an empty bench in the hallway at the left wing away from some of our jurors and start to people watch.

Suddenly, I notice there is a woman in jail blues, chain waist restraints and handcuffs. A Los Angeles Co. Sheriff's detective is with her and another gentleman in a suit, but I can't tell if it's her defense attorney or if it's another detective. Most of the LA Co. Sheriff's wear these little green ID placard-pins in their left lapels or over the shirt pocket. The woman appears to be in her twenties. There are these white tennis shoe like slippers on her feet. She has very dark hair past her shoulders, black framed glasses and she's pretty. It's unusual to see a defendant in custody in the middle of the hallway and I wonder why she wasn't brought up through the regular channels. Finally, someone opens up Department 103, Judge Curtis Rappe's courtroom and all three individuals quickly go inside.

As I wait for Dept. 109 to open I continue to people watch. Although it's been years ( my bank auditor days) since I've worn high heels, I'm fascinated by which women in the hallway are wearing them. 99% of the female attorneys will be dressed quite nice with heels, but I do see many of the older court staff and clerks wearing flats and or sports shoes like I do. I'm also fascinated by leather handbags. Not because I follow the high-end name brands, but because I've made a few handbags when I'm in sewing madness and I would like to try my hand at working with leather.

The problem is I currently don't have a machine that will sew through leather like butter, like Kim of The Darwin Exception does. She has a machine that will easily put patches on her husband Paul's leather Harley jackets. I know Kim has at least four different sewing machines, (I only have two) and she's already advised me on what to get that will be powerful enough to sew through several layers of leather.

The hallway starts to fill up with jurors from all the other courtrooms and I move down towards the center of the hallway. Two of our female jurors are slowly walking the hallway from end to end together. As they pass, I overhear one of them say to the other, "Traffic is going to be a bear tomorrow." I haven't a clue if that means they will deliberating tomorrow or not. We will all have to wait and see.

2:26 pm: The court reporter, Lynn, is having difficulty logging onto the county's website to retrieve her E-mail. She's on the phone with a technical person who is talking her through some steps.

Has anyone been following the case of Gail Palmgren, who has been missing in Tennessee for several weeks now? LE divers have searched a section of the Tennessee River called "Suck Creek." According to WRCBTV:

Crews used highly accurate side-scan sonar to navigate the 50 foot waters Tuesday morning. The search lasted two hours and covered a quarter mile stretch of the river.

Electronic images returned parts of vehicles, some 30 years old, but not Palmgren's Jeep Rubicon.

2:35 pm: The court reporter is still on the phone trying to get her connection issue cleared up, but she's having difficulty understanding the tech person on the other end.

3:00 pm: Judge Kennedy and Sean are discussing the Anthony Case the testimony Judge Kennedy has seen so far and the difficulties of jury sequestration.

3:07 pm: Greg and I chat with the court reporter about all the natural disasters, the meltdown of the reactors in Japan and trial coverage.

3:17 pm: The court reporter is so funny. She's sharing with us her story about closing her husbands business and becoming a full time court reporter.

3:20 pm: She tells us that transcripts are no longer sold by page but by "folio" (sp?) and there are 2.58 folio's per page. A "folio" is a 100 word segment. In private industry with civil attorneys, it's 3.00 a page plus one copy.

3:24 pm: BUZZ! BUZZ! The jurors are taking a break. They need some fresh air.

3:27 am: Judge Kennedy shares what she's seen of the Anthony case and is kind enough to talk with us about cameras and trials that are televised.

3:43 am: BUZZ! Resuming deliberations.

One of the things Judge Kennedy and Sean were talking about in the Anthony case (before Greg, the court reporter Lynn and I were drawn in) was how difficult it must be to keep the Anthony jurors sequestered for such a long time. I've heard rumors that the sheriff's guarding the O.J. Simpson jury turned in quite a bit of overtime during that 10 month trial.

4:03 pm: Greg Fisher took off on a personal errand and it's back to a very quiet courtroom again

4:06 pm: Sean went to check on the jurors. He comes out to tell us they are done for the day. He's giving them 10 more minutes to wrap up their conversations and then they are done. I will wait for them to come out.

4:09 pm I'm debating on leaving before the jurors do. I think I will.

See everyone tomorrow, 9:00 am PT!

8:31 pm: Mr. Sprocket thinks my display driver board is over heating. He took off the little cover on that part of the laptop to help it cool off easier. Hopefully, I won't have any problems with the back light on my screen tomorrow. If I do, we will have to rush order another one.


Anonymous said...

Do you have all the First Dayt Penalty Phase testimony posted? If not when should I start looking for it? Thank you for your coverage.

Sprocket said...

Hello Anonymous,

A portion of the first day's testimony is posted and is listed on the Quick Links list.

I had messed up! I had worked on Penalty Phase Day 2's testimony before I had finished with Day 1's, and then in error, posted that portion of Day 2, to the end of Day 1! It is fixed now.

I do plan on getting everything up on the web as soon as I can. The edit just takes a lot of time because of my lousy typing skills. I do hope you will be patient with me.