Monday, May 2, 2011

Phil Spector Murder Conviction Upheld by Appellate Courts

Phil Spector, California Department of Corrections and Rehabililtaion booking photo

UPDATE May 7th, 2011

The California 2nd Court of Appeals issued a two-page modification to their decision. It did not change their decision.


DDA Alan Jackson, who successfully prosecuted Spector had this to say about the 2nd District Court of Appeals decision:

"The Court's stongly-worded ruling today affirms what we at the District Attorney's office have known since 2009: Mr. Spector received a fair trial and his murder conviction was proper. I am proud to have represented the People in the fight to get justice for Lana Clarkson. This is a great day for Lana, the Clarkson family and for Los Angeles. Phil Spector is exactly where he should be--behind bars."

It is a great day today and there's lots of celebrating going on. Yesterday we learned about the fate of Osama bin Laden and everyone is quite relieved that bin Laden's days of being the head of a terrorist organization are over. Today we learned about Spector's fate and where he will be spending the next 17 years of his 19-years-to-life sentence for the murder of Lana Clarkson.

The California Second Court of Appeals unanimously ruled that Phil Spector received a fair trial and rejected his appeal on each and every argument raised. It was a resounding victory for the prosecution and the Attorney General's office. I read all 81 pages of the decision that was handed down. There wasn't a single point where the Justices agreed with Spector's characterization of the events of the trial.

When the appeal briefs were first filed I asked several friends in the mainstream media their thoughts on the merits of Spector's appeal. At the time, every single person I spoke to felt that the appeal would be rejected.

So, you might be asking, 'What happens now?' Spector can, request a rehearing with the Appellate Court but in all likelihood it is my prediction that will be denied. Afterwords, Spector can appeal his case to the California Supreme Court. However, the California Supreme Court is not obligated to hear his appeal. If Spector does appeal to the California Supreme Court, it's over, done, finished. I don't know if it's true or not, but I've been told there isn't one issue in this case that could be brought up before a federal court for appeal.

Although a trial date has been set for the Clarkson's wrongful death suit against Spector for January of next year, I will be quite surprised if that case is ever before a jury. Don't forget that Spector did settle his civil suit against Robert Shapiro right before that trial was about to start.

If you wish to comment on this entry, please E-mail me at sprocket.trials AT with your comment or question and it will be published if it meets T&T's commenting guidelines. Your E-mail address will NOT be published. If you wish to remain anonymous that will be honored. Sprocket


Sprocket said...


It looks like the end for Phil Spector. When it came down to the facts:

A woman was shot dead in his house and Spector was the only other person present. Spector did not call for help and was belligerant and resisted arrest. Finally, he had a history of pulling guns on women, and a gun will eventually go off if an arrogant, irresponsible person is wielding it.

Phil Spector received a fair trial on the evidence presented.

David In TN

Sprocket said...

I do hope people will take the time to read the 2nd District Court of Appeals 81 page decision. It outlines in great detail and easy to understand language why the Justices ruled on each issue brought up in Spector's appeal.

This appeal was not the best thing since sliced bread and the printing press; every single argument failed.

It's a great day I say. GREAT day!

Sprocket said...

My 2 Cents said:

I agree Sprocket - - I found the decision (and all 81 pages) from the Appellate Court an extremely interesting read. As you said, it is written in such easy to understand language - why they ruled the way they did and which cases supported their decision. EVERY SINGLE ISSUE was SHOT DOWN. In some cases, the justices' response sounded somewhat blunt - that the defense' appeal/arguments really missed the boat. I got a chuckle out of the response to the 1101(b) issue - the appellate justices actually stated that THEY had recognized (2) additional similarities that supported the notion of motive (and therefore allowing in the 1101b evidence) that the Attorney General hadn't even mentioned.

RE: Appeal to the CA Supreme Court - Harriet Ryan has posted a response from Riordan stating that they will be filing an appeal (that was no surprise).
I hope the Clarkson Family will enjoy some peace of mind, following this ruling.
Thanks for sharing all your notes, observations and feedback with us throughout (2) trials and (1) appeal.
Much Appreciated - "my 2 cents"

Sprocket said...

Wow that decision was really fast, wasn't it?

I am not sure that PS will capitulate on the matter of the civil case. He would rather spend it all on attorneys than meet a legitimate obligation. Now I wonder if someone could do a power-of-attorney and wrest power from him, thus changing the direction of where and how he spends his money? That would add yet another twist to the whole saga......stay tuned. I for one still expect a bankruptcy filing and sooner rather than later.
Wes J.

Sprocket said...


I was wondering about the expert or so called expert witnesses that come into these cases and virtually get paid to spin the case for whichever side is paying them.

Specifically I speak of the renowned Dr. Michael Baden who so obviously lied in this case. The first trial I am referring to when he declared on the stand that "all of sudden it hit him the night before that Lana Clarkson's spinal chord snapped when the EMT's moved her to transport her lifeless body". Or how about again the renowned Dr. Henry Lee who took evidence and hid it in the case which was witnessed by one of the defendants very own attorneys. It shocks me to the core that they may have a say in peoples justice.

Do other people not care about the credibility of these yahoos and why do they still get called to testify in serious sometimes life dependant cases? Do people like myself remember when they sit on juries and how could we ever believe anything these men say?
Just wondering what your opinion is on the subject as I for one could never listen to anything that came out of either one of these men's mouth as truth.


Sprocket said...

Hi Tina,


I think a high-profile attorney Robert Shapiro hired his friends for this case. I think because of his personal power, he got these experts who were already considered "top notch. (Remember, he got Spector released on 1M bond, on just HIS personal reputation; the money had NOT BEEN PAID when Spector was released on that bond; I believe it was paid later after his release.)

Every person who does defense work knows that a high profile case gets you exposure, and exposure gets you future work. That's the nature of the game. It's FREE advertising. Doesn't matter if you are good or not, or what your personal integrity is. A high profile case gets you, attention and people remember your name.

I have always believed that Spector killed her in an alcohol fueled fit of rage. I've never believed differently.

Although I do not have one shred of evidence to support this, I believe from what the defense experts testified to at trial (Di Miao, Baden, Pex, etc.) that Spector SPOKE with some (if not all) of these witnesses himself, and told them directly that she shot herself. Again, that's just my personal belief.

It has nothing to do with integrity.

I believe the experts were told a specific set of "facts" (supplied by Spector) and they bent over backwards to get the evidence to support those facts. They also had (on the surface) statistics to support the possibility of suicide in that, virtually "all" intra-oral gunshot wounds are self inflicted.

So, I believe it was "easy" for them to bend the evidence to support that. Remember, Weinberg and the other defense attorneys fed their experts small excerpts from the E-mails to support their position that Clarkson was "at the end of her rope" and suicidal.

(The Justices, in their decision on Spector's appeal, even mentioned this as support for the argument that the defense was trying to muddle the facts/intent in Clarkson's E-mails. I highly recommend reading the entire decision. It's easy to understand and crystal clear.)

When the entire E-mail would be read, it was put in context. And with the testimony of Lana's friend David Shapiro (sp?), we learned that Clarkson tended to be overly dramatic in her writings.

There have only been THREE other cases of intra-oral gunshot wounds in the US that anyone can find, that were found to be murder. See?

The other overlooked "fact" is that not a single person (who testified) could find a similar case of "suicide" where someone goes to a total stranger's home, and within a few hours of meeting them, kills themselves inside the stranger's home with the stranger's gun.

I hope that answers your questions.

Sprocket said...

Ray in Nashville said:

Hi Betsy

I want to say thanks for your YEARS of covering the Phil Spector case. You have been amazing.

I read the entire 81 page appeal decision, and found it to be very well written. His guilt was even more clear from the document than from the trial itself. I really doubt that he has any chance of winning an appeal to the California Supreme Court, and even if he did he will spend years in jail waiting for it. He is finished.

Ray in Nashville

Sprocket said...

Thank you Ray, for continuing to read T&T.

It's been a life altering experience covering the Spector cases.

I've got another case I will be covering that starts in a few days. It's in voi dire right now, and the next case up I'm going to cover is the Stephanie Lazarus case.