Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Stephanie Lazarus Trial: Closing Arguments, Day II

UPDATED 6:01 PM Edited for spelling, accuracy.

3-05-2012 Defense attorney Mark Overland
© Thomas Broersma thomasbroersma AT yahoo.om

Closing arguments are expected to wrap up today and given to the jury to decide in the Stephanie Lazarus murder trial.

Yesterday, defense attorney Mark Overland insinuated DDA’s Presby and Nunez influenced the testimony of several prosecution witness, including Detective James Nuttall, who along with several other Van Nuys Division detectives was instrumental in solving the cold case.

Nuttall, was one of the last witnesses called by the defense in their case in chief. After a recess in the middle of his testimony last week, Overland questioned Nuttall if he had any conversations with the prosecutor and if the prosecutor told him what to say on the stand regarding his memory of what a specific evidence item was on a hand written list he created of the collected evidence. Nuttall confirmed that DDA Nunez reminded him what evidence item #16 was, a GSR kit taken from the blanket found in the home.

Overland told the jurors they could not trust the testimony of these witness as well as the testimony of LAPD Robbery Homicide Detectives’ Stearns and Jaramillo because they lied to the defendant in an effort to trap her in that interview.

This morning, I almost left the house without a notepad. Mr. Sprocket had to drive back to the house. I’m currently on the 9th Floor. I’ll have an update at the noon hour.

UPDATE 10:09 AM:
Mark Overland has finished his closing argument. We are on the morning break. The courtroom is packed to the gills. DDA Presby will present the final rebuttal argument. He is expect to speak for a little over an hour. Then the jurors will be read the jury instructions by Judge Perry and handed the case.

Next update at the noon hour.

In the morning session, Overland presented a thorough review of every piece of evidence in the case and what conclusions the jury should come to regarding that evidence. Overland pointed out the various pieces of DNA evidence that indicated more than one DNA profile and asked the jurors, "Don't you want to know who that was or where that came from?"

In his rebuttal argument, DDA Presby stressed to jurors that conclusions about circumstantial evidence had to be reasonable before you can accept a particular theory. Presby went over every conclusion the defense presented and followed the logic down to a particular conclusion, ending point with, "Is it circumstantial? Is it believable? Is it true?" Presby told the jurors that not one single piece evidence by itself points to the defendant, but it was the totality of the evidence that overwhelming proves Stephanie Lazarus killed Sherri Rasmussen.

The jury started deliberating at 2:35 PM. That's when they first entered the jury room. They didn't actually do a "buzz" to indicate the start of deliberations.

They stopped deliberating at 3:55 PM.

Deliberations begin tomorrow at 9:00 AM.

It was during the reading of jury instructions, that I realized that the jurors will get the option to choose between first and second degree murder. It’s just the way the law is written in California. The charge is specifically 187, murder and it can be in the first or second degree.

It was explained to me today that there are weeks and weeks of law school that are spent understanding just this specific penal code and what constitutes first degree or second degree murder. It’s not something that could be explained to me in five minutes. The official guilty verdict forms give the jurors the option to choose between which degree of murder they feel the evidence proves.

With that being said, the facts of this case do show that whomever committed this murder, it was done with “malice aforethought”, as first degree murder is described in the statute. The specific evidence that proves first degree: the blanket wrapped around the gun; the GSR barrel cylinder gap residue and the bullet holes in the blanket; the contact wound “kill shot” that Dr. Selser described as the muzzle of the gun being right up next to the skin, or pressed up against clothing.

In his rebuttal closing, DDA Presby took every suggestion or supposition the defense raised about each piece of evidence presented and systematically deconstructed the arguments and suppositions and suggestions. Presby then asked the jurors to apply the law of Occam’s razor to the totality of the evidence.

One could say, (depending on how you see the evidence) Presby hit a home run with his rebuttal, not only in his delivery but in the logic and basic reason of the arguments themselves. The question is, will the jury see the evidence that way, or will they see it as Overland presented it?

I just got home. I will answer comment questions then I’ll be spending a short amount of time house cleaning. Then tonight, I’ll be finishing up Overland’s argument from Day 1 as Part III. Wednesday, I'll work on Tuesday's arguments.

Those of you who know my prior trial reporting, I’m dedicated to a case to the finish. I sit on jury watch and report on the amount of time the jurors spend deliberating. I also report as soon as I can, if or when a verdict has been reached.

I made an inquiry with the court if I could work on my laptop while Judge Perry was off the bench. That request was denied, so unfortunately I won’t be reporting directly from the courtroom on this case. I will however, the moment something happens with the jury, step outside to update T&T, so tomorrow, please keep checking back for updates throughout the day. I’ll also answer questions if I can at the noon break.

The other news is, Judge Perry has agreed to let the media film the reading of the verdict when one is reached. However, he will not let that taping be transmitted “live.” NBC is the network that will have the “pool” camera in the courtroom.

Again, thank you one and all, for reading T&T. Sprocket.


Maddie said...

Question, please -- what has been (and is) the jury's reaction to the defendant?

Thank you!

LS said...

we are waiting on pins and needles! So I am sure SL is too!

Anonymous said...

Hi Sprocket...
I join the ranks of all the others who appreciate the fantastic coverage you are doing on this trial. I imagine you have very personal opinions, yet you manage to be fair in reporting. Kudos to you!!!
I have been following this case for years, as Sherri was a personal friend in High School.
My question is, (& forgive me if you have covered this, perhaps I lost track with all the other comment/questions coming in,) what is the significance of the dry cleaning? MO seems to have gone over & over this with JR...I assume somehow relates to the time frame in which JR arrived home on that horrible day? What would that matter, as everything points to Sherri's demise earlier in the a.m.? Please correct me if I am "off" in my line of thinking here.
Once again, great job. LM~in CA

Anonymous said...

So the best defense that MO could come up with was the "liar, liar, pants on fire" defense? He didn't provide any reason why the LAPD would lie. What did they have to gain by investigating one of their own? NOTHING!! They just went where the truth took them. I hope the jury did not buy into what MO was trying to do, which was just confuse them. Waiting patiently for the verdict! Thank you Sprocket for doing such an incredible job throughout this trial, you must be exhausted.

Anonymous said...

There is a typo in the title of this update! Sorry - it is the proofreader in me!

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, you ROCK!

I've been following this case as I was on many of the same sports teams as SL years ago... and I must say, your coverage of the daily events, has provided all I wished to know.

Thank you for sharing your unbiased observations with those of us who cannot be there, and by so doing allowing us to form our own, information based opinions of this case.

Even after this verdict, I will be checking back often, and look forward to experiencing court, through your eyes.

Again, thank you... and warmest regards,
LC, California

Becky said...

Sprocket, is there any possibility the jury could have a verdict today? Do they only meet until normal court hours or longer? What about their hours for tomorrow?

Anonymous said...

Wonderful job, Sprocket!

I am picturing SL in my mind's eye as either talking with her attorneys or staring down at the table during testimony and arguments. Is this accurate? Could you give us a bit more of a description of what she is doing and if the jurors are watching for her reactions? And have you noticed her reactions or has she remained stoic thoughout the trial?



Anonymous said...

I am new to this.. For whatever reason this case has really caught my interest. I have checked back daily for updates on a case involving people I have never met. As a single mother of two with enormous time constraints, kudos to the author for content so intriguing! Side note- I wish other media would take note of the unbiased nature and follow suit.

I am always looking for ways for the accused to be rightfully innocent. I firmly believe people jump to judgement so very quickly with little thought or true evidence. Typically takes just a few words typed out and people are ready to convict. Why are we so quick to harshly judge others simply because we heard or read something? Maybe it's easier? Maybe it makes us feel somehow superior?

I know most people are likely guilty of charges when prosecuted. But I also believe we all must do all we can to preserve "innocent before proven guilty" as our society becomes engorged with immediate information. It is imperative that we all critically think through information and teach our children the same.

Regarding this case.. I'm not an DNA expert. I know what the prosecutor claims regarding the integrity of this case's DNA.. but-- how did investigators know how to properly handle that type of evidence in 1986? Does the Lazarus match for DNA collected in 1986 mean the same as it would in 2012? Again.. I'm just questioning because I don't know.

Something else that I question.. Did Lazarus pursue this "boyfriend/not boyfriend" following the death of his wife? It would seem if she was capable of something so horrendous she would have planned to be the one to "help" the grieving widower.

Just wondering.. Off to pick up my kids.

Avery21 said...

I cannot begin to imagine what thoughts are going through SL's mind now.

Anonymous said...

Why would DDA Presby mention to the jury that not one particular piece of evidence points to Stephanie Lazarus when the DNA from the bite mark points directly to her!!! That doesn't sound like a smart move to me!!! We don't want to confuse the jurors as they may be like the ones who served on the Casey Anthony trial. I hope he didn't say it the way it's presented on the blog. If so, OMG. Geez. Other than that, YOU ROCK SPROCKET!!! : )

Shannon from Seattle said...

Hi Sprocket:

In the post comments under another header one of your readers recently insinuated that the police had done something improper regarding the questioning of Lazarus. Would you mind explaining to your readers about what the police are permitted to do within the guidelines of "legal" interrogation?

I am no expert, but I watched the interrogation and they repeated over and over to Lazarus that she was "free to go." She finally acknowledged that she knew she was free to go, and she kept right on talking.

My daughter has taken criminology and she explained to me that when the police bring in a suspect for questioning, they can either ask if they are free to go and if they are, they should go. If the answer is no, then ask to be read the Miranda Rights and ask for a lawyer.

Lazarus spoke for over an hour before ending the interview and before mentioning that she might actually need a lawyer. It was HER choice. In my mind, the police did not do anything illegal, and her background as a police officer of over 25 years should have prepared her a little bit better for that experience.

I am sure you will explain it much more eloquently. But, that is the gist of my understanding regarding the law of questioning a subject.

Also, it should seem obvious, but if anything was improper about the interrogation, the Judge would never have permitted the video into evidence or risk a mistrial.

On another note, I am so happy the prosecutor was able to say that no alibi was ever offered by the defense. I thought Robert made a great point, among many, about how she could have offered a credit card receipt, mall receipt etc, if she had been somewhere else. Of course, her DNA was at Sherri's house that day -- pretty sure she was with her DNA.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sprocket!

Will the jury be given the videotape of Stephanie Lazarus' interrogation to watch during its deliberations? I hope so.

Larry L. said...

Whatever the verdict turns out to be, thanks for your diligent reporting and again for replying to my emails.

TS said...

To Anonymous (3/6, 9:19 a.m.) - I was in court one of the days MO raised questions about the dry cleaning. A photo was shown of the dry cleaning on the sofa. A close up was then shown of what appeared to be a cord of some kind attached to the dry cleaning. I think MO was trying to imply that the cord used to tie up SR might be connected to the dry cleaning and JR. The witness on the stand (a crime analyst I believe?) said he couldn't identify the item on the dry cleaning as a cord and did not recall seeing it before.

Robert said...

For the third day in a row I repeat the most obvious and salient issue. Stephanie Lazarus' DNA was in that condo and recovered from a bite mark on Sherri Rasmussen's arm. Overland can build smoke screens all day long, but he hasn't explained how her DNA got on that swab collected twenty-five years ago.

He can raise unreasonable doubts about collection and custody, but that's all he has... And after three years, he and his investigator have yet to counter that with any indication, however slight, that Stephanie Lazarus was somewhere other than in unit #205 on Febrruary 24th...

They haven't presented a credit card receipt, a cancelled check, a dentist's appointment or a conversation with a neighbor. They haven't produced phone records and a telephone call to a loved one or the vague recollections of a clerk that she might have seen her on that day. There is absolutely nothing of a positive nature to counter the prosecution's evidence. Nothing.

Some commentators have wondered about the paucity of Overland's defense, but there's a reason for its brevity. Except for her DNA turning up in unit #205, Overland could not find a single record of Stephanie Lazarus's whereabouts for that day, during the period in which the murder was committed, or he would have presented it.

As they say, if you can't plead the facts, plead the law. And if you can't do that, impugn someone's character.

I pray to God those jurors are smart enough to see what was NOT presented to them, and that was an affirmative defense. If SL was not in unit #205 on the day of the murder, where was she Mr. Overland?

Silence.... silence that speaks volumes.

TS said...

More on the dry cleaning....I saw in an on line article that MO was trying to show that it didn't seem plausible that the dry cleaning was so carefully placed over the sofa in the living room area (photo shown) if JR had just discovered his murdered wife in that same area.

anonymous said...

To "anonymous" who was on sports teams with Stephanie, can you give us some insight into her personality? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

LOVE YOU for all you do for us!!!


Anonymous said...

Thank you for your coverage of this trial, Sprocket. I have become a fan of true crime. I listened to the interrogation/interview tape and I found it very telling that Ms. Lazarus said, "I know she got killed." As a police officer, I would expect her to say murdered, or it was an unsolved murder, but not she got killed. That makes it sound like it was something Sherri did, not something that was done to her. I also found it odd that as a close friend of John that she didn't offer him comfort.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, what happens when the jury reaches a verdict? Does everyone get called back, and then it's read? Will you be at the courthouse tomorrow in case a decision is reached?

debbiescalisi said...

Sprocket, Thank You for your wonderful coverage. I can imagine it can be overwhelming trying to get every detail that we are all eagerly waiting to read. Kudos to Montana Kris on 3/6 at 6:26am with her observation of:SL blamed Sherri: Ex: 3 times during SL's video interview when asked "Do you know what happened to Sherri? SL responds vigorously w/confidence in a neg tone, "I know SHE GOT KILLED"! With Montana Kris' background in psycho-therapy, it was very informative to see the picture through her interpretations and I think she hit it correctly on many things! As far as the matter with the dry cleaning, it took me a few days to try and understand what MO was leaning towards, so am I getting it right that he feels JR was so casual about his entrance into the condo that he had time to drap the dry cleaning over the sofa BEFORE seeing his deceased wife SR on the floor? Waiting anxiously for your notes tonight....and then....the Verdict.

Shannon from Seattle said...

I have a hunch they will render a verdict sometime tomorrow. Sprocket, do you have the same gut instinct? Juries are so hard to predict.

Diane said...

OMG are you just TOO ... don't want to say excited, anxious I guess is best term, so aren't you ANXIOUS? I have decided you should write BOOKS on these cases. You know, from an observer's prospective.
I have news here in Olympia WA, my good friend attorney James Dixon was appointed Superior Court Judge by Gov Gregoire last Thurs. He used ME as a community reference AND I wrote a letter to the Gov on his behalf. BIG DEAL so happy for him.
Well, I am going to be keeping a close eye on the deliberations & your postings. THANK AGAIN for your work!
Did that message go through I sent last week telling you to get some Blog sponsors. You have a good following now, I'll be there're plenty of businesses that would advertise on your Blog site. ::)) D

Diane said...

OK I posted before I read the comments and I just have to come to your defense. I think it's MEAN for people to comment on your typos. IF SHE GOT PAID THEN SHE COULD HIRE AN EDITOR/SPELL CHECKER/PROOF READER, golly gee. I am an impeccable speller and when letters go out under my signature they are PERFECT, but I type fast and make occasional typos when commenting on-line.
I REALIZE that you are trying to get us the info quick rather than absolutely perfect, and I appreciate that. ::))D

Avery21 said...

Shannon from Seattle raised some good points re the lengthy interview with SL. SL's mind had to be scrambling when she finally realized what was happening. She wouldn't suddenly stop & ask for a lawyer & therefore risk looking guilty, & more importantly,she needed to find out how much they already knew. She was probably in a state of shock by then. Does she remember biting Sherri? Did she remember it when she was asked if she'd give a DNA sample? IMHO, her guilty is never more obvious than when she resignedly sinks back into the chair in handcuffs.

Anonymous said...

Just so you know - the "typo comment" was only because it was the defendant's name and not meant to be mean. I'm sorry - I appreciate very much the work Sprocket has done. Sincerely meant no harm or disrespect!

Shannon from Seattle said...

I have heard that curiosity is a big part of human nature, and the need to know what they know prevents suspects from halting the pre-arrest interview.

My kids know to give the policeman their name, ask if they are free to go. If yes, then go; if not, request a lawyer immediately.

Fortunately all of my grown citizens are law abiding, so my worries are few. Still, people are sometimes wrongfully charged and this advice goes a long way when navigating the legal system. Lawyer up!

I am still amazed Lazarus feel head first into their trap, especially since she well knows ALL the methods and techniques for questioning suspects.

Anonymous said...

Thats SO interesting that other people picked up on the "She got KILLED" comment by SL. That comment alone was one of the things that made me realize her guilt. As a Police Officer she would have said "She was Murdered". She got KILLED almost sounds like she is stating that Sherry DESERVED to be murdered so she did it! SO MANY telltale things in the Interrogation!!!

Anonymous said...

I would like to comment on the issue raised regarding SL not having an alibi for the time of the murder. In this case because the investigation into SL began 23 years plus after the crime, I think it is unrealistic to expect that people could begin pulling out credit card receipts, bank records or dental appointments. In my case the credit card was bought out by another bank, I don't keep receipts for years and my dentist has retired. Besides, we can not assume that every person, when taking a day off, has a slew of documentation regarding what they did. I believe Lazarus is guilty and I think the evidence proves that she was there, but I don't think that it is realistic to say that she can not prove 26 years later where she was that day and that that is yet another piece of evidence. I think Overland took issue with the prosecutor stating that SL did not provide an alibi as an issue to later bring up for appeal, should she be found guilty. Hey, if anyone out there, short of marriage, family death or lottery win, can definitively say what they were doing on a random day 26 years ago, all the power to you.

Sprocket said...

Maddie: Reaction to Defendant:
That's an unknown. The jury comes in, sits and listens to evidence. As far as I can see, they are not making any reaction that one could intelligently intuit. Maybe we will know if they talk to the press when they reach a verdict.

The Dry Cleaning
This requires going back to John Ruetten's testimony. I don't know if this is in my notes, but I remember it. Ruetten had come home around 6:00 PM. He came in through the garage. When he first came into the condo, from the door he first say Sherri lying on the floor in the living room. He testified he didn't know what was wrong at first. He said, he wondered why was Sherri lying on the floor of the living room.

The first piece of furniture that he would come up against in the living room from the garage would be the love seat. It's logical to think that he would carry the dry cleaning in with him from the car.

We could see from the photos, that the dry cleaning was lying draped over the sofa love seat. Did he get that far in the condo, set the dry cleaning down and then realized something was wrong with his wife?

In the evidence photo, there definitely appears to be something holding the dry cleaning together. But is it a cord or is it some kind of wire, that looks like a cord, or even a plastic wire tie? If it was some type of cord, there is no way you could determine from the photos, if the cord was exactly like the cord on the floor intertwined with the speaker wire. Exactly like meaning, it's the same material, same thickness, originating from the same source.

Liar, liar!
This will be explained in the detail notes. Please be patient. I'm only one person.

I do not mind my readers telling me I have typos. I don't have an editor. Y'all should know that, when I was trying to get today's entry published, I had written the detail of the entry on the train. Then when I got up to the 9th floor, I was standing in the elevator bay, waiting for the security check point to open.

There are no benches in the elevator bay; no place to sit. I was standing in line, holding my laptop in one hand, and typing my title and doing everything else with the other hand. I copied my entry from my word processing program and got it into blogger; I input links on the Quick Links Page, and got Thomas' sketch entered. I wasn't watching as closely as I should have, when I hen-pecked in my title. I apologize.

Becky: Verdict Today
It wasn't likely, due to the time they got the case @ 2:35 PM in the afternoon.

Sprocket said...

During all of closing arguments, I rarely saw her move her head. She never looked at the jury. She had her arms in front of her on the defense table, her fingers touching or interlaced. She mostly stared straight ahead or slightly down at the table.

Anon @ 1:30 PM
In his closing arguments, Overland did not give the jurors an explanation as to "how" Lazarus' DNA could have ended up on that bite mark swab, as part of a "mixture" of two profiles. A minor profile that matched the victim and a major profile that matched the defendant.

Anon @ 2:09 PM
I did not write a very accurate description of Presby's argument at the lunch hour update. I apologize. There were several people at my table, (Thomas and Lisa from 20/20 and a friend who works in the DA's office), and I was quite tired from lack of sleep. I could not think very well with all the conversation going on around me, and people asking me questions at the same time. I meant to say, that Presby was referring to the circumstantial evidence (gun type, gun stolen, bullets, day off, etc.,) that supports the DNA match, by themselves, individually do not convict the defendant, but when taken as a whole, in their totality, Presby argued that this evidence was powerful evidence of guilt.

Please wait until all my notes are transcribed. It will become clear then.

Anon @ 2:22 PM
Yes, they will get all the evidence presented at trial.

You're welcome. Thank you for writing.

Verdict watch
When the jurors reach a verdict, they will give three distinct buzzes that we will hear inside the courtroom.

Judge Perry said today that the verdict will be read within an hour of that time. In reality, the verdict will be read when counsel reach the courthouse. I believe Judge Perry said that Overland is about an hour away (in LA Traffic, that's not far.). Yes, I will be in court tomorrow, sitting on verdict watch.

I never predict a jury as to WHEN they will come back or what a verdict will be. Juries will surprise you. That's like trying to read tea leaves.

Diane: Books
I do not have any plans to write a book. I will be supporting my friend Matthew McGough's book. He already has a contract with a publisher to write a book on this case. Although Matthew would disagree with me, I do not believe I have the skills to write a book that people would be interested in reading. Maybe in ten years, when I've developed my writing chops to compete with Matt. He's a fine writer. No worries about the typos. I appreciate all the help I can get.

Sprocket said...

No Alibi
Overland made a point that Lazarus was a pack rat. She kept a lot of old junk. She had old computer equipment, (that the computer expert searched) and she had her "work log" or "journal" as well as a daily calendar for the time period of 1984 through 1986. Entries from the calendar and journal/work log were entered into evidence by the prosecution and defense as to things she did on specific dates and what she wrote about.

Anonymous said...

Hi, Sprocket!

Thank you for clearing that up for me about Presby's closing arguments and how he was only referring to the circumstantial evidence and not the DNA when he made the statement that the evidence doesn't necessarily directly link Lazarus to the crime. Whew!! God bless you!! : )

Anonymous said...

I agree with Diane, Sprocket! You really do need to get blog sponsors as there is absolutely nothing wrong with being compensated for producing a quality product such as your blog : ) Please seriously consider it! : )

Natalie said...

Sprocket, you are so amazing and humble... To say you couldn't write a book is of course silly. More than 2 million people have visited this site to read what you write! We do it because we love your voice, your perspective, and your writing, typos and all. God bless you!

Anonymous said...

Can anyone comment or guess at the defense's likely legal cost? Is SL or her family paying for this defense team and at what type of cost? Is SL whether found guilty or not guilty liable for her legal defense cost? Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Natalie at 8:04 p.m.!!

TS said...

Just a quick FYI that may be of interest to some of you....there will be a tour of the Los Angeles Crime Lab and lectures about the forensic and crime scene investigations on two case studies related to photographers who killed their subjects (one was Linda Sobek) on June 3 (other tours and/or lectures related to crime in the Los Angeles area are also on the site):


Anonymous said...

The comments of Anonymous on March 6th at 7:42 am show a total misunderstanding of interrogation law and admissibility. Police are under no obligation to notify a person that they are suspected or that they may be or will be arrested at the conclusion of an interview. This precedent was decided by the US Supreme Court in 1983. See California v. Beheler, 463 U.S. 1121 (1983). It does not matter what the state of mind of the police is. What matters is the state of mind f the suspect. If they believe they are free to leave and do not have to speak to the police, the statement will be admissible.

The second point is lying to suspects. The courts have long held that police can lie to suspects as long as the lies would not make an otherwise innocent person confess to a crime they did not commit. In the SL interview the lies police told are limited to the ruse used to get SL into an interview room and their level of knowledge about the facts known to them regarding the case. Neither of these issues would make the statement inadmissible. These are the reasons the statement was properly admitted by the court. The person who posted that comment should do a little more research before second guessing experienced detectives and a seasoned judge about the legality/admissibility of a statement.

Utah Chris said...

Okay - I'm going out on a limb on this.... they deliberate 1 maybe 2 days. There really isn't that much evidence to talk through unless there is a stubborn juror.

Avery21 said...

Re drycleaning: if more than one item, mine were always tied with a twist tie around the hangers. I thought MO's slant on this was ridiculous. I am sure JR was in shock & denial when he realized his wife was dead. Anyone who has experienced a traumatic event KNOWS that feeling. (Mine was a 3:00 a.m. house fire and you absolutely DO go into shock & denial, a defense mechanism.) THANK YOU FOR THIS BLOG, SPROCKET!! FASCINATING!! p.s. I LOVE your kitty!! :)

Robert said...

Regarding the Anonymous comment about the defense's inability to provide an alibi. Here's an anonymous reply...

SL had detailed notes of her daily thoughts and comings and goings... but nothing in her notes, and nothing on her computer about those 3-4 days off in February... She had thousands of pictures of places she had gone, and voluminous notes about her activities... But not a word about days she requested off... They weren't sick days, it was a block of days requested in advance. Doesn't it seem odd that in a notebook that commented about even the most inconsequential moments of her daily life, that such a gap exists in her notes, from her taxes, from her memory?

Secondly... don't ever think that the record of a check you wrote twenty years ago has disappeared, even if the bank was bought out. Your phone records, credit card purchases, etc are all available. It just depends on how much the government wants them. And/or in the case of the defense, it just depends on how closely they want to go through the defendant's bank statements...eg, the ones attached to her tax returns.

We're not taking about 1942, we're talking about the mid-eighties, and the advent of the computer generation. This was when the government first started asking banks to keep track of who deposited cash in large increments and started tracking your credit card purchases.

Believe me, if she took three days off in Monterey and stayed in a hotel, Overland would have found it and had the charges dropped a long time ago. If she was buying a dress at Macy's at the time of the murder, Overland would have had a photo op of Mayor V writing SL a check while he apologized to her. If she was having her transmission fixed on that day, the LAPD would have discovered it and never brought the charges.

Anything and everything you have done that involved a credit card transaction or a bank draft of any kind is traceable. This is a computer age and nothing disappears when banks change hands.

If the FBI can produce wiretaps of Byron De La Beckwith from the sixties, phone records from the mid eighties can be produced. If the FBI can trace a call from a phone booth in the midwest during the sixties between Stephen Weed and Joan Baez and have a highway patrolman roll up on that phone booth within minutes, credit card records from the mid-eighties can be produced - either by the bank or from SL's tax returns.

It has nothing to do with what she can or can't remember, or what she does or does not want to remember. Computers never forget.

Get me her pertinent information and have her sign a waiver, and I'll hand you every check she wrote that year and every credit card transaction. You and I both know that If there was a transaction of any kind on Feb 24 between nine and noon, the defense would have already brought it to our attention, so I have to assume it does not exist.

Sorry to burst your bubble...

Shannon from Seattle said...

Robert, as per usual, is right on target.

I am happy to see a lawyer or two joining the discussion.

debbiescalisi said...

Sprocket, please don't apologize for Typos; if we can't figure out a typo and what it really means, we should not be online...I can type 75wpm, literally; I was trained on a manual typewriter and when I went to work for Rockwell International (Shuttle Program) in the mid 1970's and I discovered I was still going to be typing on an Underwood Manual I almost fainted....my point...on my computer I can type even faster than probably 75wpm BUT the minute I get distracted, i.e. child asking for something, cat rubbing up against desk meowing....typo=typo=typo....you are on a laptop with your mind full of the days' HUGE things and we need to ask for ACCURACY???? Just keep doing what you are doing.....

debbiescalisi said...

Second comment from me tonight: it is my understanding, after reading a question from Anonymous today, 3/6 at 8:11pm about SL legal costs? She hired private defense attorney MO so they are paying the bill, correct? If SL and her husband had insufficient funds to cover a defense attorney, she would have been given a Public Defender. I was married to a private criminal defense attorney, they do not work for free unless they are doing Pro-Bono. I remember reading back in 2009 that SL and family "had hired MO" so that leads me to believe they are footing the bill. I am thinking this was not a cheap ticket; I live in The OC and the typical top-notch atty is going to run $100K; I cannot imagine LA being too much different unless MO is doing this for the publicity/coverage such as Casey Anthony's attorney in Florida last year.

Sprocket said...

I have sources that have told me about the cost of the defense, but since I cannot quote them at this time, unfortunately I am unable to share the figure with you.

All I can say is, it is a considerable amount.

Someone from the public defender's office is not the only option. It's my understanding that the court can appoint an an attorney. I've seen this happen in some cases. For example, the Lily Burke case.

(I attended the first day of that preliminary hearing but I never got around to writing up my notes, so you won't find anything on the blog. I got sick and missed the second day of the prelim. If I recall correctly, the defendant was represented by two court appointed attorneys. He pled.)

debbiescalisi said...

Robert at 9:16pm 3/6 (Tonight) is correct ! SL went Blank on 2/25/1986 on purpose...she had to go undercover to recover from this horrible ordeal with SR...she was NOT going to put it in her diary. She was a pack-rat; I am a pack-rat; I deliberately dug through my armoire and found my Hallmark Pocket Calendars and I know what I was doing on 2/25/1986: I had dinner with my (ex)husband at a mexican restaurant in Long Beach and if there were no other special notes in that calendar, I was at work (boring) and going home and fixing dinner. The normal female writes notes about lunches, dinners, dates, manicures, hair appts, etc. SL was still obsessed with JR but the damage was done she could not write any more thoughts on him...she knew she was guilty of a horrible crime and his name would NOT ever be mentioned again. Why didn't she go to comfort him? How could she? Yikes, she didn't even attend the funeral! Any other former girlfriend might have.

debbiescalisi said...

Yes Sprocket, I neglected to comment that in cases of SL and her being an LAPD officer and a lot of conflict that would be involved, a private attorney would be appointed, thus POSSIBLY being paid in lieu of a Public Defender. I can certainly see the reasoning of that in fairness to the defendant. The media did not ever identify MO as court appointed atty or private counsel as far as I can remember, just that SL had hired MO for representation. Over here at The OC Mr."S" did many "conflict of interest" cases where private counsel was hired verus the Public Defender. That was lucky for the defendants; they got Top Gun representation for what many of us would have had to mortgage our homes for.

debbiescalisi said...

P.S.. Sprocket - We possibly have TWIN cats separated at birth; I have a short-haired version of your cat with exact markings; mine is a female named "BoBo" that literally adopted us, new family, versus a disgruntled owner here at the beach in Sunset 3 years ago. Give me your public email address and I will send you some pics of her. These black & white cats are a different breed from any other cats I have had over the years; I think they call them Tuxedo Cats.

Anonymous said...

I read somewhere on your blog that you have 2 million readers?!! Please monetize this blog!!! Your readers will be glad you did so as you deserve it (you should be a millionaire, or close to it, by now - smile)!! Also, most readers would love the convenience of reading up on their favorite case and having the ability to click on a product and/or service of interest at the same time : ) Seriously consider it; don't sell yourself short! : )

Sprocket said...

Y'all are misinterpreting T&T's historical stats, confusing the five years of hits to a daily readership.

Sprocket said...

HERE IS WHERE YOU CAN READ all about the kitty in my profile who inspired my blogging moniker.