Michael Thomas Gargiulo, date unknown.
EXCLUSIVE GARGIULO CASE COVERAGE HERE
Prior pretrial hearing 8/21/12
UPDATE Sept 14th: Catching my dyslexia errors; edited for spelling, Judge Ohta. My apologies.
UPDATE Sept. 6th:
A QUICK LINKS Page has been set up for this case. On that page you can find links to several motions that have been filed by the defendant as well as the prosecution. Sprocket.
September 5th, 2012
I'm waiting out in the hallway for Department 108 to open. Judge Kennedy's bailiff, Sean (sp?) is in the hallway chatting with an attractive female LAPD officer in uniform. She's reading a several page typed document. Attorneys make their way down to this end of the hallway and one of them is Deborah Brazil, who was one of the prosecutors on the Conrad Murray manslaughter case. Brazil heads into Dept. 107, Judge Michael Pastor's courtroom.
8:35 AM: Department 108 is opened by the bailiff from the inside and I take a seat in the second bench row. A few people from the general public enter and sit in the back row.
Judge Ohta steps out from behind the private chambers area and comes up to the counter of his clerk's desk. Judge Ohta's bailiff is showing another bailiff the ropes. The bailiff introduces the new sheriff to Judge Ohta who shakes his hand and says, "Nice to meet you."
8:45 AM: Judge Ohta's clerk, Gloria, comes out and greets the deputies. Although the courtroom is rather quiet, I'm betting Judge Ohta does have a case in progress and the jurors were told to come in later. As I wait for court to start, I can hear the radio calls come in over the bailiffs radios. Shortly after, defense attorney Mr. Rubin enters and greets the people in the back row. During the last Gargiulo hearing, there was an issue as to whether or not Mr. Rubin could represent another defendant in another matter, because Rubin had represented a co-defendant in that case. I guess the bar panel got that all sorted out for Judge Ohta.
Gargiulo's investigator Christian Filipiak enters, greets Rubin and they sit in the well and chat for a bit. With their backs to me, I note both gentlemen are wearing suits with a faint, half-inch spacing white pinstripe. Rubin's suit is light gray, Filipiak's suit appears to be black.
8:53 AM: The pretty court reporter arrives and sets up her equipment at her desk in front of the witness stand.
There are now several conversations going on at once for a moment. The court report and court clerk exchange a few words, Rubin and Filipiak are still chatting and the two deputies are going over procedures.
A slender woman with thick short hair enters and sits in the first row on the 'defense' side in line with the bailiff's desk. I'm guessing she is here for the case that is currently in trial.
8:56 AM both bailiffs go back into the jail area. A few moments later, Akemon arrives with two other people who I guess must be from the DA's office. One is a very young looking, almost rail thin woman wearing black pumps and a black suit. The other is an older silver-haired man with a nicely trimmed mustache and small goatee. He begins explaining a few things about the Gargiulo case to the young woman as well as court procedure. I overhear that she is currently in (law?) school.
I see Akemon and Filipiak chat in the well. I overhear the clerk Gloria say on a phone call, "Yes, we're in trial." I guessed right.
Judge Ohta comes out again for a moment. He's wearing a gold, tan and white shimmering striped tie with his light blue shirt.
Rubin comes out of the jail area and when he sees Akemon he shakes his hand and they chat for a moment. Filipiak tells Judge Ohta, "Afterwards, Mr. Gargiulo has several motions he'd like to sign."
Judge Ohta, with a smile on his face jokingly chats with Mr. Rubin, "I thought you didn't take state cases, only federal?" Mr. Rubin responds, "My creditors want me to take everything." Judge Ohta then initiates a conversation with the parties in the well, something about all cases having issues relating to commerce statutes to bring cases into federal court. I don't really follow what he's saying.
The DDA who is trying the current case in front of Judge Ohta arrives, along with several other attorneys.
It's after 9:15 AM, and Gargiulo is finally brought out. He's wearing the new glasses Filipiak obtained for him and he's carrying a large green, canvas looking satchel.
Judge Ohta brings the case on the record by stating that Mr. Gargiulo is self representing and that Mr. Filipiak is seated next to Mr. Gargiulo to help him with matters.
JO: The issue before the court is whether the court as the authority to place orders on certain discovery issues.... (snip) The people filed a motion indicating their position as to why they believe the court has the authority to issue (restrict the defendant from access to crime scene photographs).
The prosecution's motion was filed on August 29th. Judge Ohta asks the defendant if he received a copy of the motion.
MG: Yes, I received it on August 31st.
Judge Ohta asks the defendant if he is prepared to litigate the issue. He replies that he's not prepared.
MG: I'm sure there are inaccurate statements in there. (snip) I've had very little time to prepare a response.
JO: I will give you time.
Then Judge Ohta speaks to the parties as to what his thoughts, preliminary are so far, and where he thinks the issue will fall.
JO: It will fall on the victim's constitutional rights. (snip) I recognize you are presumed innocent. (snip) The prosecution (argues that you are guilty). (snip) As related to (sec? secondary?) issues those might not have standing.
From my notes, I'm seeming to remember Judge Ohta was referring to the prosecution's arguments that relied on the defendant being guilty...
JO: ....the privacy of the victims is a strong possibility. (snip) ...1054 statute doesn't provide under (that?) issue
Judge Ohta goes onto theorize that under 1044, his responsibility to supervise the trial process, that he may be able to (rule for the prosecution on this motion) under 1044, because this would fall under the court's "inherit authority." Judge Ohta has to balance the victim's constitutional rights under (the victim's bill of rights bill...)... In order to protect the victim's rights. The victim must be treated with respect and dignity... The balance is, since the defendant has been provided with discovery, does the trial court limit your access to it in jail?
Judge Ohta states the photos are very graphic photos. They could be stolen, lost. The court probably has the authority under those guidelines.
JO: If you do any research....(snip) focus on that.
Judge Ohta states that the prosecution has done extensive research on the issue and their motion is well written and gives a lot of (gr..?)....
MG: I think I've been singled out. I've spoken to many.... (in the jail? other people who are in cells by themselves)... (snip) I pretty much.... I'd be the only one with yellow paperwork... (snip) and not allowed to have photographs and (be able to determine?) which photographs (go with what documents?) setting and notes.... (snip) I'm having a hard time putting things together... (snip) There's inaccurate info based on this information. (snip) I can't.....
JO: You've been given discovery. You have access to it. Whether you possess it in your cell.... (snip) (I've? The prosecution?) ...ask (your) investigator to keep items...
MG: If I could put something together and respond back...
Filipiak leans in to speak to the defendant and recommends three different dates to him, September 24th, 25th, 26th. Gargiulo then presents those dates to the Judge and Judge Ohta asks the prosecution. Akemon states any of those dates are fine. Judge Ohta selects September 26th as the next hearing date.
Judge Ohta asks the defendant if he would like to waive time again, or stay on this zero of 90? Gargiulo asks to waive time again, so the next court date, the calendar will be at zero of 90 again.
JO: Were you able to resolve issues with Department 122?
MG: Yes, monetary issues.
Gargiulo asks the judge to order the prosecution to turn over discovery without the redaction's. Gargiulo states (he? his investigator?) is not able to do the job because he doesn't have witness (resolutions?)...
JO: If you feel the district attorney has not complied with 1054, (discovery) file a motion.
Akemon mentions that the prosecution is working on putting all the discovery on a hard drive for Mr. Filipiak, and hopefully it will be done by that date (Sept. 26th). Akemon asks Judge Ohta to inventory the discovery that is still under seal. There were numerous documents that were subpoenaed. He spoke to Mr. Filipiak, and wants to know if it's okay with the defendant and the court.
After more questions from Judge Ohta, Akemon explains that he isn't requesting to "open" the envelopes, just go through them, see what the outside of the envelopes say, and make an inventory list.
The defendant, not really understanding, Judge Ohta explains to him that Judge Ohta will not be here. That the defendant needs to say whether this would be alright with him or not. I believe he gives his consent that the prosecution can inventory the subpoenaed documents that have come back.
Gargiulo asks Judge Ohta if he's looked at his other motions he's filed, something about the law library I believe and Judge Ohta states that he has not. He will go over all the motions at the next court hearing.
Now Filipiak gets his client to sign, I think, new motions to present to the court. Possibly these were prepared for him by Filipiak... I don't know. Judge Ohta asks the deputies if Mr. Filipiak has access to the 14th floor (possibly to sign these papers there instead of taking up the court's time). The bailiff indicates Filipiak does not.
The documents get signed, Gargiulo is led back to the jail holding area and that's it. As I write up my notes, I'm remembering that Judge Ohta addressed the defendant that he understands that he has recently began representing himself. He would like to get this case moving along.
I checked in with Elizabeth at the Public Information Office, and I will be able to pick up copies of the motions tomorrow. This is perfect since I'm going back to court tomorrow for the Gerhard Becker arraignment in Dept. 30. Once I have copies of the defense and prosecution motions, I'll put them up on my SCRIBD account.
I will be inquiring to see if there is an updated photo of Gargiulo at the Los Angeles County jail and if the prosecution released any photos of the victims. This will be an interesting case if the defendant does represent himself all the way through trial. Whether I am able to attend it or not will depend on which case I'm following comes to trial first. My priority so far is the Cameron Brown case, then Kelly Soo Park.
Next hearing is September 26, 2012