Monday, May 13, 2013

Kelly Soo Park Trial: Jury Selection Day 1

 Kelly Soo Park at a previous court hearing, 2012.

Judge Kennedy ended the court day at 4:10 PM with only a handful of jurors excused.  Hopeful I'll get a seat for the rest of jury selection tomorrow. 

A couple jurors have been released but those of us in the hallway have not been given seats inside the courtroom yet.  If my memory serves, Judge Kennedy goes until 4:15 PM.  The hallway has been very quiet.  I've been catching Lisa up on my experience at the Gerhard Becker prelim last November.

The jurors exit the courtroom for the afternoon break.  As far as those of us in the hallway can tell, no jurors have been released yet.  I see that Luz left the courtroom, so I'm guessing she must have garnered a seat.

Still waiting in the hallway.  Not a single juror has been released yet in the case Even Park's partner, Tom Chronister is waiting for a seat to open up.

When the jurors were excused for the lunch break at 12 noon, it was still unknown if any had been excused for hardship, etc. Hopefully, I'll get a seat during some part of the afternoon session to see how jury selection is going.

I thought I would let you know who was in court this morning from the press.  CBS 48 Hours producer Greg Fisher, who I first met during the James Fayed case back in April 2011, and another CBS producer, Sue, who is also following the Michael Gargiulo trial. Also in court this morning were  Luz from NBC Dateline, Lonce LaMon from and a late arrival was Lisa Tomaselli from ABC's 20/20.  Lisa just came back from four months of coverage in the Jodi Arias trial in Arizona.  What an unbelievable trial that was, and it's still not over!

There was no entourage with Park this morning, just more defense staff, two women that arrived with defense attorney Mark Kassabian. One was an older bespeckled woman dressed in black with shoulder length blond hair.  The other is a slender athletic looking woman with brown hair past her shoulders. The blonde ended up sitting at the defense table between Buehler and Kassabian.

Before 9:00 AM, I hear Mr. Kassabian call into the gallery for a Mr. Ivanov (sp?).  A man in the back row stands up and they chat.  He then calls into the galler for a Ms. Debeara (sp?).  A woman responds and Kassabian sits beside her in the back row to chat.  Earlier, I saw another woman, tall, blonde and slender who was also subpoenaed, speaking with the defense investigator Linda Larsen.

A little after 9:18 AM, Judge Kennedy went on the record in the Park case.  Judge Kennedy states "There were many motions that were filed this morning (by the defense) but the people just received them. "  She asks DDA Okun-Wiese if she's had a chance to review them or if she has someone preparing motions.  Okun-Wiese tells the court she has someone now pulling case law.  Defense attorney George Buehler tells the court that "We are in a position now, that she (Park) cannot exercise her constitutional right without a complete defense. I think that is my constitutional right to bring that in full relief."  

Judge Kennedy responds, "Well. you filed a huge collection of motions this morning which the people have not had the opportunity to respond. ... I've not had the opportunity to look at them very carefully. ... Jeopardy doesn't attach until a jury is sworn."  Buehler explains that it has to do with that.  Judge Kennedy tells him, "What I'm saying is, no one can respond to something in two minutes after a series of motions have been filed. ... Nothing is going to start with those motions. ... With regard to the press motions... I looked very carefully with that you filed this morning which is about four inches (thick). (It looks bigger than four inches to me.)  Those exhibits in regards to cameras in the courtroom are old.  Very old. I don't see anything recent in what you've filed and I, at this time, am not prepared to amend my order I made last week."

Judge Kennedy goes onto explain that the media knew about this case for a long time and they could have gotten together to share the expense of supplying cameras of the type that she would have approved. "I'm not prepared to run the risk of cameras in front of a jury (during testimony) or the worry that their privacy is going to be compromised, especially when there were alternatives available."

Kassabian asks Judge Kennedy how many alternates will be seated.  Judge Kennedy responds, "Six, maybe four with how well we do."

And that's it for pretrial motions at this time.  Everyone left in the courtroom is waiting for the jurors to arrive in the hallway where we will then be ejected to make room for 65 people.

11:03 AM Jurors finally entered Dept 109 about ten minutes ago.  The press is waiting outside in the hallway along with Kelly Soo Park's partner, Tom Chronister.

When I arrived in Dept. 109, there were three people who showed up and handed papers to the bailiff. They were subpoenaed by the defense this morning but apparently they will not be taking the stand until the people have had the opportunity to respond to the many defense motions filed this morning.

Kelly arrived around 9:07 AM. She is wearing black slacks, a blue and white thin stripe shirt with white cuffs and collar.  A cream colored cardigan is around her shoulders.  Her only supporter today is her partner, Tom Chronister. 

Today is the start of two trials on opposite sides of the US.  In Los Angeles, Kelly Soo Park's murder trial starts today in Department 109 of the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center with jury selection.  Judge Kennedy stated last week that 65 jurors will be arriving at around 10 AM.  I expect we will also have some pretrial motions before jury selection begins.  Park is charged with 187 felony murder in the death of model and aspiring actress, Juliana Redding.  Prosecution alleges Park beat and strangled Redding for her boss, Dr. Munir Uwaydah, because of a failed business deal with Redding's father, Greg Redding.

On the east coast in Tennessee, George Thomas will be retried for his role in the torture-murder deaths of Channon Christian and Christopher Newsom.  T&T's guest blogger, David in TN, will attend the first two days of Thomas's retrial and file a report for T&T.

I will be attending the Park trial and filing a report every day.  Park's trial is expected to take four weeks.  I will have an update at the morning break or lunch today.


Anonymous said...

Thanks. Looking forward to following via your blog.

Anonymous said...

Thank you! Will be waiting for all of your updates!

Liz said...

"Those exhibits in regards to cameras in the courtroom are old. Very old. I don't see anything recent in what you've filed and I, at this time, am not prepared to amend my order I made last week."

Interesting comment by the Judge - It sometimes seems that lawyers think more paper equates to more proof/logic - the Judge didn't see it that way.

Anonymous said...

I'm so glad you've decided to cover the KSP case! Thank you!

Carol said...

Great to hear you'll be covering this case. Your post on 5/10, especially ref. 3rd party culpability standards, was excellent. Looking forward to your wonderful reports!

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, I remember from the OJ pre-trial hearings that Judge Kennedy always wore a white lace collar or insert on her judicial robes, as kind of a signature. Does she still do this?


Sprocket said...


Judge Kennedy dresses much more fashionable under her robes these days. She often doesn't zip her robe up all the way, and you can see part of the nice outfit she has on underneath.

Mary Hughes said...

Glad you will be covering. Looking forward to updates.