UPDATE 10/23: spelling of DDA Habib Balian's name
October 22nd, 2013
I'm taking the train into downtown Los Angeles today.
Here are a few additional notes from yesterday. Before the prelim started, Judge Pastor addressed counsel to get them a bit more familiar with the LA County Superior Court, and his courtroom. Judge Pastor said that things are a bit more "relaxed" here than they are across the street. (He was referring to Federal Court.) Counsel do not have to stand when making objections or questioning witnesses. From memory, I believe lead Defense attorney Janet Levine said it might be difficult for her because she's so used to standing but she would try.
When defense attorney Kelly Currie began his cross examination of prosecution expert witness Dr. Jessica Kingston, he took the podium over to an area behind the defense table to address the witness.
Local TV Station KCAL 9 put in a request for video, audio and still photography but a reporter from the network did not show up yesterday. Ms. Levine stated that they would object. The defense put in a request for advance notice if there was to be media (video/photography) coverage. The court indicated the request was faxed on October 18th. Judge Pastor indicated Dept. 51 was dark on October 18th. "At this juncture, I'm going to deny without prejudice. Request for still (photography?) and camera coverage denied," the court ruled.
In earlier pretrial motions (argued before the case was assigned to Judge Pastor), I believe the defense raised a Brady issue. (I believe I have the correct law referenced, but I'm not positive. Sprocket.) I believe this refers to Detective Shafia. Twenty six complaints were turned over. A large majority were unfounded but four or five were sustained. The defense will seek to question the detective on them. Many are from the 1980's. One is 29 years old; others 19 years old. The court rules that these will be addressed through cross examination. Judge Pastor will see if the issues are relevant at that time.
DDA Balian calls their third witness, Dr. Timothy Tsui (pronounced Sue-ee). Dr. Tsui is an OBGYN who has been in practice 11.5 years. He gives his CV. He graduated in 1988 from the University of Illinois. He did his residency at Cedars Sinai. After his residency he was hired by Cedars where his practice is today.
On October 8th, 2009, Dr. Tsui saw Ms. Doe as a patient for the first time. She was coming in for her first obstetrician visit. She was given an ultrasound first then brought into Dr. Tsui's office to sit down and meet with her. He obtained a medical history from her and entered those notes into a digital computer system. Dr. Tsui does not specifically remember the patient since he only saw her once or twice and it was four years ago.
Dr. Tsui was questioned about what his normal practices were in questioning patients, the specific questions he would ask regarding their medical history, lifestyle use of tobacco, recreational drugs, etc., as well as how the patient's answers would be documented in their medical file.
The specific tests that Ms. Doe received on that date and a subsequent date were reviewed.
Dr. Tsui was also asked about the ultrasound Ms. Doe was given on October 8th, the estimated age of the fetus at that time (11 weeks, 1 day). Questions were also asked about an ultrasound Ms. Do received on October 19th, where the ultrasound showed Ms. Do no longer had a gestational sac.
The witness was cross examined by defense attorney Kelly T. Currie, who chose to stand at a podium by the defense table for his examination. Dr. Currie had a recollection of meeting (law enforcement) in his office back in 2009, and that one of the individuals was a woman. Dr. Currie testified that the meeting did not cause him to reconsider his treatment of the patient nor did it influence his testimony today.
The next witness called by the state is Dr. Sandra Rodriguez-Cruz. She is a senior forensic chemist employed by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). Dr. Rodriguez-Cruz is an attractive woman and slightly reminds me of actress Penelope Cruz. She has been employed by the DEA for 11.5 years. She gave an extensive CV. She is the senior author or co-author on 15 publications.
Dr. Rodriguez-Cruz received three different evidence packages that originated from the LAPD for her to analyze. In two of the packages, through extensive, strictly controlled testing procedures with several different testing methods, Dr. Rodriguez-Cruz identified the drug misoprostol.
At the lunch break, the witness was still under cross examination by Mr. Currie.
To be continued in Day 2, Part II......