Saturday, January 31, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr., Trial - Day 4, Opening Statements Part II

Exclusive T&T coverage can be found HERE.

Day 4, Part I.....

Thursday, January 29, 2014
10:30 AM
I move up to the second row, directly beside the large screen in the gallery. The bailiff makes it clear to me that if my laptop typing becomes a distraction to the attorneys, I will not be able to use it. I tell her I understand that I may have to switch to hand notes.

Dept. V
Let me describe the courtroom. Many of the courtrooms in the Van Nuys West Courthouse are mirror images of each other. Like the courtrooms at the downtown criminal court building, this room is not very deep but it is wide.  The gallery consists of approximately 61 fix individual stadium type folding seats. There are also a few comfortable portable chairs in the gallery. I sat in one by the back courtroom door during jury selection so I could charge my laptop while writing.

There are three sections of seats in the gallery. On the far left and far right, there are five rows of four seats each.  The row of seats directly in front of the jury box are used as jury seats 15 through 18.

There are two long rows of 9 seats in the center, and behind that, one short row of about four seats.  The empty space to the right of the third row is currently taken up by the video screen where exhibits will be shown to the jury.

Separating the gallery from the well of the court is a low, half wall. There are two little swinging type doors in this wall, one on the left beside the bailiff's desk and one on the right near the jury box. The little door in the left, it looks like it's been replaced at some time in the past because the wood is a completely different color than the wood desk and the courts bench.

The back wall behind the bench is a beautiful yellow oak color. The small walls and desks closely match this color. The side and entry walls are covered in a light green [I believe] wallpaper, while the folding gallery seats are covered in a dark green material. There is a large, half round, yellow oak chair rail that runs around the side and entry walls of the courtroom that matches the wood desks.

The Well
On the far left, right next to the first row of gallery seats is the bailiff’s desk. It is not surrounded by plexiglass like the 9th floor courtrooms. Moving towards the back on the left side wall is the door to the custody area. This is where defendants who are in custody are kept and how they enter the courtroom.

There are large file cabinets next to the bailiffs desk. There is also a low credenza for file trays and there’s a copier and other office things in this far left corner area. Beyond that, moving to the right and against the back wall is an exit door to a private hallway. I expect this hallway leads to Judge Speer’s private chambers as well as the back hallway that connects to private elevators and other courtrooms.

To the right of this door, and forward, directly beside Judge Speer's bench is the court clerk’s desk. There is a short walkway with steps between the back wall and the clerk's desk for Judge Speer to get to the bench. The clerks desk is attached to and faces the side of the bench. The clerk's laptop is on a desk arm to her left, so when she's using it her back is to the gallery. There are cabinets with files and things piled high that sort of surround the clerks desk, so it's difficult to see her from where I sit.

In the center of the courtroom back wall is the bench. Right behind the judge to the right (judge’s left) is a tall, palm type plant. Moving right from the bench and slightly forward like the clerk's desk is the witness box. The witness box sits higher than the well but lower than the bench. Just right of the witness box on the back wall is another door that exits out to the back hallway. This is the door that I expect the jurors will go through to reach the jury room.  On the far right of the well, is the jury box. there are 14 seats in the jury box.

I’m looking for candy dishes but I don’t see any at the clerk’s desk. There is a small, bamboo type plant on the bailiff’s desk.

In the gallery to my left, there are four people who by their dress and lanyards appear to be clerks or other types of staff with the court. I ask and the young people confirm to me that they are interns, working for the court. 

A woman that DDA Akemon and I seem to recognize enters and sits in the front row. She hands a business card to the deputy. Defense attorney Burns recognizes her and they chat. I believe this woman was at one point, a prospective juror that was excused by the prosecution. If memory and my notes serve me right, I believe she was at one point, potential juror #16. She indicated her occupation was “life coach” and she had at one time worked for law firms as a paralegal.

10:39 AM

The defendant is brought out. Judge Speer takes the bench. There is a tall man sitting directly in front of me. I can’t see the judge but I can see the witness box. That’s what I’m most concerned about.

The jury is brought in. The noise from the projection unit is making enough noise to cover the sound of my typing.

DDA Akemon begins.

Prosecution Opening Statement

A photo of the defendant is put up on the screen. It’s the same photo that is on the Flickr site.

“This is a case about the defendant Rafael Martinez blood thirsty and deadly quest for drugs, and the trail of bodies that he left behind.

Mr. Burns interrupts. “Objection your honor. That’s against, contrary to all our prior [motions? rulings?]".... The court rules, “Over ruled.”

DDA Akemon continues, “What you will learn in this case ... when defendant Martinez doesn’t get the drugs he wants he goes for the throat.  ... The carnage began in the summer of 1997, 17 years ago. Nancy Bohem, who was 57 years old, lived in North Hollywood with her 23 year old son Shawn.”

Nancy was laid off from her job at General Motors and started to sell cocaine. Shawn had the mental capacity of a 13 year old child and he competed in the Special Olympics. What Nancy didn’t know, was that her fateful decision to do drugs would bring her and her son face to face with a killer.

Rafael Martinez was a cocaine addict who would stop at nothing to get a fix. Saturday, September 20, 1997 at about 9 PM, police officers from LAPD were sent to Nancy and Shawn's residence.  They had not been seen or heard from for some time. When officers entered the home, they were met with the overwhelming smell of death. They found Nancy and Shawn stabbed, their bodies decomposing.  Nancy was stabbed 14 times in the neck. In a bedroom down the hall they found Shawn. He had been attacked in his bed and stabbed around 15 times in the upper body and neck.

Detectives started their investigation immediately. Martinez showed up immediately at the residence. He told police he was a concerned friend of the family. And he told police that maybe a gang called the Mexican Mafia or maybe a gang called the Aryan Brotherhood, or maybe is was a Colombian drug dealer. Martinez told detectives he had not seen Nancy or Shawn in a week.  Turns out, he was actually the true killer.  He went to Nancy and Shawn’s home on a quest to get high and lied to police to cover his tracks.

The people will prove that he intended to mislead detectives and find out what detectives knew in order to cover his tracks in case someone pointed to him as the killer.  The investigation will show that it was someone Nancy knew.

Nancy had a very strict policy and procedure about who was allowed to come and go from the home. Anyone who came to the home would first have to come to the gate and ring the bell. Shawn would have to know the person to be allowed to let them in.  Martinez lived 1/2 mile away. Friends of Nancy will testify they had seen him in the home prior, purchasing cocaine.  Evidence will show he was searching for drugs.

While Nancy slept in a back bedroom, she did her transactions in another bedroom where drugs and her body were found. Police did not find a drug stash in the house. Several of Nancy’s purses were dumped out and scattered around her body. Personal valuables were left at the scene and not taken.

No cocaine stash was found at at the scene, indicating that the murder was a dope rip-off, and not to take other valuables. Nancy’s friends observed Martinez grow increasingly aggressive towards her. Robert Callahan (sp?) will testify he was friends with Nancy and Shawn. Nancy sometimes granted his [witness? Martinez?] request to have cocaine on credit, and pay later.  Mr. Callahan will recount when he saw Rafael throw a tantrum and scream at Nancy.  Christine Salmas was also a friend of Nancy’s and she will testify that she saw the defendant come into Nancy’s home, buy cocaine, throw a tantrum and Nancy hand to calm him down.

It wasn’t until 2005 that detectives uncovered evidence. DNA experts found the defendant's DNA under Nancy’s fingernails. A DNA expert will testify for the prosecution in this case that evidence found under the fingernails is evidence of a violent struggle. The prosecution will prove that the defendant's DNA under the victims fingernails, proves that Nancy was grabbing at the defendant, and attached while she was being stabbed to death and struggling to save her own life. The defendant knew that Shawn would be able to identify him as the attacker. The defendant stabbed Shawn to death.

As detectives began to focus their investigation on defendant Rafael Martinez, they found out that four year after the killings, that Mr. Martienz struck again. He killed his new drug dealer under similar circumstances.

On May 10, 2001, Rafael Martinez was back to buying cocaine, from Luz Nieves, who also goes by the name of Nellie. Mr. Martinez again tried to get his cocaine on credit. When she refused he returned to her home a few hours later wearing a bullet proof vest and stabbed her to death. Defendant Martinez stabbed her 14 times. Evidence will show that was the same number of stab wounds as suffered by Nancy. 

The crime differs in one critical aspect. When defendant Martinez turned his knife on her roommate, Francisco Santos, Mr. Santos fought back and survived.  Mr. Santos will testify that after hearing Luz Nieves scream, ‘Why are you doing this to me!’ and seeing Nieves holding her hands to her neck, he was attacked by Rafael Martienz and stabbed in the head and arms. He was able to fight off Mr. Martinez who then fled, just as he did after killing Nancy and Shawn.

He again tried to cover his tracks. He told police that it was Luz who attacked him with the knife. The evidence will show the exact opposite. Martinez was on a quest to get high and angered that he had been refused to get cocaine on credit. He stabbed his dealer then stabbed the roommate.  He was convicted of the attack on Luz and Santos.

Nancy Boehm. Francisco Santos. Luz Nieves. Rafael aka ‘Junebug’ aka Junior.

DDA Akemon then reviews the timeline of events for the jurors. I believe there is an overview map up on the ELMO of the North Hollywood streets. There are markers to show where Nancy and Shawn lived, where the defendant lived with his grandmother and where Luz and Francisco lived. It shows how close Martinez lived to all the victims.  Also included are photos of the victims and the defendant attached to the named residences. I note that the photo of Shawn shows a happy, smiling young man.

During the time of both attacks, Martinez was living at his grandmothers house. That residence was equal distance between the two crime scenes. The photo of Nancy that's by her residence is a much younger photo of her than what’s on the Flicker page.  The photo of Shawn is of a smiling, happy looking young man.

Nancy and her son Shawn are discovered stabbed to death in their residence, approximately 1/2 mile from Martinez’s residence. The investigation goes cold.

The defendant went to buy drugs from a female drug connection Luz Nieves on credit and is denied. He returned hours later wearing a bullet proof vest and stabbed Luz to death and stabbed her male roommate, Francisco Santos, multiple times.

Defendant Rafael arrested for Nieves and Santos knife attacks.


Detectives reopen the Boehm investigation and order DNA testing of Nancy and Shawn’s fingernails.  Foreign male DNA was detected under Nancy’s fingernails.  The samples were sent to a private DNA lab, CELLMARK, in Texas (in addition to the LAPD lab), to see what they can find.

During that time frame is when the lab in Texas reported back to LAPD that in testing Nancy's fingernail clippings they detected a male DNA profile. It was from somebody, they just didn’t know who.

With the male DNA detected, an LAPD analyst started working on the DNA profile to get a match.  Because of her work, she will tell you all about it, she matched the DNA to the defendant.

Martinez was arrested and charged with the murders of Nancy and Shawn Boehm.

1997 Crime Scene

DDA Akemon shows the jurors photos of the outside of Nancy & Shawn’s home. It’s at night and there is crime scene tape in front. A family friend found the bodies. Nancy Boehm probably had some emotional problems. Her house was very much in disarray. It was not a clean residence. A close up photo shows the Boehm residence. There were old junk cars in the driveway [I counted four.] In the lower right of the photo, there is a gate and walkway leading up to the front door.

The iron gate is right beside the edge of the garage near the street. There is another photo. You can see the gate and that there is foliage and plants growing up the side of the garage, and up high on the other side of the narrow walkway.

“This is a drug dealer’s home. So who comes and goes is governed pretty strictly,” DDA Akemon tells the jury.

We are presented with diagram showing the floor plan of the home and outlines of where Nancy and Shawn were found in the home.  Next, we see photos of how Nancy and Shawn were found. It’s quite sad.  Shawn was on his knees, a face down position beside the bed. He was directly beside his bed.  Nancy is on her back, on a small bed. Nancy's face is blocked out in the photo.

“Some would consider her [Nancy] a hoarder. You’ll see photographs of the living room. It’s packed with junk,” DDA Akemon explains.

Nancy was found in a bedroom, but not the bedroom she slept in. It’s clear from the photos, Ms. Boehm’s body, she is face up with her hands out. She was in a condition of decomposition.  When her body was first found, it was covered with junk mail and documents. The room and her things appeared to be ransacked.

It’s now that I note that the defendant is turned around in his seat and looking at the photos. The defendant’s right elbow is resting on the arm of the chair and his right hand is covering his mouth.   Martinez stares at the screen with the information on the screen and the photos of the victims. Martinez doesn't show any emotion looking at the photos.

Shawn’s bedroom was very cluttered. His body was in the middle of the room. He’s in a head down position. More photos are shown of the bed, and the bloody bedspread. DDA Akemon explains to the jurors what they are seeing. The blood on the bed spread, that blood pooling is probably where the attack started. Shawn was probably attacked while he was in bed. The close up photo of his body; it’s a very bloody scene with blood all over Shawn and on the floor.

More photos are shown of Nancy and the condition she was in when she was discovered.  There are numerous bags and purses around her and at her feet. In the photo, DDA Akemon points out the drug paraphernalia; the plates for drugs with straws and a scale.

The defendant keeps looking at the photos. Close up photo is presented of the left side of Nancy's neck and the multiple stab wounds. There is a fatal wound to the upper left side of her neck. The other 13 stab wounds were clustered on her neck, just under the chin. 

Shawn was stabbed 11 times. Now another photo of Shawn’s body, showing the stab wounds in the back of his neck and under his right ear.  On the right side of his neck, wound #10 was a fatal wound.

DDA Akemon tells the jury they will hear from numerous DNA experts but in the end, the bottom line, the DNA is his [defendant’s].  In 2005-2006 the DNA expert took Nancy's fingernail clippings from each hand, combined them and then tested them and came up with defendant Rafael Martinez’s DNA under Ms. Boehm’s nails. That’s indicative of a violent struggle.

A colored chart is put up of the DNA results. The defendant’s DNA, Nancy’s DNA and then the mixture DNA that was found under Nancy’s fingernails.  When they did the statistical analysis, they would have to look at 1 in 3.297 billion people, before they had another two people that would look like that mixture profile.

2001 Knife Attacks

The jury may compare the 2001 attack with the 1997 attack for the limited purpose of determining the defendant’s intent.

Photo of the apartment building of Nieves and Santos. There is a photo of Nieves’ neck wound. It’s not the way it looked when it happened. The photo is after surgeons tried to repair the damage.  DDA Akemon shows the jury a succession of photos involving the 2001 attack. Photos of the surviving victim, Francisco Santos.  The defendant turns around to look at the images on the ELMO. I don’t see any emotion on his face. As I watch the defendant, he keeps looking back at the screen and looking back at the gallery.

The opening is interrupted while a juror takes a restroom break, then we’re right back on the record.

Martinez turns around. He keeps his fingers over his mouth, his elbow resting on the arm of the chair.

“[We] expect you will hear testimony in this case that after he attacked, he fled. The fire department arrived very quickly, and some of the first responders found Mr. Santos bleeding in the middle of the street.  ... As soon as they realized there was someone else in the house, they broke off [from treating Mr. Santos] and went in to assist Ms. Nieves.” 

The attack started in apartment #6. The victim was able to run down the hallway and ended up in apartment #7. The neighbors were assisting her when she ran for help.  Photos of the interior of the apartment are put up on the screen. It was a chaotic scene. A diagram sketch of the apartment floor plan is put up on the ELMO. There are red lines on the sketch, showing the major blood trail, investigators found. Martinez's blood was there also. He may have been injured in that attack. There’s a blood trail on the stairs, into the living room, on the coffee table and then into the bedroom. More photos of the 2001 attack showing the blood trail. Akemon explains to the jurors the orientation in the photos. One photo shows a significant amount of smeared blood on the walls in the hallway and around the master bedroom door jam. 

Mr. Santos retreated into this bedroom when he was attacked. Mr. Santos comes out of the bathroom while the attack on Luz is underway and that’s when Martinez attacks Mr. Santos.

More photos of where Luz ended up in apartment #7 and the blood trail.  Firemen and police found her in apartment 7.  Luz was taken to the hospital, where she died of a stroke related to blood loss.  She had 14 stab wounds. One to the eye, a total of three to the neck and just under her chin. Two injuries in her neck were opened to save her life. There were numerous, defensive wounds on her right hand.

Francisco Santos had approximately 15 stab wounds. Photos of him and his wounds all over his face are put up on the ELMO. 

LAPD Detectives Pinner and Solomon investigate the case and they quickly identify Martinez as a suspect in this case.

A person named ‘Junebug,’ short for a person named junior.  The detectives interview Mr. Santos.  Santos’ interview is played for the jurors, and the text of the conversation appears on the screen. It goes so fast I can barely catch half of the conversation.

Santos tells detectives that the defendant came and got the rock and he didn’t pay. He got it on credit.  He left. He came back again. He was wearing a bullet proof vest and something similar on his legs also.

Detective: How did he seem to you?
Santos: He looked like he was on speed or something. A lot different from when he came over and acted before.
Santos: I went into the bathroom. ... When I flushed the toilet, I heard [her?] cry.
Detective: So you heard her say in Spanish, Why are you doing this and why are you doing this to me?

Santos ran into Nellie’s room and tried to reach the metal bat, and Martinez broke the door down.

Santos: He was stabbing me, stabbing me on my back head and stabbing me on my face. ... I was too weak and my arms started hurting too much. ... So I faded out ... lost control of my arm. I would just fade out. ... So somehow, I managed to push his ass out of [the apartment and onto the] stairs and he held onto my shirt and kind of .... then he stabbed me behind my head...

After detectives interview Santos, they arrest him [Martinez] and they interview him.  He gave a statement. DDA Akemon plays an audio of the interview of the defendant by Detectives Pinner and Solomon. I try my best to take notes from the audio but I don’t do so well. This is just a small snippet of the dialog on the recording.

Martinez: To be honest with you ... I went over there and ... and the first thing out of his mouth was, You’ve got my money. ... And then she started in with me. ... She started telling me how she wanted her money.  ... That she can’t [pay her bills?] ... So I’m watching her ... she went into the kitchen ... he went [the other way?] ... she comes out of the kitchen with the knife.
Detective: What are [you] saying? ... She came straight out of the kitchen.... ?
Martinez: Then she come ... I kind of ... and that’s where she had stabbed me ... there... she stabbed me and she was going to stab me again. ... I just grabbed her and Francisco started kicking me, so I'd get off of her ... and you know, I turn around ... I don’t know what happened to that knife.

Martinez gives a story to the detectives that they attacked him.  Martinez claims that Santos had a weapon.

Martinez: I’m looking at what he had ... He had a potato peeler or something like that.
Detective: What did you have in your hands?
Martinez: Nothing man. ... I actually punched him. ... As soon as he came out, I actually punched him.
Detective: When she ran out of the apartment, did you notice any injuries on her?
Martinez: I don’t know. ... I never did. ... I had her hand, you know ... and in the mix of us rolling around ...
Detective: Did you at [any] point ever have the knife in your hands? ... Did you ever stab Nellie?
Martinez: Not that I know of.
Detective: So the answer is no?
Martinez: No.
Detective: Did you ever stab Francisco?
Martinez: No.

The prosecution will argue that that is a bold face lie. In connection with this case, compare the similarities. The jury may compare the 2001 attack with the 1997 attack with the limited purpose of intent.

Akemon presents a new overview image of the streets and the closeness of the two locations to Martinez’s grandmother’s residence.

The Drug Connection
There is a drug connection in this case. The victims did not not each other. Both were cocaine dealers, selling to Martinez. Two men and two women. The type of location is similar. These are residences as opposed to businesses, parks or public area. At both scenes we have broken doors. A door was broken down in the Santos residence. And the same thing in the Boehm residence. The door with the yellow sign on it, that’s where Ms. Boehm’s body was found. There is a close up of the door broken into as well.  Both are frenzied knife attacks.There’s evidence of similarity as to the number of stab wounds. Nancy 14; Shawn 11; Luz 14; Santos approximately 15. Another area of similarity is the left side of the neck. A knife; a sharp instrument as opposed to a gun or a club. And very similar injuries.

When you’ve heard all the evidence in this case, for the defendant’s blood thirst quest for drugs, that in September 1997, that Rafael with malice and forethought, deliberately and with premeditation, murdered Nancy Boehm and her son and he did it all for drugs.

The prosecution is finished with their opening statement and the defense steps up to the podium.
 To be continued in Day 4, Part III.....

Friday, January 30, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr., Trial - Day 5, Part II

Complete T&T case coverage can be found HERE.

Continued from Day 5......

Francisco Santos
When Santos takes the stand, Martinez appears to stare at the witness. DDA Akemon requests a side bar, on the record. While at the side bar, Martinez writes on a notepad. He’s using a pen. He looks over at the attorneys for a moment then he looks over at the witness again. Martinez sits back in the chair. His right elbow is perched on the arm of the chair and the fingers of his right hand are touching his mouth.

Santos states he is 35 years old. He knew a woman named Luz Nieves. At the time he knew her, she was his roommate. She had a nickname, Negra. She was also called Nellie, but he called her Negra.  He  resided with her on Bonner Avenue, apartment #6. It was not a romantic relationship, just roommates. They slept in the same room the master bedroom. He never considered themselves boyfriend and girlfriend. They were not sexually intimate. Luz son Elliot also lived there at the time.

Santos describes the layout of the apartment.

Santos knew Martinez through the street. Luz was dealing drugs at that time, crack cocaine. Marijuana was usually for her personal use. He wasn’t involved in the dealing but a user. It was heavy use, just crack.  Santos states that he wasn’t buying at the time.  They were both addicts and would smoke together. Luz would deal and supply her own high. She would buy the next amount, to buy the next batch and she would share with him.

Santos states he’s been clean for 7-8 years. At the time, Elliot was 11 or 12 years old. He would occasionally take care of Elliot. He was not blood related to Elliot at all. He would give Elliot advice about certain things, about school and girls. Elliot was acting out, and he would give him certain advices. Santos states the relationship was that of a mentor. He did not mentor Elliot in drugs. Santos thinks he was 22 years old at the time.

Santos states the name that they referred to Martinez was “June” or “Junebug.” He first met Martinez at Luz’ apartment. “I’d seen him before,” Santos recounts, “But never had a chance to talk to him.”  He saw Martinez inside the apartment. On about May 10, 2001, he was stabbed in this case. Using that date as a reference DDA Akemon asks Santos to determine when he first met the defendant. Santos met the defendant four months prior, when he moved into Luz’ apartment.

During that four months he lived with Ms. Nieves, he saw Martinez at the apartment almost every day. It was “constant.” Santos considered him an acquaintance. Martinez was there to purchase drugs and he saw that with his own eyes.  The first time he saw Martinez, he was purchasing drugs, specifically crack cocaine.

Drug transactions would start with a knock on the door. Either Luz would open the door or Santos.

DA: At what hours of the day would people knock to buy drugs?
FS: You could say 24 hours.

The only reason Martinez came to the apartment was to buy drugs. It was not a social visit.

DA: Did you ever see him attempt to buy crack cocaine on credit?
FS: Yes.

Santos explains that there were a lot of things that Martinez would bring to pawn or try to exchange for the drug. Martinez ended up running a big tab with Luz, between $800.00 and $1,000.00. “He would bring stuff, but it was useless.”  Luz would give him the drug, and that started to add up. “It was junk. It was basically worthless,” Santos adds.

A few times Martinez would communicate with Luz son, Elliot, such as a greeting. (Hi, what’s going on.) He ever saw Martinez take Elliot to go get ice cream. In regards to things that Martinez would say when he stopped by, Santos states, “He was working construction ... I got off work, I’m tired ... things of that nature.”

DA: Did you ever have a beef with him, harsh words, anything like that?
FS: Not that I recall.
DA: [Ever? Never?] had a fight?
FS: Not that I recall.
DA: He was cordial ... ?
FS: He was, Hi, how are you? Things like that. ... Just problems, whatever.
DA: So you would chit-chat casually?
FS: Yes, absolutely.

The witness nods his head as he answers the last question.

DA: May 9th, 2001, ... night before you got stabbed.  From say 8 PM at night, when all this started, where were you?
FS: I was in the apartment.
DA: Who else was present?
FS: Elliot was ... actually getting home. ... Luz was there ... She was attending the door. People coming in and out.
DA: A few or a lot?
FS: It was pretty consistent.
DA: At some point, did Mr. Martinez come over? ... At approximately what time?
FS: Between 11, 10, 10:30, something like that.
DA: What happened?
FS: He wanted some credit. ... Luz explained to him that he already owed her some money. ... He was being a little bit loud.  ... She told him no. ... I stepped in because Elliot, he was already sleeping. ... I told him to lower his voice.
DA: What happened after that?
FS: He kept on ... talked about .... Luz ended up closing the door on him.

DA: Moving forward. ... One AM in the morning.
FS: Luz and I were in the bedroom watching TV. ... He had a pretty loud Blazer ... his truck.
[Unknown: You could hear it.]
FS: She told me, “There’s Junebug coming. ... He comes upstairs, knocked on the door. She opened the door. ... She was between [?] .... [he was?] walking in. He told me he wanted to talk to me.
DA: What happened after that?
FS: He kept on talking about .... Luz ended up closing the door on him.
DA: Moving forward .... One AM in the morning.
FS: Luz and I were in the bedroom watching TV. ... He had a pretty loud blazer, his truck.
[Unknown: You could hear it.]
FS: She told me, “There’s Junebug coming. He comes upstairs ... knocks on the door .... she opened the door. ... She was between [him and me?] ... walking in. ... He told me that, he wanted to talk to me. ... At that time I was going to use the restroom. ...I told him .... hold on. ... Let me use the bathroom.

Santos is using the restroom across from the master bedroom in the hallway.  Inside the bathroom, Santos heard conversation.

FS: I heard talking. It was then I started [to hear] Luz crying. ...[She said] ... why are you doing this to me. ... I’ve never done anything to you.  ... I was in the restroom, but I could hear that.

Santos turned off the bathroom light and opened the door slowly. As he was walking through the hallway, he turned to the right. He saw Luz sitting on the couch. He saw her back. She was holding her head.  DDA Akemon backs Santos up a bit to go over again what he just testified to.

FS: She answered the door. I was coming out of the bedroom, and that’s when I saw Junebug. ... He told me that he wanted to talk to me. ... I had to use the restroom.
DA: Do you have any idea what he wanted to talk to you about?
FS: I think he got offended because I asked him to keep it down.
TB: Objection!
JS: Sustained.
DA: Earlier in the evening, did you shush him
FS: You could say that.
DA: He came back later, knocked on the door and said he wanted to talk to you?
FS: Yes.
DA: You were in the bathroom?
FS: Yes. ... I could hear talking but I couldn’t make up what they were saying.

Santos leaned over to put his ear to the door to hear better and then he could hear Luz crying.

DA: How much time went by from the time you saw Martinez and the time you heard Ms. Nieves crying?

Santos shakes his head. He replies, “Five minutes, maybe. .... I looked at her. She was holding her neck. ... I said, Negra, what happened?”  Martinez was by the entrance, by the frond door. Santos saw Martinez with a knife. It had blood on it. He was charging at Santos.  Santos was closer to the master bedroom. He was about to go into the master bedroom and lock the door. There was a bat in there. Santos was going to defend himself. 

When Santos came out of the bathroom and look down the hallway, he was able to see Ms. Nieves. She was facing toward the table, looking down. DDA Akemon asks the witness to look at a photo. He identifies the living room of his apartment where Luz got stabbed. He is then shown a photograph of the hallway, with blood on the bedroom door jam.

DA: Do you recall that?
FS: Yes.
DA: What is that?
FS: Master bedroom, that’s the bedroom. That’s the entry to the door.

When Santos came out of the hallway, Martinez was near the kitchen entryway. Showing him a photo, Santos is asked to identify where Martinez was in the apartment. The kitchen entrance and the front door of the apartment are right next to each other.

When Santos looked at Luz, he did not see any blood on her. He only saw her holding her neck. He saw the defendant with a knife that was 11-13 inches long. He saw blood on the knife.

DA: What were you thinking about?
FS: A lot of things go through your mind. ... I was high ... I wasn’t functioning, thinking clearly.
DA: How do you feel your recollection is about these events?
FS: Pretty good.

Santos testifies that Martinez came running towards him. He ran towards the master bedroom and locked the door. Martinez appears to be writing intently at the defense table. Santos states that the front door was open. When Santos looked at Martinez, Martinez was facing him. Santos ran to the bedroom and locked the door. Santos testifies he was trying to reach the bat. Martinez broke the door, he kicked the door. Santos held the door as long as he could Martinez managed to kick the door in. It then turned into a fight at that point. Santos and Martinez “went into it.” Santos tried to defend himself. Santos tried to retrieve the knife from Martinez.

FS: I remember swinging, lifting my arm up to block the knife. ... He ended up puncturing me all the way through the forearm.
DA: Please demonstrate what Mr. Martinez did to you.

The witness demonstrates what he did.

FS: I was trying to do something. I was trying to survive.

Santo’s tendon in his left arm was cut through. It had to be reattached. That is the major injury that he remembers. 

FS: We kept on wrestling back to back. He kept on stabbing me, multiple times. ... There was one time that I could grab onto the knife, .... and I pulled it out and cut my finger. ... He kept on stabbing me in the face. ... My temple.... back of my head ... He kept on .... I grabbed him and kept on shoving him towards the door. [towards the apartment entrance].

He did whatever he could to get Martinez out of the apartment, move him towards the front door. Martinez was much heavier at that time. Santos was lighter, maybe 135 lbs. Santos states hes 200 lbs now, 5’ 11” tall. The last time Martinez stabbed him, was in the back of the head, on the stairs outside the apartment.

DA: What was Mr. Martinez wearing on the first time he came over?
FS: Shorts and a tank top.
DA: Did his clothing change?
FS: He was wearing sweats and a gray sweater.
DA: Did you notice anything else?
FS: He looked a little bit stockier, bigger. ... I can’t really tell what it was, but it felt like he was wearing a vest.
DA: Did you feel anything on his legs?
FS: Yes, it felt different.
[Unknown: Like padding.]
DA: In your mind, what do you think it was?
TB: Objection! Speculation!
JS: Sustained!

At the time, Santos thought it was a bullet proof vest, and that it was underneath Mr. Martinez’s clothing.

DA: Did you have a potato peeler?
FS: No.
DA: Did you start some trouble with him?
FS: No.
DA: What did you do next?
FS: I went back and looked for Luz.

Santos looked in the living room then bedroom for Luz. He didn’t find her. He then followed a trail of blood out of his apartment that led to the manager’s apartment.  The manager looked through the window, and asked him what happened. I could see through the window that Luz was sitting on the couch. Santo’s identifies a photo of the manager’s apartment, and identifies a photo of blood on the hallway. When he saw Luz in the manager’s apartment, it was hard to see her, because he had blood in his eyes. He did see that she was sitting down, holding her neck.

The apartment manager, Angie, wouldn’t let Santos into her apartment. Angie thought he did this to Luz. Santos told Angie to call the ambulance and call the cops. Santos told Angie to tell the police that they got robbed. Santos could hear the sirens, far away. He then rushed downstairs and waited for the ambulance. The police arrived as well. At that time, in the street, Santos was bleeding really, really bad. He took his tank top and wrapped it around his left arm.  The injury he sustained to his arm was severe. He was bleeding very bad. He was trying to put pressure on the wound.

The ambulance came and they wanted to put me on the stretcher. Santos told them that there was a lady upstairs that had injuries as well, and to take her first. Santos is shown a photo of the apartment and a photo of his shirt on the ground in front of the apartment. He identifies both.  He’s then shown photos of his injuries, and asked to point to his injuries on his face with the laser pointer. One photo shows his left arm heavily bandaged, almost like it was broken.  Martinez turns in his seat to look at the screen of Santos’ injuries. Martinez continues to stare at the screen. Santos identifies the stab wound on the top of his head. He’s asked to show the jury his injury on his arm. He rolls up his left sleeve and also shows the court.

It’s described as an inch long injury, left wrist area, about three inches above the juncture of the arm and the wrist.  With this injury the knife went into one side of the arm and came out the other. There’s a big scar. I can see it from where I’m sitting. It’s on his forearm, anterior side, in the middle of the forearm.  Santos points out to where the knife came out the other side of the arm.

Direct ends and cross examination begins.

11;15 AM
Santos is asked what the discussion was about, the first time Martinez came over to the apartment. Santos states the discussion was with Nellie, and it was about buying drugs on credit. Santos states Martinez wasn’t given drugs on credit.

Mr. Burns confronts Santos with his original interview with detectives.

TB: Didn’t you tell detectives at the time, that he was given drugs at that time?
FS: I don’t remember that.

There is another question about keeping the noise down, and that Martinez didn’t protest at that time. Santos states Nellie and Martinez kept talking about credit. I believe Santos confirms they were all in the room together, and that this first event, all took place at the front door.  Santos replies that Martinez was “half way in” the apartment.

TB: The second time he comes over, Ms. Nieves answered the door is that right?
FS: Yes.
TB: Did you stop for some reason? .... Were you on your way to the bathroom?
FS: Yes.
TB: Were you wide awake at the time?
FS: Yes.
TB: Did you tell detectives you were about to go to sleep?
FS: I can’t remember that.

It appears like the witness is thinking. He might be having a hard time testifying, I don’t know.

TB: You saw him have a conversation with Ms. Nieves. ... In that conversation she was asking him to leave?
FS: yes.
TB: She was ordering him?
FS: She was asking him. ... You’re asking to give me an answer ... It’s really hard to say. ... I don’t recall. ... She was asking him to leave and he came into the apartment. He said he wanted to talk to me.
TB: So he came to within a foot of you?
FS: Yes.
TB: He didn’t assault you at that time? ... You had to go to the bathroom so bad that you didn’t think it was critical to stay there and back up Nellie?
FS: It didn’t cross my mind.

Santos states that it would not be unusual for people to come by at that time. Santos is asked if there were ever people at the apartment when Martinez came over. Santos states that there would be people who would come and party a little bit and do drugs and leave. They never stayed over night.

TB: Was there any time that Mr. Martinez was over and there were other people partying?
FS: He would be ... people come by and do transactions but I can’t say that he was there partying.
TB: You can’t say that it didn’t happen?
FS: I can’t say that it did.
TB: Do you know what he wanted to talk about?
FS: No.
TB: Did he mention anything about a [???] bubble up?
FS: I don’t remember.
TB: You said he was wearing a gray sweater?
FS: Yes. ... The second time.
TB: And gray sweats?
FS: Yes.
TB: You didn’t see what he had on under his clothes?
FS: No. ... But I felt it.
TB: And that was in the course of a big struggle?
FS: Yes.
TB: And you never tried to turn the knife on him? ... And the knife is not from failing to penetrate him?

I miss getting Santos’ answers.

Santos is asked about the sequence of events again, regarding the second time Martinez came over. Santos states that he and Nellie heard the truck pulling up. Martinez wanted to talk about something. That was after the door was opened. Before the door was opened, Santos states he was walking toward the bathroom.

TB: You were walking towards the bathroom and you s topped?
FS: He told me he wanted to talk to me.
TB: So you had a conversation with Ms. Nieves before he talked to you right?
FS: Yes.
TB: And you could hear their conversation right?
FS: Yes. ... I was between the dining room area and the bedroom, right where the door frame is. Right in front of it.
TB: You didn’t see Ms. Nieves break out any cocaine?
FS: No.
TB: You didn’t see Mr. Martinez bring out any money?
FS: No.
TB: Were you in any way alarmed by Ms. Nieves telling Mr Martinez to get out of the apartment?
FS: In that type of business, you always ... going to have people ...

The witness shakes his head as he answers.

FS: ... come at you. ... All ask for credit, not complying to whatever the owner of the {?] serving says. ... I’ve seen it before.

Santos is asked if it’s a dangerous business. Santos replies, “Some people look at it that way.”

TB: And sometimes, it might be necessary to throw someone out of the apartment?
FS: I’ve seen it done before, yes.
TB: Was that your job at Ms. Nieves apartment?
FS: No.
TB: So she had nobody to enforce her rules at the apartment?
FS: What do you mean, enforce?
Over at the defense table, Martinez is nodding his head.

Santos states that people would usually comply. Santos states there were no weapons in the house. Santos is asked about the baseball bat in Nellie’s room and then what he told detectives about a BB gun.  Santos explains that he had one but had thrown it away weeks before.  Mr. Burns asks if the BB gun looked like a 48. Santos replied, “No.”

TB: Did you show it previously to Mr. Martinez?
FS: Yes, I did show it to him.
TB: You just showed it to him, ... nothing more? ... So you didn’t think Ms. Nieves needed any back up when you went to the bathroom?
FS: No.
TB: You thought Nellie could take care of her house?
FS: The people that stopped by the house .... they weren’t as ... problematic. ... There were people that would stop by ... ask for credit by they would comply and leave so...
TB: So you thought she could take care of herself?
FS: Yeah.
TB: Besides telling him to get out, was she telling him anything else?
FS: I don’t know.
TB: Was it an angry tone?
FS: It was agitated. It was a little bit agitated.
TB: Was she raising her voice?
FS: No, but it was more like...
TB: Did she use any curse words?
FS: I can’t remember.

I’m getting cold in the courtroom, and I check the time. 11:35 AM.

Mr. Burns asks if Santos was doing “number one or number two” in the bathroom. Santos states, “number two.”

TB: So you could hear speaking?
FS: I couldn’t make out what they were saying, but I could hear them talking.
TB: You couldn’t hear Mr. Martinez, but you could hear Ms. Nieves?
FS: I could hear mumbling but I couldn’t make out the conversation.
TB: Did it sound like an argument?
FS: I couldn’t say.
TB: Did you tell detectives that you overheard an argument?
FS: I don’t remember. ... when I heard the mumbling, it sounded like a mumble, then I heard her cry.

Mr. Burns asks Santos if he remembers testifying at a preliminary hearing in the original case. Santos remembers. Mr. Burns confronts Santos.

TB: And you took the same oath that you took here. Do you remember testifying at that preliminary hearing that Ms. Nieves was speaking loudly?
FS: I can’t remember saying that.

Mr. Burns asks if reading his prior testimony would refresh his memory. Burns asks Santos to read that testimony to himself. Page 23 prelim transcript, lines 21-28.

TB: Do you recall what you testified?
FS: Once again, it’s been a long time.
TB: Did you testify at the prelim that she was speaking kind of loudly
FS: Yes.

The door to the bathroom is not a thick door. It’s thin. The same kind of door was on the bedroom door.

TB: Did you hear some commotion outside?
FS: Like I said, there was some mumbling.
TB: Did you hear any banging or knocking or falling noises?
FS: In my mind I thought I did or I assume I did. But yeah.

Santos nods his head as he answers.

TB: So there was some kind of banging noise you might have heard?

Santos appears to pause before he answers. I miss the answer.

TB: You didn’t hear any screams though, did you?
FS: No.
TB: As you came out of the bathroom you were not in the hallway?
[Unknown: First thing, correct.]
FS: Yes.
TB: And there you see Mr. Martinez making his way to the front door?
FS: No. ... I looked and I saw Luz on the couch holding her neck. ... and I looked ...
TB: When you first came out of the bathroom, you can’t see the couch area, but you can see the front door ...?
FS: When I was coming out of the bathroom, my mind was set on trying to see what happened.
TB: So when you first came out of the bathroom, you didn’t see Mr. Martinez at all?
FS: Like I said, the first thing I was trying to do was to find her to see what happened.
TB: You could hear all that, all the way in the bathroom down the hall, you could hear that?

Santos explains that he heard Luz speak in Spanish and then in English. She first said in Spanish, “Why did you do this to me?” And then said in English “Why....” (I miss the rest of what Santos answers.)

TB: Were your conversations with Mr. Martinez in Spanish?
FS: Actually both. Spanglish you could call it.
TB: When you can out was Ms. Nieves still talking?
FS: No.
TB: Was she sitting with her back towards you?
FS: Yes.
TB: She was holding the back of her neck?
FS: The side of her neck. ... She was forward, like this, but her right hand was to her neck.

Judge Speer clarifies what the witness demonstrated for the record.

TB: And you could not see blood on her, true?
FS: Yeah.
TB: She was holding with one hand?
FS: I don’t know if it was two hands, but what I saw was two hands.
TB: And then you saw Mr. Martinez?
FS: I looked towards the door.
TB: He was moving towards the door when you saw him yes?
DA: Objection!
JS: Over ruled!
FS: Once again, when I looked over there, same thing. We locked eyes and he came toward me. ... I don’t know if he was leaving or not. I don’t know what was his intention.
TB: Did you know what he was doing back at the preliminary hearing? That he was actually going towards the door?
FS: He was at the door when I looked.
TB: You testified at the preliminary hearing ....

Mr. Burns reads from the prelim transcript.

TB: Do you recall testifying as to this? “How far away was Ms. Nieves from my client? He was actually going towards the door. She was sitting in the living room and he was going towards the door. Did you say that?
FS: If it’s on paper then I guess I did. ... There are things you try to block out .... Thank you for reminding me.
TB: Be honest with us.
FS: I am being honest.
TB: There were bicycles by the front door?
FS: I can’t remember bicycles.
TB Let me show you some photographs.

Mr. Burns shows Santos a series of photographs of Nieves’ apartment.

TB: What am I looking at there?
FS: Looking at the dining room area next to the entrance. That’s the front door.
TB: Was the door open or closed when Mr. Martinez was in the house?
FS: Open.
TB: So when you saw Mr. Martinez, he was headed for the open door, right?
I believe the witness nods his head.

Santos identifies photos of the hallway and the door to the master bedroom. He identifies where the bathroom was in the apartment off the hallway.

TB: See where Nellie was sitting? ... This pillow?
FS: She was more towards the left side, middle left side.
TB: So, he had to jump over all those things to get to you?
FS: If you actually look towards there, there was a walkway. ... Actually, the chair was propped up, towards the dining room.

Santos is asked to point out in the photographs where he was standing. Santos is asked about other areas of the apartment in the photographs. Santos testifies that the struggle was not in the area of the kitchen or near Elliot’s bedroom. Santos verifies that the struggle was contained mostly to the living room and Nellie’s bedroom. There was no fight in the bathroom. Santos verifies that the first thing in his mind was to get the bat, to defend himself.

Judge Speer calls the noon lunch break.

More to come in Day 5, Part III....

Rafael Martinez, Jr., Trial - Day 5, Testimony Continues

Exclusive T&T coverage can be found HERE.

Day 4, Part III .......

January 30, 2015
9:55 AM
I arrived on the 8th floor of the Van Nuys West Courthouse a few minutes ago. Several of the jurors are waiting in the hallway. Inside Dept V, the defendant's aunt and uncle are sitting in the gallery in the back row on the left.

I'm about 75% done with getting my notes from yesterday transcribed into a readable form. Even though I'm using a laptop, I'm not a very good typist, so there's quite a bit of editing I need to do. I will be updating that days story as soon as possible.

Thursday Afternoon
During Thursday's afternoon session, three witnesses took the stand, testifying about events surrounding a stabbing death and assault on May 10, 2001. As part of a plea agreement, Martinez pled to voluntary manslaughter and assault in that event.

1. Hugh Martin - Firefighter paramedic. Responded to a stabbing event in May 2001. Was attending to victim Luz Nieves in the ambulance while she was being transported to Holy Cross Hospital. An LAPD officer was in the ambulance who was questioning her, asking who did this to her. The officer did not understand what she was saying. Martin interpreted that she said "Junebug" did this to her.

2. Raffi Djabourian, MD. - Deputy LA County Coroner. Performed the autopsy on Luz Nieves. Testified to the number of injuries and desribes the fatal wound, which cut through her left jugular vein and partially through her left carotid artery.  Surgery was performed to try to repair the damage. Nieves died of her injuries. Manner of death was homicide. Cause of death, [blood loss] due to multiple stab wounds.

3. Sean Anderson - LAPD Officer, patrol Hollywood Division in May 2001. Responded to a radio call in North Hollywood with his partner Officer Guthrie. Anderson was the passenger. They responded code 3, with lights and sirens. When they got to the location, there was a male Hispanic in the street who was bleeding. Anderson first questioned the victim if the suspect was still at the scene. The victim directed them that there was another victim in the apartment upstairs. They went to the second victim. There were paramedics on scene and other officers. He was not able to communicate with the second victim. Paramedics were working on her. He accompanied the victim in the ambulance to the hospital. He tried asking the victim in the ambulance who did this to her. Hugh Martin translated the victim's response that it was "Junebug" who did this.

Witnesses Friday, Morning Session.
The prosecution informs the court that they will be taking a witness out of order. The next witness relates to the 1997 incident.

4. Gabriel Colon - LAPD Partrol Officer.  In September 1997 he was working North Hollywood patrol. Responded to a radio call on September 20, 1997 around 9:39 PM to a residence, Nancy Boehm's residence. The nature of the call was a possible homicide. He arrived with a partner, Scott Rate and a Sargent Wheeler. They were the first responders to the scene. There were no paramedics when they arrived. Paramedics arrived shortly after. His duties were to secure the scene. Under cross the witness did not recall if they responded with sirens and lights.

5. Francisco Santos - Surviving victim in the May 10, 2001 stabbing event. Testified as to what he remembered about the events. Currently under cross examination...

The noon recess is called.

Continued in Day 5, Part II....

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr., Trial - Day 4, Opening Statements

Exclusive T&T case coverage can be found HERE.

Day 3, Jury Selection.....

Thursday, January 29, 2015
10:21 AM
I'm inside Dept. V in my seat beside the courtroom doors. This type of case is usually overlooked by the media. There isn't a big name defendant, victim or witness attached to the case that the media is interested in. However, it is the type of case that is heard in courtrooms all over Los Angeles County.

The DA's office is using a large screen set up in the center of the gallery for the jurors to view exhibits.  Unfortunately, the screen is directly in front of where I'm sitting. I will have to move to the gallery so I will be able to view the exhibits. I may have to switch to hand written notes if my typing is a distraction to the court reporter.

One of the detectives in the case, Thomas Townsend introduced himself to me.

More to come.....

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr., Trial - Day 3, Jury Selection

Exclusive T&T Coverage can be found HERE.

Day 2 of Jury Selection....

Wednesday, January 28, 2014
Jury selection continued this morning from 11:00 AM to noon. We return for more voir dire at 1:30 PM.

At lunch, I'm searching the web trying to see if there were any news stories generated when Nancy and Shawn were murdered back in September 1997. I did not find a news story, but I did find this photo of Shawn, from the LA Times archived through a search engine. I also found photos related to the case (Nancy, suspect Martinez, detectives, etc.) on NewsSpy's Flicker account.

1:34 PM
Yesterday, during the back and forth questioning of the jurors, Judge Speer revealed that she recently sat on a criminal case in this very courthouse.

2:30 PM
The prosecution and defense accept the panel!  We have a jury of 10 women and 6 men.

Even though it's clear that Judge Speer has been nursing a sore throat and a slightly red nose, she did her best to get through initial jury instructions to the panel. She then excused the jurors for the day andordered them back at 10:30 AM tomorrow.  Counsel is expected at 10:15 AM.

4:45 PM
I'm home now. I just wanted to add that the photo of the defendant at NewsSpy Flicker account doesn't look very much like the man sitting in court.  Martinez, Jr., looks quite different. His hair is quite short and nicely trimmed, his face is much thinner and his skin tone is much lighter. I attribute his lighter skin tone to 'jail pallor' that is common among defendants who are incarcerated and do not always get daily access to sunshine/Vitamin D.

Martinez, Jr., is 42 years old. He was 25 when the crime was committed.

Day 4, Opening Statements.......

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr. Trial - Day 2, Jury Selection

Exclusive T&T coverage on the case can be found HERE.

Martinez trial, Day 1.....

UPDATE spelling, clarity
January 27, 2015
I made it from downtown to the Van Nuys Courthouse in plenty of time before Day 2 of the Martinez trial started. When I arrived on the 8th floor of the Van Nuys West Courthouse, the hallway was full of jurors.

I've been told many times by attorneys and colleagues that voir dire is the most important part of a trial. This is where the trial is often won or lost, depending on your point of view.

The court doesn't always give counsel as much time as they want to question a jury. I'm remembering in the Stephanie Lazarus case, Judge Perry was very strict with counsel on how much time he would allow.  Defense attorney Mark Overland ran out of time in questioning some jurors. There are differences with every judge on how voir dire will be handled. That's often because the case might require pre-screening of jurors for hardship, or have the jurors fill out a questionnaire if the case has had a lot of media attention.

10:45 AM
Inside Dept. V, the courtroom is just as hot as it was yesterday. It's a problem with the whole building. Counsel have taken off their jackets and the friendly bailiff is already fanning herself.

In this case, Judge Speer has a preset laminated questionnaire that's kept on the juror's seat, for each juror to answer. Each juror gives their juror number, the general area of the city they live in, their marital status, what they do for a living, if they have a spouse what the spouse does for a living, and if they have children. If they have grown children, the court may ask what their occupations are too.  On the back of the form are a series of questions that may involve more personal information, such as, if they have relatives in law enforcement, if they've ever been a victim of a crime or charged with a crime themselves, etc. Jurors are offered the opportunity to answer these more personal questions at side bar, so that this personal information may remain private, and not shared with the other jurors in the room. Judge Speer usually ends her questioning by asking if the prospective juror thinks they could be fair to both sides in this case.

Once the court is finished questioning jurors, it's handed over to counsel. Judge Speer gives the attorneys 30 minutes each, once a new set of jurors have been questioned by the court. It's a true art to pick a jury. There is no hard or fast rule. What each side is looking for is bias that might prejudice their side.

Both the prosecution and defense in the Phil Spector trials used jury consultants to help them pick a jury. The defense team in the Kelly Soo Park trial used a jury consultant.

Yesterday, during Judge Speer's initial questioning, one juror was telling the court about a relative member who had a bit of trouble with the law, sort of a "black sheep" of the family. The relative had been arrested for money laundering, been shot, stabbed twice, and shot at a few times. The court asked if the relative was ever convicted. The juror responded no, that they had gotten off on a competency. The courtroom laughs. Even the court commented, something to the effect of, sounds like an interesting guy. When jurors bring up experiences involving relatives or friends that were accused of a crime, Judge Speer usually asks juror if they think the individual was treated fairly by the police or court.

On the first day of voir dire, when defense attorney Tom Burns steps up to question the jurors, he starts of by asking them about a complicated piece of law regarding evidence weight. I believe he's referring to the 1101b testimony that will come into this trial. That evidence can only be used in a particular way and the law is very clear on how the jury is allowed to use this evidence. He also asks jurors if they are part of groups or organizations that promote stricter gun laws, victim's rights, or harsher penalties for crimes.

Burns continues with questions about whether or not they have any science background, are familiar with DNA and if they watch any of the crime dramas. After asking about the crime shows, he asks if they believe that these shows are accurate, and that DNA solves a case in 30 minutes. Mr. Burns also brings up to the jury the criminal justice system in another country, Scotland, where there are three options: guilty, not guilty, not proven. Burns asks the potential jurors, "How do you feel about letting someone off if they’re probably guilty but there’s reasonable doubt?"

Yesterday, when DDA Daniel Akemon first stepped up to the podium, he tells them, "You've heard the charges, double murder; pretty heavy charges." He asks each and every juror how they feel about being on the jury. He's looking for jurors that can sit on a double murder trial and take in all the evidence. For DDA Akemon, the integrity of these proceedings is paramount. He talks about how it's very important not to talk to anyone about the case. No texting, no Facebook, no social media of any kind, and no Googling. He tells them he is just as curious as everyone else, but they must refrain from this activity.

The reason is, it's unfair to Mr. Martinez and the prosecution. All the evidence that comes into this case must come from that witness stand. "The reason why I emphasize this is it just pops up in these trials. ... It just pops up. ... Not to make you paranoid, but the walls have ears. Something may be said in the hallways and it's unfair to both sides," DDA Akemon stresses.

DDA Akemon also talks about how that in the past, they've had jurors that have gone out to murder scenes on their own. They need to refrain from doing that.

He tells them that this is a very solemn event for jurors to follow and to give the court their full attention. Sometimes what happens is, the jury selection will really start to speed up here. Once the lawyers are done with their questions and they see that things are moving along, and, before you know it, you hear the attorneys accept the panel. And her honor will swear in the panel. And you're about to rise again and take another oath. And it's often that we get to that moment in time, that jurors start to raise their hand, they have an issue. "I ask this question to try to head this off at this point," Akemon adds.

"All of you prospective jurors, could be a juror in this case," DDA Akemon told the group. "But in any case, now is the time, literally, it's 3:20 in the afternoon. You could wind up on this panel. [Is there] anything that would stop you from finding this man guilty of murder if the case was proven beyond a reasonable doubt?"

It's interesting the answers that the jurors give to being asked how they feel about being a juror. Many are nervous but also say they find the process interesting.

3:30 PM
At the end of day two, four potential jurors were excused in the last round of questioning. It's still quite hot in the courtroom. People are fanning themselves with anything they might have.

Because it's so hot, Judge Speer asks the room, "It's 3:30. ... [Do you] want to recess for the day or keep going? It's a firm answer from the gallery, "Keep going!"

Four more jurors are randomly drawn and questioned by the court.

This is interrupted when late in the day, a juror who's been on the panel for quite some time wants to add more personal information on the record about a family member interaction with the LAPD. Under further questioning, the juror assures the court that they can be impartial and the incident will not affect their service.

3:40 PM
Questioning continues by counsel and three jurors are excused for peremptory challenges.

We end the day with three empty seats in the jury box. Court will resume at 10:30 AM tomorrow.

DDA Akemon asks for a discussion with the court off the record. The defendant is brought back into custody.  From where I'm sitting, it sounds like counsel and the court are planning the timing of the steps moving forward after a jury is sworn in. That would be opening statements and scheduling the first witnesses for the people.

Day 3 of Jury Selection....

Cameron Brown 3rd Trial, Pretrial 19

Inspiration Point, Ranch Palos Verdes, CA,
where Lauren Sarene Key, 4, fell to her death on 11/8/2000.
View is from Portuguese Point.

January 27, 2015
There was supposed to be a pretrial hearing in the Cameron Brown trial this morning. I arrived on the 9th floor of the downtown Los Angeles criminal court building around 8:40 AM.  The hallway right outside Dept. 107, Judge Lomeli's courtroom was empty.  I stepped inside the ante chamber to peek inside the courtroom.  It was empty, too. I stepped back outside and waited in the hallway. My first tip off should have been that Brown's wife Patty was not here.

I then saw DDA Craig Hum head my way. DDA Hum was on the floor for another hearing, but he was kind enough to tell me that he had received notice last night  that the case was taken off calendar for today.

My first go to source on cases where the defendant is in custody is to check the LA County Sheriff's inmate locator page. Brown is still listed as having a court hearing today, so that wouldn't have helped me.

I leave the courthouse to make the trip out to Van Nuys, to attend more of voir dire in the Rafael Martinez, Jr. trial.

Checking with the court, the next hearing in the Brown case is scheduled for February 27, 2015.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rafael Martinez, Jr. Trial - Day 1, Jury Selection

Exclusive T&T coverage on this case can be found HERE.

UPDATE: spelling, clarity; corrected Blankstein's new assignment

Monday January 26, 2015
Jury selection started this morning at the Van Nuys Courthouse, Dept. V, in the cold case murder trial of Rafael Martinez, Jr.

Martinez is charged with felony murder in the September 1997 stabbing deaths of Nancy Boehm (pronounced Beem) and her son Shawn Boehm, 23.  Jury selection is expected to take anywhere from three to five days. The trial is expected to last three to four weeks.

Deputy District Attorney Daniel Akemon is prosecuting, Tom Burns with the Alternate Public Defender's Office is representing the defendant and Judge Susan Speer is presiding over the case.

It is expected that DNA experts will testify that the defendant's DNA was found under Nancy Boehm's fingernails.

The last time I attended a trial in the Van Nuys Courthouse was in 2004-2005, when I attended a good portion of the Robert Blake trial. It's where I first met seasoned LA Times reporter Andrew Blankstein (now with NBC news) and fascinating KFI reporter Eric Leonard. I was a big fan of Leonard's reporting long before I met him. I also briefly met Dominick Dunne at that trial and got him to sign one of his books for me.

The prosecutor in the Blake case, Shellie Samuels, is now a judge in this same courthouse. During that trial, I remember speaking to Judge Samuels in the ladies restroom, telling her I thought she was doing a fantastic job. I also remember an incident in the basement cafeteria.  Towards the very end of the trial, or possibly even during jury deliberations, a reporter from People Magazine showed up. They had not attended any of the trial. The reporter actually walked up to the jurors while they were eating lunch and tried to ask them some questions.

I'll never forget how angry Judge Darlene Schempp was when she confronted the reporter on the record in open court.

I should add that I have attended pretrial hearings at the Van Nuys Courthouse in the Lois Goodman case, however, that case was dismissed and there was no trial. 

Day 2, Jury Selection, Martinez trial...

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Joshua Woodward Preliminary Hearing Day 6 - Part II

Joshua Woodward at a previous court hearing.

Note: I meant to get these notes written up soon after Woodward was bound over for trial on 1/23/14 but they got put on the back burner.  A few months later, Mr. Sprocket's heart attack happened and helping him get back on his feet was more important. Below are my notes from the last day of Woodward's preliminary hearing, one year ago. T&T's exclusive Woodward trial coverage can be found HERE. Sprocket

Continued from Part I.....

January 23, 2014
When I get to the downtown criminal court building, there is log jam of bodies in the elevator bay. It took me 20 minutes to get an elevator.

8:42 AM
On the 7th floor. The entire defense team is already here: Levine, Currie, Weisgerber and four other attorneys along with the defendant Woodward. They have two boxes of case files with them.

8:44 AM
Judge Pastor's clerk opens Dept. 51. About a minute later the main defense team files in. Woodward and the four other attorneys stay in the hallway. They are either on their smart phones or chatting amongst themselves.

8:55 AM
I head into Dept. 51. Soon after, the prosecution team of DDA's Habib Balian and Marguerite Rizzo arrive. I know Detective Shafia is in the building since I saw him in the cafeteria when I arrived. DDA Rizzo is wearing a sharp red jacket with a red scarf. Ms. Rizzo always looks perfectly put together.

(At the September 2014 Forensic Science Forum, I learned that not only does DDA Rizzo have a law degree, she has a masters in the biological sciences. Sprocket) 

Counsel are chatting together in the well. Levine is speaking and the two DDA's are nodding their heads. Detective Shafia arrived and is seated in the jury box.  Woodward is now at the defense table. There are four attorneys in the gallery. Two in front of me and two behind me. Two of the faces are new and I don't know if they are part of Woodward's extended defense team or not.

Just as it looks like things are close to getting started I have a coughing fit. Damn. I hope I don't have to step outside.  The court reporter Mavis is not at her desk but her equipment is already set up.

9:03 AM
Mavis emerges from the back rooms.  Judge Pastor goes on the record and appearances are stated.  I believe Judge Pastor states that the court received two documents filed on January 13.  It's a discovery matter. There's some discussion about a narrow cross or redirect. Documents were received to be moved into evidence.

Ms. Levine addresses the court. It's an issue with discovery. The DA searched emails in the LAPD data base among the two detectives and Ms. Doe. I believe Ms. Levine wants to examine Detective Shafia on these emails.

DDA Balian tells the court that they did conduct a search. This was potentially discovery/Brady material. I believe from my notes there may be one email, one contact between a detective and Ms. Doe by email.

I believe the defense states that the retrieved a piece of the chrono record, held in digital form that happened after, possibly after discovery was turned over to the defense. I believe there is other evidence that they uncovered that contradicted the testimony of Detective Shafia and Detective Fairchild. The defense would like to recall Detective Shafia.

Detective Shafia is recalled to the stand for cross examination by Ms. Levine.

JL: Since the last time you were here, have you reviewed any materials ....
JS: An email that was generated from searches.
JL: [Was that] provided by the DA or Detective Fairchild?
JS: The DA.

JL: Did you recall in November 2009 an email [from? to?] Ms. Doe?
JS: No, I did not recall that.

Ms. Levine questions the detective about the chronological log (aka "chrono). She points out an item that is missing a BATES stamp number. He's asked to look at the last page, the next to the last entry at 6:00 AM.

I believe the detective reads the document and then explains that it shows he received a message from Ms. Doe, asking for an update, and then possibly an email was sent or received from Ms. Doe.

JL: Do you have copy [copies?] of the email[s]?
JS: No.
JL: do you recall any other communication?
JS: No.

A copy of the email is not in the file. Detective Shafia is asked about a lawsuit filed by Ms. Doe against the defendant. Shafia doesn't recall the conversation.

JL: Do you recall a conversation in court about the lawsuit?
JS: No.

Shafia states he did not receive an email about the lawsuit.  Defense exhibit R is presented, a copy of an email from Detective Fairchild.

JL: This is an email from Karen Fairchild, right?
JS: Yes.
JL: It's to you?
JS: Yes.
JL: Dated February 7, 2012?
JS: Yes.
JL: At 2:01 PM?
JS: Yes.

I believe Detective Shafia mentions his last conversation with DDA Rizzo the prior month and Ms. Levine moves to strike. Ms. Doe has filed a lawsuit.

JL: So you did know about the lawsuit?
JS: No. I don't remember this email.
JL: Do you remember an email from Detective Careo (sp?)?

Defense exhibit S, an email from a Frank Careo or a Jose Careo... turns out (Jose/Frank) is the same person. The employee number of Frank Careo is mentioned. The email is dated December 13, 2011. Detective Shafia recalls this email.  There was an exchange between ... [ a phone call?] Shafia doesn't remember the phone call.  It was requested that Detective Shafia document [in person?] a conversation that he [over?] heard.  There is a question about Officer Careo and if he was not assigned to this matter. Prosecution objects, 350/352. Sustained.  Ms. Levine asks for a moment. She confers with an attorney in the gallery and Mr. Currie.

JL: Did you know Detective Careo tried to interview your subject?
Objection! Sustained!
JL: Did you know about any other emails?
JS: (No.)

There is no redirect by the people and Detective Shafia is excused. The defense recalls Detective Fairchild.

JL: Before you came to court, is there any document[s] you reviewed?
KF: Yes. I reviewed emails that were the product of a search. ... My answer was, but I had not done a search.

Ms. Levine has more questions about emails Detective Fairchild exchanged with Ms. Doe. Defense exhibit T, an email.  It's an email addressed to Ms. Doe [including the email address] from the witness.   Detective Fairchild verifies that this email was not listed in the chrono log.

JL: You did not put those emails in the log?
KF: Correct.

Ms. Levine reads from the email. "Hi [Ms. Doe], I hope you enjoyed your vacation in between ... Italy."

Under questioning, the witness verifies that she took no notes or documented the exchange in the logs.

JL: The second paragraph is about a computer search of Ms. Doe's hard drive, is that correct?
KF: Yes.
JL: Before you picked up the computer, were there any emails about picking up that computer?
KF: No.
JL: Any communication that you were going to do a search, by email?
KF: No.

Defense exhibit U. An email with BATES stamp #1185. Witness verifies this is an email from Ms. Doe to Detective Fairchild. It's Detective Fairchild's work email.

JL: Do you recall interviewing Ms. Doe that day?
KF: No.
JL: June 24, 2010 interview?
KF: Now I remember.
JL: What time did that take place?
KF: I don't recall.
JL: What time did it take place?
KF: 10 AM in the morning.

Levine states the email title is "Charged with murder," then reads from the email. "Please let me know if you want my emails/texts from Josh so that you can see what Josh typed."

Articles were attached but the witness doesn't remember them.  There's a question about what Detective Fairchild remembers about these emails and if she responded to Ms. Doe.

Defense exhibit V is next. It's another email not in the chrono log and no copy of the email in the file. The email has a link to an article about the case. Ms. Levine asks the witness if she accessed that article.  The email is dated 6/25/2010 at 10:12 AM

Defense exhibit W, BATES stamp 1187, email from the witness to Ms. Doe, dated 6/25/10 at 11:00 AM. It has the same subject line as the prior email. This was in response to Ms. Doe's email. This email is not in the log and a copy was not put in the file.  Ms. Levine reads from the text of the email. "Thanks so much for the link."

JL: Does that refresh your memory that you clicked on the link?
KF: I still don't recall.

Defense exhibit X, BATES stamp 1888, from the witness to Ms. Doe, dated 6/25/10 at 11:02 AM. Two minutes after the last email. Same subject line. This email did not make it into the chronological log or file.

Defense exhibit Y, BATES stamp 1889, from Ms. Doe to the witness dated 12/31/10, titled Happy New Year. This email was not listed in the chrono log and a copy was not included in the file.

JL: In this email Ms. Doe wishes you a Happy New Year?
Objection! Sustained!
JL: In it she thanks you for your hard work?
KF: Yes.
JL: And wishes you a Happy New Year?
KF: I think she is referring to herself and not me.

Defense exhibit Z, BATES stamp 1890, email from the witness to Ms. Doe, dated 1/4/2011. It is in response to the prior email. This email is not in the chrono log or a copy in the file. Subject line is the same, Happy New Year.  The email states meeting with two more doctors.

JL: Was one [of them?] Dr. Kingston?
KF: No.
JL: There were two doctors?
KF: I honestly ... we never met with with the doctor. ... I believe that Ms. Rizzo was calling around to find an expert .... a medical expert.
JL: You mean someone who would agree with your theories?
Objection!  Sustained!
JL: You wrote, "There's light at the end of the tunnel" ?
KF: Yes.
JL: Your email about the lawsuit ....

The witness knew that Ms. Doe was filing a lawsuit and that subpoenas were sent out. That's all she knew.

JL: Did you report the lawsuit to the district attorney?
KF: I don't know at what point that was found out.

The witness states that [Ms. Doe?] might have had a conversation with DDA Rizzo but doesn't know the specifics of what was said or when.

Defense exhibit AA #1891 two emails. The first from the witness to Ms. Doe, dated August 2011 at 12:03 PM. I believe the subject is "Question." The witness asked Ms. Doe in her email" "DDA Rizzo wanted to know if you had ever told Joshua how many weeks [you were?] pregnant. ... She will talk to you."

There is discussion about Ms. Doe's reply. I believe this is from Ms. Doe's emails:
Josh was informed of every [process? procedure] from pictures and ultrasound.He was supposed to go to ultrasounds with me but he cancelled every time.
There's more that I miss. This email is not in the chrono log and information not in the case file. Ms. Levine confronts the witness that she didn't relay the information anywhere.

Ms. Levine asks the court for a moment. She then leans in and whispers to Woodward. Cross is finished and DDA Balian gets up to redirect.

Defense exhibit X.

HB: I believe you testified that email was from you to Ms. Doe.
KF: It's from Ms. Doe to me.
HB: So it's from Ms. Doe to you?
KF: Yes.

Defense exhibit Y

HB: Here's to looking to a better New Year?
KF: Yes.
HB: Didn't she write, Here's to looking to a better New Year and Justice?
KF: Yes.

Redirect is finished.  The court asks if there are any more witnesses. Ms. Levine states there are only defense exhibits and motions. No more witnesses this morning.  The court will take a break until 10 AM.

There are attorneys in the gallery. One attorney greets DDA Rizzo. Another attorney greets one of the defense team.  Ms. Rizzo asks if the DA's law clerk can sit in the front row.  There are signs in the front row that no one can sit in that row without permission.

While we are on break, I hear counsel chat about what courtroom the case will be sent to. Personally, I believe the case will be sent to the 9th floor.  The 9th floor handles long cause (4 weeks or longer) or complex cases. The clerk asks Ms. Levine if she will be seeking to admit new exhibits. I hear Ms. Levine reply that she's not going to move her exhibits into evidence. They will be reference only.

10:02 AM
The court reporter Mavis takes to her desk. 10:05 AM the court goes back on the record.  There are no additional people's exhibits. Different defense exhibits (B, C, F, I, N) are gone over describing them.  The defense is not moving their exhibits into evidence. They were by reference only.  Ms. Rizzo objects to Defense B. Dr. Kingston's report and CV. Those are hearsay. People object to defense F. It's hearsay. Detective Shafia testified.

Ms. Levine responds. "With respect to ... CV, ... pretty standard for experts. ... and what she looked at and relied on. ... With respect to F, ... Detective Shafia research ... what the detective did on research and ..."

I believe it's DDA Balian who responds and the court agrees. People's objection is sustained. Defense exhibits B & F not received into evidence.  (I'm confused here because I thought the defense was not submitting their exhibits into evidence anyway.) I believe the defense has a motion to strike.

The people and defense rest.

The defense motion is to strike the testimony of Woodward via Miranda. The court has received the filed motions and is happy to receive argument by counsel.

Defense attorney Kelly Currie steps up to argue.
The people can't ask questions in the guise of booking information or medical information. Context matters. What preceded the questioning [when] .... [Officer] Hernandez was present. Detective Shafia did not advise him of his rights. Mr. Woodward invoked his right five times during the interview. Officer Hernandez asked questions during the booking process. After booking, Hernandez reports to Shafia.  He [Woodward] did not have any medical issues. [He] used to take blood pressure medications.  Currie goes over the informed arrest screening form.

The court asks what would be fair game, if anything, and then asks about [I believe] a check box on the form. Currie argues that they don't have the benefit of Officer Hernandez being here. They don't have the benefit of what Hernandez asked the defendant.

DDA Balian argues for the people.
What they do know. They know from 115 [testimony], that he [Officer Hernandez] asked if he [Woodward] had any health issues of medication.

The court replies. I certainly recognize prop 115. The court allows hearsay testimony on a daily basis. The court hears hearsay testimony. [However] there are limitations in the context of certain legal issues. ... It is not satisfying to the people's burden of proof.  Under existing law, People v. Gomez, look to underlying circumstance and the mindset of the inquiry.

The people chose to rely on Detective Shafia's testimony on 115, and I'm concerned about that. There might be a legitimate or non legal inquiry.  Asked that the defendant submit to questioning and he chose to invoke.  The court wonders if that swallows up the [?] .... The court is not satisfied that the people met their burden. People have not met their burden. Strike testimony of Officer Hernandez. This is a ruling at prelim. It certainly is without prejudice for further legislation. The court does strike out that entire testimony.

Now the defense has motions to dismiss all counts.  Currie will address count 1. The court states it will hear all defense arguments.

Mr. Currie states he will speak to some foundational issues. People to charge attempt, instead of charging completion, with regard to specific attempt to kill the fetus. This is not the same [analogy?] if [the state?] had charged murder.

People must know that Mr. Woodward knew the fetus was an embryo, and that he made one intent to that end. The law clearly states ... conscious disregard doesn't apply when charging attempt.  Mr. Currie goes over the law and it's requirements. The legislature chose to target fetus not an embryo. The defendant would need to know how long the fetus had progressed.  [Josh?] had to know that the embryo had progressed to the stage of a fetus.  The people haven't presented evidence of Jamba Juice evidence. The people have to present evidence that the target was the fetus.

Mr. Currie argues prior rulings that apply.

The people proved on October 13 the pregnancy proceeded beyond the embryonic stage. The people haven't established when did the alleged Jamba Juice [incident] take place.  According to Detective Shafia, sometime after September and before October 7.  The people still can't establish either ending and can't establish offspring from embryonic. [The people] can't prove that he [Woodward] put Misoprostol in this drink.

Judge Pastor is scrunching up his face. The corners of his mouth are turned down.

Mr. Currie addresses the testimony of Dr. Tsu, and that he [could not?] consider this episode. Ms. Doe did not tell Dr. Tsu about this episode. She did not report this episode to her doctor on October 8. The statements of Ms. Doe are unreliable. After she went to police, she came up with this poisoning theory.  The Jamba Juice claims are all the more incredible ... on other inconsistencies in her account.  She [Ms. Doe] accused him of poisoning but continually invited him [Woodward] into her home for sexual foreplay.   Currie talks about the 'watering down.'  Currie argues that the prosecution failed to meet their burden on any [part] of this count.  [Ms. Doe's] symptoms are consistent with a person in her first trimester of her pregnancy. The court requires a higher standard. Requires more. She drank a drink and felt sick, but not sick enough [to tell her doctor?].

I believe the court asks, "What should the court rely on? Internet search?"  I believe the court asks about the second trimester. The second trimester was on October 20, 2009. That was [well?] after the Jamba Juice incident occurred.

I believe Ms. Levine gets up to argue the remaining counts.
[Regarding] counts 1, 2, 3 and 4, generally would like to point out that there is no evidence of Misoprostol. No evidence of Misoprostol in counts 1, 2, and 3. The panties were searched for powder by two different labs. Two different labs were consulted. Nothing to support Misoprostol.

One of problems in the case, which Ms. Levine points, out stops the investigation. There's no way to know what was in the [Ms. Doe's] house.  No ... searches.

In respect to our papers, ... prosecution points out ... points to the time of the arrest. No evidence of Misoprostol. Anything in Count 4 is tainted.  Ms. Levine mentions in relation to prior events.  She now argues specifically to Count #2. Then Count #3 the next night, followed by the miscarriage. Then one week lapse.  In that week, they [Ms. Doe, Woodward] they had substantial contact. We don't know the extent of that contact. We know texts were deleted from [her?] phone.  Ms. Doe had determined to set up Mr. Woodward long before.  

Count #2. Mr. Woodward allegedly goes to apartment and allegedly inserts Misoprostol into Ms. Doe's vagina and Ms. Doe allegedly experiences some symptoms.  One thing about Internet searches, the only thing that can be deduced is that he [Woodward] had no interest in having a child. There is this testimony, that, in the past they had a relationship but its not backed up by anything.

The search on the Internet about ways to abort, there's no crime in that.  He did not hide the fact that he wanted her to have an abortion and wanted her to try the pill.  There was no relationship ... or that they wanted to have a child together.  There are problems with Ms. Doe. She doesn't tell them [detectives] anything about October 16th in the first interview. She doesn't [relay? that?] until 2010. Ms. Levine argues more details about what Ms. Doe said about the October 16 incident.

Count #3 suffers from the same problem as Count #2; lack of physical evidence. Ms. Levine mentions Dr. Kingston's testimony. How much of her testimony was based on her medical history? We know about smoking. We know that she suffered from various illnesses and diseases and things. The thing to remember is Ms. Doe's financial motive. She told Detective Shafia from day one ... how rich he [Woodward] was and her lawsuit is an attempt to do that.

Count #3, Ms. Levine argues about the physical symptoms Ms. Doe should have had. Count #4. We don't know what Ms. Doe reported to Mr. Woodward. One thing we know about the LAPD, they know how to tape a phone call. Ms. Doe started out in the first interview to snare, because she told Joshua Woodward, all was well. ... We don't know if she told him to bring Misoprostol, because she deletes stuff off her phone. All we know is what happened in the arrest.

Defense argues the 115 testimony of Ms. Verde. He [Woodward] didn't get close enough to the apartment. [He was] arrested too early. Count #4 fails because he doesn't go far enough in the attempt.  Ms. Levine then cites cases for her position, one being 'Holebrook.' (sp?) Mr. Woodward would had to have walked across the street, enter the apartment, go through all other steps.

At this point, I have in my notes that Judge Pastor is asking Mr. Currie a question which leads me to believe that Mr. Currie may have been arguing some of the counts and I missed documenting this in my notes.

JP: There must be an acknowledgement ...
KC: The ... he must know ... a belief and awareness of ...
JP: Does any other case say that?

The court asks about CALCRIM and CALJIC.

There is more discussion as to lewd behavior and the notion of what makes something a crime. Mr. Currie state that the legislature did not make the death of an embryo a crime.  So the defendant must know the baby is past embryonic stage.

The defense has concluded their argument. There is a big conference between defense counsel in the well and one attorney in the gallery.

I believe DDA Balian argues to the court Counts #2-4.
DDA Balian argues to the court that the people were fairly detailed in their opposition papers. We're going to try to focus on a few things in [those papers]. Before he starts DDA Balian states that the defense started out by saying the purpose of the prelim is to weed out groundless charges. That's true,  [however?] if there's some basis ... to give [the court?] strong suspicion, so that's the basis. This is not a jury trial, where there are [two answers?] and ... [?]. If there is some rational basis to give you a strong suspicion, based on ... what you heard.

We have Misoprostol on the defendant, in his possession. We have white powder tested to [prove]... But put that aside. The defendant wants to ignore what does exist. The computer searches that were done.

I believe DDA Rizzo argues Count 1.
I believe DDA Rizzo reminds the court that the defense argued that the defendant must know that the fetus progressed beyond the embryonic stage. This would be ludicrous that a defendant can only be convicted if he had knowledge of the fetus being beyond 7-8 weeks.  It is a requirement [(law) that the fetus be beyond the embryonic stage].  We don't dispute [that]. Mr. Curie talked about transfer intent. There are no issues of transfer intent. The defendant learned that the ex-girlfriend is pregnant. ... That he did not want a child. ... There was a pill she could take.  This was the one time she was not going to go along with him.

The prosecution brings up the statutes on the elderly, and that a [defendant] must know the person was an elder. ... Think it would be absurd for the defendant to [have] to know development [of fetus].  Judge Pastor asks what is the specific intent ... in dealing with fetal homicide? What is the intent...

I believe DDA Rizzo continues:
[He?] took a step to kill [an] unborn [child] ... We rely on medical experts and when acts occurred. Major structures occurred after 7-8 weeks of development. Dr. Kingston, based on testimony. Major structures were outlined on October 13. She reviewed the ultrasound images.  Dr. Kingston also rendered her opinion on fetal age based on October 8 and October 13 ultrasounds. Also, Dr. Kingston [testified/] before court, the first day of Ms. Doe's last menstrual period was July 22, 2009.  That date [was the] last date ... July 23, July 24, Ms. Doe could have gotten pregnant.

Dr. Kingston reviewed the ultrasound on October 8. Gestational age was not based on the last period. It was based on last ultrasound age. Dr. Kingston determined Ms. Doe was 11 weeks, 5 days on October 8.  Furthermore, the second ultrasound of October 13, the pregnancy had progressed to 12 weeks 2 days. That is in line with the first ultrasound dating.

If the court worked backwards, it's likely Ms. Doe became pregnant around August 1st or earlier. Around  7 weeks, we would be on September 19th, we would have reached a stage beyond embryonic.

Judge Pastor asks when was the Jamba Juice.

She would have become pregnant beyond July 22nd. The defense places the Jamba Juice as Mid September and uses this as a reference point. September 15. There is no evidence this was a hard line date. Detective Shafia testified Ms. Doe met the defendant [for the Jamba Juice] some point after the middle of September.  Ms. Doe stated the meeting occurred at The Grove.  Jamba Juice happened after mid September or late September.

Did the Jamba Juice incident even occur. We have evidence that Ms. Doe suffered. Dr. Kingston testified those are side effects that she was exposed to Misoprostol.  Dr. Kingston testified the timing of the symptoms is consistent of Misoprostol exposure.  Ms. Doe knew how she felt during her pregnancy and this vomiting was something that was beyond her experience.  The defense [alleges?] she made the incident up because she never relayed the incident to Dr. Tsu.

The people argue that Ms. Doe thought the intense vomiting incident was related to her pregnancy and not the Jamba Juice. It was a reasonable inference and that's why she didn't tell Dr. Tsu.  It explains why Ms. Doe didn't tell Detective Shafia about the incident at The Grove at first. The victim was still in a state of shock after the miscarriage.

I believe DDA Balian argues Count #2.
The defendant knew about Misoprostol. He knew how to administer it and how much. There's proof beyond a reasonable doubt. People are not asserting he was unhappy and that's why he wanted to kill. To him, it was going to ruin his life and he was going to kill himself. This defendant was resolved to kill this fetus. It didn't work. [Count #2] Was he not being [secretive?] when he typed "evil ways to end pregnancy"? When he typed, "the most powerful sedative?"

It wasn't presented in testimony [however], he also typed "How to wipe a Mac clean." Counsel indicates there is no evidence of [intent?].  There were searches [on the computer], as to how to insert Misoprostol vaginally.

[Additionally], Ms. Doe to Detective Fairchild. 'She felt like she was in a fog. Like she had taken NyQuil.'  Dr. Kingston agreed that [these] symptoms are consistent with exposure to Misoprostol. This is someone who was determined to kill that fetus. ... Who said he would kill himself if that fetus would come to fruition. He was resolved to kill that fetus. He had started and he wasn't going to stop.

It's not clear in my notes, but I believe that Mr. Currie argues rebuttal, or the court asks Mr. Currie about a specific intent.  I believe Mr. Currie addresses jury instructions and that the prosecution must show specific intent.  There is defense argument about the people bringing an intent charge and not completed charge because Ms. Doe miscarried.

I believe the court asks Mr. Currie for a response to Ms. Rizzo's arguments on elder abuse and if that has applicability to this case. Currie doesn't think it does because it goes back to intent. Intended crime did not occur. Currie argues that the cases the people cited, those cases focus on, ... did the defendant have intent to have sexual relations with a female under 14 years of age. It goes to the defendant's specific intent, ... because they chose to bring intent charges and not the completed crime.  Currie continues with another point on Count #1.  Defense exhibit AA, email.

I believe Mr. Currie reads the email. I let him know about ultrasounds and I kept him appraised. That doesn't support Jamba Juice because that came before ultrasounds.

Janet Levine continues with defense rebuttal argument.  Couple of things. [Probably?] make clear at 115 prelims. Ms. Rizzo argued on several themes that what Ms. Doe may have thought or [speculated?] because we did not hear from Ms. Doe. Ms. Levine argues again that the dates suggested when that occurred were variable.  That she was an ex-girlfriend; there is no evidence of that. There is no testimony about what Mr. Woodward was doing at that time. No evidence that he was a boyfriend of Ms. Doe. All we have are some inferences.

I believe the court asks the defense what they make of a computer search using [the word] 'evil' as opposed to 'ways.' Ms. Levine states that we don't have the evidence as to how the searches went. We don't' have evidence against the law. ... The drug is being prescribed and used.

I believe it is at this point where Judge Pastor rules.

The court is aware of it's duty to establish probable cause. The court does not have to find if the defendant is guilty. The court only has to find probable cause. ... I've done so. Based on the evidence presented, the people have met their burden on Counts 1 through 4. ... They have met the burden ... establishing each one of these instances. That the target was a fetus. That he had an intended specific intent to kill.  Do not find that the defendant must have known [fetal age?].  However, if required, I'm satisfied the defendant knew the development ... knew of the fetal age.

Find the conduct ... did .. in fact consist of intent.  Did extend beyond [embryonic?].  Any motion to [defer?] counts 1 through 4 is denied.  Counts 1 through 4, each a 664/187 [count], order him to be held to answer.  Judge Pastor continues with the Penal Code descriptions.

The 4 million bail stands. Arraignment is scheduled for February 6, 2014, at 8:30 AM in Dept. 111, Judge Henry Hall.  Will be required to sign a bond form.

Judge Pastor then addresses counsel. "I have to comment on the lawyering ... [it] was brilliant." The court also complements counsel on their conduct and sensitivity.  Judge Pastor comments that he doesn't think the case should be in Dept. 111. The nature of the case and the motions,  "I think the case should be assigned to complex criminal court. ... I think the case should go there."  Ms. Levine agrees. I believe the court adds that ultimately it will be Judge Hall's call.  DDA Balian thanks the court for their time and the scheduling.

The arraignment in Dept. 111 was reported on February 6, 2014.