Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Michael Gargiulo, Pretrial Hearing 33

Michael Thomas Gargiulo, in custody; date unknown.

The previous post on this case can be found HERE.

December 15, 2015
8:45 AM
Inside Dept. 108, on the 9th Floor of the downtown Los Angeles Criminal Justice Center.

Defense attorney Dale Rubin is here, chatting off the record with Judge Ohta about where he [Rubin] is in the case and what he needs to present to the 987.9 judge for his case proposal. It's not in my notes, but I believe defense investigator Chris Nicely arrives soon after.

I’m sure I’ve talked about what the 987.9 judge is in the Grim Sleeper case. When a defendant is provided counsel by the court (not public defender; not alternate public defender’s offices), a judge, seperate from the trial judge, reviews and approves or denies, expenses that the defense attorney requests, to defend his case. The law that covers that is 987.9 in the California Penal Code. The 987.9 Judge in the Gargiulo case is Dept. 123, Judge Scott M. Gordon’s courtroom.

There’s more off the record chatter about whether or not Mr. Rubin needs to go in camera with the court to discuss where he is with the 987.9 judge.

Judge Ohta glances around and asks, “Where is my staff?” A moment or two later, Judge Ohta’s clerk takes her desk. There is a discussion about the LA Unified Schoold District.

At some point, DDA Akemon arrives. Judge Ohta asks DDA Akemon, ‘Where is your partner in crime?” referring to DDA Garrett Dameron, Akemon’s co-counsel on the case. Judge Ohta then asks, “How did you rope him into it?” DDA Dameron is not assigned to the same unit, Major Crimes, as DDA Akemon, but another unit.

8:47 AM
Judte Ohta’s pretty court reporter comes out and starts to set up her equipment.

There’s more off the record chatter in the well. It appears Rubin and DDA Akemon chat off the record about Rubin’s issues in front of the 987.9 judge.

Rubin may have a different strategy to defend Gargiulo than former counsel Charles Lindner did, and those costs could be more. I don’t know.

Here is a hypothetical to consider. Suppose Gargiulo is convicted and sentenced to death. Could his appellate attorney successfully argue ineffective counsel, on the grounds that the 987.9 judge did not approve adequate funds for Gargiulo’s attorney to defend the case? I’ve heard that there is such an appellate case, that argued these similar points and was successful in overturning a conviction. I just haven’t found it yet. T&T readers who know the law better than I do, if you know of such a case, please post a link to the published decision or email me privately.

Judge Ohta gets into his robes and soon after Gargiulo is brought out. Gargiulo is much the same as I last saw him. He’s completely bald and clean shaven. He appears more filled out, muscular, that his 2008 booking photos. He’s carrying a large dark green bag or sachel of some kind.

Gargiulo is handed a package of yellow lined note pads.

The court goes on the record in the Gargiulo case. I believe the court states that the last time Mr. Rubin was before the court, the case was in limbo, and he had not presented a proposal to the 987.9 judge yet.

Rubin explains that he’s having a problem getting his proposal together. A lot of the proposal is privileged. 

The court replies that it understands, and that there’s a lot for him to put together. Judge Ohta tells Mr. Rubin that he doesn’t need to hear the details. 

Rubin goes onto explain that he’s received 15 banker’s boxes from Mr. Lindner, [Gargiulo's former counsel]. He also tells the court that a lot of information is also electronically produced. I believe he tells the court he’s received that information from the DA.

Rubin adds that he’s been in trial since October. It’s been hard to work on that proposal. He  also tells the court that because of Mr. Lindner’s position he’s taken in the past, it’s made things [harder?].

Judge Ohta asks the people what has been turned over to the defense. DDA Akemon responds 30, 880 pages of discovery.

Mr. Rubin tells the court he doesn’t intend to review all of that prior to presenting his proposal to the 987.9 judge. But it will require some time.

I believe the court responds, “I don’t know all that happened outside [referring to Dept. 123] but Mr. Lindner does have some knowledge. ... It’s not as if he’s [Judge Gordon?] totally blind.”

The problem is in the past, but Judge Ohta needs a requested return date.

Rubin’s suggestion is to put the case at zero of 90 and return on January 25th. He’s hopeful that at that time, his proposal to Judge Gordon will have been submitted.

A different date is bounced around and all parties agree to January 27, 2016.  DDA Akemon offers to Rubin if there is anything he can do, he’s there to help.

Gargiulo is asked if the January 27th date is fine with him. He shrugs his shoulders and replies, “Sure. That’s fine.

The January 8 trial date that was set last year is vacated.

Before Gargiulo leaves there is a quick exchange with his counsel that indicates how markedly different his relationship with Mr. Rubin is verses Mr. Lindner. Gargiulo says to his attorney, “Happy Holidays.” Rubin replies, “You too.”

And that’s it.

The next post on this case can be found HERE.