Saturday, August 4, 2018

Monica Sementilli & Robert Louis Baker, Pretrial Hearing 5

Previous post can be found HERE.

LAPD Booking Photos
July 30, 2018
I arrive on the 9th floor at 8:15 am. Baker's defense attorney Michael Simmrin is here sitting on the bench at the very end of the hallway.

There are a few public people here. No other press that I recognize. A young gentleman shows up at this end of the hallway wearing a jury badge. After a few minutes, I notice that the air is hot, almost sticky. The building AC may not be fully up to speed, which is not unusual on a Monday. I'm starting to sweat. I may have to tie up my hair.

8:24 AM
DDA Melissa Opper arrives. She's dressed like I've always seen her, in an all black, two-piece suit and black pumps. She goes directly to Simmrin and they chat about something. I'm too far away to listen in.

8:28 AM

Sementilli's full defense team arrives on the 9th floor. When they approach Simmrin as a group, DDA Opper politely steps away so they can chat. I overhear snatches of conversation this time. They appear to be trying to set a return date for the next hearing.

8:30 AM
Dept. 101 opens and everyone heads inside. I wonder if DDA Beth Silverman is busy with a pretrial hearing in another case or if she will arrive later. I take a seat in the 2nd bench row.

Judge Coen was at his bench out of his robe when I entered. Now Judge Coen is chatting with the gray haired gentleman on the Sementilli defense team at the clerk's counter. Now I wonder if this gentleman is a private investigator like I've guessed, or another attorney working on her case. Usually, when there are non-lead counsel working on a case, they still sit in the extra seats in the well. This gentleman sits in the gallery each time I've been here.

Although DDA Silverman has not arrived yet, the three defense counsel are trying to nail down a return date. Berk is asking DDA Opper a question about scheduling. "Melissa, does the 18th work for you?"

Berk is wearing a beautiful light brown jacket and I want one exactly like it. The jacket has nice lines and is gently tailored to her hip. It looks great on her. What I really like about it is, there is no collar or lapel. It's closed by a single, large button under the bra line.

Thankfully, Dept. 101 is noticeably several degrees cooler than the hallway. A second court reporter arrives. The court reporter was obviously sent to the wrong department because the regular court reporter for Dept. 101 is here.  The court reporter leaves to find where her fill in assignment is located.

I overhear someone, I think a bailiff of possibly Judge Coen himself say the defendants are not on the floor yet.

Back and forth, counsel are still trying to decide on a return date.

8:38 AM

DDA Silverman arrives with two interns.  Beth is wearing a black jacket paired over a black and white patterned dress with small splashes of color. 

Judge Coen asks the parties about time, meaning how long will the trial last. DDA Silverman tells the court that just their case alone will take six weeks. So if that's just the people's case, one wonders how long the defense will take.

I believe Judge Coen replies, "That changes things." He tells the parties, "I can give you four weeks in January. So now they are looking at March 2019.

Judge Coen and Levine chat. DDA Silverman and Simmrin chat about a hard drive sitting on the DA's desk.

Counsel are still trying to work out a return date. You have three different attorneys on the defense side, the court {Judge Coen's schedule} and the people. So five different groups need to find a return date that works for "everyone". The next dates Berk throws out are the 17th or 18th of September.

That doesn't work for everybody so they go back to August. August 24 works for everyone except DDA Silverman.  This is a tedious process with everyone checking their calendars to see how they can work this out.

Baker is brought out and and handcuffed to the chair at the end of the defense table. We are now waiting for Levine & Berk's client, Sementilli. Sementilli arrives. Judge Coen immediately goes on the record. Judge Coen states the parties that are present and that they are looking for a return date. Coen is looking to set the court calendar at zero of 60 on the next date. They are tentatively trying to set a return date which will be a discovery hearing update.

After a bit more back and forth among counsel the return date is set: October 2nd for a discovery hearing. I believe it is Levine who is asking if the court wants to set a trial date then (Oct 2) or now.

Judge Coen reminds Levine that his co-counsel's rights [representing Baker] trump California Penal Code 1382. Levine tells the court that they will file a motion to separate the cases. (In an effort to get to trial sooner I expect.) Judge Coen tells the parties that he has nothing available for trial until March 25, 2018. Coen wants to make the court calendar on this case zero of 60 on October 2. Coen states a tentative trial date will be drawn on that date.

DDA Silverman goes over a bit of housekeeping with the court regarding the 911 transcript and that the "SDT files" have not been returned to the court file. The court orders the DA is to take custody of the SDT files and make copies.

And that's it. The defendants are brought back into custody and the parties return date is October 2.


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