Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Trial Notes, 5-22-07

I get to the Orange line a few seconds too late and miss the 8 am bus. I catch the next one about five minutes later. I finished y book over the weekend, and forgot to put another inside my purse this morning. On the transit news feed, there’s an ad for FOLICARE. It’s for male pattern baldness. There are a few beside me on the bus who could use this product, but they don’t seem to be interested.

Passengers perk up when news of the Spector trial comes on the screen. Other news reported was about the young actor who crashed his car and a passenger was killed. He took a guilty plea. I didn’t catch whether he’s been sentenced yet. I see a grown man totally engrossed in a Superman Comic Book, with his girlfriend asleep, leaning on his shoulder. Even though I was late, I still make the 8:30 Red Line train. This is good. It means I should get to the rear of the Criminal Court Building by about 9:05 am. I see a woman applying her make up on the train. I make a judgment call, that she’s putting on way too much blush on her face. The air is not very good on the train today. It’s quite stuffy.

I finally reach the 9th floor. I see Mr. Dunne and the Dunleavy guy who was here yesterday. Michelle is sitting with Dominick. The auburn haired Dateline reporter is here. Harriet Ryan and David K. Li are chatting away. No Spector yet. DeSouza arrives with his entourage. Two hefty bodyguard like guys accompany him into the courtroom. Right afterwards, the jurors file past the hallway into the courtroom. Now the Spector entourage arrives. His purchased wife Rachelle Short on one arm, and a bodyguard on either side of them and one in front.

An inmate from the jail is brought into court 107 in a wheelchair. I notice injuries to his scalp as he passes me. Mr. Dunne smiles and says hello. John Spano (who was yawning when he arrived in the hallway) is looking around smiling going, “Okay! Here we are again!” We are finally led into the courtroom, and the reporters are all settling into their favorite viewing spots. It’s 9:30 and we haven’t started yet. I see the court reporter emerge from the judge’s chambers.

The family arrives with their tall attorney with jet black hair. The Dateline reporter moves in to talk to the attorney, and it’s just the two of them by themselves talking now. Ed arrives and it looks like he got a haircut. And he’s not wearing his glasses. I wonder if he’s got contacts in. The attorney’s exit the judges chambers now, so they were in camera. Jackson and Dixon step off by themselves right next to the witness box to discuss something. There are five elderly gentlemen all sitting together in the row behind me. These are some new trial watchers that I haven’t seen before. Rochelle is writing on some paper; looks like a notepad. It’s hard to see from where I’m sitting.

The judge is on the bench and there is something, possibly about what was said in chambers. There are no improprieties on behalf of juror #6. The hearing they just had will be part of the official transcript. Private information will be redacted from the e-mails. Spector and the defense attorneys stand, everyone else gets up, and the jury files in.

DeSouza is still on redirect. The prosecution resumes playing the video tape exhibit of DeSouza's interview with detectives. The jurors have copies of the transcript of the interview. Most are not watching the video, but reading along with the transcript. Oh wait, #9 is watching the video. Looking at the thickness of the transcript the jurors are holding, it appears they are not even half way through this video.

So, I settle in to watch the jurors. Mostly the jurors are reading, and I see the judge is watching the video. It’s very difficult to understand because the sound quality is terrible. The judge is looking at the transcript now. I write out this note to Steven: “CAN YOU UNDERSTAND ANYTHING?” Steven shakes his head no. Adriano DeSouza is sitting in the front row. How strange that must be for him, to watch and listen to his interview with police. I’m wondering what Rochelle is writing in that notepad, since she’s still writing. One of the bodyguards is reading a book while the video plays. Judge still watching the video.

From the video:

“Why did you call the secretary first?”
I don’t know. I don’t know.

I note the date and time on the tape: 2-3-0 12:24:51 am

Now, DeSouza is explaining his movements after calling Michelle Baine, Spector’s secretary. And then, there it is on the tape. “I think I, killed; I think I killed somebody.” This is so damaging to the defense. I see Rachelle is resting her hand to her face, her fingers on her forehead; her thumb on her chin. I see juror #9 say something to juror #8. #8 looks over the gallery, almost like he’s searching for a face. Michelle and Dominick exchange notes. On the video now, DeSouza is imitating for the detectives how Spector was talking and slurring his words. The detectives go through his statements again.

DeSouza: “I think I killed somebody.”
Detective: “You’re sure about what you heard?”
DeSouza: “Yes.”

It’s 10:15 am and they’re almost through the tape. Maybe 10 to 15 pages more of video. The still photographer drops his camera! It lands on one of the Court TV camera operator’s head! Everyone turns to look to see what happened. Juror #9 looks out at the gallery. He doesn’t follow the last few pages of transcript. On the video, the detective tells DeSouza, “It’s going to be a big case. Whomever he (Spector) hires, I can guarantee, he will hire investigators to look into you and try to talk to you.”

It was obvious on the video that DeSouza was totally freaked out by what happened. The attorneys have a side bar at the bench at the end of the video. Jackson collects the transcripts, and DeSouza is back on the stand.

Unfortunately in my notes, I forget to document if DeSouza is under cross or direct. I believe he’s under cross, and that Brunon is conducting it.

DeSouza says that Detective Pinyeta (sp?) gave him a ride to the police station. 5:10 am was the 911 call. Around 6 am, DeSouza says that was the next time that he saw Spector again. That was when the police escorted him from the house. Brunon is really trying to get DeSouza to say he could be wrong about what he heard. The prosecution objects now to several questions in a row being improper. The defense is really try to get him to focus on the fact that on the tape, after he tells them Spector’s words, “I think I killed somebody,” right afterwards on the tape he says, “I think, I’m not sure.” DeSouza explains on the stand, “I said that to Mr. Pinyeta because I’m not sure he understood what I said.”

Spectors elbows are on the table; fingers inter clasped and his hands shaking. Now the defense is going over the condition of Spector and whether or not he was drunk at the time he emerged from the house. Also re questioning DeSouza on the “shoulder shrugging.” The defense is digging away at those inconsistencies. I mostly see Mr. Jackson from the back, his fingertips pressed together. His chin resting on his fingers. I’m betting he’s really focused right now. Juror #9 yawns the same time I do. I watch Spector clench his hands together into a fist like clasp. I can’t see totally, but it sure looks like Rachelle is taking notes still on that pad. Maybe she’s writing a letter? She appears now to be looking at the jury. She looks up, then looks down for a bit, but I can’t see her hands. So I’m not sure what she is doing, except looking down at her lap a lot.

Q: You said: “I want someone to direct me.” What did that mean?
A: To help me to explain what I had to do.

The defense asks DeSouza more questions on the deportation issue and then Brunon finally says, no more questions.

Jackson steps up to do the redirect.

Q: Who asked Lana back to the Castle?
A: Phil
Q: Did he ask one time?
A: No.
Q: Did he ask two times?
A: No.
Q: Did he ask three times?
A: Around three times.
Q: You were subpoenaed?
A: Yes.
Q: Are you mistaken about what you saw, what you heard that day?
A: No.

And DeSouza is finally off the stand! The court is on break. The cameraman who was hit in the head with a camera had a set of headphones on, so maybe it didn’t bump his head too hard. Another reporter leans into him and says, “The judge was concerned about you. He looks over at you a few times.” The camera operator replies, “Maybe he was looking at you,” (meaning, the cameraman who dropped the camera!)

Spector is standing alone at the defense table. He comes over to his wife and they both exit the courtroom. I talk for a bit to Dominick, but a man interrupts by coming up to Dominick and fawns all over him. Dominick says, “It’s always nice when people say something nice to you.” I reply to him, “You have a big fan club.” Mr. Dunne replies, “It happened to me late in life. I still have trouble getting used to it. That was a terrible cross by Brunon from start to finish!” We then discuss Dr. Henry Lee. Dominick does not hold back on how he feels about how he feels about Dr. Lee. I say, “It will be interesting to see if they put Dr. Lee on the stand.” Dominick replies, “Did you see that? him on the stand, where he got all arrogant? I’ve head him tell that joke so many times.”

We talk about the missing evidence and I tell Dominick, “I think Dr. Lee lost it. He said on the stand it was a private case and not a state case. That procedures were not as precise. He kept claiming, no one told him what to do with the evidence. I don’t believe it. I think he lost it. Dominick says, “I can’t stand him. The jurors (in the past), they fawn all over him, even though there was no jury there.”

Back in the courtroom, it’s 11:20 am and we’re back on the record.

The next witness is Sandra Hill, and Dixon will take her direct examination.

Sandra is a Public Safety Dispatch Supervisor, in charge of the sheriff’s office computerized systems. She’s worked for the Sheriff’s Dept. seventeen years. She is also familiar with the 911 system in Los Angeles County. The witness goes into detail on how 911 calls made from cell phones were routed back in February, 2003. The system archives all calls on a DVD, and they are held for 180 days. She testifies that “We search for calls on our system for that date (2-3-07). We only found one call. The computer searches by date and by location.” There is a two page document of that single call put up on the Elmo.

Rosen gets up to cross the witness.

Rosen is plodding through everything, going over the witness’s testimony in detail. I think the defense strategy is to put these jurors to sleep!

Q: Can you tell (from the report) if an ambulance was sent?
A: No, I can not.


The witness says the training process for 911 operators is a very lengthy process. At least four weeks. After that, there is one on one training to ensure they are properly trained to handle calls.


Rosen: This will be brief.
Judge: I wouldn’t believe it.

Rosen points out that the call says, “lady lying on the ground.

I see the judge rub his face.

The witness replies that the operators are trained to write what was said.

When the witness is finally done with cross, the judge jokingly says that she can discuss her testimony.

The next witness is called. Gamaliel Catalan. Unfortunately, I don’t have in my notes who conducts the direct examination. I believe it’s Dixon though. She is a communications Supervisor for Alhambra P.D. He supervises the communication center. Two shifts of employees. The witness says that they are the Public Safety Answering point.

It’s 12 noon, and Judge Fidler says, “And although we’re on the edge of our seats...”

Laughter fills the courtroom.

Updated 6-14-07 12:12am
Lunch is about over. It’s about 1:18 pm, and a man comes up to court with some papers for Spector. It’s a large envelope, and it gets passed to the two bodyguards there. One reporter says, “Maybe it’s a fingernail.” Finally, we are allowed to enter the courtroom. Cutler saunters in. Linda Deutsch and Roger Rosen are having a conversation. Steve Dunleavy, the legendary New York Post reporter who punched out Spector years ago is in the courtroom today. Rochelle has her hair up and pulled back, and it’s obvious she’s got a hair piece, blondish curls handing down. Steven speculates that maybe it’s one of Phil’s hair pieces on her head. The court is now trying to determine if the coroner has a conflict of scheduling. He’s scheduled to testify in courtroom 104 regarding a child abuse case.

Direct continues of the communications supervisor, Gamaliel Catalan.

Catalan testifies that he located one call, transfer from the CHP. A search of their records revealed “no calls” to be found from that residence made from land lines. The 911 call document is put up on the screen.

Direct is over, and Rosen steps up to cross the witness.

This is unbelievably tedious. Rosen is asking what term would you use to describe the document. He’s asking what all the little codes mean, and the witness explains. Rosen then asks if he can tell which words are spoken by the dispatcher, and which were spoken by the caller.

A: No.

Rosen then goes on with his tone of voice, that this is a big deal, that we can’t tell who said what. Rosen points out on the document that at 5:56:10 am, one subject confirmed dead. And the witness replies that just means the dispatcher documented information he received over the radio.

Q: Do you know who handled the call?
A: Bobbick.
Q: do you know which officer, CHP she spoke with?
A: I don’t know.

Cross if finally finished, and redirect begins.

Q: What type of training (do the dispatchers receive)?
A: 120 hours of basic dispatch training, then they are one 24 hour training.
Q: Why is it important to be accurate?
A: To dispatch resources in an accurate manner.

There are a few more questions about the dispatchers probing the caller to get more information and then redirect is done.


Q: Is it correct that you have found errors have occurred?
A: Human nature.

And finally, we are done with this witness. The next witness is Officer Sean Heckers. I forget to write in my notes who is performing the direct examination.

Officer Heckers is a with the City of Alhambra, and on February 3, 2003, he was assigned to patrol duty.

Q: Were you in uniform, and drove a black and white?
A: Yes sir, I did.
Q: How long at that time (were you with the Alhambra PD)?
A: Eight years.
Q: What shift (were you working)?
A: Day. I started a 6 am and went to 6 pm.
Q: How many days?
A: Three days a week.
Q: Had you ever been to 1700 Grand View before?
A: No I had not.

The witness confirms that he was just ordered to report there and assist. He was assigned to transport Spector back to the Alhambra police station. He identifies Spector as the individual he transported. The witness says his memory is not clear as to whether or not he was handcuffed while in the cruiser, but it’s rare that a suspect wouldn’t be handcuffed when being transported.

The witness testifies that he was told to administer a GSR residue kit. He explains the kits are uniquely numbered and what the kit consists of, and the procedures that are followed to administer the test. The witness was previously with the San Marino, PD. This was the first time he did the GSR test kit in the field. Once the test was completed, he booked it into evidence.

Q: Do you remember if an Alhambra paramedic or fireman came by?
A: To be honest, I can’t recall.
Q: Did you go to another facility, to have a sex test kit done?
A: Yes.
Q: What was the facility?
A: San Gabriel Valley Medical Center.

After this test, Officer Gullam Santan (sp?) escorted Spector back to the station. Photos of Spector were put on the screen. These are his Polaroid booking photos. He was then taken to the jail. End of direct examination.

Linda Kenney Baden is to do the cross. I can see that she’s working from a large spiral notebook. “I’m not sure I’ve met you. You look like the Judge’s brother,” LKB says. And the judge makes a comment about that. The witness states that he didn’t know Spector, just knew of the property. LKB now goes over the witnesses transcript of his (prior grand jury???) testimony. LKB asks him in detail about the GSR test, going over every tiny detail of the test, and asking him if he knows “why” certain procedures are followed. LKB is also trying to insinuate, through her questions, that GSR could have been in the back of the patrol car where Spector was handcuffed with his hands behind his back.

LKB asks how many suspects in that car a week before? Two weeks before? How about on the bench that Spector sat on at the jail? What type of guns do they carry in your department? All these questions to try to imply that the GSR found on Spector wasn’t from the murder weapon, but from the police car or bench he sat on, at the station.

Break is finally called. Spector left the courtroom. Rachelle sits in the back row with a bodyguard. Roger Rosen comes over to Dominick to deliver a message from someone they must both know. Rosen chats a bit about his computer workstation in the house, or his daughter’s workstation. It was a funny conversation. Rosen says he’s not real computer literate. Steven says, “We know where this GSR stuff is going!” There are some new trial watchers in the gallery staring at Steve Dunleavy.

Break is over, and we’re back on cross.

LKB continues with the GSR nightmare cross. Boring, boring questions. LKB paces when she asks questions, and her tone is a bit loud and has an accusatory tone. The prosecution just made it’s second objection to a question, and the Judge calls up counsel for a side bar. Then the Judge is in his chambers, the attorneys are in front of the clerk’s desk, and it’s a waiting game here. Now, we’re back on the record.

There are more questions about Spector being handcuffed in front verses being handcuffed in back. Baden asks if the other officers had guns, and then the type of vehicle Spector was transported in. This is all just to get these questions in the jurors mind. Now she’s talking about the rape kit exam, and if Spector disrobed in front of him.

Q: Did you see the nurse (Caruso) pluck anal hairs from him?
A: I don’t recall that specifically.
Q: Were you there when genital hairs were plucked?
A: Yes.
Q: After he disrobed, and went through the sexual assault exam, did you see Nurse Caruso, swab under his nails (and use) a light source through his hair?
A: I believe so.

Now, more questions back on GSR, and if he knew the reason why it was important to fill out all the documentation. (It’s basically a trick question, because if you don’t give every possibility, then the attorney can come back and say, “Well, what about this? Didn’t you learn this reason, too?")

Cross is finally over and redirect begins.

There are questions about the patrol cars being cleaned on a regular basis, and it’s here where we learn that the back seats of patrol cars are plastic and contoured, so that you can have your hands rest more comfortably behind your back while sitting in the car. And the witness testifies that the presence of guns in the back of a patrol car is very rare.

LKB is not going to let this go, she has to recross! Groan!

Q: You can’t testify to the technicality of GSR transfer can you? You can’t testify as to cleaning, how often? How many suspects who could have had GSR (on them)?

Finally, she’s done, and the prosecution has no more questions. We’re finally onto the next witness, Michael Brown (Fireman Brown), and Patrick Dixon handles the direct examination.

He is employed by the Alhambra fire Department. At the time of the event, he had been a firefighter/paramedic for one year. Fireman Brown details his training. In Alhambra, they rotate onto a fire engine in addition to paramedic work. He testifies that he was dispatched ot Alhambra Jail at 6:16 pm on February 3, 2003, for a patient who was tazed.

Q: What does “tazed” mean?

The witness says that he just knows what the public knows, and describes what he knows of tazing. The break is finally called. I’m about to fall asleep.

Q: So, it was at Alhambra Police Station where you met Phil Spector?
A: That’s correct.
Q: You went to see if he was okay?
A: Yes. It’s very common that we go down there to check on a patient.

The witness saw him on a silver bench. His partner evaluated Spector, and he documented everything. They work together. They evaluate for basic human functions. A.B.C. Airway, Breathing, Conscious. The witness states that Spector, “Wasn’t talking too much.”

Q: Did he seem to be okay?
A: Yes.
Q: Were there any marks on his skin from the tazer?
A: No.

The witness and his partner went through the primary and secondary assessment. They asked Spector if he wanted to go to the hospital. He declined. They took a medial assessment, listed meds, etc. Anything Spector might be taking. And that’s it. Direct is done.

LKB performs the cross, and starts as usual, by introducing herself. LKB gets the witness to verify that he and his partner were called at a little after 6:00 pm, and that he filled out some forms documenting the visit and treatment. LKB gets the witness to admit that they only spent about seven and a half minutes with Spector total. She now asks about the tazering of Spector.

A: I was looking over my partner’s shoulder. The barbs were not attached. The witness said he looked down Spector’s shirt.
Q: But you didn’t see down “here” (LKB points to her waist area).
A: No, I did not.

The witness states that an EMT-Paramedic has more advanced training than just a regular EMT. LKB is now going over the report he filled out with him. On the report is written “diabetes.”

Q: What are you looking for when someone is tazered?
A: Checking to see if the barbs are still in the skin. If the patient is uncomfortable; in pain.

THIS IS SO BORING! Finally! Cross is finished and redirect starts.

Dixon gets the witness to state that if there are no medical complaints, then the Paramedics give no treatment.

LKB gets up to RECROSS! Sheesh!

Q: You gave him a glaucoma score? Did not find any obvious signs of alcohol?
A: No.

Court is finally over for the day. The witness is done. Finally! Steven said that he needed a tazer jolt. Tomorrow they will continue with the inquiry into the missing evidence.

I have already transcribed the judge’s ruling and posted it here, but I still need to add a few notes covering where Sara Caplan was called to the stand one last time.