Friday, July 6, 2007

Trial Notes, 6-19-07

You would think with all morning to sleep in and get my chores done, I'd be able to get to the court house on time for the afternoon session. But I miss my bus by about 30 seconds, and the next one is ten minutes away. I debate within myself to get back in the car and drive to the North Hollywood Red Line station, and struggle with finding parking. After this internal dialog, I stay put. In the morning, there is a bus every five minutes, but not this time of day. I hope the trains are still running every ten minutes and that I catch still one just in time so I'm not too late for court. At the Red Line, I just make the train and figure I should be able to be on the 9th floor by the latest 1:20 pm.

1:08 pm. I get to court faster than I anticipated, but the security line is huge. It goes all the way from the back of the building (where the security scanners are) to the front and all the way to the back of the building again. It was a good guess. It's 1:18 pm when I finally reach the 9th floor. When I was in line, I offer Harriet Ryan a cut in line, but being the very ethical person she is, she declines my offer saying, "I don't want to live in a world like that." She thanks me anyway. Dr. Lynn Herold is here in the hallway, waiting. In this prior entry, I wrote about Spector returning a book that Mr. Dunne had lent him. Beth Karas is wearing this absolutely gorgeous pink suit. The material looks some what seersuckerish, almost crepe like, and I compliment her on it. I ask Steven if Kate's article is online yet. "Yes," he replies. "It's in print and online." Mr. Dunne and Beth discuss a meeting that Mr. Dunne has to reschedule. Stan Goldman, the law professor who's often on Court TV is in the courtroom. I notice that Rachelle fixed her hair today, and is wearing a deep purple suit.

Mr Jackson leans into the first row to tell the family about extensive photos, and to be prepared. Dr. Lynn Denise Herold is on the stand and Mr. Jackson will be performing the direct examination of this witness.

Dr. Herold is a forensic scientist, or "criminalist" as they are called on the West coast. She says she's a "trace evidence analyst." In this case, she provided blood stain pattern analysis. Dr. Herold has a Bachelors and a Ph.D. in biological sciences.

Q: Do all of your disciplines interplay with each other?

A: Yes. We are sort of the "Jack and Jill" of all trades.

Q: Educate the jury on some of the terminology.

A: Blood stain pattern analysis is the applied interpretation of looking at where blood has been shed. (snip) It's based on several sciences: biology, physiology and physics.

Q: What is analysis of blood spatter?

A: For the way we see the world.

(That's what I have for the answer to that question, but since it sounds so strange, I'm sure there is more that I missed writing down.)

Two very strange characters enter the court room and sit in the back. I write this note to Mr. Dunne: LOOKS LIKE SAME GUYS AT BLAKE TRIAL. The two elderly men are wearing cowboy hats and gear, and have full grizzled beards and long wild, white and gray hair. I'm reminded of the guys from ZZ Top. I see a juror in the top row lean against the wall.

When Alan Jackson wads up a piece of paper and throws it for a demonstration for the jurors, he apologizes because it's one of Dixon's papers. Lana's mother and her attorney laugh at that comment, along with the jury and others in the court room. Mr. Jackson makes sure to set up a lot of foundation questions regarding the analysis of blood spatter. A juror in the top row is really watching Mr. Jackson and then the witness for her answers. Jackson often uses his arms and hands while he's asking a question. Now Mr. Jackson is mentioning Stokes Law. This is the law that determines how far tiny particles can travel, and most criminalist's agree that the farthest they can travel is a maximum of four feet.

I notice that there is a new expert on the defense side, taking notes. Maybe they hired someone to replace Dr. Lee? Now Alan Jackson actually mentions Quentin Tarentino in one if his questions to Dr. Herold.

Q: How Quentin Tarentino does it in the movies is not quite how it is according to physics?

From memory and not my notes, I believe this is when Dr. Herold explains the errors that Mr. Tarentino makes with all the blood spatter. The three questions that Dr. Herold was trying to answer were: Where was Lana; where was the gun, and where was the white jacket. Now there are photos of Lana's face close up again on the Elmo. The new person who was sitting with the family yesterday is here in court again today. And as the photos are put up on the Elmo, he takes Donna Clarkson's hand and doesn't let go of it. He holds it firmly.

Dr. Herold testifies that there is blood smear on her lower face and right side of her neck. As if it has been wiped. Lana's family looks away from the screen. Now there is a photo up on the Elmo of smeared blood all up into Lana's hair. Rachelle is slumped way down on the wooden court room bench. Mr. Dunne leans into me to point out that Spector is watching the images on the over head screen. Another group of interns, about eight of them, enter the courtroom.

Q: (This) confirms the blood has been smeared by another person?

A: Yes.

Now they are discussing the diaper. Dr. Herold states that the diaper had diluted blood stains and the "wetness" was probably water. There was smeared and clotting blood on her face. Only on her face was there clotting blood. "Common sense tells us that the diaper was used to wipe her face." Dr. Herold states that she was the individual in the lab who tested and observed all items first (before they were handed off to other scientists). She ordered mircophotographs taken of the dress.

Q: Were you surprised at the large amount of blood spatter?

A: To me, no, there was not.

Donna Clarkson leans on her attorney. Their bodies are very close. Mr. Dunne and I exchange a few notes as we observe Ms. Clarkson get close with her attorney. Dr. Herold testifies about the blood flow and body material found on the right side of her jacket. Now she is testifying about the blood spatter that was found on the top of the right shoulder of the jacket and back.

The court takes a quick break, and at 3:05 pm we are back on the record. Dr. Herold states that it takes at least three to five minutes to visibly see "stringy material," which is blood clotting. She states that, "Before the wiping (of the face) there was a period of time for the clotting to occur." At the break, Mr. Dunne finds out from Bruce Cutler that Dr. Lee is coming and will testify. Now there is a ton of detail about the buttons and the saturation of blood on the left sleeve that occurred during the purging at the coroner's office. Now the purse is mentioned. Dr. Herold testifies that the purse was on Lana's right shoulder. It has a three inch wide strap. It was on the edge of the jacket shoulder, just about to slip off. The back strap was twisted, and hooked onto the arm of the chair. So the purse was flipped around, into an open gaping position, putting the back of the purse in the front.

There was blood on the shoulder strap, on the purse, on the chair, in the purse and blood dripped onto the floor. Spatter was found on part of the purse strap. "This spatter did have a direction. It did have an orientation," Dr. Herold testifies. The purse was in "that position" when the gun went off, and that's based on spatter evidence.

Q: The purse was hung up on the arm of the chair and twisted into an uncomfortable position.

A: Yes.

I make a drawing in my notes of the purse. Think of the purse as sort of a half circle on it's side, and the single strap goes from one end of the straight line of th half circle to the other. There now is a photo up on the Elmo, a close up, where you can see a long directional drop that hit the purse in a steep angle. This goes to Dr. Herold's conclusion that the purse was in this twisted position when the shot was fired. Now they are moving onto Lana's hands.

The Judge interrupts the proceedings because Juror #2 needs a new pencil. Dr. Herold testifies that she was not able to place where Ms. Clarlson's hands were because these particular photos were of poor quality, and the fact that Ms. Clarkson had freckles on her hand. Dr. Herold testifies that she "did not see an abundant amount of spatter on her hands."

Now going over Lana's left hand. There is spatter above the first knuckle. There is also a left hand transfer smear at the wrist. Dr. Herold goes onto explain the difference between smear analysis and contact analysis.

Q: (Was it) a subsequent event to the gunshot, the smeared or transferred blood?

A: If I'm understanding you correctly, yes.

It's now that I see the family attorney lean in and kiss Ms. Clarkson on her left temple! I show my note on what I observed to Mr. Dunne. Dr. Herold testifies that there was no blood on Ms. Clarkson's shoes. There was no blood on her pantyhose. Now Mr. Jackson is asking Dr. Herold about the spatter and blood drips on the chair. Court is almost over for the day. There was no spatter on the legs of the chair. Dr. Herold states that the "antiquing" on the chair can be mistaken for blood spatter via the photographs. The farthest distance blood spatter is found is an inch or two in from the front seat edge on the right side of the chair. There was no spatter found farther than that. This is huge. This blows the whole defense theory that the spatter that landed on Spector's jacket flew six feet like Dr. Lee has insinuated on television.

And that's it for testimony for today. There is a motion about a discovery issue. I believe it has to do with Dr. Herold photographing slides that Dr. DiMaio put together and turned over as evidence. The defense wants the microphotographs that Dr. Herold took. It looked like Linda Kenney Baden was taking notes all during direct. She will most likely cross Dr. Herold.

At the end of the day, the new face on the defense side is finally identified. Stuart James, a blood stain analysis expert. He was sitting in the front row on the defense side taking notes. Outside the court room, several of us discuss Dr. Lee. Matthew, (from SignOn San Diego) and Ciaran (City News), both feel that Dr. Lee will be here to testify to clear his name. We'll just have to wait and see.


Anonymous said...

Dear Sprocket:

You're doing wonderful work, and it's a joy to get your inside perspective on the trial, but, just as a pendantic point...

One 'quashes' a subpoena, not 'squashes' it.

A little back history on the use of the word... during the Clinton impeachment, Rep. Maxine Waters kept saying 'squash', and kept pronouncing 'moot' as 'mute'. Commentators got endless amusement from that.

Just a little friendly pointer, enjoying reading your posts.

Sprocket said...

Thank you very much! I'll correct it as soon as I can this evening.