Saturday, July 7, 2007

Trial Notes, 6-21-07

I wrote a short entry about this day, here, about forgetting my notebook and Mr. Dunne loaning me some of his personal stationery to write on.

I was a mad woman, trying to drive into downtown Los Angeles. It's only about a seventeen mile drive for me, but there is basically only one route to get there from the San Fernando Valley and that's the 101 Highway. I get into downtown and find parking that's not to far from the courthouse. It's about 1/2 block more of a walk than my usual route from the Civic Center station. On the 9th floor, I don't see a soul, but notice there are people inside Judge Fidler's court so I quietly go in. There is another case being litigated in front of Judge Fidler, so I sit in the back row, waiting for this hearing to be over. Spector who has entered the court room turns in my direction. I smile at him and he smiles back. Slowly the court room fills up with the regular crowd, but there are a few new faces and the court's media liaison is not in the room. I tell a gentleman sitting in the front row that the victim's family will be sitting there, and he will need to move to another row. He actually asks me what case is next! He didn't even know he was in the Spector trial court room. I see Stuart James is in the front row again. Cutler and Spector are in deep conversation, like we have seen every morning.

Jackson, Dixon and Rosen discuss something before court starts by the jury box. Dr. Lynn Herold is on the stand waiting. The silver haired attorney (I think his name is Jerry) for the family is back. 9:35 am, and the clerk calls for the jury. There was some discussion on Court TV's forums about how the jury dressed. Do they dress up, or do they dress casual. I take a moment to note what each one is wearing. Since I am no longer identifying jurors by their number, I will just describe what I see, and note the row they sit in.

In the back row: One juror is wearing faded jeans and a button down cotton looking shirt. Another juror wears a suit jacket and shirt, no tie. Another juror is wearing twill pants and a short sleeve button down shirt. Another juror is wearing a matching outfit. Another juror is wearing a suit jacket, button down shirt, no tie. Another juror is wearing a casual shirt and pants. Another juror is wearing a white long sleeve button down shirt and possibly twill pants.

In the front row: A juror is wearing a long sleeve shirt and I can't tell what type of pants. Another juror is wearing a short sleeve button down shirt and jeans. Another juror is wearing a tight fitting shirt with another loose fitting shirt over that. Another juror is wearing what appears to be a blackish shirt and a tie. Another juror is wearing a short sleeve button down print shirt and pants. Another juror is wearing similar clothes as the last one. Another juror is wearing twill pants, a print button down shirt and a zip up jacket. Another juror is wearing a comfortable looking loose shirt and black pants. To me, they look casual. There are some jeans, but there are no T-shirts today.

Richard brings a bunch of research he printed out for Mr. Dunne in a manila envelope.

The direct examination continues of Dr. Herold by Alan Jackson, and the first issue is repeating Dr. Herold's conclusion that back spatter was not discovered any farther than two to three inches inward from the font edge of the chair Lana was sitting on. Dr. Herold testifies, "She was in the chair, head turned slightly to the right. I cannot tell where her hands were positioned.d Her head was back of the plane of the front arm of the chair and leaning to the right." Now they are going over the blood found on the gun in detail. Dr. Herold states that there was blood only in the engraving on the barrel, and not on the smooth portion of the barrel. "That was unusual," she says. "It doesn't happen naturally. Other areas, the medallion, same thing. (snip) The barrel had 'hazing' from like, wiping with water." Now Dr. Herold is discussing the smeared blood found on the gun. "There was a contact smear print (possibly palm) that could not be identified. (snip) The blood smear on the underside of the gun could not be made by Lana. There was no spatter there."

Now we are looking at photos on the screen of the 'stop notch' area. There was blood in the notched out recesses but not on the upper surfaces. Dr. Herold is certain that the kicking of the gun would not remove blood from all sides that blood was found on. There was back spatter down the cylinder areas, most likely from discharging of the weapon. Like on what she found on the dress, it was a fine mist like spatter. She found back spatter on four of five of the unfired rounds. There was also natural teeth material on the gun site.

The morning break is called. In the hallway, I get a chance to talk to Matthew from Sign On San Diego, and what his job is like. I ask if he gets much choice in the type of stories he covers. He tells me that he often gets to choose what he wants but they might not run the story. I ask him if he feels a bonding occurs with the journalists on these long cases. He felt that, yes, a type of "fellowship" happens on a long, high profile trial. He felt the hardest part was trying to avoid being in the camera shots at the end. As Plourd comes out of the court room, Matthew asks him who will be the first witness for the defense. "Dr. DiMaio," he replies. I ask him if Stuart James will also be testifying, and Plourd replies, "Yes."

Back in the court room, Mr. Dunne and I look over a copy of the police report (that Richard printed out for him) of Spector ranting and raving at the police. Beth Karas enters the court room, and I ask her about the rumor that was up on the Wikipedia Beth Karas page. She says the rumor is not true; she will be here on Monday. It's actually a mix up with Nancy Grace, who is the one who is leaving. When she heard the rumor, she said that she called her boss and jokingly said, "Is there something you're not telling me?" Two young, very well dressed attractive ladies come in during the morning session. After the break they are sitting in the row beside me to my right. I watch them pass notes to each other. They might be interns, or they might be court employees or DA's office employees.

Back on the stand, Dr. Herold states that the gun was in her mouth, straight on, in an upright position. Now up on the Elmo are photographs of the clothing Spector was wearing. The black pants and shirt, and the white ladies dinner jacket. Blood was found on the inside of the right shirt sleeve cuff. There were also white mineral deposits on the cuff of the shirt. A whole series of different minerals were found, like salt found in water. Dr. Herold said there was a "saturation event."

Q: Same as what you might find in tap water?

A: Some of them yes.

Q: Or what you might find in toilet water?

A: Yes.

Now there are more detailed photographs of his pants, turned inside out showing the blood on the pockets. I wonder if Spector actually had the gun in his left hand, and pass that note to Mr. Dunne. It's now that Mr. Dunne gives me some sheets of his personal stationery to write on. There are close up photos of transfer blood on the inside of the pants pockets.

Q: Dr. Herold, can you tell from the bloody transfer that something bloody was put on the inside of the pants pocket.

A: Yes.

There's no blood on the right side of the front of the jacket, but there is in the right side pocket. And I rethink my prior thought. Maybe he had the gun was in his right hand after all. I keep going back and forth in my mind; left, right? There is no water stain on the left shirt sleeve cuff. Now Jackson is asking her about some award she won, or something, and Dr. Herold said that she tied for first place with herself, because she wrote two papers. Everyone in the room laughs. Dr. Herold talks about her education and credentials. It's quite extensive. In talking about the stains on the jacket, Dr. Herold states that "Most of the jacket stains are mist like and there were pill balls of black fibers. There is an arrow placed on the jacket for every blood stain (she found). The stains are so tiny, they actually followed the fiber line of the weave of the fabric."

Q: They were too small to assign directionality to them?

A: Correct.

Now up on the Elmo, are images of the back side of the right sleeve, exterior of the jacket and the left sleeve.

Q: What types of blood did you find on this jacket?

A: There was spatter blood and transfer blood. (snip) Blood on the left side inside lining of the lapel is transfer blood. It's 11:45 am. It appears that AJ is almost finished.

The white haired man enters the courtroom and sits with Rachelle again.

Dr. Herold concludes that the white jacket was "within two to three feet of Lana Clarkson." Blood spatter was found in the folded edge of the left cuff. That cuff had to be between two to three feet from Ms. Clarkson's face and up towards the flow of the blood.

Q: Now, could that coat be closer than that outside foot boundary?

A: My opinion is that jacket was closer than three feet, but outside of the perimeter of the chair.

Q: Was the person facing towards or back from Ms. Clarkson?

A: The jacket was on Ms. Clarkson's right side. (snip) The jacket was forward facing. The arms have to have been raised because of the spatter on the back of the sleeves.

It's 12:00 noon, and the lunch recess is called. The jury exits, and there are a few motions put before the judge. There is a motion to quash the recent search warrant of the Castle. There are other motions, but they will be taken up next Tuesday. Spector embraces and kisses the man with the white hair.

After lunch, the hallway is filled with potential jurors from the three other court rooms at this end of the hall. Mr. Dunne is reading the paper, and a few reporters are making phone calls. 1:20 pm, Richard arrives. Mr. Dunne and Richard talk about the O.J. Simpson trial. Richard was there for some of the trial. When Steven arrives, I show him and Mr. Dunne some comments that have been left on my blog. Ciaran arrives, and he relays something Linda Deutsch has said, "Henry Lee will turn all of Lynn Herold's testimony upside down." I don't know if she said it jokingly or if she means it. It's widely known that Ms. Deutsch writes her stories with a pro defense slant. During the Blake trial, when I would read her pieces, I wondered if she was actually watching the same trial I was.

1:35 pm. The motion to quash the search warrant is now in front of the Judge, and Rosen is arguing the merits of his motion. Rosen has five basic arguments. The information is stale, the presentation of the affidavit (is an?) exparte communication. Warrant prepared 5/30/07 and served on 6/01/07. The real question to consider, measurements and photography. There's nothing that says anything was different. Rosen says, I was there with my team and Dr. Herold. They were dealing with precise and finite measurements." (It appears they are complaining about this further examination at Spector's Castle.) This should be handled as a discovery matter Rosen says. It wasn't handled as a discovery motion!

This is more defense BS, just to get this stuff in the record for appeal. Now Rosen is making the most absurd argument. He's complaining that the prosecution "went to 'this' court, to get the search warrant! They could have made a better choice than to come into 106."

Unbelievable. And he's getting paid to do this.

Pat Dixon gets up to argue the merits. Rosen then gets back up to talk about the grain in the wood steps of the stairway. "There's nothing to say that things are the same as 2003," Rosen says. The DA's spokesperson comes into the court room and sits in the front row.

The Judge says that "It's not stale because they're asking for measurements." Now they are going over Juror #6, the New Line producer, who's been called into chambers to be interviewed by the Judge and the defense. It's the defense who wants to question him. All of us speculate that the defense wants to kick him. Ciaran thinks that this juror might be too honest for his own good. This is all about the juror telling the court that he accidentally saw some newspaper headlines. We wonder: Does he want off the jury, and is this the way he's going to do it? Less than a minute later it seems, the juror comes out and heads back to the jury room. Nothing! It was like a 30 second hearing. The jury reenters the court room. Dr. Herold is back on the stand and Juror #6 is not kicked! Alan Jackson gets up and says, "No more questions your honor."

Q: Did you do any further tests?

A: No.

It's sort of the "I have the better expert" type of show down.

Q: What percentage (of her work) is spent on blood stain pattern analysis in the past year?

A: I reviewed about five cases.

Q: You use it on every case you look at?

A: Yes.

Baden is trying to show her as inexperienced. Dr. Herold says, "Of all the things I could be analyzing, so it's more frequent that I look."

Q: How many hours do you work a week on histologies, gastric... (etc.)?

The Judge has an almost "eye roll" expression on his face, with maybe a slight smirk when Baden asks this question.

Q: Have yo ever examined other intra oral gun shot wounds (gun to head only)?

A: No.

I write this note to Mr. Dunne. SHE HAS AN IRRITATING MANNER IN HER CROSS.

You can never know what those pressures are in the mouth (I'm pretty sure Dr. Herold says this, but I don't have it in my notes. ). You can't even know that as the pressures dissipates. Ms. Baden paces. A juror rocks in their chair and another takes an note. Dr. Herold says, "It really doesn't matter if it's in the mouth or not. That small spatter can't go more than two to three feet."

Q: If it's a particular size stain it can go up to four feet. (snip) German studies say it can go five to six feet.

I think Baden asks now if Dr. Herold consulted with any defense experts on this case.

A: I did not consult with anyone outside the laboratory on this case.

A juror looks out at the gallery.

The afternoon break is called. The hallway is full of jurors for other courts. The reporters make calls, and some appear deep in conversation. Back inside the court room, Alan Jackson and Dr. Herold confer. I didn't hear what Jackson said to Dr. Herold, but I heard Dr. Herold reply (with a smile on her face), "You knew this was going to happen.

When I pass this onto Mr. Dunne, he tells me I should write about that in my blog.

The break is over, and Baden continues her relentless cross of Dr. Herold, and the topic is the different types of ammunition in the weapon. Mr. Dunne offers everyone a mint. Now Baden is asking what literature the witness looked at, and she replies, "A paper by Stevens & Allen, which was in a laboratory setting." Baden is trying to make it a big deal, that Dr. Herold has not published in some areas.

The spatter goes to the hem of her dress, and inches inward from the corner of the chair. From the luminol test, it was determined that there is no areas of spatter that goes beyond the chair.

Q: Luminol works well with old stains.

A: Luminol works well with dried stains.

Baden asks about booties not being worn.

A: And your point is?

The jury really laughs at this.

Q: No one got down on their hands and knees to look at the carpet?

A: That's correct.

The Judge appears to have a sort of bored expression on his face, and then he quickly changes his facial expression.

Q: Do you know how much luminol was used?

A: Well, Steve Renteria is competent.

A juror is rocking in their chair; another juror is leaning forward. A juror is leaning back in their chair, their elbows on their chair, hands clasped. Now the juror leaning forward is leaning back, taking some notes. Another juror has their arms crossed. Another juror yawns. Another juror picks at their nails. There is a question by the judge over the way Ms. Baden is pronouncing a word "misting" vs "mist stain" and even the Judge wasn't sure, attributing it to Ms. Baden's New Jersey accent. There is laughter in the court room over the Judge's comment. Spector is slumped in his chair, looking down. Rachelle is wrapped in that fleece blanket, and it looks like from my perspective, she's nodding off. It's 3:35 pm.

Q: You were taught not to compare drops on different articles of clothing.

A: I was cautious and conservative.

Q: Did you get an exemplar jacket to do any testing to get the size of spatter?

A: No.

Q: Did you get an exemplar jacket from Ms. Clarkson? (Now, how in the world would she have done that? From Ms. Clarkson? Sheesh!)

A: No.

Q: Do you have the date that you photographed that black shirt?

A: I'd have to look through my file and it would take some time.

Baden: You can get that for us over the weekend.

Now she is asking her to look at a blow up image of Spector's booking photo, and you can see those white stains on the shirt, and Baden is asking her a question about it.

A: I would never make a determination like that (using a photograph).

Q: Hypothetically. (snip) Do you know how long those clothes were at the Alhambra Police Dept. before you got them? (snip) Do you know how they were stored? (snip) Where in your notes do yo say it is smokeless powder (from the cuffs of the jacket)?

From my notes, it looks like Dr. Herold says she can't remember, but she's going to search her file about that while on the stand.

And that must be the end of testimony for this day, because that's the end of my notes.


Anonymous said...

Hello Sprocket

Great site and impressive daytime activities. LOLOL

I am wondering why MB editing a movie in post-production would prevent him from going out at all during Jan. 2003?

I have worked on movie sets preproduction, production and postproduction. 2 of them feature films w/major names. The cast & crew went out all the time. Some partied more than others but we all went out

Was PP challenged by AJ on this issue? TIA.

I believe PS shot LC. But I still like to analyze everything. It is my experience that filmmakers go out during postproduction. It's the nature of the business that socializing/attending parties is how the industry networks.

Keep up the good work!