Sunday, September 16, 2007

Waiting for a Verdict: Day Five

Since I'm always looking for the latest news by the mainstream media on Rachelle Short, here is an article in the TimesOnline UK edition.

Even though I really need to get cracking on some sewing orders, I had thought that I would go visit 106 today, to drop off some printed materials for Mr. Dunne but I kept getting delayed at home. It was either one more kitty hair ball mess to clean up off the floor, or some other chore that couldn't wait until I got home. I did finally get out the door in the early afternoon and arrived on the 9th floor a little after 2:00pm.

I went directly up to the 9th floor and peeked in but I didn't see Dominick. So I trekked all the way down to the Court TV filming area to ask Beth Karas if she had seen him since I didn't see him in the courtroom. She indicated that if he wasn't in the courtroom, he might be on the 18th floor media room. Then it finally dawned on me that I could just call him, lol! When I got him on the phone, he said he was back in the courtroom so I headed back into the building, past the first floor security and past the 9th floor security once again.

The courtroom is virtually empty, with reporters and a few public people I recognized sitting here and there. It's so quiet even the slightest noise reverberates throughout the room. As I sit down beside Dominick I notice that he looks very tired, and he tells me that he's completely exhausted. It's just a little after 2:00pm, and he's already given about ten on air interviews so far. Not only that, he has agreed to do a few more before the day is over.

Peter Y. Hong of the LA Times is in the back row on his laptop, as well as John Spano, but Spano is getting ready to leave and takes off. There are a few whispers and one could hear a pin drop. I see an older gentleman who I originally met at the Robert Blake trial that I named at that time "Mr. Cane." He is in deep conversation with Mick Brown. Mick catches my eye, smiles, and I wave back. Mr. Cane has been at this trial quite a bit, sitting in the back row against the wall in the plastic chairs near the door. The Court TV camera operators are here and sitting next to them in Beth Karas's regular seat is Gary Spector. He looks exactly like he did in the interviews on TV. He has a great smile. Michael Christian is in the back row, working away on his laptop. There are a handful of reporters that I don't recognize. I do see Harriet Ryan and our regular bailiff in her Plexiglas box but thats about it.

I leave the courtroom to go to the 13th floor snack room and get a Vitamin Water. In the hallway I run into Sandi Gibbons who smiles and gives me a hello.

It's 3:10 pm now, and the ticking of the clock is the noisiest thing in the room. Dominick steps outside to make some calls and Alan Parachini has been in and out with one his his staff several times. I finally turn around and introduce myself as "Sprocket" to Gary. He tells me that he goes home today. He can't stay any longer it appears. He tells me that every time the jury comes out he gets nervous, and that maybe it's a good thing that he's going home. I wonder if he ever got to even see his father. How sad, if he didn't. He said that he brought flowers for Rachelle and Mrs. Clarkson when he arrived at the courthouse on Monday afternoon, but I tell him that they had already left the courthouse by the time he arrived. I ask him if he's been able to spend some time with Louis and his companion and he indicated that they've been together every day.

I can hear someone in the back row whispering. The interviews that Dominick has done have all been on the recent events in Las Vegas. It's totally ironic that O.J. Simpson is being investigated for robbery on the very same day that the book he wrote, If I Did It, is being released. Dominick says, the OJ debacle has overshadowed this trial. That's all anyone wants to talk about. We talk about his appearance on Star Jones's show on Court TV, and I tell him that I thought he did very well on that interview. I also tell him that all the Court TV posters thought he did a great job too, and the members were very pleased that he corrected Jones for calling him "Nick," and also stating very clearly that she was on "the opposite side" of the O.J. case than him. Apparently, the ratings for her show are not good. I'm sure that will be good news for the Court TV posters.

It's 3:17 pm, and the Laloya law professor Stan Goldman comes in to sit beside someone I don't know over on the far right of the courtroom. I had seen him in the hallway, earlier. Alan Parachini is in the back row talking to the camera operators and a reporter sitting in the far left corner. I start and stop and start and stop reading Mick Brown's book, Tearing Down the Wall of Sound. That's so I can take some notes as to what is going on around me.

A large, bald sheriff with a big white mustache exited a bit earlier and now comes back in. He sits in a chair right beside the regular bailiff. His chair is directly in front of the little door to the waiting cell area where Spector will be quickly whisked if he is convicted. That will be a very frightening time for Spector, who has difficulty being alone.

3:25 pm. Even I can hear a few words of the bailiff as she makes a phone call, all the way on the other side of the room.

3:27 pm. Another female sheriff enters and stops off to chat for a moment with the regular bailiff. Another officer enters and stops to chat with his fellow officers, too. Then the new female bailiff heads towards the back past Wendy's desk, and I'm under the impression she heads into Judge Filder's chambers (I find out later how wrong I am about that).

3:29 pm. The male deputy who just entered now leaves. I finally see Wendy. She's been in the courtroom all this time. Her short frame was hidden behind the wall surrounding her desk area. I could barely see her. The phone on the half wall shelf, strategically hid her face. Another young, pretty Indian looking woman reporter enters and sits in the front row with two other young looking female reporters. Many people are reading books, or talking softly. But even in this mostly empty room, the sound echoes loudly. Mr. Cane leaves and comes back in again.

3:35 pm. The bald sheriff with the mustache exits the room again, and returns about four minutes later. Rachelle is discussed a bit, and where it actually was that she was working when she met Spector.

3:45 pm. Harriet Ryan reenters the courtroom. Reporters start to file back in to watch the jurors exit the jury room. Dominick is still outside on a phone call. Another male deputy enters to chat with the two already in the room. Just like I remember during the trial, I can hear Wendy on her computer and the clacking of the keyboard. The court reporter emerges from the rooms behind Wendy's desk, and stands to talk with her and the sheriff who just entered the room.

3:48 pm. Peter Hong reenters the courtroom, also waiting for any glimmer of expression or manner in the jurors when they emerge from deliberations. It's pretty quiet, and we can hear laughter in the hallway outside the courtroom.

3:55 pm. Miriam Hernandez comes in to also wait for the jury to appear, and Mr. Cane also comes back in. Verdict watch is pretty boring and these cold hard benches don't make it any easier. It's no different than how bad they were during the trial.

3:58 pm. We hear a single buzzer from the jury room. A silver haired man and a blondish middle aged woman in a black dress enter the courtroom. Alan Parachini immediately gets up when they enter to go talk to the woman.

The jury starts to exit, but the clerk tells them to wait. Juror #5 is out the door, then back in and then across the room very quickly to the area behind Wendy's desk. I have to tell you that this is the first time that I am observing the jury exit the jury room during deliberations. At the time I'm observing this, I was unaware that the procedures for them leaving the building are different than when the trial was ongoing. During the trial, the jurors exited through the gallery into the hallway. So, from what I'm seeing, I think that Juror #5 has gone into the Judge's chambers. (That wasn't the case, but it was what I immediately thought.) Another group of jurors exits the jury room but not all of them, and they head on back to the area behind Wendy's desk. I write in my notebook, The Judge's chambers! But not all the jurors have exited the jury room. From when the door opened, I can still see Juror #9 inside. There are more jurors still inside the jury room.

4:02 pm. Now Wendy gets up from her desk and goes over to enter the jury room. Four more jurors finally exit. Juror's #7, #12, #6, #9. They all head back over to the area behind Wendy's desk. As I look over my shoulder towards the back of the courtroom, there are several more reporters, including Beth Karas and Ciaran McEvoy who had entered and observed the exit. As I see Beth, she mouth's the words to me, "What do you think?" Erroneously thinking that the jurors are all in the Judge's chambers, I mouth back, "Hung jury." Beth shakes her head no, and mouths the words, "Too early." Right afterwards, the bailiffs make everyone exit the courtroom.

Out in the hallway, I ask Beth why we were asked to exit, because I think the jurors are all in with the Judge. It's why I thought there was a hung jury. Beth gives me a smile and explains to me that the exiting of the jurors has changed to this hallway (that I didn't know about) that is behind where Wendy's desk is, but is before where the Judge's chambers are. It's how the Judge enters and exits the courtroom. Having been enlightened, I now realize that Beth is right. It is way to early for a hung jury. I say goodbye to Dominick and head back to the budget parking lot.

There has been quite a bit of discussion on the court TV message boards about juror #5 exiting the room rather quickly, and the expression on her face. It's also been coupled with Mick Brown's latest piece in the
London Daily Telegraph. There is a lot of worry that juror #5 could be a long holdeout for a not guilty vote. Here is a brief excerpt from the Telegraph article:

There is a belief among the press that the defence - who of course have their own jury consultants even more highly trained, and paid, than the journalists - targeted number five as being most sympathetic to their case. It was she - or so it is speculated - that was in the back of their minds when they pressed for the introduction into evidence of Miss Clarkson's show reel, Lana Unleashed, one segment of which featured her in excruciating black face essaying a Little Richard impersonation.
Watching it, juror five's demeanor froze in fury. Was it merely coincidence that shortly afterwards when the defense's key forensic expert Michael Barden took the stand, he spent an inordinate length of time pointing out that his credentials included investigating the murders of Martin Luther King and the civil rights worker Medgar Evers, and name dropping OJ Simpson's black attorney Johnnie Cocharane and Oprah Winfrey? Clearly, here was a man who had been primed.
Yesterday juror five was the first to leave the jury room, a minute or so before the others. Some in the audience thought she looked unhappy. Evidence of some dissent behind the wooden door? Or perhaps she was simply running late for a hairdressing appointment.
I did not notice a "clenched jaw" (as one trial watcher posted on the Court TV forums) or an unhappy expression on juror #5's face. That's because I was startled when she exited the jury room so quickly, and really didn't get a good look at her face when she bolted across the room. I will also say, that when Spector's defense team chose to play Lana Unleashed, I could not take my eyes off of Lana's sister, Fawn's face. She was sobbing throughout the entire playing of the video, and I started to cry, too watching her. So, I can not verify if what Mick Brown reported about juror #5's demeanor during the Little Richard impersonation is accurate or not. I will say that he is a professional, and if he's reporting it, most likely a reporter did observe her expression and interpreted it in that manner.

Meanwhile, over on the Court TV message board, there were a few posts that just had me laughing, and these specific entries stood out.

new book coming out !
a collabaration by o j simpson and phil spector.
i did it, he did it .........we both did it

Book by Dr. Michael Baden on OJ alleged (roflmao) incident:
"Now That's What I Call A Vegas Nerve!"

Thank you flea_bailey and MyrnaTurner for making me laugh.


The Gal Herself said...

If Judge Larry declares a mistrial, would the retrial be before him? Or would another judge be assigned to the case? I ask because it seems that the defense believes Judge Fidler is sympathetic to the prosecution. I fear that if there eventually is a conviction, Spector's team will use Judge Fidler's rulings on appeal.

Sprocket said...

I believe a retrial would be before Fidler. However, IIRC, he is up for a position on the appellate court. (That's what I heard; I could easily be wrong.) If he happened to be promoted before this case went to retrial, then there would be another Judge assigned.