Monday, August 18, 2008

Phil Spector: Prosecution's Argument to Admit New PBA (1101(b)) Witnesses

The prosecution is trying to get several 1101(b) incidents admitted into Spector 2 that were ruled inadmissible in Spector 1.

Back on February 17th, 2005, Deputy District Attorney Douglas Sortino, presented a motion to admit several witnesses/incidents under the 1101(b) statute into evidence for Spector 1. This is a 58 page document and it's quite a bit of detail to go through.

Those witnesses/incidents were:
1.) Pg 12, ln. 13 A. The 1972 Possession of a Loaded Hand Gun
2.) Pg 13, ln. 3 B. The 1975 Assault at the Beverly Hills Hotel
3.) Pg 14, ln. 1 C. The 1977 Brandishing on Leonard Cohen
4.) Pg 14, ln. 12 D. The 1978 Brandishing on Alan Sacks and Cathy Henderson
5.) Pg 15, ln. 14 E. The 1988 Assaults on Dianne Ogden
6.) Pg 17, ln 12 F. The 1991 Assault on Melissa Grovesnor
7.) Pg 19, ln. 8 G. The 1993 Assault on Dorothy Melvin
8.) Pg 21, ln 8 H. The 1995 Assault on Stephanie Jennings
9.) Pg 25, ln 2 I. The 1999 Assault on Debra Strand
10.) Pg 26, ln 1 J. Spector's 2003 Terrorist Threats at Starbucks

The arguments used in this motion to admit all 10 events were:

1. Evidence of Uncharged Crimes to Prove Relevant Facts other Than the Defendant's Criminal Disposition

2. Uncharged Firearm Assaults Upon Women is Admissible to Show Common Plan or Design.
A.) The charged and uncharged offenses are similar.
B.) Probative value is not outweighed by prejudicial effect.

3. Evidence of All of Spector's Uncharged Gun-Related Violence is Admissible to Prove Implied Malice
A.) The uncharged crimes are relevant to show knowledge
B.) Probative value is not outweighed by prejudicial effect

4. Evidence of Spector's Uncharged Firearm Assaults Upon Women is Admissible to Show That Clarkson's Death was not Accidental and was not Self Inflicted
A.) The uncharged crimes are relevant to show lack of accident.
B.) Probative value outweighs prejudicial effect

The first defense team filed a motion for the exclusion of the prior convictions (A & B) on October 8th, 2005. I can not tell from the court documents what Fidler's ruling was on A & B (if anyone has a link to a news report, it would be much appreciated), however, the prosecution did not present this evidence during Spector 1.

On April 3rd, 2007, prosecutors filed a motion to admit the testimony of another witness, Debra Robitaille who was allowed to testify as a prosecution rebuttal witness in Spector 1.

On July 14th, 2008, the prosecution filed a motion to admit the testimony of a newly discovered witness, Norma Kemper for Spector 2. The arguments used in that motion appear almost identical to the arguments used in the February 17th, 2005 motion. (This document does not appear to be in the Court's web site. A partial transcription is available here.)

The arguments presented in the August 11th, 2008 motion to revisit the admissibility of the other gun incidents addresses only those incidents which were not admitted during Spector 1.

1. The 1972 possession of a loaded handgun.
2. The 1975 assault at the Beverly Hills Hotel
3. The 1977 brandishing on Leonard Cohen
4. The 1978 brandishing on Alan Sacks and Cathy Henderson
5. The 1999 assault on Debra Strand
6. Spector's 2003 terrorist threats at Starbucks

The first section of the new motion (Evidence of Uncharged Crimes to Prove Relevant Facts other than the Defendant's Criminal Disposition) is virtually the same as the February 17th, 2005 filing.

The second section, (The Doctrine of Chances) introduces a new argument and two cases not referenced in the prior motion. People v. Robbins (1988) 45 Cal.3d 86, 880 and People v. Kelly, (2007) 42 Cal.4th 63. (You can read the details of these case arguments in my entry here, pages 8-10.)

The third section, (...Modus Operandi) is similar to the 2005 motion and cites many of the same cases.

The fourth section of the August 11th, 2008 motion (Evidence of Uncharged Gun-related Assaults are Admissible to Show Identity) is a new argument. The new cases cited for this argument are People v. Kipp (1998) 18 Cal.4th 349, 369;, People v. Haston (1968) 69 Cal.3d 233, 244 and People v. Gordon (1990) 50 Cal. 3d 1223. (You can read the details of these case arguments in my entry linked above, pages 12-14.)

The fifth section of the 2008 motion (The Doctrine of Corroboration) appears to be a new argument supported by a case heavily referenced in the 2005 and 2008 motions, People v. Balcom (1994) 7 Cal.4th 414. (Pages 14-17.)

The sixth section (Probative Value Not Outweighed by any Prejudicial Effect) is similar to the 2005 motion but does cite a new case, People v. Karis (1988) 46 Cal.3d 612, 637.

At the August 14th hearing, Weinberg appeared to be quite upset about this motion. He reminded the Court that the prosecution did exactly what the Court told them they could not do. During Spector 1, according to Weinberg's argument, the prosecution could only present certain witnesses to show motive. The problem with Weinberg's frustration is that in response, Judge Fidler stated that Spector 2 is a whole new trial. We are starting over. If there is a new argument presented, he's obligated to consider it.

What do you think trial watchers? Will the prosecution's new arguments sway Judge Fidler in admitting any new 1101(b) witnesses?


I hope T&T's readers didn't actually think the motion the defense filed on Wednesday, August 13th, and subsequent appeal to the State Court of Appeals for an "indefinite stay" of Spector 2 on the grounds of "Double Jeopardy" would actually get some where. Did you think they would? Please! The indefinite stay was denied on Friday, August 15th.



Superior Court of California, Los Angeles County

Phil Spector Case Document List

The Motion referenced above is dated 2/17/2005.


Anonymous said...

Oh Sprocket - don't you know that Phil's defense team is always right? That the rules from the first trial MUST be the same as in this new one?

Hee hee - I think Doran Weinberg is a bit out of his league here. Perhaps he should stick with Fed cases, and tip-toe away from State ones?

And where was the PHONE BOX (aka Dennis Riordan)? No uh uh uh uh, uh uuuuhhhhh in this hearing?

Anonymous said...

Must have been the fastest meeting on record for the Appeals Court - my concern was how long would it take for the appeals court to look at the request - not any concern whatsoever about the outcome. I'm sure the lawyers for PS were hoping for a slower reaction from the Court.

Meanwhile, JF will have to be very careful about the appeal situation re his decisions on admiting evidence. I do wonder if the prosecution is thinking of using a similar tack to last time, get as much admitted as possible, but perhaps do not use it ?? Do you think they will use the early statements of PS this time around?

Sprocket said...

The prosecution is certainly trying again to get in more witnesses to shore up their theory of the murder. I have no idea if they will follow the same tactic, of holding back Spector's statement's or not.

Here is the double edge sword. IF they bring in Spector's guilty statements, then ALL of Spector's statements come in (via the defense), even the one's where he claims innocence. The defense could bring those in through officer's statements, and Spector would not have to take the stand. The jury would get to hear from Spector, without him on the witness stand.

We'll know in opening statements at Spector 2 what the prosecution plans in the way of structuring their case.

Anonymous said...

Hi, the link you provided didn't least on my computer..
Please post again!! Thx

Sprocket said...

I added a link to the document list on the LA County court's web site. For some reason, I can't seem to get a direct link to the PDF document embedded in my blog entry. Sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

Oh, thanks Sprocket! I found the links you included on the bottom very helpful and thorough. You are right, there's a lot to wade through!!

Sprocket said...

You're welcome Anon@ 10:49 am.

People should note that Weinberg probably comes from the Federal Court standard, where each motion filed by either party requires a response.

I've recently learned that in California State Court, it is not that formal. AJ still will not be responding to the defense's Kemper motion.

Unknown said...

I love Doron Weinberg!

Unknown said...

Dennis Riordan rules.