Friday, October 31, 2008

Phil Spector Trial Delayed Until Monday

Updated: Friday October 31st, 2008

Just got this report in from Sprocket at the courthouse!

Counsel was informed today that Alternate Juror #1 is unable to attend the trial today. The juror apparently fell going to his car last night and thinks he may have broken his foot. He feels he will be able to get his foot taken care of today.

Judge Fidler stated that "although I didn't speak to the juror directly, he didn't think it was anything too serious, he didn't ask to be excused." He also informed the jury that this appeared to be a one-day-off incident. He also indicated that these things happen throughout the trial and that the case can't go forward without the alternate juror.

The judge has ordered the jury to return Monday morning.

More from Sprocket when she returns from court!

Update: October 31st, 2008
I miss the 8:29 am train again. When I get on the 9th floor, the 106 jury is in front of me going through security. There is a bailiff in front of them and a bailiff behind them. When the last juror clears the walk through security scanner, the bailiff says to the two women in line in front of me. "Just wait a moment."

When I get inside the courtroom, it's like a ghost town compared to the day before. Only one accredited press reporter shows up today, Linda Deutsch from The Associated Press.

Spector's fan is there, and a few other people who came to watch testimony. One of them is Jon Scott, co-owner of All Memphis, who I met at the first trial. Mr. Scott points out to me that on opening statements day, one of the jurors, he believes it was #5, was wearing a black T-shirt that had the "Sun Records" logo on it. This is interesting. According to Wikipedia, Sun Records and Sun Studio occupied the same building in Memphis, TN and were started by Sam Phillips. Mr. Scott tells me Sun Records is still in business and that Ike Turner is from Memphis. Ike's first rock and roll song "Rocket 88" was produced at Sun Studio.

When I enter the courtroom, the prosecution team is sitting all together in the plastic chairs against the back wall by the door. Alan Jackson, Rick Ocampo, Truc Do and one of their clerks, are all together. One of the PIO staff is in the back row also. I get up from my seat in the second row and ask Mr. Jackson if he can tell me the witnesses he plans to call today. AJ says, "Well, we plan to start off with the 1101(b) witnesses. I don't know the exact order, it depends. If we get to witnesses today, it depends on what happens." I go back to my seat to wait.

While the prosecution is in the back row, I see Mr. Weinberg and Jennifer whisper at the podium. Right after 9:30 am, the Lana Clarkson's family enters and sits in the front row. Not long after, the prosecution team takes their seats in the well. Donna is not with them and I lean in to ask John Taylor if she is alright. He tells me that everything is fine.

Judge Fidler takes the bench and addresses the gallery. The issue is alternate #1 fell in the parking lot yesterday while going to his car and he thinks he broke his foot. He just needs to see his doctor and get his foot taken care of today. He's obviously not here today. Fidler states that he doesn't see it as an issue to excuse him this early in the trial. AJ says, "Thank you very much for letting us know so early."

The accredited press reports the following differently, but I have this in my notes as a quote from Judge Fidler, "Although I didn't speak to the juror directly, he didn't think it was anything too serious. He didn't ask to be excused."

Fidler tells the court the juror thinks the doctor will just put a removable cast on his foot. He indicated that he might have trouble getting from the parking lot to the courthouse but they can arrange something with the sheriff's to take care of that.

Donna Clarkson enters the courtroom.

Judge Fidler calls for the jury to enter and once they are seated the judge addresses them. "I know you were informed ladies and gentlemen [...] as it appears to be only a one day disability [...] he injured himself while going to his car."

He tells the jurors to report back on Monday at 9:30 am.

Fidler informs the jury that these things occasionally happen and that there are bound to be more things like this come up during the trial.

Mr. Jackson leans over the railing to whisper to Mrs. Clarkson directly. "Had I known about this 20 minutes earlier, I would have called you."

From what I gathered, it appears all parties just learned about the injury about 10 minutes before. The prosecution asks the judge to order Vincent Tannazzo back to court on Monday and he does.

And that's it. I call Mr. Sprocket to tell him that I'm walking back to the Red Line. Court is over for the day.


Anonymous said...

I thought for a minute #6 had figured out how to get out of this jury duty! Hope He/SHe doesn't get any ideas - or maybe it would be better. An angry juror who couldn't not figure out how to get out of this during voire dire is probably not going to be much help during deliberations.

Sprocket said...

Anon @10:32 am:

Nope! The research scientist is still on the jury.

Gilded Owl Musings said...

Hi Sprocket.

Any idea if anyone is going to stream this trial? Love your work - Thank you

Anonymous said...

Cant anybody do anything to get this trial streamed trought the internet?I am going crazy without it!!!

Sprocket said...

It is highly unlikely at this stage that any agency will step up and invest the money to to live stream this trial with Judge Fidler's requirements.

I really don't foresee it happening and I'm sorry for those of you out there that have been waiting to see this retrial.

When I went to court today, there was only one other accredited reporter in the room: Linda Deutsch. The courtroom was virtually deserted.

What I think you will see happening more and more in regards to this case will be stories coming out by larger organizations, but the reporter wasn't even in the courtroom to cover the days proceedings.

The accredited press will use it's contacts with the DA's office and the court's PIO to find out if any significant rulings transpired that day. Those reporters that have maintained a good relationship with defense attorneys, will often be able to get an update from them, too.

It's just the way it is for papers that have limited resources at this time due to the sad state of the economy.

Anonymous said...

OMG - I so expected this to be #6! Whew! I cannot believe both sides still want him!! What are they thinking??!!

I realize Truc is an excellent prosecutor - and - Alan Jackson got all the press during #1, but Pat Dixon is no schmuck! Why is he not on the prosecution team for #2?

Sprocket said...

I don't know how or why the DA's office utilizes their attorneys, so I have no idea why Pat Dixon is not prosecuting again.

I don't think of Truc Do on the case as a negative, just because she has taken over for Dixon.

Anonymous said...

What restrictions has Judge Fidler put on any live coverage? I'd be very interested in knowing. Sounds like for some reason, he doesn't want the public to watch him this time!

Sprocket said...

Anon @7:23 pm:

I disagree.

The restrictions are no different than what they were in the first trial.

If a news organization wanted to film the entire trial, he would not approve a big camera sitting in the gallery.

The cameras needed to be small, hanging on the wall and operated by remoted control.

Judge Fidler went into detail why he wanted cameras that didn't create a big presence in the courtroom that people would tend to focus on.

During the first trial, "Court TV" had three cameras mounted on the wall above the jury box. There was a tiny control station with two camera operators. This console was situated at the far end of the third bench row, in the aisle.
There were a ton of cables that were strung through the hallway and down stairwells, that went out to the truck in the parking lot.

Since no news organization was willing to foot the expense, Judge Fidler allowed a camera in the gallery just for opening statements.

On Wednesday, Judge Fidler also informed the jury that there would not be any cameras in the courtroom for trial testimony.

mControl said...

it's interesting that no one is really interested in televising V2 (the biggies I mean) perhaps they do not want to give any more 'celebrity' to a murderer? Eh. Glad you're there Sprocket!

Anonymous said...

YES!! I too am glad you're there for us - Sprocket!! Hope you can make it there most days! Love the way you write!

Sirius108 said...

Hello Dear Sprocket

I read every word of your blog and those who "guest" blog. It seems unbelievable that no media is there. How does Spector look? Did he doze off? Give us a description of Phil and bride's outfits of the day..please? I see from news photos that the "hair of the day" appears to be longer? He is one strange man. Any comments on Judge Fidler? I really like him. I envy you in the courtroom watching all this but I do not envy you your commute. Bless you and thank you!

Sprocket said...

Hi Mary,

Spector looks no different than the photos that appeared in the LA Times on October 3rd, and later. He's wearing the same Edwardian type suits as the first trial.

Rachelle looks the same, too. Her hair is almost completely blond now, so it's different than when she appeared on Jamie Floyd's show last year. If you saw that photo in the LA Times, that's how she looks, and dresses, every day.

Spector is not seated in the second chair over, like he was before~just to the right of Cutler.

He is now one seat farther away from the jury than before.

From left to right it's Weinberg, Susan, then Spector.

It was near impossible to see him from where I was sitting in the packed gallery on opening statements day.

Avenging Angel said...

personally i did not think that Pat Dixon was that strong (Jennifer Hayes, for example, was just about equal or stronger than he)..even the LA Weekly said he was "no match" for her. And he left Punkin Lie still standing, she should have been torn to shreds. (Will those 2 be back?)
And would not the "prior bad act ladies" be more effective, more fresh in the minds of the jurors, if testifying at the end of the state's case, instead of at the beginning?
I'm just saying....

Anonymous said...

Hi friend...long time no see! Need to get caught up with you, but in the meantime, just wanted to thank you for all the hard work (even though I know you enjoy it, it is a huge effort, and I want you to know how appreciated you are!).

I'm sure Pat Dixon is very smart and very effective in general (else, he wouldn't be where he is today), but I did not think his manner of examination was suited to the dynamics of PS1. His style was a little too laid-back surfer dude-ish, if you know what I mean. That probably has served him well, but I think several of his exams called for an aggressiveness and thoroughness that he just didn't bring to the table.

Any idea what it would entail to set up an audio-only feed from the courtroom? If you and Mr. Sprocket (or anyone else) could figure out how to set it up and get approval for audio-only coverage, we'd be happy to chip in to cover whatever the costs to you might be.

I'm happy to see your blog flourishing -- all the guest writers are fantastic, too. Take care, and thanks again for all you do! :)


Sprocket said...

Pat Dixon is the senior staff member. I don't know but I'm guessing that maybe it was just a management decision to let the younger staff work on a challenging case. Truc Do is no slouch. From what I hear, she has an excellent reputation.

Sherbie! Nice to see you here friend! How the heck have you been?

All requests to film or have audio coverage, must complete the application on the court's website and submit it to the Public Information Office. Then Judge Fidler decides to approve or deny.

I have a gut feeling that Judge Fidler would only allow accredited news organizations to record the trial in any format, whether it be audio or film or live feed. Even though I did become a member of the Society of Professional Journalists as an Associate Member, I don't think that would pass muster with the PIO or the Judge.

An audio feed would require a way to tap into the microphone at the witness box, and a microphone at the podium and a microphone at the bench that the judge can turn off at will, when there are bench conferences.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for your great updates. It's a real pity that there's no live coverage to be had. Your great commentary is most appreciated.