Saturday, March 28, 2009

How Long Before a Verdict is Reached?

There are a couple of things I wanted to talk about in this entry, but first I thought I would put up a poll to give everyone the opportunity to "guess" what day, and how many hours it will take for the Phil Spector jury to reach a verdict.

In this poll, you can cast your vote for what day you think they will come back. This poll will end Wednesday morning at 9:30 am.

In this poll, you can cast your vote for how many hours you think it will take. This poll will end Friday at 3:00 pm.

According to my calculations, I have the jury deliberating a total of 6 hours and 24 minutes so far. The jurors have the possibility of deliberating a total of seven hours each day if they took no breaks and deliberated through lunch. That's unlikely. Since we've already seen from Thursday and Friday that they have not deliberated through lunch and that they've taken breaks, they could deliberate as little as five hours each day. On Friday, even though they went home early, they deliberated a total of 3 hours and 53 minutes.

It's been brought to my attention that someone is claiming the defense team has been investigating the jurors Internet activity and that if the jurors convict Phil Spector, they will have to "face the music." (Would that music be, "Be My Baby?" Just wondering.)

First off, I recommend everyone take a good long look at the jury questionnaire (which you can view at the LA County Superior Court web site). You'll note that the juror's names are not asked for on the questionnaires, just their juror number. When the jurors are asked what city they live in, (Page 2, Question #3) they are also admonished NOT TO WRITE DOWN their street address. This was done to protect the privacy of the jurors from the media, because the juror questionnaires are public record.

Second, on Page 23, Section 8, the jurors are asked about their Internet viewing habits. You will note that they are NOT asked to supply the name of their Internet provider or their IP. (As a side note, even if they were required to provide it, the court would also have no way of knowing which individuals within an particular household accessed particular web sites.)

Third, I clearly remember during the vior dire process, Judge Fidler informing the room that the jurors would be known only by their juror number to the court, the prosecution and the defense team. This was to further protect the privacy of the jurors.

The Judge in the Phil Spector murder trial did not institute his own version of The Patriot Act, (and violating a number of laws set in place to protect citizens rights) just to track what the jurors are doing with their time away from jury service.

If there is any truth to the allegation that the defense team has found a way to monitor the jurors Internet habits, that would mean the defense team had found out the identities of the jurors, effectively violating their privacy the court has gone to great lengths to protect. That activity would be illegal and I believe the individuals partaking in any investigation of a juror (or jurors) would be subject to prosecution.

I've been busy most of the day today but I will be working on getting some detailed entries up on the closing arguments tonight and tomorrow. I will finish Jackson's summation on Thursday first, then go back and finish Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday in that order.

One final note about the E-mail notification for when a verdict is reached. I had no idea I would get the response that I did. I've received 300 requests so far, with new ones coming in every hour. It's been very time consuming adding these names to the "Blind Carbon Copy" area of the draft E-mail. I've decided that come Tuesday evening at 9:00 PM Pacific Time, (12 midnight ET), I will no longer be adding requests to the list. When I return to 106, I'd like to be able to concentrate on writing while I'm waiting to hear the jury give us the three buzzes that indicate a verdict has been reached. As soon as the court confirms the three buzzes, I will send out the draft E-mail. So if you want to be added to the list, please do so as soon as possible.

I'd also like to add that I've really appreciated reading your kind words of support and thanks that were included in many of the verdict watch requests that I received. I'm sincerely apologize that I have not had the time to write back and thank you personally to everyone who took the time to add a little note.


Anonymous said...

Oh good grief, I can recall the same EXACT accusation from the first trial being spewed by some weirdo in a green fairy outfit on his strange blog... He was yacking the same thing way before closings in PS part one. Maybe he should take off the green pointed shoes, they seem to be cutting off the blood flow to his brain.


If people don't like your blog or your cat they can choose not to look, we all have to ignore the idiots every now and then.
I enjoy reading it and I could care less what the little green men think.

Anonymous said...

FYI- Your second poll doesn't work, at least I can't see any selection options...


Sprocket said...

Thank you! It should be fixed now.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it worked, thanks.

Anonymous said...

Yes, it would seem that if they were able to monitor (and intimidate) the jurors, then they would easily be able to do jury tampering as well. I hope Fidler intervenes if need be.

Thanks Sprocket, there is a tension in the air which will not go away until this is settled. After hearing you have 300 email addresses so far, I think I'm not the only one who feels it.


Anakerie said...

Hi Sprocket! Thank you again for all you're doing for us PS trial junkies! I haven't sent in a request for your email list because of the travels I'm doing currently.. (I'm sitting here at the Furnace Creek Ranch in Death Valley tonight and will be traveling again tomorrow.. lol) Your blog is one of the first places I'm checking for updates and info whenever I get a chance to get online. And that will continue until there is a verdict or until I stop traveling! LOL

Keep up the great work you're doing, Sprocket.. I know there are a lot of people who are thankful for you and your blog. Just keep laughing at the ones who are trying to bring you down. Desperation on their part, perhaps? It will all be over soon.....

Liz said...

Hi Sprocket

Many thanks as always for your comments. It's hard to believe I have been reading your blog for almost 2 years. There was alot of lurking during the first trial - can't remember if I ever posted a comment - but you were much appreciated then as you are now.

I thought the jury would have returned a verdict on Friday - I hope someone explains why not after the event. So I have no idea how to answer your polls. I'll look at what other folks think and continue to wonder about juries in general and this one in particular.

Sedonia Sunset said...

Spying on jurors' internet surfing is TOTALLY illegal. If it were legal, NO ONE would willingly sit on a jury -- the mere fact that their every move would be inspected and dissected would completely undermine the process. Who could be an objective jurist under such untrustworthy, oppressive and invasive conditions? The mere notion of it is complete rubbish.

Geralyn said...

I wasn't surprised that there wasn't a verdict...there is so much evidence and they haven't even asked a question of the court. For me, there would be no questions...but I'm biased. I watched most of PS1 and was here every day to read Sprocket's fabulous reporting!!

I'm not sure about the relevance of these claims regarding the defense tapping into the jurors computers. We all know that a few of his "fans" make some erroneous posts.

I'd like to know: if there is some validity to such a claim, what would be the next step...get the police involved? Tell JF? I should of gone to school for law instead of social work so that I'd know the answer.

Anyway, I cannot wait to read about AJ's closings(is there a reason you're referring to him as "Jackson" now?). A million thanks!

Anonymous said...

Sedonia Sunset, your comment is spot on. I can't believe people are actually drawn in to this nonsense that jurors home computers would be tracked by the defense. Outrages to say the least.

Anonymous said...

Hi - Thanks for all your work. Will you be writing about Alan Jackson's closing arguments?

For the defense to be "spying" on the jury is so laughable. What a silly story. How on earth would they do it? It would be illegal for them to do so and I would imagine that Weinberg would face serious sanctions against his law license.

I am afraid in this day and age that it's inevitable that juries will be web surfing. There have been numerous news stories on this already.

Chelsea said...

If this jury is anything like the first one, I don't think we will have a verdict by next week. I forget, how long did the first jury deliberate (eat donuts and share crockpot delights) before deadlocking?

Barry said...

Hi, Sprocket!

I hope you were able to catch up on your sleep a little this weekend!

There have been suggestions that Mrs. Spector has been reading and commenting on the blog. If that is true, I would like to offer her a polite invitation:

Please tell us, in your own words, what you think happened that awful night. If you want to help clear your husband's name, you can begin by swaying the opinion of the people who are watching the case most closely. We want to hear what you have to say - but do so openly and directly.

There has been a lot of talk about why Spector did not take the stand in his own defense. In addition to the logical explanations: he would be shredded about his past behavior on cross examination and he has proven in pst trials to be a terrible witness, I think there is another reason.


Is it possible that he was so drunk, tired and under the influence of his various psychiatric medications that he simply does not remember what happened. He cannot explain it to his lawyers; hence they have no solid theory of the case.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Barry as it relates to Mrs. Spector. We are all ears (eyes, actually).

Sprocket said...

What does Spector remember:

First off, when Lana was killed, Spector wasn't married and Rachelle was appearing topless in TIGERLAND and singing her heart out at night clubs. Rachelle didn't meet Spector until almost a year later in late 2003, when she was working as a waitress at Jerry's Deli.

She doesn't know what happened. She wasn't there; no one else was. Whatever explanation she gives would only be to support her husband.

Remember what Dr. Loftus said? That memory fades over time and what you remember is the "gist" and often not specific details?

However, the closer to the event you are asked to retrieve the memory, the better that memory will be.

Spector made a statement to Adriano De Souza, the infamous "I think I killed somebody," within a minute or two of the fatal shot.

Spector made statements to the police directly after the event, still at his house about 40-50 minutes later. During the "take down" of Spector, Alhambra Police Officer Bea Rodriguez heard Spector say, "I didn't mean to shoot her. It was an accident."

Officer Page turned on his tape recorder and recorded this statement, slightly different than the first, not long after the statement Officer Rodriguez overheard:

SPECTOR: "The gun went off accidentally. She works at the House of Blues. It was a mistake. I don’t understand what the fuck you people is wrong with you. Jack Mapel worked for me. He worked for the chief of police. Oh, God. I’m just gonna go to sleep. Would you like me to go to sleep?"

At the Alhambra Police Station, the explanation changed again as to what happened.

It's possible that after hours in police custody, the reality of the situation was sinking in for Spector and he started to think up an alibi. The only other explanation that might get him off the hook for pulling a gun on a woman would be if he told them she committed suicide.

We know what happened. His history and pattern of behavior tells us what happened. No need to bother Spector's wife. Besides, she already went on national television in the first trial and talked to the press about her version of events.

Elizabeth said...

If the jury tampering is true, Spector and his defense team would be in a lot of trouble. I wonder what they penality is for that? I should look that . In reguards to Mrs. Spector writing emails to people asking for them to come to court and support her husband, I clearly remember from the first trial that she and phil were each given a gag order for the reminder of the case. Wouldn't emails be in violation of the gag order?

Anonymous said...

Lets keep our fingers crossed that Phil will be dancing to The Jailhouse Rock soon!!

Anonymous said...

not likely

Anonymous said...

Very likcly he will be dancing to the Jailhouse Rock soon.

And Sprocket - I hope you haven't forgotten to include Alan Jackson's closing arguments

Toni said...

Sprocket - you are such a wise sage....can you explain why they let the jury go home....instead of sequestering them and keeping them together in the jury room until they reach a verdict? It seems so "casual" to let them come and go as they please as they deliberate. Toni St. Louis

Anonymous said...

I’m afraid if there is another mistrial, there has been jury tampering by the defense. After the false testimony of Greg Sims in PS2 and the known criminal behavior during the case by two defense experts (Henry Lee and James Pex), I think juror bribery or blackmail is a valid possibility. PS1’s juror #10 was Spector’s neighbor, easy to locate for a bribe or find out something for blackmail, not that it happened. But juror #10 coincidentally didn’t think ANY of the evidence was proof of guilt even when combined & he influenced the other N/G vote, if I remember correctly from juror interviews after PS1. We live in such a high-tech world that it’s possible to find out anything about anyone, a physical address and an illegally obtained credit report can be bought. I hate being so cynical and I hope I am needlessly concerned, but I just can’t get this out of my mind!

Sprocket, thank you again for everything. Your coverage is awesome, to say the very least!
Thank you, thank you, thank you!

michelle in l.a.

Anonymous said...

The district attorney's office cannot afford another high-profile defeat. But, ya never know with some of the misfits they throw on jurys in LA. I mean c'mon...look at these jurors for a second. They deliberate a few hours a day and wouldn't even allow AJ 10 minutes to finish. Scary situation out in LA....

I'll tell you what -- if either trial (PS1 or PS2) was tried before a judge or a panel of judges, Spector would be in jail. Pure & simple. Or, try this case in another state and see how quick a jury would decide his fate.

Sprocket said...

Jury sequestering:

I will ask the court PIO on Wednesday, but I don't think sequestering a jury is done much anymore, at least not in LA County. There was a huge media interest last trial and the jury wasn't sequestered.

Sequestering a jury is expensive. You now have the added expense of feeding the jury not just for lunch but lunch, breakfast and dinner as well as the hotel bill and anything else the jurors need.

And have I mentioned lately that the State of California is broke? (Don't get CaliGirl9 started on that!)

The security for the 19 floor (and underground garage) Criminal Court Building in downtown Los Angeles is provided by the LA County Sheriff's Department. To keep the juror's longer would require lots of overtime by more than just the two or three bailiff's that escort the jurors to and from the building. You would also have reporters and other people who would be hanging out for verdict watch.

Jury tampering:
There's been no evidence presented anywhere that there was jury tampering in the first trial. People have certainly thought that (because Juror #10 lived in Alhambra). However, I think the information we got from Juror #9, Richardo, is the best information as to why #10 voted the way he did.

According to Ricardo, #10 did not believe Adriano De Souza. And, when told the story of making his child sit at the dinner table for HOURS until he at his vegetables, the other juror's believed that he could not be convinced otherwise.

Jackson's closings:

I will be steadily working on that today inbetween catching up around the house. Someone asked why I now refer to Alan Jackson as Jackson, instead of AJ.

When Dominick Dunne came to visit 106, he asked why I referred to him in my stories as AJ. He asked if that's how I addressed him. I explained, "No. I call him by his first name. 'AJ' is how many of the internet readers have referred to him."

Since then, I thought about that and realized that it would be more consistent if I called him by his last name like I do Weinberg. I call Truc Do by her full name only because her last name is such an unusual one, and could easily be misunderstood as a typo or some other misreading of the text.

Hope that helps.

Anonymous said...

Sprocket, thanks again for all your hard work. One more jury question, please. What was the disposition of the alternates? Did Judge Fidler dismiss them? Is there still a possibility that they could be called in case of an emergency with one of the deliberating jurors? Are they still at the courthouse? If they were released, were they cautioned not to read the media/internet, etc or are they completely released? I don't remember reading this info anywhere. Sorry if this is covered somewhere and I missed it.

Sprocket said...

The remaining Alternate Jurors:

They were not released. They still come to the courthouse every day. I'll write about that in my story which I'm working on right now.

Anonymous said...

Regarding the rude comments pertaining to PS appearance, imagine the strain he has been under for all these years. I am of his generation and younger people don't know, or care, how much he contributed to music. He's different, granted. I am not sure he committed murder. We will know his fate soon. Whatever it may be. Thank you, Sprocket for all your hard work.

Anonymous said...

Hey Sprocket!

Again to mention what a great job you have done and to THANK YOU for taking email requests re: the verdict watch!!!

Just curious, is the jury not deliberating on Monday or Tuesday? I don't recall reading that in your blog but I could have missed it. I just noticed the 1st day you have on your poll is Wednesday...

Thanks again, I know we all repeat ourselves, but we don't know what other words there are to express our gratitute. You are truly an awesome and informed and personable individual!

Anonymous said...

We all must hope that this Jury is open to reasonable consideration of what might have happened on the night of Lana Clarkson's death. It doesn't matter to me how they regard Phil Spector or his wife. I believe that the facts given in this case are sufficient to convict. Scott Peterson is the complete opposite of Phil Spector and his charm didn't sway the Jury. I pray the the facts of this case will guide the Jury.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the person that said it might not be too hard to find out who a person on the jury was. I watched a show last night where a man serving life in prison said he would have gotten death but his aunt knew someone on the jury and he was spared. The more time that passes before a verdict worries me. This jury seem to be so casual about the task before them. Get er done!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, they seem too nonchalant.

Anonymous said...

Last night, I looked over the two books I own about the Billionaire Boys Club case. The trial of Club Leader Joe Hunt for the murder of Ron Levin started with jury selection early in December 1986. Opening statements were on February 2, 1987 and the trial took about two and a half months. The jury received final instructions on April 16 and signaled a verdict on April 22. Deliberations took two and a half days (Source: The Billionaire Boys Club by Sue Horton).

This trial was FAR more complex than the Spector trial. They had testimony 5 days a week. The body had been buried in Soledad Canyon and has never been found. Hunt had told about 10 people that he and another man murdered Levin. He had also left a "To Do" list in Levin's apartment.

Hunt was found guilty in the guilt phase. The penalty phase began on May 11 and took three weeks. The jury decided against the death penalty and voted for life without parole.

In the BBC trial, the jury took a thorough look at the evidence and voted guilty. Perhaps the Spector jury will come back with a verdict on Thursday.

David From TN

Anonymous said...

Can I ask why the jurors have Monday & Tuesday off? I am looking directly at my calendar and there isn't any holiday identified unless I am missing something. I don't profess to be the sharpest pencil in the box at times...

Sprocket said...

California Holiday:

I already addressed the two days off when I first learned about it over a week ago, but I will explain it again.

Tuesday is Ceasar Chavez Day. That's a holiday in California. Wendy told me that when a holiday falls on a day other than Monday, it's common for the individual courtrooms to take either the day before the holiday or the day after off also.

So there you have it.

Sprocket said...

Finding out who the jurors are:

One more time here.

You have to understand that if anyone did find out "who" the jurors are, to the point where they could or were monitoring what they did, (such as internet activity) that would be a violation of the court's order. The individual(s) partaking in that could face serious consequences, one of which could possibly be losing their license to practice law, if an attorney was found to be involved in the activity.

Tampering with a jury (even spying on them), one could easily be thrown in jail and prosecuted.

I'm not saying it's not "possible," what I'm saying is, it's a criminal act and I don't believe it has happened in this case. I don't believe that Weinberg would partake in any type of activity like that, for the benefit of Spector. I just don't believe it.

Murray Meyer said...

i've been reading - guess you can call it watching - yr blog for awhile now - it's great coverage of this trial - i'm a criminal defense lawyer and whenever i've been able to i've popped into the courtroom but you just get snippets like that so i really appreciate yr coverage especially when the press isn't covering it - but i have a question that may have been covered on yr blog already but can you tell me how it happened that the involuntary manslaughter verdict instruction was given. i've asked around my colleagues in the da's office and of course no one seems to know - was it the judge over the objections of defense & da as i susepct - and how did he come to involuntary as opposed to voluntary - i imaging there must have been a hearing on it.

Sprocket said...

Involuntary Manslaughter:

The defense argued against instructing.

The prosecution argued the court had a sua sponte (I think I spelled that right) duty to add the charge.

Fidler took a long time to decide. I thought on Thursday, March 18th that he would decide but the prosecution gave him more argument to think about and he delayed his decision until March 19th. I did not go to court that day so did not hear his ruling for adding the instruction.

IIRC, Jackson, as part of his argument said something to the effect of, I could think of a number of ways where a juror could possibly come to the conclusion that the gun ended up in her mouth through brandishing.

Hope that helps.

mControl said...

Thanks Sprocket for the heads up! All cleared up now... ;-) Keep at it woman! Good on ya for all your hard work.