Thursday, April 30, 2009

April is a cruel month for the entire Anthony family

There is a new slew of documents to be released tomorrow (or later today, depending on your time zone) and we who are ardently following the Casey Anthony case in the murder of her toddler daughter, Caylee Marie, are waiting to see what new information will be divulged. Those of us who read and analyze every document and every transcript are hoping these documents will reveal the "smoking gun" that will knock down whatever the defense may invent.

While waiting, I've been thinking about this past month. It was a very busy month with the press following the story's every twist and turn.

The last I reported, George and Cindy had completed their deposition "performances" for the cameras. Now, the proverbial "other shoe" has been dropped and they may be kicked in their financial butt.

Morgan and Morgan has filed a pair of motions to compel George and Cindy Anthony to answer those questions they refused to answer. Cindy's came first and received the most press. In reality, the motion only addresses one question that she did not answer. She was asked if her daughter, Casey, had ever used her credit cards without her permission.

Mrs. Anthony refused to answer in more-than-so-many-words. She claimed the question wasn't "relevant" and finally refused to answer, in spite of her attorney, Brad Conway's attempts to advise her.

Mr. Conway obviously knew that it was a question that she should answer, in spite of his protestations that it was an "ongoing investigation" and stated for her that, "My client does not want to answer that because it's going to affect her daughter's ability to get a fair trial on pending criminal charges."

Read the motion

The motion to compel George Anthony included more questions. In his case, one has to wonder why he refused to answer some of them when he had already supplied the answers while giving information to the FBI in his interviews. In some cases, the information he refused to give was given during TV interviews. Is it possible he wasn't forthcoming in those TV interviews?

Here is a list of questions he is being asked to answer:

"Were there incidences in the year leading up to the disappearance where your daughter had taken money, to your knowledge, that didn't belong to her?"

George refused to answer. In his interview with the FBI, he mentioned how Casey cleaned out Caylee's bank account and piggy bank. He also mentioned that she stole money from other places, such as her mother's purse.

There are a series of questions about Dominic Casey:

When asked if Cindy and George were paying his bill, Brad Conway asserted that it was privileged because it was work-product. When asked, "work product?" Conway stated that it was attorney-client. Gee... did you know that either of the Anthonys was a lawyer?

When asked about leads as to the location of Caylee's remains, George claimed to have heard nothing from Mr. Casey. He supposed the lead came from a psychic.

When asked about his search for the "real" Zenaida, Mr. Conway became very testy. He stated for his client that, "... it had everything to do with the fact that they were being investigated by the sheriff's office. There were obstruction of justice charges being thrown around."

Mr. Morgan replied, "That doesn't work."

When George was asked about the gas-can incident, he again refused to discuss it.

He also refused to answer why he told LE that he had a feeling his daughter hadn't been working for the past two years.

Finally, George refused to discuss the whole "pool ladder" incident.

Read the motion

It will be interesting to see what Judge Rodrigues will decide. The hearing is set for May 21.

One thing is for sure. If Judge Rodrigues orders them to answer any or all these questions, the Anthonys will probably have to pay the costs. All the judge has to do is read the provided transcripts or view the pertinent sections of the depositions to know that George and Cindy came in with very bad attitudes and made a disgrace of the legal proceedings.

On April 13, things went from bad to worse for Ms. Casey when the State filed a Notice of Intent to seek the death penalty. Jose Baez went on record saying that there were Forces Out To Get Casey Anthony. He further went on to give an exclusive interview with WESH to discuss the case. Being sweeps time, WESH spread that interview out for over a week!

I'm not sure what Baez was up to with the interview, but I've always heard him say that Casey has A COMPELLING REASON for all of this problem, and we'll have to wait to hear it at trial!

Meanwhile, we are able to consider Mr. Baez's words of wisdom as featured on WESH.

While Mr. Baez was dealing with the press and the death penalty, Casey's parents were on a rather pathetic press tour. Originally scheduled to appear on Oprah Winfry in May, the Anthonys decided to start their press tour with the 3rd rated morning program, the "Early Show." Oprah cancelled, Cindy says she cancelled, for INTEGRITY? Who really knows, but their performance on the "Early Show" was quite different from their appearance in the Morgan&Morgan depositions!

Finally, cruel April found Jose Baez making yet another motion to obtain extensive phone records from a "few" people involved in the case. Read the motion for the exact details of what records he wants, I have problems putting numbers in my pre-paid cell phone! So far, three of those mentioned in the motion have filed objections due to the unlimited nature of the records being requested. I'll be writing more about this motion and any new ones prior to the re-scheduled hearing on May 28 at 10 a.m.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Citizen Whistleblower Does the Right Thing—From 3,000 Miles Away

Dr. William Ayres (with a woman who declined to give her name) at a court appearance in 2007 (Associated Press photo)

Everyone has experienced it—you see or hear about a blatant crime and you think or say aloud, “Someone should do something about that!” The crime can be as simple as a reckless driver weaving in and out of traffic (“Where is the highway patrol when you need them? But if I pick up the cell phone while the car is moving, and I get caught, I’ll get a ticket!”), to an acquaintance bragging about how he’s not paid income taxes in 10 years (“I’m scrimping to pay my taxes and this fool is getting away with not paying! Not fair! But what can I do to not bring attention to myself?”)

Most of the time we shrug it off and assume, “Oh well, he/she will get caught eventually.”

But in 2005, journalist and human rights activist Victoria Balfour made the decision not to turn away and wait for someone else to initiate justice. A chance encounter with an unemployed photo researcher in 2002 was the beginning of Balfour’s involvement with a child molestation case on the other side of the United States—a case (unfortunately) 40 years in the making.

During an innocent conversation between the New York-based Balfour and her friend "Steve," who’d contacted Balfour through a mutual friend looking for advice on how to start a freelance writing career, Steve asked Balfour what kind of writing she had done in the past. A former feature writer for publications such as People and Ladies’ Home Journal, Balfour had recently begun to specialize in personal reflection essays, and mentioned a piece she’d done about her grandmother’s eating disorder that had been published in Vogue. In the article Balfour mentioned that she’d been molested as a child, and she told Steve how enraged her parents were that she’d mentioned that in the piece.

Steve blurted out that he’d been molested too—at the age of 12, by a child psychiatrist in San Mateo, California.

After a few conversations, Balfour was able to coax much of the horrific story out of the man. Steve was a patient of Dr. William Ayres for five years as a teen, though he’d managed to blank out much of that time period. He wasn’t able to wipe out the specific memory of the details of his abuse—and neither he nor Balfour then knew it was a pattern of abuse starting in 1966 with possibly hundreds of troubled teenage boys.

Steve stated as part of his therapy, Ayres asked him if he masturbated. The boy answered that he did, and Ayres then asked if he ever got “sore” from it. The good doctor then produced a bottle of lotion he claimed would help with the soreness, and proceeded to stimulate the boy to ejaculation, all the while assuring him that this was a normal part of therapy.

Balfour listened to Steve, and finally encouraged him to report the crime to San Mateo police, which he did in September 2002. This was not the first time the authorities had heard accusations against Ayres—the first known complaint against the child psychiatrist was filed in 1987. San Mateo police investigated that claim (the molestation occurred in 1985), deemed it unfounded, and it was never reported to prosecutors. Evidence from that complaint, including the police file and a check from Ayres for $1000 sent to the boy’s mother as an “accounting error” was reported missing in 2005.

A pair of complaints were received in 1994, with one victim filing his complaint with the state medical board and the second, an inmate in Folsom Prison, telling a nurse he’d been molested by Ayres during court-ordered sessions. The person filing the medical board complaint claimed he’d been abused in 1966, but board investigators have been unable to locate the man. The Folsom inmate has refused to cooperate with investigators.

San Mateo police were taking Steve’s complaint seriously, but the investigation came to an abrupt halt when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a California state law that had retroactively extended the statute of limitations for child molestation cases.

Steve then sought relief in civil court, and received a settlement of $395,000 from Ayres in 2005. Still trying to find a way to stay in control, Ayres tried to influence the selection of a trustee for the funds and wanted an annual report on how the money was spent—claiming he wanted the money used on treatment and not however the family wished to spend it. The court denied Ayres’ demands.

During the civil case, Balfour continued to act as an investigator, pursuing leads using tools learned as a journalist, including posting messages on various boards. By 2005 she’d located 15 possible victims of Ayres, and began to push the San Mateo County authorities to take action.

In the fall of 2005, one alleged victim contacted Balfour by e-mail and wrote: “I’m not strong enough to pursue anything. It makes me very depressed. The (San Mateo) police, courts, city officials will never tell the truth. It will make them look bad. No way will they do that for me.” Two weeks later he was dead, killed in a motorcycle crash.

Balfour went into overdrive, e-mailing San Mateo Police Captain Mike Callagy, asking that they find a way to locate new possible victims of Ayres, who was no longer receiving San Mateo County Juvenile Court referrals (but only since December 2003!). Balfour turned over her list of possible victims, along with contact information and dates of alleged molestation, which detailed a pattern of abuse inflicted upon vulnerable teenage boys.

A few days after she turned over the information, Captain Callagy e-mailed Balfour and wrote, “I know the amount of work that you put (into) this has been unbelievable. I am personally going to write the search warrant.”

In March 2006, police served a search warrant on Ayres’ home and a storage locker, seizing a total of 800 patient records. Ayres was arrested because of evidence of abuse on three boys within the statute of the law. Following his arrest, Ayres was charged with molesting four additional boys.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle , after charges against Ayres had been filed, more than a dozen former patients stepped forward with claims that they’d also been victims of abuse.

In an article in the SF Chronicle, Captain Callagy said of the pending court case: “What is most important is that these victims came forward. I don’t know if the victims would have come forward without her (Balfour’s) encouragement.”

The criminal case against Dr. William Ayres, now 77 years of age, was filed in April 2007. On August 7, 2007, San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Jonathan Karesh ruled that there is probable cause to believe that Ayres molested seven male patients between the ages of 8 and 13, between the years of 1988 and 1996.

Deputy District Attorney Melissa McKowan presented evidence of abuse on 22 former patients of Ayres via testimony of police officers who had questioned the men.

As of August 2007, more than three dozen men have publicly accused Ayres of molestation, but California law now required that those charges be brought before the accuser turns 29 years of age (if it occurred after January 1, 1988). If the crime happened before 1988, it has to be prosecuted within eight years.

Ayres’ defense attorney—a name we know well at T & T—Doron Weinberg questions the reliability and credibility of the witnesses, one of whom is serving time at San Quentin. Weinberg has successfully deployed the delay delay delay tactic in this case, and has recently petitioned the court—and received—yet another delay. The trial was to commence on May 11, but because Weinberg is “busy” with the sentencing of Phil Spector, the start date for Ayers’ trial was moved yet again to June 1, when a group of fine citizens of San Mateo County will show up for jury duty.

And yes, Victoria Balfour plans to spend her summer in Northern California, as a witness to the proceedings, and an advocate for those who did not think justice was possible.

More to come, including additional background on the case and closer look at the career of Dr. William Ayres. T & T will likely have a blogger in place for opening and closing arguments, and also plans to post regular reports on this case from San Mateo Superior Court in Redwood City.

Retired child psychiatrist facing molest charges was never far from controversy

Case against psychiatrist took years to assemble: Writer and advocate for alleged victims pushed molest probe

Retired child psychiatrist must stand trial: Judge rules there is probable cause in molest allegations

Of Michael Jacques and Melissa Huckaby

Michael Jacques
Michael Jacques is accused of kidnapping, drugging, raping, and murdering 12-year-old niece, Brooke Bennett.

On April 13, U.S. District Judge William Sessions granted an unopposed motion by the defense to extend the time for additional pretrial motions.

The defense requested the extension, saying they have considerable amounts of discovery to review – some of which they only received last month.

No trial date has been set.

Brooke was murdered last year in Randolph, Vermont.


Melissa Huckaby
Judge Linda Lofthus said she wants to ensure a fair trial for prosecutors and the defense attorneys of the woman accused of killing Sandra Cantu, Melissa Huckaby, so she sealed reports from the autopsy and also sealed the prosecution motion opposing the girl's disinterment. The disinterment motion by the defense has already been withdrawn.

Loftus sealed the motions saying Cantu family's privacy rights outweigh the public's need for the information.

It appears to some that Lofthus may be trying to protect Sandra's family from seeing the gruesome details contained in the autopsy report.

The judge’s motion was filed without a hearing with attorneys – a move that is not only unusual - it might be improper.

Per Recordnet: John Schick, a Stockton attorney said, “…it is highly unusual for a judge to seal a document independently in the interest of a victim's family.

"A unilateral ruling like this without the opportunity for parties in the case to have their say is unusual and perhaps improper," he said, adding that the attorneys usually make such request. "Why do we have public trials?"

Ruth Jones, an instructor at University of the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento said, "… the sealing of documents moves closer to private proceedings," she said. "Our judicial system functions best when it is public."

"If it's a high-profile case, those gruesome details will eventually become public if there's a trial," Jones said. "We as a society have a right to see the evidence."

The wheels of justice turn slowly.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Stacey Barker Arraignment Postponed

~Emma Barker

18-month-old Emma Barker was apparently suffocated by her mother, Stacey, as far as authorities can determine. Authorities also believe little Emma died at least four or five hours before her mother reported the child missing.

Barker, 24, is charged with one count each of murder, assault on a child causing death and child abuse.

Authorities say it appeared the girl's body, showed no visible signs of trauma.

Coroners conducted an autopsy and other tests to determine the cause of death, but the findings have been temporarily sealed at the request of detectives investigating the case.

Barker was arrested last Thursday because of indications she might be a flight risk and disappear. She is being held on $1 million bail.

Barker is scheduled to be arraigned May 11, in Lancaster.
The Press Enterprise

Monday, April 27, 2009

Jury Duty, Phil Spector, And Other News


Hello everyone. I have to report to the Metropolitan Courthouse tomorrow at 8:30 am for jury duty. I hate getting up this early. I know I've promised y'all some updates on Spector but real life has been taking over at the Sprocket household and I haven't even caught up on my E-mail yet. When it rains, it pours around here. Mr. Sprocket did buy that old truck, but it is currently taking up residence in our driveway, up on jacks while he waits for parts so he can rebuild the 14 bolt "famous" GM rear end. Mr. Sprocket says, "It's a legend." You can see for yourself how big his newly acquired truck is.

Mr. Sprocket is very excited about this truck and can't wait to fill it up with tools and lots of "stuff," once he gets it back on six wheels of course.

The day before our washing machine was to be delivered, I was peeling up the old square linoleum tiles to replace them with new when part of the under flooring came up with the faded tiles. We then discovered that sometime in the past (before I moved into this old house over 12 years ago), someone had installed particle board over the plywood flooring. This plywood was damp and crumbling apart in a three by five foot section under our washer and dryer. There must have been washer leaks in the past and this wood was never able to dry out. The sub planks and joists are dry, but Mr. Sprocket is in the process of replacing the flooring as I type this. It's a bit complicated because the water and gas lines are coming up through the floor right there. In the mean time, we temporarily set up the washer and dryer outside, with the water hoses and electricity going outside through the dryer vent hole. I'm just grateful I have a washer again. This floor project (and the truck) will take some time since Mr. Sprocket doesn't really have full use or strength back in his right arm yet.

I did call the twin towers jail over a week ago and found out that Spector did have his two visitors for that week. I'm still trying to find out who has visited him but that information may be exempt from the FOI Act. It's estimated that Spector's private "room" is about the size of a walk in closet. That's probably a difficult adjustment for a man who used to live in an eight thousand square foot house on three acres.

When I read an article by Cindy Adams in Page Six that Spector had spoken to Linda Kenny Baden and asked her to join his team to work on an appeal, I wondered if Spector had a phone in his cell; an old article on the medical ward at Twin Towers indicated there were phones in the rooms. According to the operator I spoke to last week, Spector doesn't have his own phone. To make a phone call, Spector has to make a request of the Sheriff's. He then is taken to an area where he can make a phone call.

Another thing that people have asked me about and that's Spector's "weave." We know it isn't on his head, but where is it exactly? Does anyone know if inmates work the property room at the jail? Just wondering.

Some of you have asked what the DA's role will be at Spector's sentencing. I got the facts on that issue from a former LA County prosecutor.

"At the time of the conviction, the judge refers the case to the probation department to prepare a probation report--even in a murder case where the sentence is already mandated by law. In the Spector case, I would think that relatives of the victim, if they desire, would make a statement to the court--and sometimes directly to the defendant. In a murder case the role of the Deputy DA at P & S (probation and sentence) is very limited. That is because in a first degree murder case (without a special circumstance allegation) the sentence is 25 to life and in a second degree murder case the sentence is 15 to life plus enhancements (gun use, prior convictions, etc). If there are other counts the DA might argue for consecutive sentences. But, in reality, in a one count murder case with a gun use allegation, there is little for the DA to do."

Thank you so much, W., for taking the time to answer this question!

Many of you have asked where might Spector be placed, once he's been sentenced. T&T's own CaliGirl9 weighs in on this issue.

"Where will he go? To summarize: he'd first be taken to the county jail, and then likely within 30 days, be transferred to a SoCal intake center (Chino is one). After an evaluation as to which facility would be best, Harv would then be transferred to another facility. I'm still going with my guesses of Vacaville (California Medical Facility), Pleasant Valley (where he might catch valley Fever, a common occurrence) or Soledad, in that order. Corcoran is too tough a place for him, even with the protective housing unit. So it's unlikely he'll be producing music with Charlie Manson. Unless Harv is being treated for drug abuse, in which case he'd end up in Corcoran's drug treatment facility. But I still think CMF's the place. Edmund Kemper is there."

Thank you very much CaliGirl9!

There are a few trials that I've got my eye on. I've been told that jury selection in the Cameron Brown retrial is set for 8:30 am on Wednesday, July 8th. I'd like to see this trial but that 8:30 am start time will be tough. KFI's Steve Gregory reports there is a possibility of moving the Sandra Cantu case to Los Angeles County. If that happens, it will be interesting to see if the current judge will stay on the case and also if there is a ruling to let cameras in the courtroom. We will just have to wait and see what happens. I plan on covering the Clarkson civil case but that won't get off the ground until sometime next year. There is a "penis identification" cold case that I was thinking of covering that might start sometime in May. That all depends on what happens tomorrow and if I get on a jury or not.

Another thing that will depend on what happens tomorrow is my scheduled trip to tour the L.A. County Sheriff's Crime Lab. Back in January, I was extended an invitation by Dr. Lynne Herold to take a tour when the Spector trial reached a verdict. Hopefully, I'll get through jury service tomorrow without being placed on a trial so Mr. Sprocket and I can visit the Crime Lab on Thursday. If I do get on a trial that will have to be rescheduled. I'll give you an update at the end of the day, tomorrow.

I almost forgot! Dominick Dunne went to the Dominican Republic over the weekend to receive more stem cell treatments for his bladder cancer. I believe he's back in New York now. I know he would really appreciate it if you left him some well wishes at Dominick's Diary. He reads there daily and could use some cheering up.

Update: April 28th, 2009, 7:00 PM
I am in the beginning stages of voir dire on a case that might last around seven days. The Judge indicated that they hope to seat a jury by tomorrow. I will know tomorrow if I'm selected or excused from service. Once my involvement in this case is completed, I will post my jury service experiences.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Melissa Huckaby Does Not Enter Plea

Huckaby sat quietly during her court appearance. She was shackled and dressed in a red jail suit — indicating she's a high-risk inmate. There were no tears from Huckaby as there were in her first court appearance.

San Joaquin County Superior Court Judge Linda L. Loftus agreed with both sides that toxicology and autopsy reports will be sealed saying, "In the interest of a fair trail, for both sides in this case, that is the only option."

"There would be overriding prejudice if the record is unsealed."She said there would be a great amount of "public outrage" if the results were released, and it would also be an invasion of privacy into the lives of Sandra's family. She said the rape and murder of a child is viewed by the public as a "heinous crime."

Prosecutors have turned over more than 500 pages of documents and several audio recordings of interviews by police with Huckaby who is accused of killing 8-year-old Sandra Cantu.

Judge Loftus granted the defense an additional 30 days to obtain and review information related to the evidence.

Huckaby is being held "under observation" and without bail at San Joaquin County jail and is scheduled to return to court on May 22.

Waiting for the other shoe to drop?

The murder investigation is beginning to take some frightening twists and turns:

Police returned to the church where Melissa Huckaby once taught Sunday school.
Four investigators in the town of Tracy went inside the Clover Road Baptist Church for about 20 minutes Thursday afternoon.

They came out carrying some items wrapped in long tubes.

Police believe the church may be where Sandra Cantu was murdered.

Washington Connection
Investigators are questioning members of the First Church of God in Clarkston, Washington. In the mid-80’s there were allegations of child abuse and molestation connected to the church. No charges were ever filed.

The current pastor of the church says he has been questioned about the previous pastor and specifically about Lane Lawless, Melissa Huckaby’s grandfather.

Idaho Connection
The murder investigation has also led detectives to a church Lewiston, Idaho.

Authorities have been questioning people at the Warner Alliance Church in North Idaho. Indications are Lawless was questioned years ago about alleged child abuse at the Lewiston church.

Authorities say there is no criminal investigation open on Lawless.

This is like peeling back the layers of an onion!

Mercury News

Friday, April 24, 2009

Emma Barker’s Mother Booked On Suspicion Of Murder

~Emma Leigh Barker

1-year-old Emma Barker’s body was found dumped in tall grass along side a Los Angeles highway. Her mother, Stacey Barker, 24 has been under investigation since March after she told police her daughter was kidnapped.

Barker told police someone knocked her out as she was putting Emma in the car and when she woke up, Emma was gone. She later recanted that story and said Emma died in an accident.

As police continued to question Barker, they noted several inconsistencies in her story and her story continued to change over time.

While Barker did have head injuries when police responded to her assault report, detectives are trying to determine whether the injuries were self-inflicted.

Barker was booked Thursday on suspicion of murder and is being held on $1 million bond.

Good Lord, this is becoming an epidemic in this country!

Fox News


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Gag Order Issued in Sandra Cantu Case


~Melissa Huckaby

Having replaced Judge Terrence Van Oss, Judge Linda Loftus’s first order of business was to issue a gag order in the Sandra Cantu murder case that bars anyone involved with the case from speaking to the media.

The order prohibits all parties from releasing "information or opinions concerning this case or any issue likely involved."

Huckaby's attorney requested the gag order due to the high profile nature of the murder case, which has been covered extensively by the media.

Yesterday Huckaby's lawyer, Deputy Public Defender Samuel Behar, said he is dropping his request to exhume Sandra Cantu's body because the medical examiner has preserved enough tissue samples the defense can test.

Huckaby, who has not entered a plea, is scheduled to appear before Lofthus on Friday.


It appears the FBI is looking into Pastor Lane Lawless, Huckaby's grandfather's connection to abuse allegations at a church in Clarkston, Washington.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Sandra Cantu Not The Only Victim of Melissa Huckaby

10 weeks prior to the disappearance and murder of 8-year-old Sandra Cantu, another 7-year-old girl was reported missing from the Orchard Estates Mobile Home Park.

On January 17th, the girl was reported missing by her family. According to the family, the girl had spent the afternoon with Melissa Huckaby without their permission.

The girl was returned to her home by a woman driving a purple Kia Sportage. Police towed a purple Kia Sportage registered to Melissa Huckaby shortly after she was arrested in Sandra's killing.

When the little girl returned home, the family reported her speech was slurred; she was falling down, sleeping, and crying a lot.

The family took the child to Sutter Tracy Memorial Hospital, where she was examined. The girl tested positive for benzodiazepine, a class of tranquilizer and muscle relaxant. The examination found no sign of molestation.

Police have tied the reported abduction to the murder case of Sandra Cantu, but Tracy police Sgt. Tony Sheneman said he can’t comment on the reported abduction in January because it’s part of the ongoing murder investigation.

Judge in Huckaby Cases Recuses Himself

According to the San Joaquin County Superior Court, “The Honorable Terrence Van Oss has recused himself.”

No explanation has been given, however it may be due to a conflict between the judge and Huckaby’s prosecutor.

Superior Court Judge Linda Lofthus will now take up the case. Lofthus will preside over the next hearing which will be held on Friday.

Video report on abduction
Tracy Press
Sacramento Bee
Stockton Record
Sandra Cantu Memorial Service

Monday, April 20, 2009

Haut de la Garenne Suspect To Be Charged With Eight Additional Counts

Gordon Wateridge, who was a house parent at Haut de la Garenne during the 1970’s, was to go on trial today for eleven counts of indecent assault.

Now he faces an additional eight charges after a sixth victim has come forward!

Wateridge, who remains free on bail, denies all the charges and his trial was adjourned to August so the new charges can be included.

Hmmmmm, wonder how long Bailhache has been sitting on this information. Isn’t it odd this suddenly came to light on the heels of the Senator Perchard disaster, the arrest of Senator Stuart Syvret, the positively ignorant declaration by Senator Ben Shenton that he was refusing to attend the emergency meeting of the assembly next Tuesday and the damning comments made Lenny Harper on Saturday?

Seems like a ploy by the government to deflect the public’s ourage and anger, no?


Worthing Herald

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Lenny Harper on Jersey Corruption And Why Abuse Victims Cannot Get Justice

~Lenny Harper

In his most candid interview to date, retired police chief superintendent, Lenny Harper – a 35-year veteran police officer - discusses Haut de la Garenne and the corruption he encountered well before the child abuse investigation.

Harper was recruited in 2002, to Jersey by then head of States of Jersey Police, Graham Power.

'Within weeks I realized that local politicians expected a degree of control over day-to-day operations that no UK police force would tolerate.'

Jersey operates with a system of Honorary Police. These are elected citizens - farmers, truck drivers, businessmen, etc - from the island’s 12 parishes that have the ability to countermand the Jersey Police. Incredibly, the head honorary constable is automatically seated in the States Assembly.

The ‘paid’ police force have to consult with these lay people and advise them of any and all evidence in a case – get this one – because only the Honorary Police can charge suspects!

Government and police make for strange bedfellows!

'Several times early in my posting I had to protest to the Attorney General's legal advisers about a refusal to charge in cases where the evidence was overwhelming.'

Harper's authority was challenged when he tried to tackle the massive arsenals of firearms on the island. Approximately 10,000 licensed weapons and numerous, unlicensed weapons – including semi automatic rifles – were held by a population of 90,000 people!

Were they going to war with somebody?

Harper's attempts to take action were repeatedly blocked by politicians.

'Strenuous attempts were made to intimidate us into not taking action with allegations that we were Brits who did not understand the Jersey way of life.'

Harper quickly discovered that many of the firearms licenses were issued to applicants with known criminal convictions.

Having received a tip, Harper raided the home of civilian police officer to discover a huge number of firearms lying unsecured in a bedroom. The cache included an RPG7 rocket launcher as well as weapons that had been handed into the police previously for destruction. There were 7.62mm rifles, machine guns, Magnum revolvers, and a large quantity of ammunition. Also confiscated was a Sea Cat missile launcher - usually carried on warships!

The employee was eventually convicted on several charges, however he was not sacked and the police force took him back.

Harper began a licensing campaign after discovering hundreds of people never renewed their firearms licenses and began arresting people including police officers, politicians, lawyers, and others. Most were given a slap on the wrist and a small fine.

In one case an application for a firearms license had been issued to a person despite the fact the person was convicted in 1992 of possessing a prohibited weapon and supplying controlled drugs. When police raided his house, they recovered 18 weapons and 183,000 rounds of ammunition. That is enough ammunition to shoot Jersey's entire population. Twice!

Harper also discovered three employees were using police money to buy computers for private use. Pornography was stored on some of them. The Attorney General refused to take legal action and politicians defended the employees.

Additionally, Harper found three detectives were discovered selling intelligence to women linked to drug dealers in return for sex. Despite film and audio evidence, no prosecution was authorized.

'The vast majority of cops on Jersey are honest and we owed it to them to bring to book the guys bringing them into disrepute.' Harper says. 'But the response of the authorities was to suppress everything.'

Harper spent his last year in Jersey on the excavation of Haut de la Garenne. Over one hundred witnesses have come forward with horrific tales of abuse and children just disappearing.

When Harper retired last August, a new team of detectives took over the investigation and quickly denounced Harper as an over-excitable and inexperienced officer and questioned Harper’s concerns, skills, and findings. They also claimed the 65 children's teeth found the home's cellars were left for the tooth fairy! Police now say there were no murders.

Three men - two of them former care workers - charged with abuse have yet been tried, over a year later! Jersey authorities have portrayed the alleged victims as compensation-hungry criminals.

'I'm used to flak,' Harper says. 'I don't care what a few establishment cover-up merchants and their pet poodles say about me. But I do care about the victims on Jersey. I'll keep speaking up for their sake.'

'We worked very hard to win the victims' confidence. I think now they will feel that there is nothing that they can do.’

The Haut de la Garenne investigation has ground to a halt. In it’s wake, a smear campaign began alleging that Harper himself was corrupt.

'Jersey is claiming that I left with loads of documents, unused material that could be needed in court. I think they're saying that so that cases can be thrown out. I have offered to go to any court in the UK and answer questions about alleged unused material.'

Head of States of Jersey Police, Graham Power, has subsequently been illegally suspended and accused of botching and illegal spending on the Haut de la Garenne investigation.

Two weeks ago, Senator Stuart Syvret, Jersey's former health minister who first raised the issue of abuse, was illegally detained and his home searched without a warrant under data protection laws. He was accused of leaking material to the media.

Syvret has been very vocal in exposing much of the government corruption for over a year, going so far as to appear at London’s High Court with British MP John Hemming to ensure that trials for the alleged child abusers be heard in Britain – a measure that Harper fully supported.

Harper ended his affidavit to the High Court by saying: 'With such an absence of controls, such an absence of accountability, the ordinary, decent citizens of Jersey are helpless. Intentionally or not, the system has allowed corruption to flourish to such an extent that those seeking to combat it are the ones open to scorn.'

'How come all these bent cops were able to complain about us, and their complaints were investigated at huge cost, but our investigations were closed down? I've often wondered what it was that we were really threatening.'

I think Denmark is ok, but something is certainly rotten in the States of Jersey!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Phil Spector: The Wrongful Death Suit by the Clarkson Family

Good morning everyone. Let me tell you about my day yesterday.

I got up (for me) gawd awfully early at 6 am. I knew there was supposed to be a status conference that morning in the civil case at 8:30 am. I had no idea how bad traffic would be driving to Pasadena so I wanted to give myself plenty of time to get there. I left the house at 7:11 am but I didn't need to worry. There was virtually no traffic and I arrived in Pasadena 20 minutes later. I chatted with donchais the entire way, catching up on the latest news.

I am somewhat familiar with the general area since my sewing machine repair shop is in Pasadena on Colorado Blvd. Still, I got a google map print out of where the courthouse was located. The Pasadena Courthouse is located at 300 E. Walnut, in Pasadena. The back of the building buts up next to Pasadena City Hall and across the street on Walnut is the local Public Library. All of these stone buildings have an old feel to them. The parking lot is about one block away and costs only $7.00 for all day. This is a more reasonable parking fee, reminiscent of the time I spent at the Van Nuys Courthouse attending the Robert Blake trial.

At first, I had trouble locating the exact building. The courthouse is currently under renovation, and I initially drove past it at first because I thought it was abandoned building with all the scaffolding around the exterior. I asked people I saw on the street exactly where I needed to go and found the public entrance with no problem.

This is a small, older court building with six floors. There was no line at the small security station and I passed through easily. The lobby is very tiny, too, more like a doctor's building or small bank branch. There was a free standing three foot square, glassed in display in the center of the lobby with the location of different departments on all four sides. Reading all sides of the display, I found Judge Jan A. Pluim's court. Department P was located on the second floor and I took the elevator up.

Once on the second floor, I had to go down a maize of several corridors before I reached Department P. I think where I ended up, I was in an annex of the building; I'm still not sure. The courthouse was relatively quiet and there was no one in the hall waiting.

When I entered the last corridor, Department P was the first courtroom on my left. The hallway was narrow, similar to an office building and not the wide space I've been used to in the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. The scuffed, hallway flooring was a light brown square tile and the noticeably worn walls were old paneling. The sprayed ceiling was that old cottage cheese stuff you often find in apartments. The doors to the courtroom led directly inside. There was no ante chamber. When I arrived, there were these little signs hung inside, blocking the tiny rectangular windows that said "Court In Recess."

I took note of the hard sturdy benches lining both sides of the hallway. Imagine the letter H short and squat and the middle cross bar stretched out about eight feet long. That was their shape. The seat was made of three long planks of thick wood approximately 6" wide with the center plank stained a darker color than the rest of the wood. The front edge of the benches were strengthened with wood that looked like two by fours. There were a couple different style benches that were built attached to the walls. You could tell they were there when the walls and floor were finished because the black vinyl trim along the bottom of the walls extended around them.

Outside of each courtroom to the right was a bulletin board and a computer print out of the cases that would be heard that day. All the times listed for each case were the same: 8:30 am. The Clarkson's case was number twenty out of twenty-four listed. I wondered how long that would take to get to their case. As I waited, I read what the printout said to donchais. Product liability case. Motor vehicle. Medical malpractice. Breach of contract. Several of the cases, including the Clarkson case had the following, either PIPD/WD or PI/PD/WD. I'm guessing the PI stands for "personal injury" and the WD might mean "wrongful death." Also beside the Clarkson listing was the original filing date of the claim. February 2nd, 2005. The very last text along the bottom of Clarkson's listing was C/F 12-08-08. 3-03-09. 4-03-09. Those appear to be extension dates since the April 3rd date matched the one on the most recent motion filing by Taylor & Ring, the Clarkson's co-counsel for the hearing for today.

It wasn't until I was already in Pasadena that I closely read the motion and it said, "telephonic Status Conference." So I might be listening to the attorney's speak to the Judge over the phone. All this time, I'm on the phone describing everything I see to my co-blogger donchais. She's been the best friend anyone could have, supporting me through all the ups and downs I've experienced covering both criminal trials.

An older distinguished looking man, obviously an attorney, appears in the hallway. He takes a seat on the bench I'm on and starts to go over some papers. Not long afterwards, unexpectedly, John Taylor rounds the corner and greets me. He tells me Rod Lindblom is not far behind. Taylor knows the attorney sitting beside me and they chat for a bit about the case this attorney is litigating. I hear him tell Taylor that a young man was ejected from an Explorer, landed on the train tracks and the train ran over his leg. He lost his mother in the same accident. The attorney in the hallway said that he has settled with everyone except the train. It's then that I remember reading on the Judge's calendar for today a listing that included the words "MTA."

Taylor and I enter Department P. It's an old looking courtroom. The Judge's bench is located in the back center with the small witness stand to my left. There is the standard California Seal on the wall behind him with the State flag and the National flag flanking each side of the bench against the far wall. The jury box is on the left and seats 12 jurors. The chairs in the jury box look like an older style, padded, high back office chair. There is no door or area I can see where there might be a jury room behind or near the jury box. Along the far right wall I see two door, and the farthest one in the corner says "private." That might be the door to the Judge's chambers. The table for the defense and prosecution is one long continuous table, just like in Fidler's courtroom, but about half that length. There is a large bulletin board in the far left corner behind the jury box.

Off to the right in the well area (but not against the wall like in Fidler's court) is the clerk's desk. There is another desk area in the front right area of the well. The clerk's desk is interesting. It has these wooden sides around it, hiding the top of it from view. The front part of the desk has a ledge and there are about twenty or more colorful stuffed animals on top of that ledge. I can barely see her face from where I'm sitting the the gallery because of the animals.

The gallery has about eighty-five individual white seats. I think the courtroom might be completely square, or a little deeper than it is wide. There are about ten or more attorney's in the gallery. Some are sitting working on papers, others are chatting and still more are coming and going. I notice that everyone in the gallery is wearing black except me. I'm the only one who looks out of place with my casual jeans and pink knit shirt. Taylor is the only attorney not wearing black. He's wearing a dark blue pinstripe suit. Lindblom enters Department P around 8:19 am.

Taylor and Lindblom are at the clerk's desk and I hear her tell them that the Judge is not here today; he's at a conference. The clerk hands them a thick file and they go over it at the long table in the middle of the well. As they look over the clerk's copy of the motions filed in their case, other attorneys are stopping by the clerks desk to get hearing dates moved. I note that there is no projector screen mounted on the wall to pull down. I do see what looks like an older style projection device in the center of the counsel table. Over on the right wall, sort of near the clerk's desk I see three calendars mounted, just like Wendy had behind her desk. From where I'm sitting I can see that they say at the top, "Los Angeles County," so I'm guessing this is a calendar that is standard use throughout the court system. It's very relaxed in the courtroom right now with the Judge off the bench.

Lindblom and Taylor are finished viewing the file and hand it back to the clerk. It's then that I see in big black letters on the front of the file, "Clarkson vs. Spector." A man enters in a light tan suit and goes up to the clerks desk. Taylor and Lindblom chat with the man in the tan suit. I hear him say something to the effect of, ".... made me schlep over here..." but it is quite friendly banter. I also hear him ask "... how long does he have to file a motin for a new trial?" He appears to be a very friendly man and Lindblom and Taylor appear to get along with him well from what I can see. They shake hands and then the man says, "Just call me; let me know." Then Taylor and Lindblom speak to the clerk again and I can't hear what they are saying.

The next hearing in the civil case is moved to Monday, June 4th right after Spector's sentencing. And that's it. I'm back in my car traveling home by 10 am.

The tan suited man was Chris Sheedy, whose office is located in Glendale. Interestingly, Spector did not actually hire Sheedy. Spector's first attorney to handle the civil case was an attorney he used in dealing with settlements he had with Ronnie Spector. After that attorney, another group of attorney's was assigned to the civil case; the same one's Spector used to successfully sue Michelle Blaine. However, Spector did not fully pay their bill in that case. They petitioned the judge and got removed as defense counsel. Spector then tendered his defense to his homeowners policy, to defend him on the wrongful death suit. It was Alstate Insurance who hired Sheedy. Now you have to wonder if this attorney has even met Spector, since Spector did not retain him.

Up until the criminal case came to a verdict, there has been what is called a "stay" on the civil case. That means that the nothing could move forward; people could not be deposed or investigations into Spector's finances were halted. All that has changed now. It's my understanding that Taylor and Lindblom made a conscious decision to step back and let the criminal trial proceed. They did not try to make contact with any witnesses or involve themselves in that case. With the criminal trial over (except for sentencing), their job finally starts.

Although this case was filed in Pasadena, it will not be heard by this judge. Most cases in these tiny branch courthouses only last for a couple weeks, maybe three at the most. his Handling a long case such as this in a branch court would affect the calendar of cases this court usually handles. It's my understanding that once depositions and discovery have been completed, the branch Judge makes a decision and the case is transferred to downtown Los Angeles to the "long cause matters" division. There are Judge's in downtown that specifically handle long cases of this type. The case could be heard in one of two places; the Stanley Mosk Courthouse at First and Grand near the music center, or at the Central Civil West Courthouse on a few floors of an office building. Both of these locations are near mass transit and would be easy to get to. Judge Pluim will handle all the pretrial until then, such as evidentiary disputes to obtain information and depositions. If Taylor and Lindblom are lucky, the civil trial could start around the beginning of 2010.

Many people have speculated that Spector will have to take the stand in the civil trial. That's not necessarily true. As long as Spector has an active appeal in his criminal trial he can take the 5th. He could continually appeal in his criminal trial, keeping that 5th Amendment right in play. There are a lot of things that are dynamic in the civil case right now, and until it moves forward with depositions and discovery, it's still too early to say that Spector "has to" take the stand. There is also the possibility that Spector could take the 5th in his civil trial. However, once he invokes that right, he is forever barred from testifying in the civil case, later.

There is another possibility that might delay the civil case. This is all speculation at this point, but consider this. Alstate Insurance could file an action in another court, seeking to be removed from the case. The argument could be that they don't owe Spector a defense for murder, that murder is not something that they are obligated to cover under his homeowners policy. A slip and fall, broken water pipes, sure; but not a murder conviction. We will just have to wait and see what happens. Maybe Spector will have to use that 1 million bond he just got back towards hiring a new defense attorney for the civil case.

Criminal Trial Aftermath
Meanwhile, back in the criminal case, many of you have asked where there might be more online viewing of the press conference once the verdict was reached. I've not found anything online. The most I've seen was April 14th on Tru Tv where Beth Karas gave three reports; once on Lisa Bloom at the end of the program and also on Jamie Floyd's show at the end. Her report on Banfield and Ford was on towards the end of the first hour of that show. What I have done is transcribe all the text from the clips provided within those three shows.

At the presser, Steve Cooley spoke first and then Alan Jackson. After Jackson, John Taylor, counsel for the family spoke. The jury foreperson addressed the press next and Weinberg went last. I've not found any news organization that aired Steve Cooley's statements. One respected reporter (whom I will not name) actually asked Alan Jackson, "What do you think happened that night?" To me, Jackson appeared dumbfounded for a moment that this seasoned reporter who covered the first case asked that question, then summed his answer similar to his closing argument.

Part of Jackson's statement is as follows:

"Any murder case is difficult. Every murder case, is difficult. We're talking about peoples' lives that are on the line. The, The victim went through something, [pause] very difficult quite frankly. The defendant is facing something very difficult. That is not lost on jurors.

When you impanel twelve people to decide the fate of somebody based on facts, for which they were not privy to until you present them in a courtroom, and the defense has their opportunity to present facts that are sometimes in opposite of that, it's difficult. These are difficult decisions, with, um, broad reaching ramification. That's what I mean when I say this is difficult."

When a reporter pressed Jackson about the cost of the trial from the prosecution's perspective, this is what Beth Karas reported he said. "You know, justice doesn't have a price tag. This office is going to pursue what ever it takes for justice, no matter the cost."

John Taylor, on behalf of the family: "The family is pleased with the verdict. The family is pleased that the jury rejected the distortion and trashing of Lana Clarkson's life, which was a part of this trial, the past trial and (has) been going on now for six years. Actions have consequences. Mr. Spector has to face, the consequences of his acts. There's no joy here today. It's a tragedy, um, but he has to face the consequences of his acts. The family cannot make any statements beyond that because of the ongoing civil case."

The foreperson for the jury spoke next. There were many questions peppered to her by reporters, specifically if there was "one piece" of evidence that stood out. She deflected all those questions by simply repeating that they reviewed all the evidence, and it was all the evidence in total that they considered in rendering their verdict. One out of the loop reporter asked the foreperson Towards the end of the presser, she became emotional and that's the portion of the clip that most news organizations have shown.

"This entire jury, took this so seriously. And I don't think there could have been [pause] another set of eleven people, who really, really listened to everything. [pause] We reviewed everything. [pause] And could not have been more, [pause] painful, [pause] in our decision. And, absolutely, [pause] nothing to do with Mr. Weinberg's ability. (She then turned to Mr. Weinberg and looked at him addressing him.) You were awesome. It just is [a] painful decision and 'til anybody is in our shoes, you have no idea. It's tough to be on a jury. And especially a jury of what we had to decide."

Reporter: Can you talk about why it was so painful and hard (for you)?

"Because you're talking about another human being. [pause] And, um, we all have hearts. We all have people we love. And you try to really, really evaluate another human being. And it's really difficult."

Doron Weinberg spoke next. He was flanked by Jennifer Barringer and their assistant/clerk, Tran Smith.

"I don't think justice was done today. I have an enormous amount of respect for this jury. As I said to them in, in my closing argument. It's hard to imagine a group of people taking a case more seriously, giving it more careful consideration, um, and, trying to do the best, honest job that they could. "

I have no doubt that the jury did that with complete integrity and complete honesty. But I've, in all candor, I think that they came to the wrong result. Not only because I don't believe Phil Spector murdered Lana Clarkson, but also because I'm very, very certain that under the proper legal standard, that, his guilt was not proven, not nearly proven beyond a reasonable doubt."

Questions were asked of Weinberg as to what he was specifically referring to.

"Well, I think, I think the most important ruling is probably the most highly contested ruling in the case and that is the admissibility of the evidence of, ah, um, from the five women who testified. We believe that, analytically, there's absolutely no legal basis for the admissibility of that evidence. But once the framework was set, with those five witnesses, and they were the heart of the prosecution's case, that's what they led off with, once that framework was set, it was extremely difficult for Mr. Spector to get a fair trial."

Beth Karas has indicated during her report that an appeal does not hold up the civil case. There is a possibility that Spector's civil attorney could argue before Judge Pluim that the civil case cannot go forward while there is an active appeal in the criminal case. We will just have to wait and see.

Criminal Trial Media Reports
Here are some more links to media coverage of the criminal case. Here is a report out of Australia. There is a video report also on the page. Just click the link listed on the right. Author Mick Brown is interviewed in this video clip link. The LA Weekly has an unusual piece on Leonard Cohen's Phrophecy contained in his album, Death of a Ladies' Man. If I find any new interesting reports I'll add them here.

I just have an small afterthought commentary on the Associated Press reporting. If you read Linda Deutsch's report, on the verdict and presser, she does not accurately quote the Clarkson family attorney, John Taylor.

Laurean In Lock Up In North Carolina

~Cesar Laurean
booking photo

At 9 p.m. last evening, Cesar Laurean was booked into the Onslow County Detention Center. He is being held without bail on charges of credit card transaction fraud, obtaining property by false pretenses and first-degree murder in the death of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach.

Prosecutors contend Laurean killed Lauterbach on December 14. 10 days later he used her ATM card and fled to Mexico. He was arrested in San Juan Vina in the Mexican state of Michoacan. Laurean holds dual citizenship in the United States and Mexico so he could not be immediately deported. He spent the past year fighting the extradition process.

Maj. Cliff Gilmore, Camp Lejeune spokesman, said Laurean would go to the civilian jail in Onslow County and stand trial in a civilian court. Laurean was listed as a deserter after he disappeared, but is still considered an active-duty Marine.

Laurean faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole if convicted. Mexico’s extradition policies prohibit U.S. authorities to seek the death penalty.

Because authorities have determined that Maria's child had not been born at the time of her death, DA Dewey Hudson said, prosecutors are only allowed to charge Laurean with a single count of murder under North Carolina law.

Lauterbach's body was found after Laurean's wife, Christina, provided authorities with a note her husband had written that claimed the 20-year-old Lauterbach slit her own throat during an argument.

A gaping 4-inch wound was found on the left side of Lauterbach's neck, but autopsy results indicated the wound would not have been fatal and possibly occurred after death. The autopsy report indicates Lauterbach died from blunt-force trauma to the head.

Prosecutors have said there was no evidence that Christina Laurean was involved in or aware of Lauterbach's death.

An arraignment is scheduled for Monday, April 20.

Defense attorney Dick McNeil says Laurean will plead not guilty once in court.



Thursday, April 16, 2009

Justice For Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, Finally?

~Cesar Laurean

January 2008, Maria Lauterbach and her unborn child’s charred remains were found buried in a fire pit in Cesar Laurean’s backyard.

Laurean, who has dual citizenship, led police on a three-month manhunt after fleeing to Mexico. He has been held in a Mexican prison for a year while fighting extradition to the US. He will be returned to the US this week.

Laurean and Lauterbach had worked together at Camp Lejeune. Lauterbach had accused him of rape. Before her disappearance in December 2007, military officials said they planned to investigate the allegation.

Onslow County District Attorney Dewey Hudson was forced to agree not to seek the death penalty in order for Mexico to consider returning Laurean.

Laurean is expected to be processed in state court in Houston, where he could waive extradition to North Carolina or fight it. Should Laurean decide to fight extradition, North Carolina Gov. Beverly Perdue would have to request that Texas return him and that could take up to a week.

Defense attorney Dick McNeil said he expects his client to plead not guilty, but he has no access to Laurean while US and Mexican authorities work out the extradition.

"I can tell you we're not pleading guilty. If he does, it's life without parole," said McNeil.


Are The Times A Changing in Jersey?

An emergency meeting of the States is scheduled for this coming Tuesday due directly to the recent unlawful arrest of Senator Stuart Syvret and the illegal search of his home!

Deputy Geoff Southern has issued a report and proposition that has been tabled for this extraordinary emergency meeting.

Reprinted from Senator Syvret’s blog:



Lodged au Greffe on 16th April 2009 by Deputy G.P. Southern of St. Helier.


THE STATES are asked to decide whether they are of opinion _

(a) to express their concern in respect of the apparent interference in the communications between elected representatives and their constituents which arises from the arrest and detention of Senator Stuart Syvret on 6th April 2009;

(b) to further express their concern in respect of the suppressing effect of such actions upon other elected representatives, and members of the public;

(c) to further express their concern in respect of the searching of premises, without a search warrant, and the consequent taking of communications between members of the public and their elected representatives;

(d) to request the Minister for Home Affairs to make an urgent statement concerning the decisions, whether operational or political, taken by the States of Jersey Police and the Minister in relation to the arrest and detention of Senator Stuart Syvret;

(e) to request the Privileges and Procedures Committee to make an urgent statement explaining the extent of the protection offered to States members, and their constituents, by parliamentary privilege.



Emergency States Sitting.

This is an urgent proposition, dealing as it does with matters of immense gravity that go to the very heart of free, functioning democracy in Jersey.

This proposition most certainly amounts to, as standing order 26 (7) says, “a matter of such urgency and importance that it would be prejudicial to Jersey to delay its debate.”

The States Assembly will, therefore, be asked at the beginning of the requisitioned meeting, to agree – as described in standing order 26(7) – to set aside the minimum lodging period in respect of this proposition.

The facts

At approximately 9.00 a.m., on Monday 6th April 2009, Senator Stuart Syvret, the senior Senator of the States Assembly, was arrested by the States of Jersey Police as he stepped from the door of his home. The arrest took place in the presence of approximately 8 police officers who were on the scene in 4 police vehicles.

Senator Syvret was told he was under arrest for alleged breaches of the Data Protection Law, and was, more specifically, later told that the alleged offences related to material published on his Internet blog.

The Senator’s home was then searched, although no search warrant was issued for the alleged offence under Schedule 9, Article 50, Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005.

The implications

The manner of Senator Syvret’s arrest, the search of his home without a warrant, and the taking away of some of his possessions and the possessions of others residing in the premises raises serious concerns for democracy in Jersey, Jersey’s external reputation, Parliamentary Privilege, the Rule of Law, and the accountability, control, and judgement of the police and judicial authorities.

For the avoidance of doubt, this proposition is not about –

1. Senator Syvret as an individual;

2. the merits or otherwise of any allegations or charges being made or brought against him by the police; or

3. the content of his blog.

The proposition, however, is about –

1. The reputation of Jersey as a democracy

It is difficult to describe the damage to Jersey’s reputation – even its very appearance as a functioning democracy – if Laws are used against members of the legislature and their constituents, in ways that appear to be disproportionate and of dubious validity.

The arrest and detention of a member of the legislature, and the searching of his home – without a search warrant – can only make Jersey appear as some kind of democratically bankrupt republic like Zimbabwe.

2. Parliamentary Privilege

The rights and privileges of parliamentarians have been the subject of a long and protracted battle over the last 400 years and should not be discarded lightly.

What is of profound concern is that any members of the Jersey parliament can be arrested in a patently excessive manner – and their home be searched by a large number of police officers – merely for publishing information which they believe to be in the public interest.

Of grave concern is that some of the material seized at Senator Syvret’s home not only concerned privileged communications between him and his constituents, but also similar privileged communications between another States Member and their constituents.

The information and equipment seized by the police included documents and computers owned by the Senator, as well as his Security ID fob for access to the States network, thereby giving the police access to communications between other States Members on a wide variety of issues, including the suspension of the Chief of Police and other allegations of police misconduct. In addition, computer equipment belonging to other family members not connected with the police enquiries was also removed for examination.

The police action can only be viewed as a direct threat to the people of Jersey and the democratic right of the public to communicate with their political representatives and for those representatives to fearlessly fight for their constituents.

A number of other States members now feel threatened and constrained in their work as elected representatives of the people of Jersey, as a direct consequence of the actions against the Senator.

If States members can have their communications interfered with and can be arrested and detained in a police cell for 7 hours, whilst their home is searched – without a search warrant – then Jersey is not a functioning democracy; instead members will always feel threatened by the prospect of such excessive and abusive actions against them.

The anger from all sides of the House of Commons in the United Kingdom at the arrest of Damien Green M.P., and the searching of his office, illustrates just how diligently members of a legislature guard their right to be free from persecutions and trivial harassments so they may speak and act for their constituents without fear.

If members of the States of Jersey fail to express similar concerns, the damage to our reputation will be colossal.

3. The misuse of the Police Procedures and Criminal Evidence (Jersey) Law 2003

Senator Syvret was told he was under arrest for alleged breaches of the Data Protection Law, and was, more specifically, later told that the alleged offences related to material published on his Internet blog. Information which the Senator believes is in the public interest.

If the Senator was allegedly in breach of the Data Protection (Jersey) Law 2005, which has specific provision in Article 50, Schedule 9, for the search of premises and the seizure of material, why were these provisions not used instead of Article 29 of the Police Procedures and Criminal Evidence (Jersey) Law 2003? Especially as the raid was obviously a pre-planned operation on Senator Syvret’s home. Why was Senator Syvret not merely invited to attend the Police Station?

4. Double standards

Why have the police gone to such extraordinary measures in this case when there have been other well-documented breaches of the Data Protection Law by other States Members – breaches of no public interest merit – which have not merited such action?

5. Role of elected and unelected Members of the States and Honorary System

A further consideration arises which directly affects the credibility of the Assembly as presently constituted. What was the role of the Bailiff, Deputy Bailiff, Attorney General or Solicitor General or Minister for Home Affairs in this affair?

Did the Connétable of the relevant parish know anything of the action against Senator Syvret? Did the States police undertake such a dramatic action without any prior consultation or notice to the honorary police in the parish?

Were any of the Connétable’s honorary officers actually involved in the action?

What role, if any, did the Connétable himself play in the planning or execution of this policing action in his parish?

Those supporting this proposition believe it to be absolutely vital to Jersey’s standing as a respectable democracy that the legislature meet as a matter of great urgency in order to debate the implications of the arrest and detention of Senator Stuart Syvret.

The Assembly must debate these issues in order to restore the public’s confidence in their ability to communicate freely and in confidence with their elected representatives.

The Minister for Home Affairs must be asked for an urgent statement concerning the decisions, whether operational or political, taken by the States of Jersey Police and the Minister in relation to the arrest and detention of Senator Stuart Syvret.

The Chairman of the Privileges and Procedures Committee must also be asked for an urgent statement outlining the extent of the protection offered to States members and their constituents by their parliamentary privilege.

Both democracy and the rule of law have been shaken by recent events.

The Assembly must exhibit the appropriate leadership.

Deputy Geoff Southern.

Stuart does express some pessimism:

What’s the betting the States Assembly rejects it? Or even refuse to debate it this coming Tuesday?

Sadly, I think we all understand those odds only too well.

I, on the other hand, am praying for the residents of this tiny island that their government is finally waking up to the realization they it can no longer continue operations as usual and moves into the 21st century!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Spector News Stories & Video


I thought I would provide some links to stories that the mainstream media has written on Spector's conviction over the last few days.

First, here is Mick Brown's latest piece. The Wall Street Journal weighs in. Time online's report has some of Spector's quotes to Steve Raab and Spector's thoughts about the prosecution team, years ago. Harriet Ryan has an insightful look at why this case ended with a verdict. I've been told time and time again that a case is won or lost in jury selection and I think this is true for any case, not just this one.

More reports: The Australian.

Nice video at CBS with a short synopsis and interview at the end with Lisa Bloom.

Linda Deutsch from the Associated Press weighs in.

Photo gallery from the LA Times.

Video grabbed from CNN:

In the video clip, the individuals sitting at the defense table with Doron Weinberg were Jennifer Barringer and their assistant, Tran Smith. In the video of the courtroom, you can just get a glimpse on the right of Wendy, Fidler's clerk who read the verdict as well as in the far left for just a moment or two, Cindy, one of the court reporters.

Anderson Cooper has a bit of information on Spector's new digs. Spector is currently being housed at the Twin Towers. Inmate information can be found at this link. His first name is spelled in the system with two "L's."

Local ABC Ch. 7's, Miriam Hernandez, spoke to Doron Weinberg in this video report, who visited Spector in jail on Tuesday.

Radar Online reports Spector will not be able to keep his "weave" in prison.

Here is a Guardian report (seven years ago) about the facilities where Spector is being housed. (Thank you, T&T reader, for the link to this story!)

Jay Leno has featured Spector in his monologues for two days in a row. He might again tonight. Here is what he said last night. Jay started off taking about the Pirates in Somolia news.

"Well as you know by now, Captain Phillips was rescued when the Navy Seals shot and killed 3 of the pirates. Although according to Phil Spector's attorney, the pirates shot themselves in the head."

"That's the big story here in Los Angeles. Apparently no where else. After 6 years the celebrity trial of Phil Spector is finally over. He's been found guilty of 2nd degree murder which he did. To get an idea of how long this trial has been going on, when it started, Phil Spector was actually a celebrity. You understand, that's why he got acquitted the first time. (oops Jay--it was a hung jury.) In fact, most people didn't even know--Did you know the retrial was going on?? How many thought we executed him 4 years ago? (Jay raises his hand.) See? You don't know!!!"

"I don't know if you saw Phil Spector's lawyer when the verdict was read. He was 'shocked--AHH--AHH--he was going he was shaking his head and he's all surprised.' (Jay is being a drama queen.) Well you can understand his surprise. Look, all the prosecutors had was 1) a murder weapon, 2) his prints on the weapon, 3) a body, 4) a motive, and 5) a witness who heard Spector say, 'I think I just killed somebody.' See in LA that's usually called 'circumstantial evidence.' (Huge applause from the audience.) So anyway the judge after the trial gave the jurors an instruction before releasing them. See, that's a mistake. Don't release them. This is like the only good jury we've had in LA in like 10 years. Hang on to these people!!!! They can convict somebody!! I would've convicted him based on his mugshot. Show them his mugshot. (Phil's mugshot on screen now.) Look at Phil Spector. Doesn't that look like Clay Aiken & Carrot Top had a kid together?" (Huge laughs and applause.)

"Well, the world's oldest person, a woman who lives right here in Los Angeles, just turned 115 years old this week. Show her picture. (Phil Spector's Mug Shot is put up on the screen again.) Amazing!" (Audience laughs again.)

Special thanks to the T&T reader who transcribed this section of last night's monologue for me.

There is a "status hearing" on the civil case this Friday. I plan on attending that hearing and will report on it. Those trial watchers who plan on going, it's in Pasadena.

And on a totally different topic, Mr. Sprocket did buy that delivery truck. The thing is so long, it almost won't fit in the driveway. And when it's parked on the street in front of our house, it's like there's this huge, white billboard parked there. I'm sure our neighbors are just going to "love" us.

Update: April 16th, 2009

Interview with Starsailor, on Q The, news section.

If you scroll down this link, it's a clip of Punkin Pie, talking and laughing at a "NAMM" show. It's not clear (to me at least) when this video was shot. If this is recent (January, 2009 show) then Pie looks pretty good considering her supposed deteriorated health since Lana's death. (A commenter states the video is from 2007. Sprocket)

I knew this was in the works but now a publisher has officially announced the proposed book by Spector's adopted son, Louis Spector.

More video from Entertainment Times Online and comments about the many Spector hair styles, or "weaves."

And finally, here's a link to one of my favorite writers, Steve Mikulan in the LA Weekly. I bet he was writing this piece while he was sitting next to me when the verdict was read.

AP video on the verdict and Linda Deutsch.

The latest from

Psychology Today on the rise and fall of Phil Spector.

No Confidence Vote For Jersey Health Minister And A Resignation

Recently in a meeting of the States, many in the assembly heard Health Minister Perchard swear at Senator Stuart Syvret and told him to “top himself.” This is not the first time the Minister has suggested Stuart commit suicide – he has done so on two other occasions.

Perchard has been strongly criticized by States members since he apologized for using "inappropriate language" during a States meeting.

The uproar caused by Perchard’s outburst was followed by Perchard offering a half-baked, insincere apology on television.

Deputy Roy le Herisser called for a vote of no confidence in the Health Minister saying he was disappointed Perchard hadn't done more to show he regretted his actions.

A week later, from channelonline:

Jersey's Health Minister Senator Jim Perchard has resigned.

The call for his resignation was made after the minister told Senator Stuart Syvret to "go and top himself."

Senator Perchard has apologized to the 22-strong senior management team at Health and Social Services who he says he failed to protect against "despicable and relentless onslaught of allegations made against them of murder, unlawful killing, child abuse, corruption, bullying and cover-up."

He also apologized to patients who he says will now not benefit from "my exciting plans."

The resignation was sent to Sir Philip Bailhache.

Notice the bolded part of his resignation – it is a veiled reference to Stuart Syvret’s work and how this is all Stuart’s fault - but also points to the complete lack of control by Perchard. His swearing at and telling a colleague to commit suicide reflect his lack of professionalism.

I say good riddance Jimmy – don’t let the door hit you on the way out!

Senator Stuart Syvret Blog