Thursday, August 6, 2009

Cameron Brown Retrial: Day Six, Part II

Monday August 3rd, 2009

Prosecution Witnesses:

Morning session:

#15 Antionette Martinez (LA Co. Sheriff Deputy who responded to scene and gave death notification to Sarah Key-Marer;testimony complete)

I'm traveling by bus and train today. I get to the stop nearest my house just in time for the bus that runs along Sepulveda Blvd. It's a smaller, older bus. I'll take this to the Orange Line then onto the Red Line into Downtown. Mr. Sprocket is working on our car today He is replacing the rack and pinion (sp?).

On my walk from Sepulveda to the Orange Line, I call my friend LS who just sat for the California Bar exam. I hadn't heard how they think they did no the exam. I catch an Orange Line bus at 8:27 am and hope I can make it in time for court at 9:30 am. By some miracle, I make the 8:49 train. I'll make it just in time.

At the Universal City station, a blind man gets on with crippled hands. He heads directly for a handicapped seat and the man sitting in it gets up and guides the blind man into the side facing seat. A few benches away, a man reading a newspaper falls out of his seat at the end of the car. I'm betting he had fallen asleep.

My mind drifts, thinking about all the construction that went into building the Red Line tunnel. Mr. Sprocket and I enjoy watching a show on the Science Channel called Colossal Construction. They've recently showcased enormous building projects
like the Inchon bridge in Korea and a power plant dam in Switzerland, building a new water bypass tunnel in these high mountains. I think about what must have gone into building such a huge tunnel in an earthquake zone.

It's then that I notice the young girl sitting next to me is reading Amber Fry's book, Witness For The Prosecution. I ask her if she is enjoying the book and if she followed the case. She tells me she picked the book up for $1.00 at a clearance store. She says she's never read anything like it before. She's 22 years old.

It's clear from her conversation that she is having trouble understanding the type of person who would do what Peterson did and how he was able to fool everyone. I tell her, that I'm very familiar with that case and although it's been some time, I know a bit about it. I also tell her she is trying to understand an individual who was without conscience. I recommend to her that she should pick up Dr. Hare's book, "Without Conscience," and write it down for her.

I make it into the courtroom at 9:27 am. Detective Martinez takes the stand. I see the defendant speak to his attorney. The pretty, dark-haired young girl is back sitting in the first bench row on the far left, the defense side. She's with the defense's clerk.

JP: May I see counsel please?

Court Reporter: On the record your honor?

JP: Yes, please.

Court Reporter: Mr. Hum, I'm sorry, I can't hear you.

CH: It's okay. It wasn't anything (important?).

After the private discussion at the bench, Pastor addresses his clerk, Sammie Benson.

JP: Could you ask her if she could wait about fifteen minutes?

Counsel and the Judge continue their conversation but I believe it's off the record because I don't see Mavis the court reporter typing away. I'm wondering is it something about a witness?

We then find out that Alternate #3, the older woman, had been in the hospital over the weekend. She was in the ER for approximately 14 hours and she hasn't gotten any rest. Pastor and the attorneys agree that they don't want to lose a juror this early in the trial and they agree to suspend testimony, call a recess until tomorrow in the hopes that the juror can get the rest she needs and be ready to go tomorrow. They will finish the cross of Martinez and that will be if for today. Pastor asks counsel if he should tell the other jurors. Pastor states, "If she isn't better tomorrow, then we'll have to do something."

The jury enters. Patty is here in the front row wearing a purple top. Ted is in the third row, almost directly behind her. Pastor introduces the jury to the new bailiff, LA Co. Deputy Sheriff Joel Rodriguez (sp?) and his regular clerk, Ms. Sammie Benson. "We're delighted that both of them are here," Pastor says. Pastor explains to the jury the scheduling issue. He doesn't describe the nature of the problem, he skirts around that issue and just explains that the court is sensitive to the needs of the jurors.

JP: Cross, Mr. Harris?

PH: On November 8th, 2000, you were a detective in the Homicide Bureau?

AM: At that time, eight years.

PH: At some time were you called out to investigate Inspiration Point?

AM: Yes.

PH: Your role solely at that time was to investigate homicide?

AM: No.

The time she arrived at the scene is established at around 6 pm. After she arrived, she received different instructions.

PH: You were called away from the scene?

AM: I wasn't called away.[...] I was directed by investigators to another Sheriff's station by detectives on the scene.

Harris has her review the incident log.

PH: You didn't sign in that day?

AM: I didn't enter the crime scene.

Once the witness saw the media vans, she waited for Detective Leslie and Smith to show up. Once they arrived she left the scene.

Harris elicits that Martinez interviewed the defendant's wife, Patty Brown at the Lomita Station. She arrived at Lomita Station at 19:45 hours.

PH: When you interviewed, did you interview Ms. Brown or Ms. Marer first?

I believe she answers that he interviewed Ms. Brown first.

PH: Did you ask her if she knew about the death.

The detective pauses before she answers.

AM: I don't remember exactly if I asked her that.

PH: Did she tell you in fact that she knew about the death?

CH: Objection! Facts not in evidence! Hearsay!

JP: Sustained!

I note that from the way that Patty is sitting, it looks like she colored her hair.

There is a sidebar. Susan Kim looks back at Sarah and her friend as they enter the courtroom for the first time and Ms.Kim smiles at them.

Patty looks back at them as they enter the courtroom.

The sidebar is over and it looks like Harris won his argument at the bench.

JP: Mr. Harris, re ask your question.

PH: Did you become aware during this interview that Mrs. Brown knew about this death?

AM: She may have; I don't know. I know that I told her.

Harris has the witness look at a document. It's a copy of a report she wrote. The witness then states she was informed of the incident (by other detectives).

AM: I don't know exactly what they told her.

PH: Did Mrs. Brown tell you that Mr. Brown called her to tell her where he was going that day?

I believe the answer to that question is yes.

There's no redirect by Hum. That's it. Pastor addresses the jury. One juror has a significant personal issue over the weekend. Significant enough matter that they want to be sensitive to that particular juror. He apologizes to them for the inconvenience. He tells them they will get paid for their jury service today. He tells them it's their decision whether or not they want to go into work today. Today is a jury service day for them. Pastor orders the jurors back at 9:00 am tomorrow. "And again, I'm sorry for the inconvenience," he tells them. "Please stay well and I'll see you tomorrow at 9:00 am."

As Patty turns her head, I see that it's just the way the fluorescent lights hit her hair and she didn't color it. The jury files out.

JP: Ms. Benson is going to chat with Alternate #3 and if she feels that he can't come tomorrow, if she can't serve, we won't have the luxury of waiting.

Hum states because of the scheduling shift, he may be putting witnesses on out of order. There are three witnesses coming tomorrow from out-of-state.

JP: Mr. Harris, are you okay with that?

PH: I'm okay with that.

Pastor asks if there are any 402 issues with any of these upcoming witnesses. Hum states that he still has not received the new material from the defense expert relating to bio-mechanics.

There is more discussion about the scheduling of witnesses. Hum states that he still has a couple of hours of Detective Leslie on the stand before he will release him to cross. The continue to go over logistics. Pastor orders counsel back tomorrow at 8:30 am. I look on over at Patty and I see that she is taking notes, writing on a notepad.

And that's it. I head home.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the update. I find it very interesting that Brown's family - parents, siblings are not in attendance. Have you ever seen them in the courtroom?

Sprocket said...

Brown's wife, Patty and Patty's brother, Ted are in the courtroom most days.

I am guessing the reason some of these other relatives are not in the courtroom is because they "could be" on the defense witness list.

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much Sprocket for covering this trial! I'm quite interested in the outcome!
Hope your kitty is doing better!!