Friday, September 18, 2009

Cameron Brown Retrial; Closing Arguments, Part II

Continued from Closing Arguments, Part I...

1:14 pm: I'm back in the courtroom that is filling up with people. Judge Pastor asks to see counsel at sidebar. A new reporter sits in the back row, not realizing she can't sit there because that's how the jurors enter the courtroom. We're missing Juror #7, the MD who works for Kaiser. The reporter and her cameraman move to the far back corner and stand.

Sarah is wearing a gray pantsuit. Patty is wearing a bright turquoise jacket and navy pants.

It's 1:20 pm and we're still waiting for the juror.

I learn that the young, pretty woman to my left who attended the trial off and on was in the jury panel in this case. She said she was originally in seat #8. Her aunt was murdered and her father is an attorney. She tells me she is a big fan of Pat Harris and brought a paperback copy of Susan McDougal's book The Woman Who Wouldn't Talk with her. She asked the relatives of Pat Harris if they could get him to autograph the book for her. (Link to an interview with Susan McDougal.)

1:25 pm, the missing juror finally arrives. I note that in the afternoon session Mavis is the court reporter up again. I don't know how she's going to pull this all day session and probably go into overtime!

Harris steps up to give his closing argument.

PH: I too on behalf of Ms. Yeretsian and Mr. Brown thank you for your service.

He speaks so quickly, I can't write much of what he says in the beginning down. I have a note here that says ~black/white .... back and forth~ but it's not bringing up any memory of what Harris said.

PH: ....sincere appreciation. This has been a long trial. [...] Mr. Hum ended by stating Cameron Brown walked onto Inspiration Point and picked up Lauren and threw her to her death. [...] Step back [...] in a courtroom, perspective can be a difficult thing. [...] It's that incredible an act and that's what you're asked to believe. [...] What kind of person does that? That's what the prosecution would ask you to believe.

Harris then makes an analogy to an old television show with Ralph Edwards, This Is Your Life.

PH: They've gone all over the US, all over the US to prove that Cameron Brown is the type of person that would throw his daughter off a cliff. [...] They allege a jealous relationship with a prior girlfriend. Imagine. A 22 year-old male having a jealous relationship. Now that's something you've never heard about.

Harris refutes the prosecution witness who testified about Brown being upset about his father arriving late for a breakfast meeting.

PH: they spent years, thousands of dollars (trying to prove) that this man (is a monster).

Mark Geragos, Nareg Gourjian and other staff members of Geragos and Geragos enter 107 and sit in the very back row.

PH: They have to dehumanize him. They can't even call him by his name.

(That's an interesting tactic, pointing out that the prosecution called Brown "the defendant.")

Harris puts up on the overhead an obviously much younger photo of Brown standing beside his surfboards with long, sun-bleached blond hair, sporting muscular shirtless body.

PH: That's the monster who supposedly (threw his daughter off a cliff). Mr. Hum told you he never took photos of her before. [...] That was wrong.

Harris puts up photos of Lauren taken at Lynne Brown's home. I believe it's at this point that Harris mentions that there was a photo of Lauren on Brown's nightstand.

PH: There are nineteen of them, just to start with.

(I think the photographs the defense presents are interesting evidence. They were not found at Cameron's home during the executed search warrant on 1/2/2001.)

Harris mentions the letter that Jon Hans wrote "a while back" where he said Cameron "...couldn't possibly do what he's accused of."

Harris mentions defense witness Mr. Dietzler (sp?) and how he testified that Brown would go out of he way to help his grandmother, who had Alzheimer's.

PH: Ms. Lynne Brown testified that he was the son who came around to help change her diapers; (the other's stayed away). [...] Mark Thompson talked about cam as a friend and human being [...] and that was an amazing story. (The story about a night out camping, Brown slept outside and let his friend sleep in Brown's van/camper and that's the night he believes his wife got pregnant.) [...] He would drive to Fontana to bring gifts to Thompson's daughter on his motorcycle. [...] Jane (Doe) talked about him always being extremely thoughtful. [...] (When they made the decision to end her pregnancy) they cried together on the sofa. [...] That's the kind of man he was. Jeane Barrett. [...] that's another (prosecution) witness who (said) he was kind and thoughtful.

Harris mentions testimony of Lynne Brown again and then Sarah.

PH: Ms. Key-Marer went out with him for two months. She said he had lots of good traits. [...] Mr. Hum only spent about two minutes about Cameron Brown's relationship with his daughter. [...] What did he have as a relationship with his daughter?

Harris brings up the testimony of Scott Simonson.

PH: (They asked him) How was he with his daughter? He used to bring her down to his boat.

Harris puts up the transcript testimony of Scott Simonson.

PH: This is key. His whole attitude changed after he found out about his daughter.

Harris reads from the transcript some more.

PH: That's critical because that's a prosecution witness. [...] Their witness told you this.

Harris says he won't dispute that before Brown got to meet his daughter (he didn't believe she was his).

PH: But witness after witness said that once he knew it was his (child) his whole attitude changed. [...] These are people who saw her with Cam.

Harris mentions the witness who took his children trick-or-treating with Cameron and Lauren.

PH: [...] brought him in to show you that one before, he was taking her trick or treating. that he specifically found a family, a friend with kids so that she would have a good time. [...] Lynne Brown talked about their relationship and that they were so special together, that he (adored that little girl).

Harris addresses the testimony of the teachers at Lauren's school when Brown picked Lauren up and told her "Daddy's here."

PH: Even prosecution witness Dave Bannister, that [...] he spoke very lovingly about his daughter. [...] Jan Meuler, the mediator said, "Cam always wanted more time with Lauren." [...] That's her testimony. [...] And that he loved her and wanted more time with her. [...] Again, he was there alone, without Patty.

(Harris mentions this, that Brown went to the mediation alone, without Patty, as if that's significant but he fails mention that attorney Stacey Phillips testified that spouses of either party were not allowed in on the mediation meetings.)

Harris mentions Sarah writing "over and over in her journal that they were getting along, feeling each other out; it was good."

PH: Mr. Hum's theory is, he was angry, vindictive and was going to get her. [...] There's on thing wrong with that theory. For three months, they got together and met at parks together (for Lauren to get to know Brown). [...] He had absolutely a good relationship with her (Sarah). [...] This idea that he was bitter for several years just doesn't hold water.

Harris mentions again that Brown always wanted more time with Lauren. Harris brings up the alleged adoption agreement.

PH: They can talk about (it) all day. It doesn't hold water. One swipe of the pen; (could have signed away his rights) but he didn't do it because he refused to do it because he didn't want someone to adopt his daughter.

Lynne Brown and Brown Senior enter 107.

Harris states that the argument with his mother was about the fact that she snuck around trying to see Lauren without his knowledge and that Brown can't see his daughter. Harris mentions the long list of gifts that Brown gave his daughter. He mentions the nine photos at the house and that one was on the bed stand.

PH: He took few vacations and scheduled his vacation while Lauren was in England.

Harris describes the long drive he would have to take to Orange County to see his daughter, every week. An hour down and an hour back.

PH: Every week to see his daughter. This man, who (supposedly) didn't want anything to do with Lauren.

(It was court ordered. He had to.)

PH: Look at her (Sarah's) journal. Almost every single week, like clockwork.

Harris then presents arguments against the prosecution's claim that Lauren's death was premeditated.

PH: They've been telling you for two months that he's been planning it for two months and then they tell you that it didn't have to be that.

Harris then goes over Lynne Brown's testimony, about how she feels guilty that her son called and asked if he could bring Lauren there and she told him "Sorry, I can't today. It will have to be next week." (From what I've been told, it's not been firmly established that he called his mother the day of Lauren's death and asked to bring Lauren. It could have been the day before.)

PH: This is the plan? That he drives all the way to Inspiration Point? What if there are three people up there having a picnic? How does he plan that? How does (Hum) know that he's going to do that? [...] He doesn't know if people from the houses (on the hillside) can see him. [...] He doesn't know if people from the road can see him. [...] He could have gone to park in the parking lot across the street to the church, and parked in that lot for free, then taken her directly to Inspiration Point to throw her off the cliff. That would have been easier. [...] Why couldn't he do that? [...] He's got a boat. That would be easier.

Then Harris addresses Brown's demeanor after Lauren's death.

PH: Yes,t when you premeditate this whole thing and then you're going to act like you don't (care)? (You) come up with this whole plan and then when police show up, you act like you don't care? It doesn't make any sense! [...] It's like planning a robbery and not bringing a get away car.

Harris then addresses the prosecution experts as to where Lauren left the cliff.

PH: They literally have to have a point of departure there because that's the only thing that supports the physics. [...] You have to ask, why would you go all the way down to throw her off there.

Harris now goes to attack Detective Leslie's partner, Detective Smith who is retired, living in another state and was not called by the prosecution.

PH: You didn't see Detective Smith here. His fingerprints are on everything in this case. Maybe it has something to do with that phone book "assholes" comment.

Harris then brings up the 50 minute video tape of the walk (hike) that retraced the route, and that the jurors had to sit through it.

PH: Notice we didn't hear that today? [...] Because it wasn't 50 minutes. Once we timed it, it was 27 minutes, total. [...] Supposedly Detective Smith had a video [...] they walked [....] 27 minutes.

Harris now brings up the fact that Dr. Hayes did not do dummy drop tests off the cliff.

PH: Why didn't they do that? [...] Because they know they would get the results that Dr. Siegmund got.

Harris now argues that the amount of time that passed from when Brown hung up the 911 call to when the first responders arrived at the archery range was six to eight minutes.

PH: That's super-human (that Brown did that apparently in that short of time, got over the cliff from Sacred Cove to retrieve his daughter out of the water) and they didn't want you to know it. [...] The prosecution to counter that, they attacked their own witness! [...] They know that Cameron Brown was running around out there like crazy trying to get his daughter out of the water.

Harris then states that the prosecution never asked for Patty Brown's finances at first.

PH: The phone calls, that Sarah Key-Marer documented, we don't eve know when that happened.

Harris implies that the phone calls could have been months later than Sarah dated them. Harris states that police put Brown under surveillance for days. "Where are those tapes? You didn't see them," he argues. Harris states that Dr. Lachmanan was never called to back up the testimony of Dr. Chinwah. He goes onto imply that we don't know exactly what Dr. Lachmanan did in reviewing the case. He could have been just an administrator, and just signed off without reviewing the case file.

Harris then states the witnesses that the prosecution could have called to back up Sarah's testimony of statement Lauren supposedly made, "This talk about Mommy's going to jail." The prosecution didn't call Greg Marer or Lauren's step-brother, Joshua. "Then bring them in to testify to back her up. [...] They don't do it."

PH: Mr. Hum made two references to Dr. Karim (sp?) about (him being) a doubles's partner to my wife. Dr. Karim was educated at Cambridge. (He) gets repeatedly hired by police forces. [...] Hum didn't bring in a single person to say that disassociation didn't happen.

Harris now presents argument about Hum's allegation that Dr. Oppenhaven (sp?) lied about Dr. Hayes.

PH: If that's not true, well then, if I'm Dr. Hayes I'd get on a place and Id be back to rebut that. [...] Why didnt' he come to rebut it? They didn't do that. [...] They had Ms. Key-Marer total up the hours (that Brown visited with his daughter) and it was only sixteen days. Why didn't they do the next logical step and find out how many hours was he legally allowed to see her? They didn't do that. [...] They still stood up and said her injuries were minimal. We showed you the photos. [...] Pictures don't create that. [...] Those injuries are reminiscent of someone falling. [...] Bruises up and down her shins. They just ignored that. [...] The bruise on her back. They just ignored that.

Harris then puts up the exhibit of People's #15 and implies that there used to be a photo in a certain area of the poster board display.

PH: Notice there was a photo taken out? Lauren on her back. [...] This picture.

Harris is showing the jury a defense exhibit photo.

It's 2:30 pm and I wonder how long Harris is going to argue.

PH: What else did they ignore? [...] Detective Leslie said, "I didn't think that he ran very hard because he didn't have any cuts. [...] You can see in the photos cuts on the back of his legs. [...] If it doesn't fit the evidence, just ignore it.

Harris now argues that the prosecution witnesses all described the "protrusion" as "U shaped."

PH: The trail looks like a U shape.

Harris then argues that it would not look like a "U shape" from the ground.

My notes are not clear at this point. I believe Harris then repeats a statement by Mr. Hum.

PH: Mr. Hum said I want to show you something, the single most damming thing in this trial [...] (talk about the U shape) and this protrusion. [...] They have to put her down there because they can say [....] but they chose to ignore.. (They went with Dr. Hayes....)

Harris now mentions Detective Brothers.

PH: Cameron Brown told her where he was; everyone ignored it.

Harris is now reading from Brother's testimony, the questions and answers.

PH: Did the defendant tell you the sloped part where Lauren fell from? [...] He said he was seated at the end of Inspiration point on a level area at the end of Inspiration Point. [...] He TOLD them that! [...] He was standing on the level area [...] and then it slopes down. [...] The level area is by the bush. [...] No one's saying... [...] Mr. Brown told them he was for feet from the edge [...] if you get a little off the trail. [...] What they chose to do is take the information and transfer it to that sloped area. [...] Where he actually told them he was was where you and I were standing yesterday.

Brown is stoic, unemotional all through the prosecution and the defense arguments.

PH: Answer, he said that he was seated at the end of Inspiration Point on a level area.

Harris then goes after several aspects of Detective Leslie's testimony and calls it "scripted." Harris states he doesn't have children, he has a dog. He can't imagine what Sarah Key-Marer has gone through.

PH: Ms. Key-Marer wants Mr Brown convicted and she's stretching some things that have happened at the time. (There are) discrepancies about her declaration that she dated him for a year.

Harris addresses where Sarah testified Brown told her, "that's where kids died."

PH: That's not what she told Detective Leslie. "That people commit suicide there." [...] What Cam said (she wrote everything down in her journal) what comes around goes around. (Apparently this is not in her journal of things that Brown said.)

Harris then addresses Ms. Key-Marer's testimony about the counseling session. He goes over the testimony of the counselor, and that for her to do what Ms. Marer suggested would have been "unethical." Harris then brings up the deportation. He brings up every issue that he challenged in motions before trial to get ruled inadmissible. He takes all those issues that Sarah accused Brown of and challenges their validity.

PH: She lied to say all the things going on (problems) in Lauren's life were Cam's fault.

Harris challenges more of Sarah's testimony that's damaging to his client. At 2:57 pm Judge Pastor calls for the afternoon break.

In the restroom, I speak to the woman sitting in the row in front of me that I've been told is a relative of Pat Harris. She tells me that she is his aunt, and this is the first time she's seen one of Pat's closings.

3:14 pm, we are waiting for the jury. Brown puts his tie back on. I see Harris flip though the rest of his notes. He flips through six pages and there appear to be more underneath those. Judge Pastor reminds Brown to get his jacket on before they call the jury in a minute later.

Harris continues attacking the prosecution witnesses and the fact that they called Detective Leslie to the stand three times. He describes Detective Leslie as the prosecution's "relief pitcher."

PH: When you start looking at actual facts verses what was testified to...

Harris brings up the fact that Brown's three hour interview with police was not audio or video taped. (In my mind, this is the single most powerful defense evidence.)

PH: That's all well and good if he had tape recorded or video taped the interview. [...] We don't have the actual recording or evidence. [...] Even if (it's) written in the report, we don't know if that's exactly as Cameron Brown said. [...] We wouldn't have that [...] he chose not to video tape or record that. [...] What Mr. Brown said was, she started off hiking. He never said she led. [...] Lynne Brown said she tool Lauren all the time (to the water?). [...] She (Lauren) started to walk along the beach. [...] Which is what Cameron Brown said. [...] She started to walk.

Harris now gives his impression of what a hike is. Sometimes some is ahead and sometimes someone else is ahead. "It's a hike. It's not a march."

Harris then addresses (the prosecution?) attacking Terry Hope's (sp?) testimony.

PH: Either Hope is telling the truth about both things or he's not. You can't have it both ways. [...] Dr. Berkowitz. [...] They took her on a hike that didn't exist. They told her it took 50 minutes. [...] They didn't show her the other video. [...] She had the wrong time and the wrong route.

Pat Harris addresses Dr. Berkowitz's testimony that Lauren would not have gone on the hike voluntarily.

PH: There's a third way that a child will want to do something. [They would want] to do something to please a parent.

Harris states that from the playground to Inspiration Point it's "about 25 to 30 minutes."

PH: They go down to the beach, walk the beach and then they took the paved road. [...] Then (they) go down the first time, down the gully.

My note here is not clear, but Harris is saying something to the effect that the only part of the route that might have been hard would be the route through the gully. (I'm now certain that my husband and I took the same route that Lauren and Brown took from Palos Verdes South to Inspiration Point.)

Harris goes back to challenge more of the testimony of Detective Leslie about what he countered. He then brings up Detective Smith, who put in one of his notebooks "Phonebook Assholes" for a list of phone numbers of Brown's friends.

PH: (They) can't get away from that. It's there in writing.

Harris now says that during the three hour interview with Detectives, Brown was slowly remembering the events that happened up on the cliff.

PH: Why would he (Brown) lie? It makes no sense. [...] He was trying to recall details.

Harris states that he won't go over all the witnesses but he does go back to Dr. Hayes.

PH: In order to get the physics to work, he has to get her down at the bottom.

I take a moment to look on over at Brown. Brown leans back in his cair. His left elbow is on the defense table. Most of the fingers of his left hand are curled back, but his forefinger and thumb are stretched out and they are resting, no, supporting his chin.

Harris accuses Dr. Chinwah of missing a bruise on Lauren's back. Harris states that Dr. Beckwith testified the injuries were extensive and were from more than one impact.

Now Harris goes over with the jurors jury instructions and the four options they have. First degree, second degree, involuntary manslaughter and not guilty. He tells the jury that, "Second degree murder and involuntary manslaughter can be confusing, so aks if you have any questions." Harris points out that it has to be an intentional act for second degree.

Harris states our theory is in jury instruction 4.45. That's basically our theory of the case. Jury instruction 8.50 is the distinction between murder and involuntary manslaughter.

PH: The burden is on the prosecution to prove [...] all have to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. Jury instruction 8.45, this is for involuntary manslaughter.

He reminds the jurors again, what it requires. He then mentions something about jury instruction 8.46, and that it talks about "without due caution and circumspection."

Harris states that their view of the case is not first or second degree, but asks them to look at involuntary and not guilty instructions.

PH: We don't believe it's an involuntary case. We don't believe they proved it's a murder case.

Harris then moves onto the special circumstance of financial gain and that the prosecution did not do a good job os proving he married her (Patty) for her money.

PH: You marry for at least seven figures, which is what someone does when they marr for money.

(I have to force myself to keep from smirking. I cannot believe Harris makes this argument, that Patty wasn't wealthy enough for Cam to marry her for money. Patty certainly had a lot more money than Brown ever did.)

PH: Brown could have earned $500. more a month if he worked just a few more hours a week. (But he chose instead to spend time with his daughter.) [...] The man who couldn't wait to get rid of his daughter, paid the child support for another six months. [...] You would think that he would have been in that courtroom next month to end the child support! [...] When you get into custody, you're actually getting into more expenses. They're not cut.

Harris addresses Hum's accusation that Patty wanted Lauren for herself.

PH: Patty wasn't even around Lauren. She had barely met Lauren at that time.

Harris then addresses Jon Han's testimony about that issue. He then goes onto interpret the letter that Patty wrote, that was found in the home during the search warrant.

PH: No one thought they'd get custody of Lauren. She just said ask for the moon and maybe you'll get something.

Harris now moves onto Dr. Chinwah.

PH: Dr. Chinwah never said that wasn't a bruise on her back. [...] He never said that.

(I dispute that. Dr. Chinwah stated it was lividity.)

Harris states he believes Detective Leslie was wrong, and that he became (personally? emotionally?) involved in the case.

PH: (Detective Leslie) That night he got angry. He has a daughter. He got invested. He got his ego involved. But he's just dead wrong.

Harris accuses the homicide detectives of ignoring things. It's 4:00 pm, and Harris now tries to project what Hum will say in his rebuttal argument.

PH: I think we live in a different society today. If this happened thirty or forty years ago, Mr. Brown wouldn't be here. [...] With the shows on TV, the society [...] somebody's got to pay for it. [...] (TV) shows where they have convicted (him/someone) before he's even accused.

Harris mentions the Internet and some of the horrible things that are said.

PH: That's society today. [...] It's simply not true.

Harris mentions Jon Hans, and what he read on the Internet.

PH: That's some of the interest that society has today. [...] Look at the evidence. Please be fair; not on emotion.

Harris now has the softest tone of voice I've ever heard throughout the trial.

PH: If you look at the evidence, there's no way he picked his daughter up and threw her off the cliff. It's just not possible.

Harris is finished with his closing argument and Judge Pastor asks, "Mr. Hum?" Hum states he needs a few minutes. Judge Pastor asks the jurors to go into the jury room for a moment while Hum gathers his final thoughts together. Hum tells Judge Pastor that he needs just two to three minutes. Ted comes over to the reporters and speaks to Jack Leonard again.

It's seven minutes after 4:oo pm and Hum is ready to present his last argument. The jury is brought back in and Hum starts at about 4:10 pm. I thought that Hum meant that his rebuttal argument would be just a few minutes. But that's not what happens. He speaks for over an hour.

To be continued in Part III....