Thursday, October 18, 2012

Cameron Brown Thrid Trial: Pretrial #4

Lauren Sarene Key, 4. Date unknown.  
Brown is accused of throwing his four-year-old daughter off of
Inspiration Point, 120 ft. drop, in Rancho Palos Verdes, CA, 
on November 8th, 2000.

 October 12th, 2012
It's 8:15 AM, and I'm on the 9th floor of the downtown criminal court building, aka the Clara Shortridge-Foltz Crimial Justice Center (CJC).  This end of the hallway is relatively empty.  Not long after I sit down, DDA Craig Hum arrives, says hello and takes a seat on the bench directly across from me.  As Hum opens up his newspaper, I ask him what his current assignment is.  Hum is now in the Organized Crime Division.  The Brown case is the only case he still has from his days in Torrance and in Major Crimes.

Patty Brown arrives in the hallway.  She's wearing a simple white (knit?) top and black pants.  She's wearing the gold lame ballet slippers again.  A few moments later her brother Ted Kaldis arrives.  He's wearing a casual short sleeved print shirt with ships on it and jeans.

When the courtroom opens, Patty and Ted sit in the first row nearest the aisle.  I take a seat in the first row closer to the jury box.  I'm father from the defendant than I would like, but hopefully I'll still be able to hear him if he speaks.

Mrs. Benson is at her desk and DDA Hum continues to read his paper in the well.  We are waiting on Aron Laub again.

A woman carrying a thin leather folder enters the courtroom who was in the hallway earlier.  She greets Patty and Ted and sits on the left side of the courtroom where defense staff usually sit.  I make a guess that she's either an investigator or paralegal for the defense.

8:36 AM Mr. Laub arrives.

Laub goes up to Mrs. Benson's counter and hands her a paper.  I believe Mrs. Benson asks Laub if this is for additional money and he replies, "Yes."  It's about funds for a paralegal for Laub that has already been appointed.  Laub tells Mrs. Benson, "Shes' in the courtroom today." I guess correctly.

Laub then shows a few pages to DDA Hum.  Ted says something I don't catch.  When he sees me writing in my notepad, I think he thought I was writing down what he just said, because the next thing he does say, "Don't tell me you're gong to write that," I believe is addressed at me.

I have in my notes that Laub says to Hum, something to the effect that he's going to ask the judge for a motion to compel.  Apparently, Brown is having trouble with the jail.  (This is not news.  Brown has claimed for years that he's having trouble with the jail.)  The only part of Hum's response I hear is "1054."  Laub replies, "I'm anticipating that argument."

Brown's wife leans forward on the bench seat and rests her elbows on the "bar" that separates the well from the gallery.  Patty asks Laub about glasses for her husband or trying to get glasses to her husband.  Laub says something to the effect that they won't accept (the one's she's brought?) because they have metal temples.  They have to be plastic all the way back.

Laub's paralegal moves from the gallery to sit with Laub at the defense table.  Court reporter Mavis comes out with her equipment.  She gives me a smile as she walks behind the defense table and then greets DDA Hum as she passes him on her way to her desk.

Patty is now leaning back on the bench seat and Ted is leaning forward with his elbows on the "bar."  I note that Mavis's fingernails are painted a dark, muted shade of red.

8:46 AM Judge Pastor comes out from the back private area. He looks over a paper and appears to make some notes at the sidebar area of his bench.  Judge Pastor then takes the bench but the defendant is not brought out yet.  Ted has his eyes closed and it appears that he might be falling asleep.

8:53 AM  Brown is brought out.  Before sitting down, he gives the same, tiny quick nod to his wife that I observed at the last hearing.  We go on the record in the Brown matter.

Pastor appears to be reading the document that Laub submitted.  Judge Pastor or Mrs. Benson confirm that it is the exact same document that the defense filed on May 15th (of this year?).  I believe Pastor asks why Laub is refiling.  It's the result, of a number of other matters Laub replies.  He states he will be filing a motion to compel discovery (for the LA Co. Sheriff's Dept. aka LASD) on matters in this letter.

Laub is going to make a motion to dismiss the case due to (a) process of ongoing (treatment?) at the men's central jail.  Laub believes his ability to prepare for trial is being impinged on (by the way?) Mr. Brown is being treated at the jail.

Laub continues to outline the problem.  (Many?) could interpret his (Brown's) complaints as paranoid, but it is possible to be paranoid and still have people after you.

Laub is asking the court to listen to arguments at a later date, that the defense and Mr. Brown's well being is being harmed.

Judge Pastor interrupts and asks about the "pro per" status.  Laub states that's not on the table after a talk with Mr. Brown, (he) is not going to go...

Judge Pastor asks Brown directly, "Is that correct Mr. Brown?" And Brown responds, "At this time, yes."

Laub continues, "I believe it's necessary to bring a motion to dismiss.... and ask the court to (present? (our?) motion to compel."

I believe Judge Pastor asks Hum or Hum speaks up and states, "A motion to dismiss? .... I do not have a motion to dismiss or compel."

Judge Pastor tells counsel that next Monday, he's going to be jammed through November.  He also remind them he's going to be changing assignments. He'll do as much as he can.   Laub states whatever date is convenient with the court.  DDA Hum offers that they previously had a discovery date of December 7th, before the defendant brought up the "pro per" status.

Judge Pastor states he wants to address this as quickly as possible.  "I think it deserves attention and I'm concerned about it," Judge Pastor adds.  Laub mentions that he has a case in Dept 106 that will take about a month.  By Dec 7th, he would have already filed a motion to compel (with the Sheriff).

Laub explains more about what he anticipates, as far as the motion to compel. ... He plans to serve subpoenas (in relation?) to this issue and other material to bring up to the court.

Judge Pastor then goes over when he would want these motions filed, the time needed for the prosecution and the sheriff's office to respond and if Laub wanted time to file rebuttal motions.

Hum is asking for at least two weeks to prepare his response.

With all the dates that are going back and forth, Judge Pastor goes past December 7th.  Tuesday Dec. 4th, Hums response will be due.  Judge Pastor tells Laub in his moving papers to the LASD, be sure to include the schedule (for motions to be due).  Laub will then have (I think) Dec 10th by 4pm to file his reply with the court.  The court hearing on the motions will be December 14th, which will give Judge Pastor time to review all the moving papers.  So the next hearing in the Brown case will be December 14th.

Judge Pastor cautions that everything (relates to) the budget issues, and those issues have a "domino effect."  He again reminds them that by the end of December, he will be out of Dept 107.

He asks again if there is any need to come back before December 14th?  No one speaks up.

Laub then brings up another issue to the court.  He states that Judge Pastor had signed an order for Mr. Brown to have (documents in his cell?).  Laub speaks about the "green bag" and the amount of legal papers that can fit in it.  This is a small soft canvas type bag that is the limit of legal documents that Brown is allowed to have in is cell.  

Laub tells the court, "The jail's position is that I can swap transcripts. .... One out of two trips to the jail end up with him being able to see Brown. ... It takes 1.5 hours to get Mr. Brown to the attorney meeting room. ... Mr. Brown is housed only a few feet away from the attorney room.  .... None the less, it supposedly takes 1.5 hours (to retrieve him?) as it did yesterday. ... Mr. Brown's (access?) (requires?) a Sgt. to accompany him. ... Sometimes, as yesterday, (they?) use a senior deputy.  ... We're fine with that.  (That's a?) ...step below a Sgt. (and we?) don't have to wait to summon a Sgt. .... Just to get Mr. Brown's legal papers swapped out would take a year. .... The jail is resistant to the courts order and his request. ...."

Laub continues, "Their (Sheriff's legal dept?) prior statement about paperwork (was that it was?) a fire hazard. ... Now the reason is the jail doesn't have control. ..."

Laub then explain the 'pro per" status and why those defendants are allowed all their paperwork in their cells, and that all pro per's are in single cells.

Laube states, "I will not be surprised if in the future, if there is an inmate at the jail that will provide information about Brown (that will be) used by the prosecution. ... Now the court knows, I'm as paranoid as my client."

Laub then goes over the various things that he believes support his accusations that Brown is being targeted by staff at the jail.  He mentions things he's tried to send Brown.  He used to be able to send him the Jumbo puzzle problems from the newspaper.  But now, Brown is not allowed to have newspaper clippings.  Another inmate provided Brown with a newspaper clipping, telling him, "You're being singled out.  Here's what they're letting me have."

Mr. Brown keeps getting a bill from National Geographic.  It's possible that the magazines were delivered to the jail, but he's never received them.  Laub tells the court that he's printed out orders from books from  On October 10th, he ordered three books, and he lists the titles:
Standing Bear is a person; Colorado Trail; Practice Makes Perfect..(?)...  They were all returned undeliverable.  Another book (sent by?), In Search of Captain Zero, that book was delivered. (I believe he states this was sent by his brother, from a book store in Colorado.)  Laub then reordered two of the three books he previously ordered, taking out the true story book.  These two books were sent back again.

Laub states, "The legal department says they don't know what's going on. .... What I get is, (this is) not a concentrated effort. I suspect there is an employee in the mail room ... with the desire to make his life miserable."

Laub believes there same employee was on duty for the two instances where the books were sent back, and a different employee was on duty when the one book was delivered.

Laub continues, "Mr. Brown has attempted to me letters. ... Mr. Brown's legal mail is not reaching me. ... Other mail he's sent is not getting (out?). ...  Another inmate had received books. .... So what I intend to do is prepare a legal subpoena ... policies, regulations, legal documents and legal basis for what they have. ... I will also expand (the subpoena?) ... matters related to informal request for discovery."

"Unless the court will order Mr. Brown to have access to court transcripts in excess of what will fit in the green bag ..." Laub asks.

Judge Pastor states, "I am, in no uncertain terms... No non-pro per inmate receives any more space or anymore storage than policy. ... I'm in no position (to) order sheriff's from their long standing policy. ... I believe you have a paralegal and an investigator. Is one of them available to do that? (swap out transcripts?)."

Judge Pastor asks and his court deputy agrees to arrange for the defense paralegal to sit down with defendant Brown, and then states, "I don't know if Mr. Brown has been singled out.  I hear this exact same frustration (from other counsel?).  They are overwhelmed with people. ... It's a problem.  I don't know that I can do anything because of budgets, etc. ... I'm not going to deviate from that policy in regards to storage right now."

Laub replies, "I understand without some evidence. ... It's a violation of equal protection under the law because of the complexity of this case."

Judge Pastor again asks if there is anything else to discuss before the 14th of December.  Laub says no.  He will address the issue about the mail in the subpoena.  Judge Pastor asks again, any reason to regroup before that date in December?  Hum doesn't have anything. Hum states, "I eagerly anticipate any information Mr. Laub has."

And that's it. The hearing is over.

 The question I would ask is, why is it necessary for a Sgt. to accompany Brown when he is moved to the attorney room?  Does this mean the Sheriff's Dept. films Brown whenever he is moved?  (I've heard of this procedure happening with other inmates at the jail.) The only thing I can think of is, (and this is just a guess) there have been a large number of complaints leveled against the Sheriff's Dept. as to how Brown is being treated, and the Sgt. accompanying Brown (and possible filming) is to ensure that nothing happens to him whenever he is moved within the jail.  It's reasonable to opine that the possible high number of complaints triggered these precautionary procedures by the Sheriff's Dept.



CaliGirl9 said...

Here's my guess as to why the sgt. is Brown's escort: he's no doubt in protective housing, and because of the nature of his crime (killing a child), he requires special handling. It's possible they have to clear corridors for him, or a sgt. may not always be available to drop and go at Brown's whim.

Harming Brown would be quite the feather in another inmate's cap.

As for missing mail, I tend to think that it was misaddressed or suspicious in nature, and due to staffing shortages, it's just sent back instead of taking the time to check it and clear it.

Brown will be so much happier in state prison where he can be housed with child molesters/murderers. He can go whine to a corrections officer any time someone makes a mean face at him.

Sprocket said...

The returned mail to the attorney was sent directly from One would "think" that the attorney would have the correct inmate number and address at the jail, since he is a seasoned defense attorney, representing many incarcerated defendants.

Brown's letters to his attorney are not reaching the attorney. One would "think" Brown's outgoing letters would be addressed correctly, or that the attorney provided Brown with self-addressed, stamped envelopes, but all of this may be assuming too much.