Friday, May 10, 2013

Kelly Soo Park Pretrail 12, Part I

UPDATE: 5/12 1:15 PM 
Media Reports
 I've seen one other news report besides the Fox report on Thursday. GMA did a short segment this morning.  The media is focusing on reports that Juliana was a model and aspiring actress.  They mention her win as a Maxum model and show photos of her in a bikini.  It's a good bet that there was more to Juliana than these aspirations.  I would love to be able to share with T&T readers other photos of Juliana, but I have not been able to find any in the public domain.  What photos have been shown so far are those acquired by the big networks and I don't have the right to reproduce them.

The media is also focusing on the "female James Bond" statements that Greg Redding told LE Dr. Munir Uwaydah said to him.  What the media doesn't share, is that statement will not be allowed into evidence at Park's trial because it's hearsay.  At trial, the prosecution is also barred from mentioning when Dr. Uwaydah left the country, because Judge Kennedy ruled there could be other reasons why the doctor left the US.

The GMA report mentioned the defense is trying to point the finger at John Gilmore, a boyfriend of Juliana and his alleged similar assault on another woman, one of Gilmore's former girlfriends. It also mentioned that LE cleared John Gilmore and that he had an alibi.  The report also stated, "Experts say the defense will likely bring up other persons of interest...."  However, what the report fails to mention is, any 3rd Part Culpability evidence presented to a jury must meet the California Evidence Code rules of evidence.

The truth is, when I left the courtroom around 3 PM on Friday, Judge Kennedy has so far ruled that the defense cannot present any theory of 3rd Party Culpability, because what they have introduced so far in motions and 402 witness testimony does not meet the strict standards.  Currently, they are also barred from mentioning anything about a third party in their opening statement at trial.

There is one issue regarding a potential defense witness that has not yet been resolved.  It has to do with the defense sound expert and whether or not he can tell the jury his 'expert' opinion on what John Gilmore said when left alone in a police interview room.  In a 402 hearing Friday, the defense expert said on the stand that in his opinion, the last of three incoherent mumblings Gilmore made was the statement, "I did it."  Judge Kennedy told counsel she needs to review case law on the issue of the admissibility of this type of expert evidence.  I don't know if this will happen, but it's also a good bet that the prosecution will present their own sound expert evidence in a 402 hearing outside the presence of the jury.  Once Judge Kennedy has reviewed case law and heard from a prosecution expert, she'll rule whether or not the jury will hear from sound experts on what they think John Gilmore said in the police video.

Friday morning, CBS and NBC were represented by an attorney to argue before Judge Kennedy to put a camera in the courtroom for witness testimony.  Judge Kennedy is not opposed to cameras, but she told the parties she feels that witnesses are intimidated by the presence of a big camera on a tripod, and that it possibly can change the way they testify. She feels a camera helps to inform the public what goes on inside the courtroom. She talked about the OJ Simpson prelim she presided over back in 1994, the City of Bell case that was recently tried in her courtroom and the Jodi Arias trial that was all over the news.

She ruled that opening statements, closing arguments and sentencing can be filmed.  The networks would work it out as to who provides the pool camera.

For video taping witnesses, Judge Kennedy would not be opposed to the cameras that are mounted on the wall and hidden because they are not noticeable and people forget they are there.  They are called robo cameras.  The problem with these types of cameras is the cost to networks.  They are expensive to rent, at least $3,500.00 a day. (News organizations don't have these lying around, waiting to be used.) There is also the cost of a person to run the camera. It also would require a full day to set up, and the trial starts on Monday.

The attorney for the press stated that she would be happy to show Judge Kennedy reports of studies done with witnesses and juries that the opposite is true of a big camera on a tripod intimidating witnesses. That in the new information age, jurors are not intimidated by a camera at all in the courtroom, and it did not make them testify differently.  Those studies would be brought to court on Monday morning for Judge Kennedy to review.

So, we may have a ruling on cameras recording witness testimony on Monday.  Understand that whatever is video taped, we will not have live streaming of this trial.  The courtrooms are not wired with cameras and there is not a local network willing to foot that cost. I believe the taping of any part of this trial will be used for short news segments but mostly used for an NBC Dateline episode or CBS 48 Hours program after the trial is completed.

UPDATE: 9:10 PM spelling, clarity
UPDATE: 6:30 PM 
After testimony from the defense sound expert, Judge Kennedy stated she is not yet ready to rule if the expert can tell the jury what he feels John Gilmore (sp?) was actually saying in three different instances on a video taped recording when he was left alone in a police interview room.  Judge Kennedy said that with all her years on the bench, she has never heard of this specific listening technique the expert described and wanted to see if there was any case law on the specific techniques the expert used.

I was hoping to update my notes over the weekend but I've had a disaster with my laptop.  I spilled water on the keyboard.  All my notes on two days of hearings are on the laptop.  Mr. Sprocket is using his skills to dry out my Mac Air so please send positive prayers that Mr. Sprocket is able to get it working again by Monday morning. Sprocket.

It is not certain who came to could with Melisa Ayala today. It could have been another individual, Mr. Schwarcz, another boyfriend of Ayala. The attorney in court today could be representing Mr. Schwarcz and Ayala. Sprocket.

Friday, April 10th, 2013
It's the lunch break down at the Clara Shortridge-Foltz Criminal Justice Center.  This is a very short update to let T&T readers know the outcome of two days of pretrial hearings before jury selection kicks off Monday in the Kelly Soo Park murder trial.  I hope to write up a full report, over the weekend.

The defense failed in their bid to present evidence at trial of 3rd party culpability. Judge Kathleen Kennedy ruled that the defense will not be allowed to present evidence about the possible culpability of former Redding boyfriend, John Gilmore (sp?).  The defense is also barred from any mention of this in their opening statement.  It remains to be seen whether or not this is a critical blow to the defense case.

In April of this year, a defense investigator interviewed Melisa Ayala, an on again, off again, then on and off again girlfriend of Gilmore, apparently a former boyfriend of murder victim Juliana Redding.

On Thursday, May 9th, we heard testimony from defense investigator Linda Larson, who interviewed Ayala.  In the April 2013 interview, Ayala told Larsen, that John Gilmore made statements to her. These statements could be interpreted as having an involvement in Juliana's death.  According to investigator Larsen, Ayala said that during a physical altercation with Gilmore, Gilmore had her pinned down on the bed and his hands were around her neck, choking her. During that event, John allegedly said to Ayala, ""You could end up like Juliana did."  According to Larson, Ayala demonstrated on her, exactly what Gilmore did to her.  There is one other statement that occurred at another location, during a time where Gilmore supposedly proposed to Ayala.

Ayala has a totally unrelated criminal complaint filed against her of threatening an individual by the DA's Airport Branch, regarding an alleged event that occurred in El Segundo in April 2012.  Ayala came to court today with counsel and a male individual who some reporters believe was John Gilmore. The attorney who is representing Ayala, told the court he is also representing Gilmore.

From what I observed of Ayala and supposedly Gilmore in the hallway, it did not appear that Ayala was afraid of him. They appeared to be together, possibly a couple.  Because of that outstanding complaint, Ayala took the stand today and on the advice of her counsel, took the fifth.  She would not answer any defense questions about what John Gilmore said to her, or what she told the defense investigator.

The prosecution argued in opposition to the defense motion of 3rd party culpability that John Gilmore's DNA was not found at the crime scene and that he has a "rock solid alibi" for the murder of Juliana Redding.

Contrary to what is often seen on TV crime shows, for 3rd party culpability evidence to be presented before a jury, there must be a nexus between the third party and the alleged crime.  In addition, any individual who does testify, from the hearing today, it is my understanding that the evidence/testimony must also meet 1101 or 1108 of California's evidence code.  Just because an individual has a violent past history, does not mean that history automatically gets to be introduced at trial.  There has to be a connecting event or testimony.

Judge Kennedy ruled that the prosecution is barred from Juliana's father, Greg Redding testifying that Dr. Munir Uwaydah allegedly said to him that he had a "female James Bond." The prosecution is also prevented from presenting to the jury that Dr. Uwaydah fled the country within 48 hours of Park's arrest.  The prosecution is allowed to present testimony about what law enforcement officers observed of Park when Park was stopped and asked to give her fingerprints.

There is a defense witness who will testify in the afternoon session regarding sound quality enhancements that were made to a recording of John Gilmore while he was left alone in a police interview room.

To be continued....


Anonymous said...

Justice for Juliana!

Sandy said...

This sounds like it is going to be an interesting trial. I hope you will be blessed with time and resources so you can cover it in your usual delightful and detailed style... waiting and watching!

Carol said...

Sending along best wishes to you and Mr. Sprocket to get the laptop fixed. And of course, lighting candles and sending prayers. Hope that St. Macintosh will help out too. ;-)

Anonymous said...

Very interesting trial!