Friday, May 16, 2014

Cameron Brown 3rd Trial: Case Update

Inspiration Point, Ranch Palos Verdes, CA
The sloping ledge on far right point in the photo is where prosecutors
allege Cameron Brown threw 4-year-old Lauren to her death.

On May 12th, I checked the LA County Sheriff's inmate locator web site to see if Cameron Brown's May 13th hearing was still on. The date was changed to May 30th. 

Sources at the court informed me that Cameron Brown is now representing himself. He's pro per. Brown agreed to the new May 30th date. The web site also indicated that Brown was assigned new quarters at Men's Central Jail on April 10. He's mostly likely on the pro per wing/tier now, where defendants are allowed to have their court materials in their cells.

It's my best guess that some time in early April, Brown filed a Faretta motion to represent himself and the motion was granted.  Brown told the court back in June of 2013 that he wanted to go pro per. His defense attorney at the time Aron Laub was able to deflect Brown's attempt to represent himself for 10 months.

What does this do to the case? It basically starts over.  In my opinion, this move will delay the case for certain for a year and possibly up to two years. 

The prosecution must give a copy of every piece of discovery to the defendant, directly. However, there are some things that, legally, the defendant will not be allowed to have, such as the personal information of witnesses.

The prosecution will have to go through every piece of discovery and remove/redact anything that has personal information of witnesses. That will take time. (In the Michael Gargiulo case, there are still some pieces of discovery that have not been turned over to Gargiulo yet. Gargiulo went pro per in 2012.)

Brown will be given an investigator to help him prepare his case. Brown's investigator will be given a complete copy of the prosecution's discovery, but like I said, it will still take some time to get that together and delivered to the defendant. There may be sensitive images that the prosecution feels Brown may not have a right to have in his cell. If they do, they will have to file a motion with the court and it will be litigated.

A pro per account will be opened for Brown at the jail so that he will be able to purchase paper, pencils, envelopes and stamps so he can prepare his case. He will be given access to the law library where there are telephones he can use to speak with his investigator.


Anonymous said...

I remember when you first started writing about this case. I cannot believe it has dragged on so long. What about justice for this child. Rhetorical. Thanks for the updates.

Anonymous said...

Will Lauren ever get justice? I cannot believe this case has taken so long. Is Brown hoping they will throw out the case? Is there a hidden motive behind this?

Sprocket said...

I cannot speculate on what Brown wants. It's my guess that even his prior attorney, Aron Laub did not know what the defendant wanted.

The case will not be dropped by the DA's office. All jurors in two trials voted for some degree of guilt. The jurors just couldn't decide on what charge he was guilty of:

First degree murder
Second degree murder
Involuntary manslaughter

ritanita said...

How many years has Brown been jailed? It seems like forever.

I just hope the next jury can come to agreement on the degree.

Anonymous said...

Under what scenario would Cameron Brown remain in jail/prison at the conclusion of his trial? It seems to me that the likely outcomes with credit for time served would end with him going home almost immediately. Why did he drag it out so long? Also, has any thought been given to assigning it to another DDA? It almost seems that Craig Hum is taking this case way too personally and a new pair of eyes could speed it up or reach a compromise.

Sprocket said...

It depends on what charge Brown is convicted, and how much "good time credits" Brown has earned in LA County, Men's Central Jail.

I will play the hypothetical for you.

If Brown is convicted of involuntary manslaughter, it is most likely that he would be released because the maximum sentence for involuntary is 4 years.

I will have to do some research on the other charges, because I'm not certain what the penal code sentencing requirements were, for 1st and 2nd degree murder in November 2000. That's when Lauren fell to her death. However, I think I can come close.

Here are some examples:

Stephanie Lazarus was convicted of first degree murder. Since the murder occurred in 1986, she was sentenced under the penal code in effect at that time. Lazarus got 27 years to life. 25 for the murder; 2 years for the use of a gun.

Today, a conviction of first degree murder with a firearm, the sentence is 50 years. I believe, convicts must serve 85% of their sentence.

Javier Bolden recently convicted of 2 murders and 1 attempted murder, was sentenced 11/17 to two life terms without the possibility of parole.

In 2003, Phil Spector murdered Lana Clarkson with a firearm. He was convicted of 2nd degree murder. (He was never charged with first degree.) He received 19 years to life. 15 for the murder and I believe, an additional 4 for use of a firearm.

From these examples, I believe that if Brown is convicted of first degree murder, he would receive a sentence of 25 to life. I do not know what his good time credits are from Men's Central Jail, and if that would qualify him for a parole hearing. Qualifying for a parole hearing doesn't mean you will automatically get paroled, it just means you get your first shot with the parole board.

If Brown is convicted of second degree murder, I believe he would receive a sentence of 15 years to life. And, the same as first, I do not know how soon he would qualify for a parole hearing, but I would expect it would be quite soon.

If there is a 3rd hung jury, all bets are off. I do not know what the DA's office will do.

I do not see where you think DDA Hum has "dragged out" the trial. Please point me to any court proceeding where the DA's office has asked for extensions in getting ready for the second trial, or the 3rd trial. I'd be most interested in that.

Brown's third trial was scheduled for jury selection just days after Dr. Conrad Murray told Judge Michael Pastor he was invoking his right to a speedy trial. That was in February 2011.

That threw Judge Pastor's court calender into a mess. The DA's office didn't have anything to do with that. When that happened, do you think the court "forced" Brown to delay his trial?

I don't believe that happened. I believe the court asked Brown if he wanted to waive his right to a speedy trial, and Brown said yes, so Brown's case went back into the pile of cases in Dept. 107.

All the subsequent delays for the next three years have been because the defendant waived his right to a speedy trial.