Friday, October 24, 2014

Javier Bolden Trial: Verdict Watch

Javier Bolden, during opening statements on Oct. 16.
Photo: NBC Pool video camera

UPDATE 6:30 PM spelling, clarity, update after court below
Friday, October 24, 2014
1:30 PM

The Ninth Floor
I'm in the center of the hallway of the ninth floor of the downtown Criminal Justice Center. According th the DA's calendar yesterday, jurors in the Javier Bolden trial received jury instructions at 10 AM this morning.  I believe I see Bolden's mother sitting at the far end of the right wing, near Dept. 102.

Jurors file into the courtroom and I enter last.

Verdict Watch in Dept. 102
Bolden's mother takes a seat beside the aisle in the second gallery row. There are two young women with her. They could also be her children. I don't know.

The courtroom is quiet. The clerk is at her desk and the bailiff is there. There is a young Asian reporter who was here earlier, asking Judge Marcus' clerk about using his laptop inside the courtroom.

1:38 PM
I just checked with the clerk. The jurors started deliberations at 11:45 AM and took lunch at 12:06 PM.  The alternate jurors checked in with the clerk and let them know where they could be located.

1:39 PM
I will step outside the courtroom every 10 or 15 minutes to post an update.

1:42 PM
One of the young women with Bolden's mother leaves the courtroom.

Bolden's mother fidgets a bit in her seat. She's either bouncing a leg up and down, or ever so slightly swinging it. It's the same nervous energy I observed during the preliminary hearing.

A few minutes earlier, when the clerk stopped by to let them know nothing was going to happen, she said she just wanted to be here for her son.

Bolden's mother leaves the courtroom and the young woman who left earlier is back.  After sitting for about two minutes, she's out the courtroom door again.

I can hear the clerk typing quite fast at her desk. I can't be certain from where I'm sitting, but the bailiff appears to be reading something.

1:53 PM
I'm sitting in a chair against the back wall, so I can use the only outlet at this end of the room. Every time I move, it squeaks.

Each time I look up, my eyes are drawn to the candy jars on the clerk's counter.

1:57 PM
Bolden's mother returns. She stops to ask the bailiff something.  She then speaks to the young woman in the courtroom. I believe she states that she wants to check on someone. She then asks the young woman, "Do you want to stay or do you want to go?"  They leave the courtroom.

1:59 PM

I'm the only one in the gallery.

2:00 PM
While I'm sitting here, I'm trying to work on getting my notes up on Tuesday morning's testimony.

An attorney I don't recognize enters, picks up a piece of paper from a chair in the well and then stops to chat with the clerk. Before the attorney leaves, he picks up a big file from a chair in the well of the court.

2:04 PM
Judge Marcus comes out from the back chambers. He's wearing a suit jacket with a red tie and light blue shirt. He asks his clerk, "Heard anything from the jury?"  I believe she answered, "No." Judge Marcus goes back into the back chamber area.

2:06 PM
Judge Marcus comes out again, and chats with his clerk. He's looking at the calendars on the wall behind his clerks desk.  Judge Marcus speaks to his clerk about possibly sending in a master copy of the jury instructions.

2:08 PM
Before he goes back into the back chambers, Judge Marcus asks, "Is the jury okay? ... Do they have everything they need?"  The clerk answers, "As far as I know."

2:13 PM

The jurors possibly have a question. The bailiff goes to inquire.

2:15 PM
The bailiff comes out and tells the clerk, "You know how there's those blackboards in there? They want to know if they can write on them ... or if there's any paper [they can use]."

2:17 PM
The clerk went to the back room and came back out. And the bailiff went back to speak to the jury. When he came back out, I heard him say, "Okay. Alright."

2:18 PM
I have no inside information, but I'm guessing the issue was quickly resolved.

The DA's clerk intern enters Dept. 102 and asks something of the clerk. I can't really get the gist of the conversation. It's quick. There is a short conversation about the clerk being in law school, and then she leaves with the papers she was requesting.

2:24 PM
The young reporter who has never reported on a courtroom trial before, comes in to ask the clerk what to expect. She gives him a quick primer on what to expect. He thanks her and leaves.

2:29 PM
Judge Marcus comes out and gives the clerk a corrected version of the jury instructions. I'm not positive, but I think she tells Judge Marcus the jurors have that already, so it's an extra copy. I think there was maybe a bit of befuddlement, but since I saw smiles and heard a bit of laughter, it appears it was all good.

2:39 PM
Verdict watch is like watching paint dry. It's a slow wait for something to happen.

2:43 PM
Judge Marcus comes out again with some papers for his clerk. His voice is quite low, so I can't hear him. I think he was talking about an appellate decision in another case, because all I heard before he went back into his chambers was, "They reversed it." That's my non-insider guess, from only hearing a few words of the conversation.

2:57 PM
The only interruption in the silence is a phone call the clerk answers. She obtains the information the individual asked for and the phone call ends.

3:30 PM
Judge Marcus comes out. There is something about "special circumstance." There may be some error in the jury instructions or the verdict forms. I hear that they are going to call Mr. Goldman and he wants to notify both sides.

Judge Marcus talks to his bailiff about a case in another courtroom, where the judge misspoke about the defendant's guilt, a slip of the tongue, and a case was reversed 10 years later by the 9th circuit.

3:06 PM
Judge Marcus states that he will want the defendant out and want him dressed, in about five minutes.

3:08 PM
Judge Marcus asks what I'm doing. I explain that I'm live blogging. Judge Marcus states he will be more careful as to what he says.  It appears that they are going to go on the record and correct the wording in one document the jury has received.

3:10 PM
I step out into the hallway.
Judge Marcus appears to be upset that I was writing what was going on in his courtroom while court was not in session. He wants me to stop writing on my laptop.  He says that while court is not in session, it is not a public courtroom and that I'm not allowed to be doing what I'm doing.

Judge Marcus is in charge of what happens in his courtroom.  He has ever right to tell me to stop using my computer.

This will be the end of my verdict watch coverage in this case.

6:30 PM
I'm home now. After I left the courtroom, I waited in the hallway to speak to DDA Daniel Akemon and defense attorney Andrew Goldman.

It's my understanding that all the jurors were brought back into court and they went on the record. The purpose was to change one word in a document and give that new document to the jury. And that was it.

Out in the hallway after court, DDA Akemon and Mr. Goldman told me that Judge Marcus said that I was invited back to his courtroom, so I'm guessing the Judge is not that upset with me. I'm still not sure however, if I will be able to record what I observe and hear during verdict watch.

I'll decide over the weekend if I will return to court on Monday.  I'll have my notes on Tuesday's testimony up over the weekend.


Unknown said...

Thank you so much for covering the Bolden Verdict!!! Im a USC Alumni and huge Bolden supporter living in Dallas, and have been closely following this case. Thank you so much for helping me to continue to do so!

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting us know what is going on in this trial.

David In TN