Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Michael Gargiulo Case: Pretrial Hearing 21

Michael Thomas Gargiulo, in custody; date unknown

I am trying to get caught up on some of my notes from older pretrial hearings that have not been transcribed yet. Below are my notes on what happened on July 18, 2014 in the Gargiulo case. Sprocket

Friday, July 18, 2014
7:39 AM
Red Line Train

I’m on the Red Line train into downtown for the next Gargiulo hearing. Mr. Sprocket needed the car this morning. He has to visit several supply houses to pick up parts for a difficult job this Sunday. The car is more economical to drive for a parts run than his White Whale Work Truck.

I know I promised to work on my older hearing notes, but it just hasn’t worked out. One of my jobs is to help to manage Mr. Sprocket’s business, or lend a hand on a job if needed. This past week, I’ve been helping Mr. Sprocket with several repair proposals for one of his long-time clients.

I’ve also been very busy with other responsibilities. We’ve adopted a new 10-week-old kitten from a local shelter, and one of our older kitties, Scout, has not been feeling well. (Adopt your next pet from a shelter and save a life.) Scout appears to be on the mend, but we still don’t know what’s wrong yet.

New family member Rocket, left and Scout, right, 
in a battle of wills over their favorite chair.

A little heart raising excitement a moment ago. Stopping at the Vermont/Sunset station, a fight between two black men erupted right in front of our open train car door.  They were arguing and one man lunged at the other, both man falling to the ground. They got up and separated, but the argument, one party had his cell phone and was filming the altercation. People on the train were calling out, “Close the door!” They did not want the fight to spill into our train car.  A few moments later, the doors closed and our train took off.


It will be interesting to see if Gargiulo has been to see a doctor, and that doctor agreed to refer him to a specialist. At the July 11 hearing, Gargiulo told Judge Lomeli that the doctor’s at the jail were over medicating him and he needed to see an orthopedic.

8:19 AM

I’m on the 9th floor of the downtown criminal court building. Defense investigator Chris Nicely is already here. He's wearing a nice suede suit jacket. On the elevator ride, DDA Craig Hum got on at the 3rd floor. He gave me a smile when he saw me. I said goodbye when I got off on the 9th floor.

As I rounded through security, I saw Joshua Woodward’s defense team waiting outside Dept. 103. There's a hearing in that case today. Janet Levine saw me clear security. If there is time, I will drop into Judge Curtis Rappe’s courtroom to see if that hearing is still on.

The hallway is very busy this morning.  Lots of counsel greeting each other, along with people from the general public.

8:27 AM
I learn forward to look down the hall. I see that Woodward's defense team either moved to another floor or went into their courtroom already. I see DDA Bobby Grace clear security and shake someone's hand. I believe he headed down to the other end of the hallway.

8:32 AM
DDA Akemon arrives with two law clerks. They stop to chat with investigator Nicely. I’m thinking I might wait in the hallway to see if Gargiulo is brought in via a wheelchair again. It gets a bit late, so I decide to go into Dept. 108.

There is a full tin of Red Vines on the clerks desk. DDA Akemon hands investigator Nicely something from a stack of papers at the clerk's desk. It appears to be pages of lined paper. Judge Ohta looks like he has a new haircut/style. It looks good.

8:50 AM
Judge Ohta's pretty court reporter comes out and starts to set up her equipment. I notice that the little, low door/gate between the gallery and the well has been left open.   We wait for Gargiulo's arrival.

The DDA who is currently in trial in Judge Ohta's courtroom arrives. Now more counsel arrive as well as a deputy sheriff with three stripes on his sleeve. The deputy Sargent and Judge Ohta's bailiff go back into the custody area. The DDA in the well and Judge Ohta are having a conversation. Judge Ohta is wearing a dark navy shirt with a white tie. Now the court and DDA Akemon are discussing 'budget shopping.'  The prosecution team in trial start to set up their files and equipment. The clerk tells the DDA in trial that he has a phone call. I believe someone says, "This can't be good Mr. Knowles (sp?)."

My eyes keep going back to the Red Vine container on the edge of the clerks' counter.  I overhear someone say that Gargiulo requested a wheelchair again. Judge Ohta and the deputies chat.

9:00 AM
Detective Lillienfeld arrives.

Judge Ohta asks all parties to approach. I hear Judge Ohta mention Gargiulo. From the snatches of conversation I'm able to overhear, it appears Gargiulo doesn't want to come to court today. Counsel at the bench nod. It appears Judge Ohta is not agreeing to Gargiulo's request to be brought into court via a wheelchair. The parties step away from the bench.

Detective Lillienfeld introduces DDA Akemon to another detective who is in the well. I believe the other detective is attached to the case currently in trial.

I hear sounds coming from the custody area. Gargiulo is brought out. His walk is an exaggerated limp. Gargiulo is still bald. The only facial hair he has is his eyebrows. He's wearing his glasses today and his usual white, long-john type undershirt beneath the orange jumpsuit. Gargiulo is handcuffed to the chair.  Investigator Nicely is going over papers with Gargiulo.  The DDA's in the other case leave the well.

9:10 AM
On the record with People v. Gargiulo, SA068002.

Judge Ohta starts out by talking about, getting an idea, a rough estimate of the timeline of things to accomplish. Judge Ohta wants to identify potential trial dates. "I said last time, we would work off the prosecution's proposed timeline."

Judge Ohta asks the prosecution about their discovery. He wants to know if they are basically done. The prosecution tells the court that discovery is done and there's nothing else pending.

Gargiulo tells the court that the DA filed an in limine motion, something about "statements." Gargiulo states it's extremely prejudicial. Maybe he's referencing the Perkin's Operation, because he adds, "So many consistent violations happened during that...." I think Gargiulo mentions that he's working on a "... 50 page motion..." I believe Judge Ohta is asking about the status of Gargiulo filing a 995 motion.  Gargiulo responds by talking about what happened in the preliminary hearing, before DDA Akemon was on the case.

Gargiulo tells the court, "There are audio tapes that exonerated the defendant, yet they put on witnesses that contradicted those [statements in the cell?) ... The prosecution has hidden that."

Judge Ohta tries to bring things back on track. "Right now, what I'm trying to ascertain is schedules. ... I don't need an in depth explanation on the type of motion you are going to file. ... What I'm trying to do is begin to set markers."

Gargiulo replies, 'You mentioned 995 motion. ... The thing that stumbles me ... If that ... if [my? the?] ruling on motion..."  I believe Judge Ohta interrupts Gargiulo and tells him, "Whatever motion you need to file is completely up to you. ... Next step is to file 995 motion. ... Motion in limine is not a motion to dismiss the case, ... just a motion to determine evidence admitted in the case."

Judge Ohta explains pretrial motions a bit more. Gargiulo responds, "Because I have to file a 995 ... I have to do a thorough investigation ... and introduce evidence outside of the preliminary hearing."  Gargiulo goes off on a tangent and Judge Ohta responds, "Mr. Gargiulo, what you're saying now is not making sense to me. ... I don't need to know what that is at this point."

There is a bit more back and forth discussion between Gargiulo and the court.  Judge Ohta continues, "Mr. Akemon would like to start trial next year, in April. ... Mr. Gargiulo, [do?] you see that? ... Do you think that's a realistic date? ... Tell me how much time you need to get that done [995 motion]."

I believe Gargiulo replies, "That's too hard..." Judge Ohta replies, "It may be that you can't turn over every stone. ... but at some point, we must move forward. ... I will say at this point, I will give you two months to do the filing."

A date of September 18th is picked and the court adds, "These are not hard and fast dates. ... If they need to be changed, they can be."

There is a bit more back and forth between the court and Gargiulo. Judge Ohta tells the defendant he is going to set a date for the time the trial should occur around.  For now, the April 2015 date is in pencil. September 18th for the filing of the 995 motion.

Lastly, Judge Ohta asks the parties if there is anything we need to do before that date. Gargiulo answers, "Just, not that I can think of..."

After looking at his calendar, Judge Ohta tells the parties that they will have to move the September 18 date to September 25th, for Gargiulo's filing of his 995 motion.

And that's it.

T&T's September 25th pretrial hearing notes.