Friday, September 11, 2015

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., Pretrial Hearing 7

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., date unknown
Photo credit: Pool Camera

The previous post on his case can be found HERE.

September 9, 2015

I decided to cover the Franklin hearing today, since this case is much closer to trial. If the Gargiulo hearing is still going on when I’m done, I’ll check in with Dept. 108.

8:20 AM
When I round the corner of the 9th floor to head to the ladies restroom, I see DDA Daniel Akemon leaning against a wall, yellow notepad in hand. His back is to me and I can tell he’s hard at work.

When I leave the restroom, I decide it’s best not to disturb Dan and head towards the other end of the hallway to Dept. 109, where the Franklin hearing will be held.

There are almost a couple dozen jurors on the floor.

You would think that Dept. 108 (where the Gargiulo case is being heard) and Dept. 109 would be right beside each other, but they’re not. When you enter the center of the hallway from the elevator bay, the department numbers start at 101 in the far right corner and go all the way to Dept. 106 in the far left. Then Dept. 107 is across the hall from 106 and the numbers go back to the right.  That means Department’s 101, 102, 109 and 110 are together on the right wing. Department’s 103 and 104 are in the center of the hallway, and department’s 105 through 108 are at the end of the left wing.

8:34 AM

Marguerite Rizzo arrives. Her dark blue dress catches my eye. It has a subdued black pattern, and then on the lower sides, two large black panels with gold scroll.  It's a great dress. She made the look professional by adding a black suit jacket. I let her know the courtroom was opened a few moments ago and she heads inside.

A detective heads this way and enters Dept. 109. It looks like Detective Small from the Gargiulo case, but I’m not certain.

8:44 AM

Most of the hallway benches are full of jurors and more continue to arrive.

8:48 AM
As I glance down the hallway, I think I see the back of DDA Garrett Dameron heading down to Department 108.

8:50 AM

Now the hallway is starting to bustle a bit.  I’ve not seen Gargiulo's defense attorney Charles Lindner arrive yet. The Gargiulo hearing can’t start without him.  Franklin’s defense team hasn’t arrived yet.

8:57 AM
Inside Dept. 109. Many conversations going on at once. As soon as I get my computer plugged in, Louisa Pentsani arrives. DDA Rizzo is chatting with the people seated the gallery, second row. Detective Small and the bailiff are chatting in the well. A male attorney and the court reporter are chatting and exchanging cards. The male attorney leaves. Judge Kennedy is at her clerk’s desk in conversation with a court employee.

9:00 AM
The conversations have settled down a bit, then defense attorney Seymour Amster arrives. He sits beside Louisa in the well. Detective Small leaves and I’m betting, heads down to Dept.108.

9:05 AM
Terri Keith from City News arrives. It’s always great to see Terri, who does the work of two and a half people.

9:07 AM
Beth Silverman arrives with two clerks. She’s wearing black and white, horizontal striped jacket with tan lapels, matched with a black skirt and black and tan pumps.

9:09 AM
Franklin is brought out. Orange jumpsuit, and a white, short-sleeved shirt on underneath.

Silverman is at the clerks counter, getting motions filed with the court. The defense is seated at the defense table. The court reporter takes her seat. When Silverman is done, she hands copies of the motions to the defense. 

9:15 AM
Judge Kennedy takes the bench and asks the parties to state appearances.

Ms. Silverman filed several documents a few moments ago.  The court then describes the three motions that were filed. Supplemental notice regarding penalty phase; another request for discovery.

DDA Silverman explains the people still have not received any of the foundational documents for any of the reports from the defense expert witnesses.

The people filed a motion [under 1054] for the people’s [psychological] expert to interview the defendant. [It’s my understanding that some sort of psychological defense will be presented in the penalty phase. This opens the door for the prosecution to have their expert interview the defendant.]

Amster responds that what ever is convent for the defendant to be interviewed is fine for the defense. Amster outlines Dr. Fuente’s (sp?) communication with him and the back up documentation. The doctor’s position was, the defense needed a protective order, or he would release [the information directly] to the people’s psychologist.

The court asks, “What do you mean by a protective order?”

Amster continues, “What he stated was, a protective order under HIPAA or release it to the people’s psychiatrist."

The defense is asking if their psychiatrist can send the material to their [the people’s]  designated psychiatrist.

DDA Silverman responds, “The people have to have access to it."

The court informs Amster, “If it goes directly to the psychiatrist, it’s not going to stay with that person. The prosecution needs to review it.”  Judge Kennedy adds, “So, I don’t really understand. You have by proffering a mental defense. ... I don’t know if it’s a mental defense for the penalty phase ... for apparently, so you have put it in issue. ... Whereby putting it into issue, obviously then , ... any claimof privilege or privacy issues.... [is moot].”

Amster is in agreement wit the court. He adds, “I’m trying to resolve it. This is the first time I’ve ever dealt with a psychiatrist doing this."

So what I’m looking at, possibly if the people have and order or make a suggestion to me, what should happen is its given to the doctor then the doctor can then release it to them. [I apologize. My notes are not clear as to who was speaking here.]

DDA Rizzo tells the court, “As far as a protective issue, the one for search will cover, and we can switch [names?].”

Judge Kennedy addresses the people, “So you can draft an order?” DDA Silverman answers. “We’re not going to do it. They need to do it.”

[Apparently, this is something the defense needs to do and the people are not willing to do the defense’s work for them.]

Judge Kennedy presses the defense as to when they could accomplish this. Amster tells the court either today or tomorrow. The court tells Amster they are to email it to [the court? and?] the prosecution and it will be released. Amster asks the court for the appropriate contact information.

DDA Silverman tells the court, “We don’t have all the discovery. ... “Dr. Mohande (sp?) is requesting from Dr. Funetes, all supporting documentation.”  Beth goes into detail what their expert is asking for.  “Audio taken with defendant, if he [was] simultaneously taped; if he took any raw notes. ... It also includes the test data. It [should] include ... with anything he took into the interview with him. ... We need that immediately. ... It’s a part and parcel of 1054. and we need that immediately.”

Seymour answers, “He has been instructed in that.”

DDA Silverman adds, “We had a cut off date in the past.”

For the next minute, there are sharp exchanges, back and forth between DDA Sliverman and Amster, as to what the defense has turned over and what they have not.

Judge Kennedy tells the defense, “Alleviate the protective order and get things to where they need to go."

DDA Silverman adds, “I sent over that I needed a typewritten electronic list, so it could be pasted into a jury questionnaire.”  Beth adds, that if she doesn’t get it in a timely fashion, then the defense will be the one to add their witness names to over 250 copies of the jury questionnaire.

Amster answers that someone from his office will handle that.

Beth continues,  “We received a few reports, one from a Robert Royce, with respect to Linda Lewis, we need to know if that was recorded and if there were any raw notes.” 

And this same theme is repeated for several other defense witnesses.

DDA Silverman adds, “Were there any other interviews done with these witnesses and if there were any interviews with any other .... [We] need a final report from Tim Williams (sp?). ... another final report fro Mr. Quest (sp?).  ... We filed a discovery request for specific items from him [defense] to move forward. .... Nothing from Mr. Beckner (sp?). Need to know [what he will testify.]”

Amster responds, “Mr. Beckner is not being called and is off the list. ...With the exception of [?], they were instructed to turn over all notes."

DDA Silverman counters, “That also includes oral [conversations].”

Amster replies, “They have [been] instructed to turn over anything.  ... The deadline is Monday. ... As far the 1054, this is the informal request. I will have this sent to Sorenson and Mr. Krout (sp?).”

The court asks the defense. “People filed supplemental brief on third party culpability.  ... You said you would file something on that as well?”

Amster tells the court that his reply brief will not be ready until September 14. He’s not sure if he will have it ready prior to Sunday. He asks that in this situation, if he could utilize the court’s email.  DDA Silverman responds that they will not be ready to litigate the issue on Monday. [They would need time to read the defense response.] The court states that’s fine. The court clerk will send it to Judge Kennedy. The court tells Amster they also need to email their motion to the people.

The issue of scheduling 402 hearings is discussed. The court states they could possibly be held before jury selection. DDA Silverman replies she would have to think about that option. The court tells the people, “I don’t have any other written 402 motions.” DDA Silverman responds, “You want written? Okay, fine.”

Amster adds, “Our position is, things might come out in trial, and so we believe there’s going to be rulings ... something comes out in trial, ... we can’t present it in trial if ... [miss the rest of his statement].

Judge Kenned asks, “Have we gone as far as we can go today?”  Amster tells the court, “Yes. I’m trying to clear my calendar beyond October 14, I have very little to do.” Then Amster tells the court he has a problem, possible conflict on Sept 14. “I have a prelim hearing on Sept. 14. I would appreciate priority.”  The court responds, “...  The problem is, that not everyone is [always] here.”  Amster  tells the court that he would like to be in Lancaster before 1:30pm.

The next court date is Monday.  DDA Silverman adds, “Either we will have discover on that date or ...”

And that’s it. Next date is Monday, October 14.

Prosecution Advises Victim's Family Members
Outside in the hallway, DDA Silverman explains to the victim’s family members, some of the preparation she and her co-counsel have been doing with their expert witnesses. 

One of the victim’s family members asks about attending the jury selection process.  DDA Silverman, with great detail and patience, explains every aspect of voir dire and what will be involved in selecting a death qualified jury. The courtroom will be packed with many jurors. The court is not likely to reserve seats for the family members during voir dire.

She mentions the films that were produced, how they were slanted and how that will affect the jury selection process. Beth details the jury questionnaire that it is 30 pages long. That’s even before adding the 142 names the defense turned over last month.

I agree that voir dire is a boring process for most people, but to me it's very interesting, and I consider myself fortunate for those times where I was able to get the single press seat allowed. DDA Silverman confirms what I've heard many times, that jury selection is the most important part of the trial.

DDA Silverman also tells the family members that this is the time that defense investigators and people from the media will be knocking on their doors, wanting to talk to them. She mentions the name of one family member, where the media showed up at her door, wanting to do an interview.

I will add a note here. T&T has had a long standing policy not to get involved with defendants or interview potential witnesses while a trial is in progress.

And that’s it. I head back to the metro train station.

Although the defendant has two attorneys, only one is assigned to the guilt phase and the other to the penalty phase. They will have different parts of the trial that they will be responsible for.

Because of the number of victims, this would be a difficult case for a seasoned team of several defense attorneys, but Franklin only has one attorney representing him for the guilt phase, and that’s Amster. I don't know if Amster or his co-counsel were able or even tried to petition the court for additional staff to prepare because of the the number of victims and the amount of physical evidence.

It’s five years out from Franklin's arrest, the trial is scheduled to start in a month and the prosecution is still waiting on defense discovery. It's possible the trial could be delayed again, depending on what the prosecution receives on September 14, or the results of the 402 hearings. Because of the evidence delays and the potential for many 402 hearings, it's possible the trial may take four months to complete.

The next post on this case can be found HERE.


David In TN said...

Thanks for keeping us up to date on this case. Is October 14 the start of jury selection or when opening statements might be?

Sprocket said...

October 14 is jury selection, which could take a week or two weeks, depending on how Judge Kennedy runs her jury selection.

David In TN said...

There have been TWO movies about the Grim Sleeper and there hasn't even been a trial yet. Both films, one a Lifetime dramatic film. the other an HBO interview of the neighborhood people film, take Franklin's guilt for granted.

I'm sure this will come up during Voir Dire. The defense has said they will call some of the people interviewed in the HBO film as witnesses.

Sprocket said...

Additionally, I believe after Lifetime first aired their movie, they also aired their own [one hour?] documentary on the case.

I've been trying to find that documentary but have not been successful.