Thursday, February 4, 2016

Lonnie Franklin, Jr., Pretrial Hearings 11-16-15 through 12-14-15

 Lonnie Franklin, Jr, 2/6/15
Photo credit: Nick Ut, AP

A brief synopsis of some of these hearings was previously posted HERE.

Note from Sprocket

I’m doing much better from my fall three weeks ago. I still have regular pain just moving about, and have not been able to get a full nights sleep. However, I'm way better than I was two weeks ago. Thank you everyone for your kind comments, tweets and emails.

This post is the first in a two part series to get T&T readers caught up on the detail notes from pretrial hearings in November and December, 2015.  I already posted my notes for the hearings on 1/5/16 and 1/12/16. After this post, I will then put up my notes covering the hearings on: 1/14/16, 1/22/16, 2/5/16 and 2/11/16.

November 16, 2015
Potential Trial Delay

It's the last thing the families of the victims want to hear, that the trial of Lonnie Franklin, Jr. may be delayed again. Franklin is an alleged serial killer charged with the murder of 10 women and one attempted murder.

 During today’s proceeding, defense attorney Seymour Amster informed the court that as of today, co-counsel Louisa Pensanti’s license to practice law was revoked by the California State Bar . 

However, It’s not like this came as a surprise to the court or even to defense attorney Seymour Amster.


Louisa Pensanti was the original counsel of record. She approached Franklin’s wife and offered to represent him, supposedly pro bono. Sometime later, Amster was appointed by the court to represent the defendant.

During the many hearings I’ve attended on this case, I’ve not see Ms. Pensanti present anything to the court or interact in the proceedings in any way.

Discovery of Pensanti’s License Status

DDA Beth Silverman brought the issue to the courts’ attention late in the day on November 5, in the middle of the six day hearing on the defense 3rd party culpability motion. 

During that hearing, DDA Sliverman stated that alarming information was brought to her attention and because of appellate issues, she needed to inform the court. [It was one of the DA’s sharp interns who initially discovered it. One intern researched the State Bar’s website and found that Ms. Pensanti’s law license was going to be suspended effective November 16, 2015.]

When this was brought to the courts’ attention, Mr. Amster and Ms. Gonzwa did not appear to be surprised about this news at all. Amster appeared upset and questioned why the prosecution even brought this issue up at this time since Ms. Pensanti’s license was not yet suspended.

Today’s Hearing
After another case was heard, the Franklin case was called. There were several victim family members in the courtroom. Christine Pelisek from People Magazine is here along with Yvonne from the DA’s victim advocate program. Amster tells the bailiff that he needs about two minutes with his client. 

After going on the record, the defense informed the court “As of today, ms. Pensanti has been suspended. ... She made a request to delay a stay on suspension.”

The court asks when it was filed. Amster replies, “She filed it last week.” DDA Silverman adds, “It was filed on Friday.”

Mr. Amster continues, “What’s required is for her to pass the professional responsibility exam. ... She told me she took it in November. ... The results will come back the first week in December. ... My position, I would prefer to getting another counsel. ... Mr. Franklin has stated, he would acquiesce: to me and not ask for her to come back. ... I think it’s important on that point ... I believe, that  the trial [prep?] is done ... that matter is done. ... But at the same time,  I would like an experienced attorney on this case.”

Amster then asks the court for a delay. That the defense would be ready to try the case in [mid] February. He’s asking for 60 days. Amster states, “[I] never expected Ms. Pensanti not to have a license. ... I’ve made inquiries of other counsel, to see if they are interested ... and I want to know, ... feel better to address the issue now before a panel is called by the court.”

Judge Kennedy responds, “Like I said, I’m not part of appointment of counsel, or experts. [The] 987.9 Penal Code.  I’m walled off from that.” The court explains the Penal Code, and that the trial court does not have any say in counsel appointments or decisions on hiring experts.”

Amster insists, “It makes a difference, if the court will entertain a motion to continue. If [the court is] not going to continue, ... So I felt better to hash it out at this moment.”

Judge Kennedy asks, “May I make an inquiry? ... I’m not aware of what Ms. Pensanti has done on the [case[. ... She’s done nothing in front of the court. She’s just been here. ... She’s not argued any motions ... There’s been [very] little that she’s done in front of me. ... I don’t know if you intended to have her handle the penalty phase. ... Usually the second chairs tends to ...”

Either Amster or the court states that there’s nothing that says that’s the requirement. 

Judge Kennedy adds, “In the many death penalty cases I’ve had, that’s benn the division. My question to you, was it your intention to have her handle the penalty phase?”
 Amster replies, “I think the proper way to handle these things is to go in camera.”

Judge Kennedy is not willing to go back in chambers so she orders the courtroom cleared. The DA’s office, the media and the general public all leave.

9:55 AM
Back inside the court room and on the record.

Judge Kennedy states for the record that she had a discussion with Mr. Amster related to attorney client privilege which is why she had everyone leave. She states that the trial court is left, “... in a bit of a quandary,” which she tries to outline for the public record.

Ms Pensanti is suspended and she was second chair or another chair. She may or may not be reinstated. It’s possible that the bar may grant some kind of stay. Apparently, she has had many years to get this done [take the professional responsibility exam] And she may or may not [be reinstated]. Let’s assume they don’t. She represented [to Mr. Amster] that she took the responsibility exam on November 7. The people seem to think the results will come out the first week of December.

Whether or not that’s true, we don’t know if she passed the exam, and we don’t know if she will be reinstated as an attorney. We’re scheduled for trial December 15. There were a couple of things the court talked about in regards to timing. Mr. Amster feels if the 987.0 Judge grants his request for a second chair, that that person needs about 60 days [to get up to speed]. We discussed the idea of perhaps that person being able to be ready a little bit sooner than that if we did the following. 

We stayed on our present course of having jurors come on December 15. Instead of having them come back on January 4, having them come back a couple weeks later than that, which would give the other attorney, whomever that might be, to have that attorney more time to get up to speed.

Mr. Amster will still have the experts as a big part of the case. He doesn’t necessarily divide the case between second chair only doing the penalty phase. The second counsel would not have to basically learn all the DNA or all the other experts, because Mr. Amster would be handling those matters so far. So that was an option that was mentioned.

Mr. Franklin is willing to go [to trial with Mr. Amster]. [But he also] would be happy to have her [Ms. Pensanti] return and we don’t know if that could happen anytime soon. Mr. Franklin is also willing to have a second counsel if the 987.9 Judge would appoint one. 

DDA Beth Silverman responds to the court, “Obviously we are not thrilled but understand the position you are in. The problem that I have is, all of this is speculative. ... I’m not necessarily opposed to what the court suggests, in doing jury selection a week or two later.” DDA Silverman would like to know earlier, what the decision is from the 987.9 Judge. The people would like Amster to go immediately to the 987.9 judge. The case involves hundreds of witnesses and hundreds of jurors. 

I see Amster lean back to speak with another counsel, a man sitting in one of the chairs against the short wall of the well. [I later learn this is defense attorney Norm Kallen] Amster then tells the court they will be moving forward on this point, filing the appropriate documents with the 987.9 judge no later than the end of this week. 

Judge Kennedy states they need to come back in a couple of days. The court states they assume the 987.9 judge will grant the motion but this court is not a part of that decision. If the 987.9 judge appoints a second chair, that’s a point of no return for Ms. Pesanti. Once that attorney is appointed that’s the attorney of record. Amster adds, “I think the ultimate decision, if Ms. Pesanti comes back on the case will be [your?] decision.” Amster states he will get things in writing under declaration. 

Judge Kennedy adds, “The only thing that would change the equation, is if Ms. Pensanti got a stay from the state bar.”  There is a bit of back and forth between Mr. Amster and the court. Judge Kennedy supposes, “Let’s say she got her stay before you got your application [with the 987.9 judge].”

I believe it’s Mr. Amster who makes the following statements.

As of right now, as I see it, she is no longer the attorney of record on this case. She would somehow, to request [to be] the attorney of record. If that happened, they would have another in camera hearing. The court makes a decision and they go from there, and everything would be kept in an in camera hearing. “So, I don’t feel in this magnitude of the case, we should be held hostage to what’s happening in Ms. Pensanti’s life.”  The court responds, “I agree with you. Let’s say the state bar granted the stay tomorrow ...”

Amster doesn’t think it will make any difference. His plan is to have his request in with the 987.9 judge by 4:30 tomorrow. Judge Kennedy muses that even if Ms. Pensanti gets a stay, it’ doesn’t mean the stay would have to be three months or six months.  Amster states he would be shocked by that. The court replies that they could be wrong. There’s a bit more discussion about what may happen with the results of the test.

Amster asks to go forward. The court asks for everyone to come back next Monday. The people ask that at the next date, they set a hearing regarding [Mr. Croft (sp?)].

Amster tells the court that the people, in their moving papers, are relying on transcripts that are utilizing a [Dr. Quell?], but I don’t have those transcripts. To be prepared, I need those full transcripts [of? for?] the 402 hearing. If the people have them and are willing to disclose to us, that [would] move it much faster. Amster anticipates that he will need time to review those transcripts, or have to apply for funds to get those transcripts.  

The defense opposition could be filed by December 1, and do a hearing on this December 15.  To have the testimony on this hearing in mid December. Amster also mentions he will be filing a motion in limine regarding the people’s ballistics expert.  The hearing on Dr. [Quell?] and the hearing Amster files could happen extemporaneously. I believe Amster asks the court to direct the course, since the people filed first, but it could be handled within his time estimate.  The time needed would be three to four days at the most. 

The people respond that they had to buy the transcripts from the court reporters. DDA Silverman adds, that they don’t have to turn over, what they’re using for impeachment purposes. “There are many more transcripts. ... We just cited from a few of them.”

Amster states that they don’t want to have a repeat of the prior hearing [That was with the defense DNA expert, Dr. Sowers, who was completely discredited on the stand and not allowed to testify.]

Amster expects that the people are going to use a transcript and he should be able to see it. “If he’s [the defense expert] is going to be questioned about a statement, we should have access to it as well.”  I believe the court addresses the people that, hopefully they can provided the transcript date and the reporter’s names that they know of.

There is more discussion on the issue of the transcripts that the people will use to question/impeach the defense expert. The court tells the people that the defense has to obtain the transcripts. DDA Silverman comments about whether or not the defense will make the request in a timely manner.

Tentatively , they will come back next week on Monday. Judge Kennedy will be off Monday. She asks that they come back on Friday, at :130 pm. That sets the next date for Friday, November 20, at 1:30 pm.

Friday, November 20, 2015 1:30 PM

I’m in the hallway of the 9th floor. Radio station KFI’s infamous reporter Eric Leonard is here. I have been a long-time fan of Leonard’s, long before I met him in 2004 at the Robert Blake trial. Leonard entered his career in radio at 18 and has worked for KFI for about 20 years now.

Terri Keith from City News is also here. Both reporters must have received some news from their upper managers that something is going to happen today in the case. 

There is another reporter [Hailey?]  in the hallway from a documentary production company. Maybe they think there is going to be another delay in the case because of what happened on November 16, with the defense announcement about Louisa Pensanti.

1:44 PM Inside Dept. 109
It’s warm in the courtroom today. The defense is here along with the prosecution.

Franklin is brought out. Judge Kennedy is in her robe, but it’s not zipped up in front. She asks the parties to state their appearances. Amster and Gozawa for the defense; DDA’s Rizzo and Silverman for the people.

Amster tells Judge Kennedy that everything has been submitted to the 987.9 judge. The court asks, “What is everything?” Amster explains. He adds that he doesn’t know what the turn around time will be.

Amster asks to come back on December 2, but that turns out to not be a good date. December 3 is selected.  The people again request setting a date for their hearing. Amster tells the court that he still needs the transcripts for his opposition. DDA Sliverman states it’s not the people’s responsibility to give him [the transcripts]. 

Judge Kennedy states for the record that Amster has put in his request for additional counsel with the 987.9 judge, and that maybe they will also know Ms. Pensanti’s position with the exam. Amster doesn’t think it will make a difference. From everything he’s heard, Ms. Pensanti, she’s not going to be back.

The court wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving, and that she will see them all on December 3.  And that’s it.

December 3, 2015

I’m in the hallway of the 9th floor, just outside Dept. 109. The people’s investigator, LAPD Detective Daryn Dupree is here along with DDA Marguerite Rizzo. There’s another reporter here I don’t recognize, sitting to my left.

8:45 AM Inside Dept. 109

I don’t see any of the regular family members of the victim’s today.

Judge Kennedy’s regular clerk, is here along with her bailiff. There are a few other attorneys in the well, chatting amongst themselves and the bailiff.

Now Detective Dupree and DDA Rizzo are chatting privately in the ante chamber. There are now family members in the gallery.

The reporter sitting to my left introduces herself. It’s Victoria Redstall. She states she is writing a book on the case and is the only person “authorized” to talk to Franklin.

Redstall is no stranger to serial killers, according to this 2006 LA Times article.  

According to this LA Weekly article, Redstall has visited with Lonnie Franklin as well.

Another case is heard before Franklin’s. It’s the Lyvette Crespo trial, who has been charged with manslaughter in the death of her husband, former Bell Garden’s Mayor Daniel Crespo.  DDA Beth Silverman is also prosecuting that case.

I notice that City News reporter Terri Keith is here, Yvonne from the DDA’s victim advocate group, as well as DDA Tannaz Mokayef. The Crespo hearing is over in less than two minutes. It was quick.

Afterwards, Judge Kennedy’s bailiff comes over to chat with DDA Silverman directly. Yvonne hugs some of the family members in the gallery. DDA Silverman and the bailiff are discussing the seating and who will go where in the gallery. The bailiff explains that if people don’t show, they will lose their seat. They are possibly going to give badges to the victim’s families. The possibility of filming witness is discussed and how that might be handled. The bailiff states that at this point, there will be no recording of witnesses. Only openings, closings and the verdict will be video taped. What ever news organization is here first will be the pool reporter for that day.

9:17 AM
Franklin is brought out. It’s just Amster and Franklin at the defense table.  Judge Kennedy takes the bench and asks the parties to state their appearances. She then asks what is happening. 

Amster tells the court, “First your honor, second counsel Norm Kallen, the appointment is being reviewed. Mr. Kallen and the 987.9 Judge are having further discussions. It’s out of my hands. ... It’s pending. ... There needs to be follow up paperwork. ... Unfortunately, Mr. Kallen is sick. ... He’s sick today. ... I was informed that he’s having chicken soup, ... and he’s expected to have things done [his additional paperwork] by Monday. ... So that’s where we are at, at this time. ... We should have a decision by Monday or Tuesday of next week.”

The other issue is the transcript. Amster just got the order yesterday, authorizing the transcripts. He has the dockets of the case so he knows the reporter. “I do have to do a little work to find out where the reporters are located. ... If they are in the same court where the hearings occurred, it makes it easier. ... I expect by Tuesday, I’ll have the orders in the hands of the reporters, if they are in a courtroom.”

Judge Kennedy tells Amster, “You have to check with the court reporter’s office.”  Amster insists to Judge Kennedy that it will be done by Monday and will be a “priority.” Judge Kennedy replies, “If they’ve been previously prepared, the reporter’s work in preparing another [copy] should be to press a button.” Amster agrees. His suggestion is to come back next Wednesday for a status update.

DDA Silverman agrees on the new date, as well as the court.

DDA Silverman wants to make sure that they are still sticking with their plan that they will be handing out questionnaires on December 15.  Judge Kennedy replies, “I understand that you will be duplicating the questionnaires.”

Amster states, “My understanding is we’ll be handing them out on the 15th.” 

Now it’s just a question of when they will bring the jurors back. Will they bring them back on the 4th of January, or another date. The very earliest they would start voir dire is January 4th. Judge Kennedy adds that depending on whether the new second counsel, if the [987.9] signs the order, it will depend on if that individual needs more time. So, we need to know if we will have the jurors come back on the 9th or the 14. So we need an answer to that by December 15.

DDA Silverman adds, assuming that, by then we’ll be setting hearings on Mr. [Carell?]. Judge Kennedy replies that they will be setting a hearing on that before the 4th, or what ever time we are going to start.

And that’s it. I note that Amster, had a bit of nervous laughter while he was speaking to Judge Kennedy. Next hearing is December 9.

December 9, 2015
I arrive on the 9th floor of the downtown Los Angeles Criminal Justice Center right around 8:30 AM. The people’s investigator, LAPD Detective Daryn Dupree is here. One of the older ladies, one of the family members who most often comes is here.

9:02 AM
DDA Beth Silverman and her team arrive. With her are DDA’s Paul Przelomiec and Jamie Castro and two law clerks. DDA’s Przelomiec and Castro clerked for Silverman before they were hired as DDA’s. Terri Keith from City News is here. The defense team is not here yet. I follow everyone inside Dept. 109.

There’s a new court clerk at the clerk’s desk and a different court reporter. There are two women here from the DA’s victim support unit. I recognize their faces but don’t know their names.

9:07 AM
Defense attorney Seymour Amster arrives. Amster goes back into the custody area for a moment then he’s back inside the courtroom.

9:11 AM
Franklin is brought out. There’s no second counsel here. Judge Kennedy takes the bench. The parties are asked to state their appearances. As usual, DDA Marguerite Rizzo speaks for the people, stating her and DDA Silverman’s name for the record.

Amster tells the court, “The finalization of second counsel has not been completed as of yet. ... I’ve made myself available [to the 987.9 judge] in any way possible. ... There is no obligation except to make myself available. ... I would suggest that we come back Monday afternoon on the 14th at 1:30 pm. ... We should have a discussion as to what date we want the jury to come back prior to the 15th. ... I’m suggesting the latest time available.”

DDA Silverman doesn’t agree. Amster states he can’t make a representation for Mr. Kallen. They have to figure out a date. Amster doesn’t think the date should be on the jury questionnaire. Judge Kennedy reminds Amster that each set of jurors is going to get a different date.  Amster also offers, “Instead of us coming back, and then coming back again ... [suggest] to wait until 1:30 to see where we are at.”

Judge Kennedy clarifies for the record that there is no request [from the defense] for a continuance at this time. She then tells the parties, “I’m not here tomorrow or the next day. ... Monday I’ll be here. ... Monday is the date and I have other matters I have in the morning so Monday afternoon at 1:30 would work.”

DDA Silverman informs the court, “We would need to set date and we have witnesses flying in for the hearing.”

Judge Kennedy tells the parties, “You will have minimally, two weeks from the first day that jurors come in and we start voir dire. It may be long. It may be three, it may be four [weeks]. ... It will be at least two weeks. ... that is going to be voir dire. ... This [pre-selection?] could take two, three, four days. ... Minimum, you will have three weeks before a witness. ... I was hoping that when we know the timing ... I have no control over the 987.9 judge. ... And I have no control over what they do.”

DDA Sliverman adds, “If we have set dates, that might move them along.”

Judge Kennedy responds, “I do not know that.”  Amster tells the court, “If this was the only death penalty [987.9] judge ... The thing we have at the moment is the request for the transcripts, before we are ready for the motion. ... We are operating under the limitations that we have.”

Judge Kennedy replies, I was hoping that what we would be able to do, sometime before that span, that we could handle [?].”

There will be one panel a day. 75 come in, four days in a row. Judge Kennedy adds, “My experience has been, is that most of the people in the panel will be able to complete that questionnaire by mid day but not all of them will.”

DDA Silverman tells the court, “We request a Pitchess Hearing on the [?]. The only day they are available is December 16.” The court responds that they will probably do that in another courtroom.

DDA Silverman replies, “We really need to know the date to subpoena them for. ... We have over 300 but we don’t know dates. We need to know before we send them out.”

The court informs her, “Monday you will know. ... I will see you all on Monday at 1:30 pm.”  DDA Sliverman asks about delivering copies of the questionnaires to the court since court will be dark until then. Judge Kennedy tells her, “No one will be here so bring them Monday morning.”

And that’s it until Monday, December 14.

Monday, December 14, 2015
I arrive on the 9th floor about 1:20 pm.  There are about a dozen or more jurors on the floor at this end of the hall. The two pretty, young law clerks are the first to arrive.

1:26 PM
DDA Beth Silverman, Marguerite Rizzo and  DDA Paul Przelomiec arrive with a cart filled with boxes. I expect these are the jury questionnaires that will be filled out by the potential jurors tomorrow. A few minutes later, one of the victim advocates from the DA’s office arrives.

1:29 PM
No defense team yet.  DDA Sliverman is wearing a dark gray, charcoal suit with adorable 4” pleats in the skirt.

1:31 PM

Seymour Amster arrives and tries the door. This is not a positive sign that he arrives alone.  A minute later the door is unlocked and everyone goes inside.

1:33 PM Inside Dept. 109
The bailiff is passing out badges to the prosecution team. Arlene from the Public Information Office is speaking with the bailiff and the prosecutors.  The bailiff goes over seating with DDA Rizzo. DDA’s Sliverman and Przelomiec drop off the jury questionnaires at the clerk’s desk.

There is a reporter here. I believe her name is Pat with CBS 48 Hours. Two women show up and speak to the bailiff. They get a copy of the media request form to fill out. The very kind clerk from Judge Perry’s court is here for the week filling in for Judge Kennedy’s regular clerk.

1:46 PM
Franklin is brought out from custody. For the longest time, just like defendant Michael Gargiulo, Franklin is wearing the white, long-sleeved long-john type top underneath his orange jumpsuit. A minute later, Judge Kennedy takes the bench and asks the parties to state their appearances.

Amster informs the court that his proposed second counsel has declined the courts invitation. I’m wondering why Kallen declined to join the team. My wild guess would be it was a financial one.

Amster tells the court he has inquired with a second and third choice. He tells the court that he feels comfortable if someone is in place by the end of the week.

It’s totally amazing to me that this case is on the eve of initial jury selection and the defense does not have a second chair in place. Amster tells the court, “The only think I’d ask at this point, if I have any problems [getting second counsel?] to ask that voir dire start on January 27, 2016.

DDA Sliverman raises her concerns about what they will do if the defense doesn’t have a second counsel by then. Judge Kennedy responds, “To save this case, I have to go with that.” [Meaning, the defense’s assertion they will have a second chair by January 27.]  Amster states he thinks he will have a someone in place before then.

The court tells the parties they will number the jurors 1-300. They are going to give the jurors a number badge to place in with their ID badge. The court will give them some brief information orally about the case.

The next thing that’s discussed is that some of the jurors are not going to be available because the start time [opening statements] is well beyond what they had originally planned. The court tells DDA Silverman, “It’s too late. ... We’ll see how and where we are by the end of the week.”

The court will explain the questionnaires to the jurors. The court adds, “Once I go through telling them about [the case], I’ll be doing hardship [excuses] with them. ... There will be many that think that Christmas willbe  ruined. ... When I get through all that , no matter how many I have left through all that, we will hand out questionnaires to them. ... They can’t ask anyone what the questions mean, [if they don’t understand it.].” The court will also tell the jurors not to watch anything about the case.

On the 25th, they will return the first panel. The court’s plan is, they will initially, only deal with the death qualification. The next panel will come the next day, and so on. If the court needs any additional jurors, then the court will factor that in there.

The court informs counsel, “What I have done in the cases that I’ve done is what I do is, we use the portable mike and talk to everyone in the room. I will go over the quesitons on my own notes. Where there are things that are ambigious, I will ask them and they will answer out loud. ... Then I will say something to the effect of, ... I see that you identify yourself as category 4. Do you still feel that way today? ... What happens a lot of the time is, they will have this big gap [between the time they fill out the questionnaire] to when they come back and might say, I no longer give myself category four. ... So I’ll ask them and make my notes and go through that scenario with all of them, then I’ll give you a chance to talk to all of them. ... I’ve given 45 minutes to each side to only talk about death qualification. ... If 45 minutes is not enough, you’ll have a chance to talk to everybody. ... I don’t know what your personal feelings are about excusing people without [questioning them?]. ... In the past, I’ve done that with counsel. ... Some people answers are so strident either for or against that they are not going to sit on the jury.”

Judge Kennedy continues with some examples. “I’m Catholic. ... I don’t believe. ... There’s no way. ... Everyone charged with murder should be killed. ... And that vitriol, going on and on, those are not people whose minds are going to be changed. ... I’m not telling you that you have to do ... If both sides are willing to eliminate people [based on the questionnaire answers] ... those are someone you’re not going to have to worry about.”

Amster responds, “I think counsel and I have been through this many times before.  ... Let’s see where we [at] and each side comes in with a tentative list and where we think they are.”

The jurors will start their return on January 25th. The court states, “If both sides stipulate, then I will excuse them.” The court goes onto say something to the effect of, if counsel gets together and they stipulate between themselves then the court will excuse them.

DDA Silverman asks, “Do you give us the pre-numbered list, the random list so we know in what order?” The court replies, “Absolutely.”

The parties discuss how soon they will get that list. DDA Silverman asks how Judge Kennedy loads her jury box. Judge Kennedy explains how she packs her jury box for voir dire, how her chair numbers go in her box, and how the jurors will be called. She then goes over the procedures to excuse jurors.

Judge Kennedy tells counsel, “One of the big worries I have with such a long gap [between first call and returning] and the jury coming in and the long gap is their researching the case.  ... But what can we do.”

Amster thinks that’s going to happen at any time of the case and that none of them want that to happen.  Judge Kennedy states that she’s sure both counsel will voir dire them on the case.  Judge Kennedy asks Amster if he will have [street] clothes for the defendant. Amster replies that they will have clothes arranged for 8:30 am tomorrow.

Amster’s position on hardships is that it's between the juror and the court.

DDA Silverman informs the court about a few inconsistencies in the jury questionnaire form. “There is no question #26. It went from 25 to 27. There are no other errors or spacing problems. ... There is a page that has lines on it. ... One of the mistakes at the printer is that there is a blank page in addition to that in-between the people’s witness list and that’s page 28. ... There are two pages for them to utilize [for long explanations].”

DDA Silverman also informs the court that, “We’ve received hundreds, many many calls over the last two weeks from very irate people. ... Apparently, they’ve all been subpoenaed by the defense to appear tomorrow. They need to be [talked to or to] have a secretary [call them] to be on call, if they appear tomorrow.”

I believe Amster tells the court that none of them have been put on call and that Ms. Gozawa is in charge of that. There’s more that Amster adds and ends with, “If they show up tomorrow, they will be ordered back. ... I have an on call form for them to sign.”  The court responds, “What ever agreements you worked out with your witnesses is okay by me.”

The procedure for getting the jury forms copied by the DA’s office and turned over to the court and defense is outlined. It will be done on a daily basis. The court is hoping everything goes smoothly tomorrow.  Judge Kennedy is smiling. I note that that’s a change. Amster then smiles and tells the court, “It hasn’t been that bad.”

The court asks, “Are we finished then for now?”

That’s it and everyone is ordered back by 9:00 am for the kick off of voir dire. There are smiles all around.

Because they are packing so many jurors into the courtroom, I know that there will not be a seat for me for this initial part of voir dire. I hope at this point to attend some of the voir dire when jurors return on 1/25/16.

After the initial jury pull, I checked out the LA County Sheriff’s inmate locator page. The parties were scheduled to return January 5, 2016.

The next post on this case can be found


David In TN said...

Thanks again for your work. I hope you will continue to get better. As I wrote previously, I had a fall and broken bone four years ago. It took some months but the pain went away.

I read the openings, closings, and verdict will be taped. I assume there won't be any live streaming?

Sprocket said...

David in TN,

You are correct David. There is no live streaming. In Judge Kennedy's courtroom, there is no transmission allowed while court is in session. Reporters can only use laptops or iPads for note taking only. All cell phones must be turned off or in airplane mode while court is in session.