Friday, January 18, 2019

Monica Sementilli & Robert Louis Baker, Pretrial Hearing 8

The previous hearing on this case can be found HERE.

LAPD Booking Photos

January 17, 2018
It's been a very wet week in LA County. We've been hit by a heavy rainstorm for four days, threatening the hillsides from the devastating fires and even areas that did not get burned. Mudslides overtaking homes are always a big concern during a storm. The rains drench the unstable hills and home foundations can move.

Hopefully the rain will let up by this afternoon and we will have a dry weekend. I've been in my new home a little over two weeks but I haven't even started painting yet. I'm still adjusting to tin can living. I'm starting to doubt my memory at times and have been very forgetful about things. Friends tell me I'm just overwhelmed by all the change in such a short period of time. My purse was stolen about a month ago at a bus stop. I was taking the bus for a couple days while my car was in the shop. With my stolen bag, I lost my backup hard drive that had my work and photos going back 20 years. All gone, unrecoverable. A few days ago, I left my phone in a Target restroom that fortunately, someone turned in. I didn't lose that, thankfully. And today, I believe I left my umbrella on a bench in the North Hollywood subway train station. When I got downtown, luckily, there was only a light rain and I didn't get too wet on my walk from the station to the Clara Shortridge-Foltz Criminal Justice Center.

The 9th Floor
I make it to the 9th floor right around 8:30am.

I don't see anyone from the prosecution team and only one person from the defense team, the tall, slender man I believe is a data expert. A few minutes later DDA's Beth Silverman and Melissa Opper arrive with one of their clerk interns. Beth and Melissa are both wearing all black outfits, with Beth complementing hers with a black and white scarf. It's my understanding that a few interns that have clerked for Beth in the past have been hired by the DA's office as DDA's once they've passed the bar. Minutes later, the DA's victim advocate arrives.

Inside Dept. 101

The gray haired gentleman I believe is a defense investigator is at the clerks desk chatting with Judge Coen, who is not wearing his robe.

8:37am
Baker's defense attorney Michael Simmrin arrives. I hear DDA Sliverman address him with the question/statement, "Good news?" Simmrin responds, "Good news." DDA Silverman responds, "Let me guess. You're hiring a prosecutor to work in the office with you?" I have no idea what they are talking about but it's obviously something within the Public Defender's Office or Alternate Public Defender's Office. DDA Silverman and Simmrin appear to chat about more departmental news. Simmrin is also carrying a unique umbrella that he is showing Beth and Melissa. It looks like it might be this BetterBreta umbrella.  More news is being bantered about. The burly deputy sheriff I often saw around the courthouse and in cases I attended, Sargent Westphal has been promoted. He's a lieutenant now.

Judge Coen is now on the bench and asks the parties if they are ready to do this and to bring the defendant's out. But I don't see Blair Berk. She did not come today. It's only then that I see defense attorney Leonard Levine. He must have just arrived, since I did not see him come in.

While they are waiting for the deputies to get the defendants, Judge Coen and Levine chat off the record about a trial date. Then Judge Coen addresses Simmrin. The court says something to the effect of (I don't have this exactly correct), I hear we are waiting on [a motion?]. Simmirin tells the court that they are waiting, yes.  It's something about a motion Simmrin will be filing on behalf of his client. From what I heard, I gather Simmrin is still working on the motion. Baker is brought out. 

Judge Coen then asks Simmrin, "Did you tell anyone else?" Simmirn informs the court, "Yes."

I believe I hear Levine tell the court, "[Obviously?] I was informed."

Levine and Judge Coen continue to discuss the trial date that is still on the court's calendar. Judge Coen comments to Levine on the discovery, "...when you reach [over] 100,000 pages ..."

I take the court to be implying that going to trial this quickly with all the discovery being turned over is not practical.

Monica Sementilli is brought out. She is in an orange jumpsuit this time. That's different.  I also notice a blue barrette in her hair.

The parties tell the court that they have agreed to a February 21st return date. The April 29 trial start date will remain on the calendar for the time being. Judge Coen mentions a concern about that date. From what I'm hearing it's pretty much a given that date will be vacated soon.

DDA Silverman tells the court there is a new batch of discovery to pass onto Mr. Simmrin. They have been waiting for Simmrin to give them a hard drive. Mr. Levine has already received this batch that will also be passed on to Baker's defense.

DDA Silverman also informs the court that just this morning, the LAPD has provided her office with another hard drive of discovery. Her office will need more drives from the defense to pass on this latest batch. DDA Silverman informs Levine that there is [another] "...search warrant out there..."

I took this to mean the search warrant was related to the latest information the DA's office just received from the LAPD, but I could be wrong about that.

And that's it. The hearing was over in minutes. That's often how these things go.

The next pretrial hearing in the case is February 21.

The next post on this case can be found HERE.


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