Saturday, March 28, 2009

Spector's Path to Acquittal

Aging pop record producer Phil Spector won't be convicted of murder in this, his second trial on the charge. Defence counsel have already got the keys to the jailhouse door.

If Spector is convicted, so will a couple of his jurors. The difference is that Spector's conviction would be set aside but the jurors won't be so lucky.

In a move that argues for sequestration of juries, particularly on major cases, the Spector jury has been given a four-day break, not scheduled to return to deliberations until Wednesday. The judge naturally instructed them about discussing the case, reading newspapers, surfing the web and so on to ensure their judgment wasn't tainted.

Spector's lawyers were on that like white on rice. According to a bizarre web site,, the defence team have been electronically monitoring the jurors and have already detected jury web surfing and e-mailing.

Here's the predicament. If the jury does convict, Spector's counsel present their evidence that the jury has been tainted and demand a mistrial. In that case, Spector likely gets to walk while the offending jurors have to answer to the judge for sabotaging a four-month long case. In other words, some of the jurors now have a vested interest in holding out against conviction.

If the jury does acquit Spector, the defence surveillance evidence won't surface and and defendant and the jurors will all simply go home.

I think the judge, Larry Paul Fidler already has an enormous problem on his hands. The jury is already tainted. The story is out. He can't ignore it. Unless it's a complete fabrication by a blogger with an overactive imagination the trial seems to be ruined, four months of time, effort and enormous expense down the drain.

To keep the situation in perspective, Fidler gave the jury the four-day break only after they had announced they couldn't agree on a verdict. He wanted to avoid a second, hung jury and so gave them some time to mull it all over before returning to deliberations. I think Fidler knew that, if he kept the jury sequestered, it was over anyway. He could see the writing on the wall and it read "hung jury."

Two hung juries, no eyewitness evidence, somewhat ambiguous and inconclusive forensic evidence, and a bucket full of circumstantial evidence as old as the platinum records adorning Spector's walls - not a confidence builder for a prosecutor. If Spector gets out of this bind that might be the end of the Lana Clarkson murder mystery.


Anonymous said...

If the defense team is "electronically monitoring" the jurors then they are in violation of California law.


The Mound of Sound said...

that little issue did cross my mind but I assume they would have figured that out themselves.


Anonymous said...

Lest we forget.... all this is available at the LA Superior Court website.

Spector made a statement to Adriano De Souza, the infamous "I think I killed somebody," within a minute or two of the fatal shot.

Spector made statements to the police directly after the event, still at his house about 40-50 minutes later. During the "take down" of Spector, Alhambra Police Officer Bea Rodriguez heard Spector say, "I didn't mean to shoot her. It was an accident."

Officer Page turned on his tape recorder and recorded this statement, slightly different than the first, not long after the statement Officer Rodriguez overheard:

SPECTOR: "The gun went off accidentally. She works at the House of Blues. It was a mistake. I don’t understand what the fuck you people is wrong with you. Jack Mapel worked for me. He worked for the chief of police. Oh, God. I’m just gonna go to sleep. Would you like me to go to sleep?"

At the Alhambra Police Station, the explanation changed again as to what happened.

It's possible that after hours in police custody, the reality of the situation was sinking in for Spector and he started to think up an alibi. The only other explanation that might get him off the hook for pulling a gun on a woman would be if he told them she committed suicide.


The Mound of Sound said...

That's all well and good. Now explain how two juries couldn't reach a verdict with evidence as conclusive as what you've presented.

Anonymous said...

The second jury is still out.

People who knew Lana know beyond any doubt that she would never, ever kill herself.

That is the end of the story.

Anonymous said...

There is never a dull moment! The Judge is pondering the fate og hate blogger Betsy Ross for trying to taint the jury. She is pals with a juror from the first trial that voted to convict.

Any misconduct by a juror should result in them paying for the cost of the trial for both sides.

I hope to see heads roll!

The Mound of Sound said...

Anon, I'm with you. Any juror, properly instructed, who accesses a computer or a handheld device deserves to be held fully accountable.

I, too, find it impossible to believe Ms. Clark took her own life - with his handgun, in his home, the first night she met him. Absent some evidence of pre-existing severe depression or suicidal tendencies in the days and hours prior to her death, suicide seems inexplicable. That's doubly true given Spector's proclivity for brandishing handguns and pointing them at people, including prominent types.

I think it's hard to establish murder, 1st or 2nd, but the facts and circumstances certainly seem to fit manslaughter 1. Then her family or next of kin could sue Spector for his last dime.