Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Why isn't the Phil Spector II trial a hit?

After I finish off my own case (that is, as a lawyer) I go down to dept 106, the courtroom where the trial's taking place, to sit in on the opening arguments.  But they're not letting anybody into the courtroom because its filled up.  I could wait outside for someone to come out, but what's the point?  It's not like it was when I was waiting outside the WGA on Doheny during Yom Kippur services where I was also forced to wait cause they were all filled up (of course the WGA holds about 1,000 seats compared to the courtroom's 40) Free services on Yom Kippur - now that's a deal!  But at a Yom Kippur service you know people aren't staying for the whole show and they'll be coming and going.  (a theological query - do you get credit for the time standing outside waiting for the doors to open? and if so - as much as being inside?)
But this Spector trial is a situation where nobody's going to come out during the opening statements, I know that. 
A Superior Court worker who was also locked out told me that there's no camera in the courtroom - not because of objections from the lawyers but because nobody - that is nobody in the media - gives a shit - nobody has even asked.  (and now I just learn that there is no longer Court TV? - what is going on with the world?)  I just don't get it.  This trial's got everything.  First the crime itself is fascinating.   Was it murder?  Was it an accident?  Was it suicide?  I know everybody thinks the guy did it but there's evidence to suggest all of the above.  The victim, a beautiful, sexy woman; the defendant, a wealthy, eccentric, music business legend. Ok it's not OJ the Original but what is?  Certainly not Greta's and Nancy's current crop.  Okay I'll submit it on that.   

Friday, October 24, 2008


It could have been a breeze to visit my client in Wayside which is a part of the County Jail system.  That was the plan.  Leave first thing in the morning from the west side of Los Angeles and zip up the 405 - if I hit it right - there I am - at the Peter Pitchess Honor Rancho aka Wayside, aka, County Jail, in Castaic, maybe 45 minutes later. But it turns out to be not a breeze.  And it's all my fault.  
I figured I'd whizz down south on the 405 to Long Beach court house first just to drop off some paperwork.  And then whizz back up the 405 to hit Wayside.  Things started to slow down when the clogged traffic makes me decide to go look for someplace to eat breakfast and I get off the freeway and go wondering around Manhattan Beach.  The problem is I don't know where to eat breakfast in Manhattan Beach - I'm not going to Denny's no matter what - by the time I get back on the 405 south, I'm hungry and already way behind in my plan. 
Of course by the time I get to Long Beach I've gotta find someplace to eat breakfast there don't I?  And I gotta get the New York Times, don't I?  What am I supposed to read at breakfast.  But Borders doesn't have the NY Times - there's a big problem with NY Times distribution in Long Beach (that's too big an issue to go into right now) so I get the Wall Street Journal which is actually always a good move and well now I might as well get a latte. 
After dropping the paper work off at court (my fee dec if you gotta know) I'm back up on the 405 north.  
Now I'm flying but as I'm getting over the hill and nearing Ventura Boulevard I note that it's 11:30am.  Goddammit! MIGHT AS WELL GO FOR LUNCH.  I was going to wait till after I saw my guy - as a reward - but I'll be honest - I have a problem with this gratification delay thing- always have - AND - for some reason I'm kind of sleepy.  I've got no choice.  
I pull off the freeway and drive east on Ventura Boulevard hoping to spot Art's Deli or something good.  BUT there's alot of construction work on the Boulevard and traffic isn't moving, so I park. I walked and walked and it's hot - this is the Valley - it's over 90.  There's a Borders and yeah baby, I got my NY TIMES.  Across the street there's a place shouting out to me - it's called "HAMLET" - whatamigonnado?  I get a burger.  No fries.
By the time I get to NCCF it's 230pm.  
I wait in front of the glass for 15 solid minutes while the deputy inputs something –and loudly ignores me.  I'm not saying a word.  Who am I to kvetch about waiting.  
The drive back I never stopped once even for a snack - the traffic was too good.
Oh I did visit my guy.  It was nice.  

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Here's why I'm not a PEOPLE PERSON

Sometimes you start off with the best of intentions – you’re going to be a people person – you're going to give all the loving you can like everyone is going to die at midnight (the advice that the Rev Earl gave to W when W got born again and saved - according to O Stone). That’s just what I was trying to do yesterday morning at court in Long Beach. As I stood outside of Dept 10, I could sense that someone needed me, needed my love and I was ready. A young black woman – age 18-25, stood in front of me and asked "where's SO 7". Even if she didn’t actually use the word "please" I wasn't going to hold it against her. Because I was there to give all the love I could. I knew what "SO" was – that’s the building we were in - easy. We were right across from SO 10 – I quickly realized that. I knew that SO 6 was down at the other end of the floor. I knew where SO 9 was; I knew where SO 8 was, but 7, SO 7, just rang no bell in my brain. I was mulling it over when she spit it out – “You don’t have to waste my time, just say you don't know.” And she walked away down the hall. Wow. All I wanted was to give the love and a body blow first thing in the morning.
And now I’m remembering I know 7; I’ve been in 7; it’s the misdemeanor court down the hall.
By the time I got to my preliminary hearing, I was already bummed out. The DA is a friendly, collegial tone asks me to waive the preliminary hearing (she didn't say but I knew the reason was it was going to take a couple of days and she had other stuff to do). I was all outa love by then. "Are you kidding? You yell when I’m not ready for the prelim (I'd been in trial a couple of times when the prelim hearing had been scheduled and had to ask for postponements) and now you want me to waive it? No." She's offended. “I never screamed at you." And she was right She never did. But how was she to know that I hear "anger" as a scream – it goes back to my mother. I did realize this but things had gone so far to the toilet already with my one selfless act of love already rejected that it was too late to turn this ship I call "me" around and be a human being. And so yet again I learn a lesson in life.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I just make it into the elevator at CCB (that’s the Criminal Courts Building which is now called something else which I refuse to recognize.) The elevator is full of Jurors. I can tell a Juror a mile away. Defendants and their family & friends I know. Lawyers I know. And Jurors I know.
The elevator doors, as usual, is having problems. They aren’t closing. They start to close; they get about halfway and then stop and open up. It does this several times. I’m standing a good foot away from the plane of the doors (which I know would prevent them from closing. I've been coming to this building for 21 years. It's a 60’s building which was a piece of shit when it was new – now it’s 50 years later – what can you expect?)
I hear a voice coming from just behind me - “Stand back from the door!” Is he talking to me? I’m a good foot away. And then the next time the doors refuse to close, his voice becomes louder and more authoritative: “Stand back, you’re not letting the door close!” Who are you talking to? Time slows extravagantly every time the doors start to close and then jar open. By this time, the rest of the population of the elevator – the Jurors - join in. "Would you get away from the door!"
In my comedy act I say about Jurors: “They come to my building and don’t know how to work the elevators and they’re the Deciders?”
I’m trying to maintain my cool. I’m watching my reflection in the door and my face is definitely turning red. Are any of these assholes in my jury? Wait a second - I’m not in trial.
I turn around and face this mob.
“I ride these fucking elevators every fucking day, assholes. They just do that.“ Okay I didn't actually say "fucking". The guy that started it all looks just like a retired plumber or Cop. There’s no response from anybody. It’s like everyone is in a state of shock.
And then, miraculously, the doors close successfully and we all ride up, in total silence. Not another word or look is exchanged. I get off at the 13th floor and go to the attorney’s lounge. Fucking jurors.