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Van Dam Jury Update, Monday August 12th: Westerfield's Fate Lies In Mudd Instructions?
Court TV ^ | August 12, 2002 | Court TV

Posted on 08/12/2002 6:39:08 AM PDT by FresnoDA


Jury's time
Jurors will resume deliberations Monday in the capital case of David Westerfield, who is accused of killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam

12 noon ET    Jury enters jury room.

2:30 p.m. ET    Jury goes home for the weekend.

1:10 p.m. ET    Jury begins deliberating. After two months of testimony, the capital murder trial of David Westerfield is in the hands of the jurors, who began their deliberations following more than two days of closing arguments.

2:50 p.m.   Jury sends a note to the judge.

3:00 p.m.   Jury at lunch.

4:30 p.m.   Judge calls the lawyers but not the public or the press into the courtroom.

5:15 p.m.   Judge says jurors sent note asking to deliberate five days a week instead of having Friday off and he approved their request.

7:00 p.m.   Jury goes home for the day. Will return Friday morning.

TOPICS: Society
KEYWORDS: 180frank; vandam; westerfield
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Jury instructions a crucial and often subtle element

By Kristen Green

August 11, 2002

The person most often quoted in defense attorney Steven Feldman's closing argument wasn't an insect expert or a patron of Dad's Cafe & Steakhouse.

It was Judge William Mudd, and the instruction Mudd gave Tuesday to the jury charged with determining whether David Westerfield is guilty of murder:

If one interpretation of evidence points to the defendant's guilt and the other to his innocence, you must adopt the interpretation that points to his innocence.

The judge's reading of the jury instructions – 63 pages of carefully crafted legalese – may be among the least fascinating aspects of a two-month trial memorable for its titillating testimony and complex scientific evidence.

But during deliberations, jury instructions often prove as important as the most damning testimony or flowery summation.

Even the most cohesive juries need direction about how to apply the law. Aside from the instructions, jurors have no specific guidelines on how to conduct their deliberations.

"Without the jury instructions, you've got 12 people rowing a boat with no sense of direction," said Jim Pokorny, a defense attorney for 25 years. "They don't know where they're going."

The jury went into deliberations Thursday to consider whether Westerfield is responsible for kidnapping and killing Danielle van Dam, his 7-year-old neighbor. The Sabre Springs design engineer has also been charged with misdemeanor possession of child pornography.

Before the attorneys began their closing arguments last week, Mudd spent more than 45 minutes reading the jury instructions, which included some fairly transparent guidelines. For example:

 Accept the law as stated, regardless of whether you agree with it.

 Don't be biased against the defendant because he was arrested and is being tried.

 Don't be influenced by sentiment, conjecture and public opinion.

But other guidelines speak specifically to the charges Westerfield faces and how the law should be applied:

 The defendant has a legal right not to testify, and if he doesn't, it cannot be held against him.

 The defendant may be found guilty of possessing child pornography if the proof shows beyond a reasonable doubt that he possessed one or more pieces of child pornography. The jurors must agree whether an image or images constitute child pornography.

 The defendant may be found guilty of murder with a special circumstance – murder during the commission of a kidnapping – if the jury finds that a person was killed and that the killing occurred during the course of the abduction.

But the importance of jury instructions often extends beyond the way jurors use the information.

For attorneys and the judge, the instructions are "absolutely critical," said Bob Grimes, a San Diego defense attorney. The majority of reversed convictions happen because of instruction errors.

Just last year, a California federal appeals court overturned a death sentence because the jury instructions contained a typographical error. Instead of telling the jury that the defendant, if convicted, would receive life without parole, the instructions stated "life with parole."

A number of prominent defendants have had their convictions or sentences overturned because of faulty or erroneous jury instructions, including Irangate figure Oliver North, television evangelist Jim Bakker and former San Diego Mayor Roger Hedgecock.

"This is why judges are very reluctant to extemporize when they're giving jury instructions," said Gerald Uelmen, a professor of law at Santa Clara University.

The jurors, Uelmen said, are expected to judge the facts and not the law. The purpose of the instructions is to explain to jurors what the law is, and they tend to rely on those guidelines quite heavily.

In Westerfield's trial, the prosecution and defense attorneys both proposed a set of instructions. Then, over two days, they hashed out the details in court, arguing which instructions should be eliminated and which should remain.

But legal experts say jury instructions aren't as critical in this trial because it requires an all-or-nothing finding on the special-circumstances allegation of murder committed during a kidnapping.

"Most murder cases are not that way," Grimes said.

Typically, a defendant is charged with murder and it becomes the jury's job to determine whether he should be found guilty of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, voluntary manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter.

Legal experts say the instructions are rarely a cause for deadlocked juries because jurors are told to send a note to the judge if they have trouble understanding something. That enables the judge to explain the legal terminology many people might not understand.

Realizing that the standard jury instructions used in civil and criminal cases contain muddled language, state court officials undertook a three-year review to make them more understandable. A revised version is expected by the end of the year.

1 posted on 08/12/2002 6:39:09 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: Politicalmom; spectre; ~Kim4VRWC's~; Travis McGee; BunnySlippers; DoughtyOne; ...
Tick, tock, tick, tock...Ping....) ) )
2 posted on 08/12/2002 6:39:46 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: spectre

Trial may be just the beginning for Westerfield

Scott Marshall
Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- A two-month-long trial with dozens of witnesses and scores of exhibits may be just the beginning of David Westerfield's legal battle, which could last more than a decade and hold his life in the balance.A six-man, six-woman jury began deliberating on August 8, 2002 in the trial of David Westerfield, accused of kidnapping and murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam, after a prosecutor said that a single drop of her blood was a 'smoking gun' in the case. Westerfield is seen in court on August 7 at the San Diego courthouse.  (Dan Trevan/San Diego Union-Tribune via Reuters)

If jurors, who begin their third day of deliberations today, convict Westerfield of first-degree murder and special circumstance allegations, the stage will be set for a second phase of the trial, known as the penalty phase, to decide what punishment should be imposed.

Jurors then would be asked to decide between life in prison without parole or a death sentence. If they recommend death, Superior Court Judge William Mudd would make the final decision between life and death.

Prosecutors are seeking to have Westerfield, a 50-year-old design engineer from Sabre Springs, become the 27th person from San Diego County sent to California's death row. He would join more than 600 inmates from across the state, five of them from North County, already awaiting execution.

Westerfield is accused of kidnapping and murdering 7-year-old Danielle van Dam in February. Prosecutors have argued Westerfield molested Danielle, then smothered her so forcefully that her front teeth were knocked out. Danielle's hair, blood and fingerprints were found in Westerfield's motor home, and her blood was on his jacket.

The defense has argued Westerfield could not have dumped Danielle's body in the East County location where it was found because he was already under 24-hour police surveillance.

Westerfield's attorneys also contend that he could not have entered the van Dam home and taken the girl without being caught or leaving any physical evidence in the house.

Attorneys usually start planning for the penalty phase of a case as soon as they know the death penalty is a possibility, whether the district attorney has announced his intentions to seek that punishment or not, legal experts said.

"I would imagine as soon as Mr. Westerfield was charged with special circumstances, at that point, the lawyers started thinking about circumstances in mitigation, which is what the penalty phase is all about," said Marjorie Cohn, an associate professor at the Thomas Jefferson School of Law who has served as a legal consultant during the Westerfield trial.

During the penalty phase of a trial, which begins immediately after a verdict is rendered, jurors have to weigh aggravating factors, such as the nature of the crime, against mitigating factors that may include no prior criminal record, to decide what punishment to impose, Cohn said.

"Anything can be considered," Cohn said.

Cohn said if a penalty phase occurs in Westerfield's case, she expects prosecutors to focus on the details of the crime and present testimony from Danielle's family about how hard life has been without her.

Meanwhile, Westerfield's attorneys would likely emphasize that he has no criminal record, had a good job, and has a drinking problem, Cohn said.

Deputy Public Defender Jack Campbell, a veteran North County defense attorney who helped defend death row inmate Rudolph Roybal at his 1992 trial, said Westerfield's attorneys also may argue a legal concept known as lingering doubt.

(Roybal was sentenced to death for the June 1989 stabbing death of 65-year-old Yvonne Weden in Oceanside.)

To reach the penalty phase, jurors first have to find a defendant guilty of first-degree murder and special circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt. But in the penalty phase, defense attorneys can argue that while enough evidence may have existed to convict, a lingering doubt about the defendant's guilt justifies sparing his life, Campbell said.

If a jury recommends a sentence of life in prison, a death sentence is no longer an option. However, if jurors recommend a death sentence, the judge on the case still has the option of imposing death or life in prison.

When a defendant is sentenced to death, the case automatically is appealed to the state Supreme Court, beginning a process that can take years.

Defendants also can ask the state Supreme Court for a writ of habeas corpus ordering a new trial or release from custody.

If the Supreme Court affirms the conviction and penalty, a defendant can appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. If that appeal is rejected, a separate round of appeals through the federal courts can begin with a defendant seeking a federal writ of habeas corpus, leading to potential appeals to the federal appeals courts and the U.S. Supreme Court again.

Only the automatic appeal to the state Supreme Court is required by law, Cohn said.

"After that it's up to the defendant to decide if he wants to take it into federal court," Cohn said.

Since the death penalty was reinstated as a constitutional punishment in California in 1978, only 10 death row inmates have been executed. They spent an average of nearly 16 years on death row, California Department of Corrections' figures show.

George Cullins, 79, of Carlsbad, a staunch death-penalty supporter and victims' advocate whose daughter was murdered in 1984, said three inmates have been on death row for 23 years, and another 133 have been there for 18 years.

State prison statistics also show more than three times as many death row inmates have died of natural causes or suicide as have been executed.

"The death penalty actually doesn't exist here in California," Cullins said.

The man who killed Cullins' daughter was sentenced to death in 1991, but Friday was the deadline for his opening brief in his appeal to the state Supreme Court, Cullins said.

Cullins said that if the day comes that his daughter's killer is executed, he will not go to San Quentin to see it.

"I'll be out at the cemetery where Janette is, if they will let me in," Cullins said.

Cullins said his goal in advocating the death penalty and the rights of victims is "to try to reduce the number of fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles who face the same hurt our family suffered."

Cullins said statistics show the murder rate in California has dropped during periods when executions occurred more frequently.

Cohn, a death penalty opponent, said all of the studies she has seen indicate the death penalty is not a deterrent to murder.

Campbell said death penalty appeals take a long time because all of them go to the state Supreme Court and because the court records of death penalty cases are voluminous and must be correct. If the state spent more money on appellate lawyers, the process could be quickened, Campbell said.

The five North County people on Death Row include Susan Eubanks, a San Marcos mother convicted in 1997 of murdering her four children, and Brandon Wilson, a Wisconsin drifter who slashed the throat of 9-year-old Matthew Cecchi in an Oceanside Harbor restroom in 1998.

What the future holds for Westerfield is uncertain. And neither Campbell nor Cohn would predict the outcome.

"You never know what a jury is going to do," Cohn said.

Staff writer Scott Marshall at (760) 631-6623 or


3 posted on 08/12/2002 6:42:08 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: MizSterious; Politicalmom; basscleff

Figuring out the 'why' of molestation


By Mareva Brown -- Bee Staff Writer - (Published August 12, 2002)

First there were the revelations by victims of Catholic priests that they had been molested for years.

Then came the February abduction of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam, taken from her pink-and-purple bedroom and murdered. A jury is deciding the fate of the neighbor accused in her death, who also is charged with possessing child pornography.

Last month, with the kidnapping and murder of 5-year-old Samantha Runnion by a suspected pedophile, parents began to panic.

California is home to more than 96,000 registered sex offenders, a list that grows by about 400 names per month. More than two-thirds have committed crimes against children.

For decades, researchers have tried to determine the unique ingredients that create a pedophile. And while there have been breakthroughs in treatment programs for those who want to reform, researchers are far from finding a way to prevent sexual abuse.

"Pedophilia is not a voluntary choice," said Dr. Fred Berlin, who founded the sexual disorders clinic at Johns Hopkins University and believes that, with treatment, pedophiles can stop offending. "People discover they're afflicted with this abnormality, and it's one of the most distressing discoveries they can make about themselves."

Psychiatrists diagnose pedophiles as adults primarily attracted to prepubescent children, typically 12 and younger.

Researchers and therapists make a clear distinction between pedophiles and incest molesters, who are attracted to women but abuse children because they are accessible and compliant.

Nonetheless, some pedophiles seek adult partners, even marry them, to gain access to their children, according to therapist Gerry Blasingame, who has treated more than 1,000 offenders, many of them at his New Directions to Hope facility in Redding.

In Sacramento, a man was arrested last week on charges he molested his fiancée's 12-year-old daughter and raped the 14-month-old daughter of a friend.

Most pedophiles follow a similar pattern.

Once a victim is selected -- because he or she either matches preferred physical characteristics or is available -- the typical pedophile will work his way into a position of trust. Most pedophiles prefer girls, but some molest boys and girls -- often based on who is available.

One pedophile brought Blasingame a picture of his ideal victim: a grinning, blond boy featured on a bag of Atta Boy dog food. The man, barely into his 20s, bragged of molesting 200 children of both sexes. Still, he had a distinct preference:

"It's the towheaded little boy who is 4 or 5 or 6 years old, and he's been playing -- his body smells like dust," recalled Blasingame. "And he likes his back washed."

He was so obsessed with children that Blasingame, whose treatment program is one of the state's most highly acclaimed, discharged him from therapy because he became so invigorated discussing his fantasies and offenses he would hyperventilate.

Part of a pedophile's excitement is figuring out how to get close to his victim. Once a relationship is established, the offender will gently coerce his victims into sexual acts, often making sex a game he plays with children.

One pedophile would ask children who had been presented with a safety program if they understood what they had been told. If they appeared sheepish or confused, he'd demonstrate: "If a guy touches you like this, you're supposed to say no. OK?" Blasingame said.

The youngsters' submission plays into a typical fantasy that children want to participate in their molestation, so most pedophiles are not likely to abduct victims who would be uncooperative, according to Berlin.

Criminologists long have cautioned parents that the risk from strangers is far less than that from the neighborhood priest or youth coach.

In reality, about 90 percent of sex crimes against children are committed by someone the victim knows, according to a variety of studies. A minute percentage involve abduction, and an even smaller proportion of those abducted are killed.

Annually, more than 10,000 sexual crimes against children are reported to California law enforcement officials, but there were just 57 child abductions by strangers in 2001. The figure hasn't changed appreciably since 1996.

When abductions by strangers do occur, most involve molestation, experts say.

Although it hasn't been said whether an 8-year-old was molested when she was kidnapped last week from West Sacramento, experts say the crime likely was sexually motivated. She was released two hours later in Knights Landing.

"These abductions and murders are horrible, but they're the exception rather than the rule," Berlin said. "It's like asking how many heterosexual men rape women -- a very tiny percentage."

Researchers like Berlin have devoted their lives to discovering what makes a pedophile act.

About half of the child-molesting population is made up of victims of child-sexual abuse. Many more grew up in violent homes.

Preliminary evidence indicates pedophilia can be associated with abnormalities in either brain cells or sex chromosomes, Berlin said. Some people with traumatic brain injuries later developed pedophilia.

"We've always looked at this as a moral issue," Berlin said. "The good people have these sexual attractions, and then there's everybody else. We need to say that science and medicine can teach us more."

Many studies have tried to decipher which types of therapy can control urges to molest children, and there is growing belief that specific treatments can help.

Those who work with offenders compare pedophilia to addictions to drugs, alcohol or gambling.

"You could think of it as a craving or you can think of it as a kind of uncontrollable impulse," said Dr. Baljit Atwal, a psychologist who treated the state's most serious juvenile sex offenders at the California Youth Authority before taking a job doing psychological evaluations of accused sex offenders for Sacramento County courts.

Atwal said pedophiles use both the fantasy and act of molestation to relieve everyday stresses. They have few coping mechanisms and often are socially inept, she said.

"For pedophiles, sex has become not only sexually gratifying, but gratifying of other needs -- power, intimacy, a sense of connection, a sense of belonging," she said. "A lot of these guys are really disconnected from their emotions."

That disconnection can let pedophiles delude themselves into believing they do no harm, therapists say.

One man, now 34, has molested children for two decades or more. As a child, he was uncomfortable socializing with his peers. He gravitated toward younger children, and eventually began molesting them. As an adult, he dated or befriended women with young children, eventually gained their confidence and spent long periods of time alone with the children. Over time, he molested more than 100 children.

"He'd say, 'Let's play a game,' " said Blasingame, his therapist. "Or he'd give them baths. He liked them really young, so he enjoyed changing diapers."

He was so obsessed with children that just watching cartoons could become arousing.

This man was caught when the mother of a kindergartner found him with her half-dressed daughter. With help, he began to acknowledge the damage he had done.

One of the most effective and widely used methods of treating sex offenders involves confronting the offender with the reality of this damage, often in group therapy with other offenders.

At Atascadero State Hospital, 302 rapists and child molesters are committed to California's Sexually Violent Predator program after serving their prison terms. The civil-commitment process requires that a judge find the offenders remain a significant menace.

Yet even there, with freedom awaiting them if they agree to participate in therapy, only 51 are engaged in treatment, said Tim Miller, who oversees one unit.

The numbers underscore the difficulty in getting offenders to commit to treatment. And relapse is a threat, especially for those who can launch into fantasy from simply seeing a child.

"Some of them describe the obsession as, 'No matter where I go, these images pop into my mind,' " said Blasingame. "Some of them know it's wrong, but they tell themselves they can't control it. And then tension builds in their life, and they think, 'I'll only do it once. I'll get a child who's too young to tell on me.'

"And between the time they think about doing it and they decide to do it, it can be just a matter of seconds."

Trial Aggravates Parents' Suffering-

Van Dam's remain in media spotlight......

By Tony Perry

SAN DIEGO -- The trial of David Westerfield in the kidnapping and murder of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam went to the jury Thursday amid another sign of the torment suffered by her parents.

PhotoBrenda van Dam fled the courtroom in tears after suddenly seeing an enlarged picture of her daughter's nude, mummified body, which had been taken during the autopsy. The picture was shown to the jury by Deputy Dist. Atty. Jeff Dusek during his closing argument. On Wednesday, Damon van Dam sought out the mother of defense attorney Steven Feldman during a recess and asked her sarcastically if she was proud of her son.

Several weeks ago Damon van Dam was temporarily banned from the courtroom after making threatening gestures toward Westerfield.

"Brenda and Damon are living in a pressure cooker that is unimaginable," said Susan Wintersteen, a neighbor who has accompanied them to court.

"They go home every night and cry and try to find the strength to come back to court to represent Danielle."

It is one of the oddities of this high-profile homicide case that the parents of the murder victim have been widely vilified and ridiculed.

Soon after Danielle's disappearance on Feb. 2, the local media began to report on a tantalizing angle to the story: adulterous sex in upscale suburbs.

One radio talk-show host has turned his show for six months into an open forum for callers to offer theories about the couple's parental skills, permissive sex lives, drug use and possible culpability in the murder of their daughter.

The current edition of San Diego Magazine--known for stories about local politics and the La Jolla social scene--has a story using the Van Dam case to discuss swapping of partners by married couples. "Van Dam and Beyond: San Diego's Surprising Swinger Scene," reads the tease on the cover.

A victim advocate, Marc Klaas, who has befriended the Van Dams, said he had never seen anything to match the treatment of Danielle's parents by the media and the defense attorney.

"These people have been so vilified, so demonized, it's horrible," said Klaas, who was pushed into activism when his daughter, Polly, was abducted and murdered in 1993.

"The centerpiece of the defense case has been to vilify the grieving parents."

Klaas and other friends of the Van Dams have particular contempt for talk-show host Rick Roberts and his "Court of Public Opinion" on KFMB-AM (760). Roberts was the first person in the local media to report on the couple's sex lives.

He provides a daily commentary on the trial and invites callers.

"It infuriates me that these people call in and pass judgment on this poor family when they can't fathom the pain of losing a child like this," said Roger Tso, a neighbor of the Van Dams and principal of a local elementary school.

Roberts makes no apologies. He believes that the Van Dams' lifestyle left them vulnerable to disreputable people who gained access to their home--a theme that Feldman has stressed.

The talk-show host notes that prosecutors argue that Westerfield was able to enter the home through a door left open to air out marijuana smoke.

"Everything you do in your life has a cost and in this case, the cost was unimaginable," he said.

Except during testimony by entomologists about the flies and other bugs found on Danielle's body, one or both of her parents have attended each day of the trial. A gag order imposed on all witnesses by Superior Court Judge William Mudd keeps them from talking to reporters, many of whom they know from the monthlong search for Danielle's body, during which they made daily pleas to the kidnapper.

"It's been very hard for them not to be able to tell their own stories to counteract all the rumors," Wintersteen said. At one point, a friend issued a news release on their behalf, denying that the family had purchased a new home and a new car.

Damon van Dam, 36, a software engineer who works for a firm under contract to telecommunications giant Qualcomm, has tried to get back to work but found it difficult. Brenda, 39, has put her job as a free-lance bookseller on hold.

Tso, whose daughter was Danielle's best friend said that whenever he has seen Brenda and Damon van Dam recently "they seem very angry but they're also in a state of disbelief."

The van Dams went with their sons--Dylan, 5, and Derrick, 10--to a cabin in Big Bear in hopes of finding some relief. During the later stages of the trial, Brenda's parents have come to San Diego, and a loyal coterie of neighbors has rallied.

As the couple left the courthouse one day, photographers jostled for position and Damon van Dam showed his annoyance.

"I would love not to be harassed," he snapped.

"It's all right, we'll make it," said his wife as she grasped his arm.

4 posted on 08/12/2002 6:52:50 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: shotabug

Van Dam's famous in The Netherlands???

Tror naboen kan ha tatt Danielle

SAVNET: Foreldrene Damon van Dam og kona Brenda holder opp et bilde av datteren som er savnet.
INGEN FUNN: Kriminalteknikere gjorde resultatløse søk i huset til naboen.
Foto: AP

Utskriftsvennlig versjon
Tips en venn om saken!
Politiet i San Diego har bare en mistenkt etter at Danielle (7) ble kidnappet fra sitt hjem.

Fredag 15. februar 2002 14:30,
oppdatert 14:50

Sju år gamle Danielle van Dam forsvant den 2. februar i år. Politiet tror noen gikk inn på rommet hennes og kidnappet henne.

Politiet i San Diego i California har bare en mistenkt i saken, den 49 år gamle naboen, melder CNN.

Undersøker nabohuet
Om morgenen den 2. februar i år gikk Brenda van Dam opp til datterens soverom i 2. etasje for å vekke henne - som vanlig. Men datteren var forsvunnet. Politiet mener hun er blitt kidnappet og foreldrene er sjekket ut som mulige mistenkte i saken.

- Jeg var glad for å kunne ta en løgndetektortest, sier Brenda van Dam.

Den 49 år gamle naboen kom i søkelyset etter at han reiste ut i ørkenen. Han kjørte 12 mil østover fra San Diego den dagen Danielle forsvant.

Politiet sier han har vært samarbeidsvillig, han er avhørt og politiet har gjennomsøkt huset hans. Politiet har også levert bilen hans tilbake, mens de fremdeles ikke er ferdige med å undersøke garasjen.

Utlover belønning
49-åringen har fortalt politiet at han ikke kjente Danielle, og hennes foreldre forteller også at de ikke kjente naboen.

Men den 49 år gamle mannen har fortalt i avhør at han danset med Brenda van Dam på en bar kvelden før sjuåringen forsvant.

Brenda hevder hun ikke planla å møte ham, og at hun slett ikke danset med ham.

Foreldrene til Danielle utlover nå en belønning på over 200 000 kroner til den som kan komme med opplysninger som løser saken.

Foreløpig står politiet uten noen konkrete spor å gå etter.

5 posted on 08/12/2002 6:58:48 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA
Ohhh, I know some people who won't like these instructions. They will want to strike those, and replace them with these new ones:

1. Ignore any exculpatory evidence. You already know he did it, so vote "guilty."

2. He's a middle-aged, heavyset, balding "creepy" guy who once owned porn. That's all that matters. Vote "guilty."

3. Remember: sweating, cooperating with the police, owning and/or using bleach, leaving a hose out in the yard, closing curtains, going camping alone, and most especially, being a middle-aged, heavyset, balding "creepy" guy who once owned porn is all the evidence you need. Vote "guilty."

4. His mother called him a "horndog." What more evidence do you need? Vote "guilty."

5. Everyone on Court TV says he's guilty. So should you. (We know you're watching, but we won't tell--wink, nudge.)

6 posted on 08/12/2002 7:06:48 AM PDT by MizSterious
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To: FresnoDA
<| The Onion 14 June 2000 Ad Info | Copyright

Murder Suspect To Be Tried By Media Overworked Justice System Grateful For Help

      LOS ANGELES--Overwhelmed by its ever-growing criminal caseload, the Los Angeles district attorney's office announced Monday that William Craig, arrested last week in connection with a string of brutal Bel Air stabbings, will be tried by the media.

Above: Murder suspect William Craig is surrounded by journalists assigned to cover and conduct his trial.

      "More than 150,000 cases come through this office every year, and, despite our best efforts, we simply are not equipped to adequately handle them all," Los Angeles district attorney Benjamin Dozier said. "That is why we are launching an experimental new program in conjunction with the National Society Of Journalism Professionals, in which certain criminal cases will be tried by the media. In these cases, the media will serve not only as judge and jury, but also as executioner."

      According to Dozier, an alliance between the judicial system and the media should prove mutually beneficial. "This partnership makes good sense for both sides: By handing over a percentage of cases, our workload is greatly lightened," Dozier said, "and by taking these cases, America's journalists will finally get their wish and be able to actually make the news, rather than merely report it."

      While opening arguments in the trial are not scheduled to begin until June 25 at the offices of The Los Angeles Times, many legal experts contend that, in the media's eyes, Craig has already been convicted.

      Said Harvard University Law School dean Nathan Unger: "Just yesterday in The Orange County Register, columnist Herb Garowitz called for the death penalty for Dozier, whom he described as 'human garbage who must pay dearly for these brutal murders which he obviously committed.' While ordinarily, such editorializing is fine for a columnist, Garowitz also happens to be the presiding judge in this case. This could present a major conflict of interest."      Dozier was unfazed by the criticism: "I can guarantee you that Mr. Craig will receive the same fair trial from the media that he would have received from America's first-rate judicial system."
© Copyright 2000 Onion, Inc., All rights reserved.

<| The Onion 14 June 2000 Ad Info | Copyright
© Copyright 2000 Onion, Inc., All rights reserved.  Masthead | Contact Information | Privacy Policy

7 posted on 08/12/2002 7:14:56 AM PDT by MizSterious
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To: FresnoDA
Thanks for the ping. I have my decoded ring working on the post.
8 posted on 08/12/2002 7:18:20 AM PDT by shotabug
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To: Duan
As requested, Ping!
9 posted on 08/12/2002 7:18:57 AM PDT by MizSterious
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To: MizSterious
Good morning, MizSterious. Out to get coffee.
10 posted on 08/12/2002 7:19:43 AM PDT by shotabug
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To: shotabug
Good morning, all. Think we'll get a verdict today?
11 posted on 08/12/2002 7:25:34 AM PDT by small_l_libertarian
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To: All
Morning all! Off to work in a friend's shop! Type good notes so I can read them later. Thanks in advance!
12 posted on 08/12/2002 7:27:47 AM PDT by hoosiermama
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To: MizSterious; shotabug; FresnoDA
Did you read last nights thread? Mommya posted that Judge Mudd was on Law and Order and making comments about the Padres. I went to turn it on but missed it. Can you believe that?
post #541.
13 posted on 08/12/2002 7:28:37 AM PDT by gigi
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To: small_l_libertarian
Do we have a pool set up? Put me down for Wednesday.
14 posted on 08/12/2002 7:29:19 AM PDT by MizSterious
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To: FresnoDA
Thanks Fres. Well Monday's finally here. Time to "hurry up and wait".
15 posted on 08/12/2002 7:31:21 AM PDT by I. Ben Hurt
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To: small_l_libertarian
I hope not. I think the longer deliberations go the better for Westerfield. JMO!
16 posted on 08/12/2002 7:31:33 AM PDT by gigi
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To: MizSterious
While hard, this has become a win-win for Westerfield. If not guilty, he can still pursue civil actions against his false accusors. If found guilty, or even a hung jury, there is enough poisoning and prejudicial behaviour on the part of the police, the DA and Judge (including that last little bit on an overrule of Feldman, where the Judge made a suggestion that emotion/feelings could be used to convict -- not eactly in those words but in context the inference was unambiguous and clear), that a decent appeal could claim that any guilty in this trial or re-trial would be invalid. I'm guessing on the law -- the law in appeal in a case like this can be expected to blaze its own trail.

I think the reason Feldman kept away from one obvious line of attack -- the pyschology of porn -- was twofold. One that Dusek would counter this expert testimony far more effectively -- meaning with confusion rather than facts and science, thus greviously diluting the very strong bugmen expert testimony. Two that at may make the appeal stronger on the basis that the jury and general public were irrecoverably poisoned by the prejudicial use of the pornography.

Notice that Dusek didn't bring any prosecution experts to testify as to the psychology of porn (if there were I'm sorry for missing such). How could he? It is no real motive demonstrated in science. Feldman would have blown the experts out of the water, without perhaps bringing on many or any of his own. In that way, the bugmen's expert testimony's weight would not be lessened.

17 posted on 08/12/2002 7:31:43 AM PDT by bvw
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To: gigi
I saw it, but had the computer turned off for the evening. I think he presided over a drug case--meth I believe--and it was one of the funniest cases I ever saw. I'd nominate the defendant for "moron of the day" except that his lame excuse got him off. When the policeman found the meth baggie, the perp said, "Oh, I forgot about that" and managed to turn that into a defense. Not logical, but the jury bought it. We didn't see the entire trial, only bits and pieces, and Mudd was clearly the star. I think he enjoys that status.
18 posted on 08/12/2002 7:32:43 AM PDT by MizSterious
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To: MizSterious
I don't know if there's a pool, but I want in, too. I pick today. ITA that the longer the jury is out, the better it is for DW. (But I don't think my heart can stand the wait!)
19 posted on 08/12/2002 7:35:15 AM PDT by small_l_libertarian
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To: MizSterious
This has been bothering me,
Dusek made a big deal in his closing arguement about DW's statement to police that he had never been invited to the VD's house and how suspicious that statement was.
I checked the statement and this is how it goes.

Redden: Now have you ever been in the Van Dam's house? For any reason, whether parties or have they ever been -

Westerfield: I have never been invited.

I hardly find that suspicious. He was just answering the question as it was asked. Talk about twisting things to fit!!! Dusek is pretty twisted!
20 posted on 08/12/2002 7:35:55 AM PDT by gigi
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