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Judge Mudd Refuses Sequester Plea: Westerfield Jury Verdict In Sep? (Aug. 16th Verdict Watch)
Union Trib ^ | August 15, 2002 | Jeff Dillion/Steve Perez

Posted on 08/16/2002 6:39:20 AM PDT by FresnoDA

Judge denies defense motion to sequester jury

By Jeff Dillon and Steve Perez

August 15, 2002

Judge William D. Mudd addressed counsel on a motion by defense attorney Steven Feldman regarding media access to jurors in the trial of defendant David Westerfield at San Diego courthouse, August 15, 2002. Westerfield is accused of the kidnapping and murder of seven-year old Danielle van Dam from her Sabre Springs home, last February.  REUTERS/POOL/Dan TrevanArguing that media coverage was creating a "lynch mob mentality" that could pressure jurors to return a guilty verdict, the defense attorney for David Westerfield today asked the judge yet again to sequester the jury.

While the jury completed its first week of deliberations without a verdict, Superior Court Judge William Mudd denied the request and a related motion to "pull the plug" on television and radio coverage of the courtroom proceedings, but agreed to set aside a private room for jurors to take breaks. Defense attorney Steven Feldman had argued that reports suggested jurors felt like they were under siege, unable to leave their deliberating room, go to lunch or walk home without being watched or followed.

"We have no assurance that they are not be intimidated ... by the presence of the media," Feldman told Mudd during a morning hearing. "We can think of only one fair resolution to that: Get the jury out of harm's way."


'Broccoli heads'

He cited an incident earlier in the week in which radio talk show hosts from KFI-AM 640 in Los Angeles broadcast from outside the courthouse, waving stalks of broccoli around and reportedly calling jurors "broccoli heads" for being unable to return a quick guilty verdict.

Westerfield, 50, could face the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping 7-year-old Danielle van Dam from her family's Sabre Springs home on Feb. 2 and killing her. Jurors are in their sixth day of deliberations.

Lead prosecutor Jeff Dusek disagreed with Feldman's interpretations of the jury's complaints.

"Whether or not any guilty verdict in this case would be based on a siege mentality or the meida I think is pure speculation and utterly false in this case," Dusek said.

What the jurors had complained about was being watched all the time, he said.

"That hardly equates to being under siege," he said.


Trust in the jury

Mudd dismissed most of Feldman's concerns, saying that the jurors had only asked a bailiff to keep reporters a little bit farther away, though an alternate juror reported that he or she had been followed to his car.

Media coverage has diminished since the jurors began deliberating, the judge said.

"The synopsis programs on the two local TV networks are not in place," he said. "The talking heads are doing nothing but speculating about what the jury may or may not be thinking."

Mudd said there were no signs that jurors were being harassed by the public, especially since their names and faces haven't been publicized.

"We've all sat here and picked this jury, know their makeup and know their dedication to this cause," Mudd said. "I would prefer to think that any verdict they make in this case would be based upon the evidence."

Sequestering the jury also wouldn't protect them from any public reaction to the verdict, Mudd said.


'The activities of a few'

"The tragedy is, the majority of the people in this courtroom are abiding by the court's orders and working very hard to insure they, meaning the media, do not cause something to occur that is going to cause a mistrial," Mudd said. "Not all of them feel that way as is very apparent with the activities of a few."

Mudd took aim at two radio program hosts from Los Angeles who he previously described as "idiots."

"I suppose it's entertainment out of LA. I hope it stays in LA," he said. "The shows those two gentlemen put on made the court incredulous as to what they were attempting to do."

Mudd also announced:


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In day 5 of Westerfield deliberations, more waiting

Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ---- Jurors in the murder case of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam spent a fifth day Wednesday deliberating the fate of her accused killer, David Westerfield.

Since receiving the case a week ago, the panel of six men and six women has asked to rehear a taped interview Westerfield gave to police two days after Danielle disappeared and to see a transcript of that interview.


Hayne Palmour/ Photographer

A shoe shiner plies his trade as jury consultant Toni Blake, right, does a television interview with CNN in front of the San Diego County Courthouse in downtown San Diego on Wednesday. Blake was doing several interviews with different television stations answering questions about what she thinks the jury for the David Westerfield trial may be going through.

They also asked to view pornographic images taken from Westerfield's home computer along with a picture of teen-ager Danielle L., the daughter of Westerfield's ex-girlfriend, lounging in a bikini.

All the notes were signed "Thanks, Juror 10." He is an accountant with a young child.

Westerfield, 50, faces the death penalty if convicted of kidnapping and murdering Danielle. The little girl lived two houses from the twice-divorced design engineer. She was reported missing Feb. 2. Nearly four weeks later her nude body was discovered by volunteer searchers under an oak tree in rural East County.

Westerfield also faces a misdemeanor charge of possession of child pornography.

Jurors heard eight weeks of testimony from almost 100 witnesses and viewed 199 exhibits, which now sit with the panel in a secluded room at the downtown San Diego courthouse where they meet each weekday. There is no timetable for them to reach a decision.

While there was little movement in the case Wednesday, a continuous flow of letters were still being sent to the courthouse. The correspondence is kept in court files several inches thick.

Many of the letters praise Judge William Mudd.

"First, I want to thank you for running an excellent trial in the Westerfield case," wrote a Valley Center resident. "I can imagine it is difficult and taxes your patience and concentration."

Another was from someone who claimed to be psychic and was convinced Westerfield was not guilty.

"My ESP is always right," the person wrote.

Others were from people offering their opinions on the case. A few sent pictures.

One woman wrote a poem after apparently being a little bothered by the judge's phonetic pronunciation of prosecutor Jeff Dusek's last name.

"Aya 'Captain' Judge Mudd, you run a tight ship, your rulings are fair, your humor's a pip. But something's amiss, your honor ---- Oh heck. Isn't Jeff's surname pronounced as Doo Shek?"

The authored signed the note to Mudd as "Your fan."

A closed-door hearing on a motion submitted by Westerfield's defense team is scheduled to be heard this morning.


Contact staff writer Kimberly Epler at (760) 739-6644 or


1 posted on 08/16/2002 6:39:20 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: Politicalmom; spectre; BunnySlippers; DoughtyOne; Hillary's Lovely Legs; Snow Bunny; Alamo-Girl; ...
Ping..) ) )
2 posted on 08/16/2002 6:39:57 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA
Fres, the title says the 15th. Perhaps the AM can change it.
3 posted on 08/16/2002 6:43:19 AM PDT by Unknown Freeper
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To: JackaLantern; spectre; Politicalmom

'Dirty dancing' sequel: Jury asks to rehear criminalist's testimony

David Westerfield listens in court Thursday as his lawyer asks the judge to sequester the jury.

SAN DIEGO — Jurors weighing David Westerfield's fate want to rehear testimony from a police lab technician who said "dirty dancing" between Danielle van Dam's mother and the defendant might explain some fiber evidence.

The foreman of the panel, now in its sixth day of deliberations, sent a note to Judge William Mudd Wednesday afternoon requesting a readback of the San Diego Police Crime Laboratory criminalist Jennifer Shen.

Shen testified twice for the prosecution, and the jury note specified her second turn on the stand when she conceded on cross-examination that close dancing might have spread orange fibers later used to link Westerfield to the 7-year-old's murder.


Police lab technician Jennifer Shen testifies during her second trip to the witness stand.

Shen and other lab techs found that orange acrylic fibers in Westerfield's SUV, home and recreational vehicle were similar to a single strand snagged in a choker necklace Danielle was wearing when she was killed.

During an aggressive cross-examination by defense lawyer Steven Feldman July 9, Shen acknowledged that if she had known that some witnesses said Westerfield and Brenda van Dam were dancing suggestively, "that would impact my evaluation of the evidence."

But Shen's testimony also bolstered the prosecution's case. It was during her second time on the stand that she discussed orange fibers found in Westerfield's SUV. She also said the sheer amount of fibers, taken with the other forensic evidence, made it unlikely the fibers were transferred through a third party rather than directly.

Also Thursday morning, Judge Mudd once again denied a defense request to sequester the jury. Feldman, citing a recent report on that jurors asked a bailiff to instruct the press not to stare at them during coffee breaks, charged that the jury felt "under siege."

"There's only one fair response — Get the jury out of harm's way," said Feldman.

He also asked the judge to throw television cameras and radio microphones out of the court for the remainder of the trial.

Mudd railed against the media and said he doubted he would ever let cameras in his courtroom after the completion of this trial, but he said for the time being he would not throw the cameras out nor sequester the jury.

He agreed that jurors should eat lunch and take breaks in a private area in the future.

4 posted on 08/16/2002 6:43:37 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA
Fres, you're an angel to keep these going. Thank you.
5 posted on 08/16/2002 6:44:19 AM PDT by pinz-n-needlez
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To: Unknown Freeper; Sidebar Moderator
Sorry coffee is still brewing out here on the left coast...ooppss..

Also, I was surfing News, and I think I am not supposed to post here. Sorry...

Hope to get the incorrect date in title fixed.
6 posted on 08/16/2002 6:45:59 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: pinz-n-needlez
In case you're out of early morning reading material, take a look at these links:

What is with these people and left feet? These three girls were each found naked with only one sock, on the left foot. Danielle's left foot was missing. What sort of weird cult does/do this/these killers belong to?

And there is also a common element of water. Adam Walsh's head was found in a canal. We don't know about his foot, because he body was never found.

Want to know something else very strange? Damon lived in each of these areas when these kids went missing. Kind of like a follow up fright after reading .

Was Ott ever in these towns?

7 posted on 08/16/2002 6:46:22 AM PDT by pinz-n-needlez
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To: Unknown Freeper
WOW!! That was quick service.....:0)
8 posted on 08/16/2002 6:47:27 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA; All
Tick, tock--will today be the day? A lot of us are now out of the pool, but many remain. It looks like the jury is giving everything a close look, which will irritate Nasty Grace, but ultimately will better serve the interests of justice!

Update on the informal verdict pool: What's your best guess for when the verdict will come in? (actual verdict prediction optional and not recorded)

There is no "prize," but the winner(s) get to be called "winners" and have the right to say "I told you so;" we're still negotiating about "neener neener neeners."



Countess - By 4 pm
FresnoDA - Afternoon


It's Me
Pyx - Mid-afternoon


Mommya - 2 hours after jurors come in
Mr.Stiv - Before lunch break
Greg Weston
Dave in Upland - Between noon & break
Spectre - 2 pm
Basscleff - Afternoon
I.Ben Hurt - Afternoon


Shezza - Before lunch
Mrs. Liberty - Noonish
Domestice - Afternoon
JRabbit - Afternoon
Henrietta - Afternoon
is_is - Afternoon
Lauratealeaf - 2 pm
Rheo - 3 pm
ThreeYearLurker - 3 pm
Crystalk - 3:33 pm


Pinz-N-Needlez - Morning, first thing
The Other Harry - 10 a.m.
Krodg - Morning
Calawah - Before noon
Brneyedgirl - Before noon
Demsux - Noonish
Cappsmadness - Post noon
Juzcuz - 2 pm
RnMomof7 - 2 pm deadlocked 1st time
Nycgal - 3 pm
MagnoliaMS - 4 pm
Jaded - Afternoon


theirjustdue - 11 am
dread78645 - Midmorning
ItsOurTimeNow - 3 pm


Lucky - 11 am
Gigi - Morning
RnMomof7 - 2:30 pm deadlocked 2nd time
A Garrett


Kerensky - 2 pm
John Jamieson


Space Wrangler
Alexandria - Afternoon


bvw - Afternoon
Irgbar-man - 4:45 pm


Hoosiermama - Before noon







(Note: All times PDT; if this thread gets real long, you might want to send your choices via freepmail or post them on the Refugee site--often I quit reading them when they're very, very long.)

9 posted on 08/16/2002 6:48:21 AM PDT by MizSterious
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To: FresnoDA; Howlin
It was reported yesterday that the jury has requested only 1/2 day deliberations on Fridays. IMHO, it would seem they would only feel the need to make this request if they were far, far apart.
10 posted on 08/16/2002 6:48:53 AM PDT by truthkeeper
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To: MizSterious
Can I file for an extension?
11 posted on 08/16/2002 6:52:04 AM PDT by The Other Harry
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To: The Other Harry
LOL--no, you just have to sit on the side of the pool with the rest of us. But there will be ample lemonades and umbrella drinks while we wait!
12 posted on 08/16/2002 6:54:11 AM PDT by MizSterious
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To: The Other Harry
Don't worry Harry, I have been out of the running since Monday....humph....!~
13 posted on 08/16/2002 6:55:45 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: FresnoDA; All
FresnoDA, thanks very much for starting the new thread.

I have a question about Jennifer Shen. I have a hard time remembering her later testimony, since it came during the defense part of the trial. She said she found lots of these fibers in the SUV and they matched the choker. However, they never did find a source for these fibers, right? Also, is this where they talked about all those multi-colored fibers that they can't explain? Was Shen's testimony ultimately damaging to Westerfield or not? (I can't believe I'm bringing up fibers voluntarily. I hated this part of the trial!).

14 posted on 08/16/2002 6:57:41 AM PDT by sunshine state
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To: MizSterious

Day Six Of Deliberations Offers No Verdict

Judge Again Denies Request To Sequester Jury

Posted: 10:49 a.m. PDT August 15, 2002
Updated: 6:00 p.m. PDT August 15, 2002
SAN DIEGO -- The jury in the trial of David Westerfield has gone home for the day without reaching a verdict.

altJurors have been deliberating for six days on whether Westerfield should be convicted of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam.

Earlier in the day Judge William Mudd denied a request to sequester the jury in the case.

Even though one alternate juror reported being followed, Mudd said it wasn't necessary to put the jurors in a hotel.

"Apparently it is an ongoing problem," Mudd said.

The judge said he and his staff would deal with the problem internally.

Mudd agreed to find a place for the jurors to take their breaks during deliberations where they couldn't be seen by reporters.

"Sequestration would not save them from the media," Mudd said of the jurors, calling them a "dedicated and hard-working" group of people.

Westerfield, 50, is charged with murder, kidnapping and misdemeanor possession of child pornography in connection with the death of 7-year-old Danielle van Dam.

The twice-divorced self-employed design engineer could face the death penalty if the jury convicts him of killing his Sabre Springs neighbor and finds true a special circumstance allegation that the murder happened during a kidnapping.

Many experts and self-appointed pundits have speculated on how long it might take to reach verdicts or whether a hung jury is possible.

The jury Wednesday asked for readback of the testimony of San Diego police criminalist Jennifer Shen, when she was recalled to testify about orange fibers that allegedly link Westerfield to the victim.

Jurors have also reviewed all of the pornographic evidence in the case and asked to look at photographs that Westerfield had taken of his ex-girlfriend's teenage daughter, according to court documents.

Prosecutors told the jury that one photo of the daughter lying by the pool was sexually suggestive.

Jurors also re-listened to a taped interview the defendant gave to a police interrogation specialist on Feb. 4, two days after Danielle's mother discovered the second-grader missing from her bed.

15 posted on 08/16/2002 6:57:52 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: MizSterious
Bump for later
16 posted on 08/16/2002 6:58:15 AM PDT by Texas Yellow Rose
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To: sunshine state
I don't know, I am a bit FUZZY on the details...LOL
17 posted on 08/16/2002 6:58:29 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: truthkeeper
The Jury have been treated like second class citizens. Their requests have been denied, they get paid very little and as far as I can tell, no free lunch...LOL!

I don't know what the conditions are in the deliberation room, but getting past the crowd at the Court House has been a night mare for most of them.

They seem to be just doing things their way, taking their time, and going over conflicting, I say "good for them".

We can wait.


18 posted on 08/16/2002 6:59:29 AM PDT by spectre
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To: sunshine state

Westerfield Jury Ends Sixth Day Of Deliberations

Juror Reportedly Followed By Media


POSTED: 6:54 p.m. PDT August 15, 2002
The jury in the trial of David Westerfield has gone home for the day without reaching a verdict.
Jennifer Shen, fiber expert

Jurors have been deliberating for six days on whether Westerfield should be convicted of kidnapping and killing 7-year-old Danielle van Dam. Earlier a judge denied a request to sequester the jury in the case.

Even though one alternate juror reported being followed, the judge said it wasn't necessary to put the jurors in a hotel.

Lawyers for defendant David Westerfield repeatedly have requested the jury be sequestered.

Westerfield is charged with killing Danielle van Dam in February. She was kidnapped from her bedroom, and her body was found 25 days later

19 posted on 08/16/2002 7:01:30 AM PDT by FresnoDA
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To: pinz-n-needlez
WIll add this to the "left foot"Possible tie in to the games?

Here's a possible tie in to games and left foot.

"Welcome to the Left Foot Store. Here you can buy all kinds of cool games and game related stuff. Now, I'm not really a merchant, just an affiliate. I'll be finding the best prices on good games (and gaming stuff) and putting them up here. ...If I could make some money to support it, then I would definately get a paid server with no banners and more space! That means more roms!!! Woo Hoo!!! "

Wonder even more the significance of Danielle's "LEFT FOOT" missing and Damon's gaming? Also wonder who owns the LEFT FOOT STORE?

20 posted on 08/16/2002 7:01:52 AM PDT by hoosiermama
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