Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Springsteen's and Scott's Joint Pretrial Hearing Today: Part 2

My Humble Opinion Plus More Observations
One of the most interesting things to come out at today's hearing were some of Judge Lynch's comments, which sometimes seemed contradictory. For example, Judge Lynch occasionally seemed slightly annoyed at or exasperated by all the continuing defense discovery requests and often encouraged both the defense and the prosecution to work out these discovery issues and keep things moving toward trials.

And yet Judge Lynch did not rule on any of the twelve discovery requests listed in the defenses' main motion today--the prosecutors only recently received the motion--because the prosecution needed time to review the requests and give their responses.

Judge Lynch also said he didn't want a bunch of these joint pretrial hearings in which "everybody stands up and says their piece..." He expects one last joint pretrial hearing to discuss his final rulings on discovery matters, etc. The next one is now set for January 9, 2008.

Prosecutors told Judge Lynch that they would be prepared for Michael Scott's trial by April 2008 at the latest and could even move it up to January or February. Scott's lead attorney, Carlos Garcia, told the judge his team couldn't be ready until June 1, 2008.

Prosecutors objected and so did Judge Lynch, saying that wouldn't work and was too late because he wants both retrials done in 2008. Garcia implied that he would not be able to be ready any earlier.

Then Judge Lynch told Garcia that if they (Garcia's team) could convince him they really couldn't be ready before June 1st, he might reconsider ordering the prosecutors to provide the copies the defense has requested so they (defense) could review them at home, on weekends, etc., implying that they (defense) would therefore be able to be prepared for trial before June 1st, which is the timetable Judge Lynch and the prosecutors want.

Uhm--if the judge is so concerned with expediting these trials, why doesn't he just go ahead now and order the prosecutors to give the defenses the copies of the discovery materials they've requested? Based on his own comment about wanting to get both cases tried in 2008, it seems he has the authority to order the discovery copy requests!

I don't understand how he can be impatient about the defenses' progress while at the same time make remarks that he can do what they've (defense) requested to speed it all up! What am I missing?

Judge Lynch said that, depending on the prosecutors' responses, he'd be highly likely to grant the defenses' requests for their own copies of certain discovery items, specifically the following:

#1 - Transcripts of all written statements, and audio/video recordings of other past suspects, particularly Forrest Wellborn's and Maurice Pierce's. Prosecutors countered that Wellborn never implicated either Springsteen or Scott and that Pierce never implicated himself.

#4 - Austin Police Department's (APD) Charles Meyer's notes.

#6 - Statements of Dearl Croft, a patron of the yogurt shop the night of the murders. The defenses are concerned that Croft may have given his statement(s) while under hypnosis, a technique they say APD frequently used at that time.

#7 - Very specific parts of APD detective John Jones' offense report, notes, etc., although the defenses want the entire data base (approximately 7,000 pages) Jones compiled, which includes alternative suspect information. Prosecutors argued that it's work product and that the defense teams are not entitled to their own copy of it.

#8 - All APD's sketches.

#10 - All Austin Fire Department's (AFD) original offense and witness reports.

#11 - Results of any lie detector results.

Judge Lynch did not comment on his inclinations towards granting the following specific defense discovery requests, implying he was disinclined to grant these:

#2 - Findings and reports of a Mr. Keppel, which defense attorney Alexandra Gauthier said she had never seen and was not able to locate in the prosecution's large file of discovery materials. After the hearing, I asked defense attorney Carlos Garcia who this Keppel guy was, and he told me that Keppel was a profiler whose opinions were allegedly relied upon by APD during their investigations, although I'm not sure if it was during APD's initial investigations or the later cold-case unit investigations. I should have asked.

#3 - All APD emails, memos, etc from January 1999 to present.

#5 - All AFD statements, memos, etc. Prosecutors said those are available to view in the discovery file.

#9 - All APD's photos of all lineups and possible alternative suspects


Anonymous said...

Hey Iris,
At one point Judge Lynch said the defense's request was "one of the most expansive definitions of exculpatory I've ever seen". As I see it, our tax dollars pay for all that copying. Imagine if all the stuff in those boxes is in date order instead of grouped by a category? I think they all agreed that most everything they wanted was in discovery already (not the database of course). I think the state agreed to copy anything that the defense "flagged" - it just puts the burden on the defense to mark those items they are looking for. The judge also told the state that if they come across an item that they know the defense has been looking for, the state has to give it to the defense right away (and not just stick it in the discovery box without telling them). I believe that if the defense comes back at the next hearing and says they are not getting any help from the state that the judge will move things along. Hope that makes sense.

Iris said...


THANK YOU! You're absolutely right, and I'm now remembering thinking that the "flagging" arrangement sounded reasonable and fair. I appreciate your pointing this out!

Although I try to be balanced, occasionally I get sidetracked on a certain train of thought and forget the forest for the trees.

If you have no objections, I'd like to post your comment on the main blog. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

In regards to Keppel, I have never heard his name mentioned before but I did a quick google search and there are several references to Keppel and his work on the yogurt shop case, although I was unable to find anything specifically that related what the profile was. The only profile that I had been familar with in this case was done by Ed Richards.

Iris said...

If nothing is mentioned about Keppel during tomorrow's hearing, I'll try to ask one of the attorneys more about him afterwards and include any info I get in tomorrow's post-hearing posting.