Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Yogurt Shop Murders: today’s joint pretrial hearing, Part 1

Judge Lynch set the tone as soon as he took the bench, saying that today’s hearing was “not going to be a freewheeling debate…” and would be narrowly focused on discovery issues. Robert Springsteen and Michael Scott were both present today. Lynch explained that Springsteen’s attorneys had filed a motion requesting his presence today and that he, Lynch, agreed to it because of the limited purpose of shared discovery issues.

Then things heated up. Responding to motions filed by the state on July 11th, defense attorneys had filed two motions: a Joint Motion to prohibit the D.A. from ex parte communications and (related to the first motion) a Joint Motion to set aside amended protective order.

The defense implied that the state engaged in an improper ex parte communication by having Lynch sign the state's new motions, in which all cause numbers related to all four victims had been added. The original 10/16/07 limiting and protective order and its amended 3/11/08 version (agreed to by all parties) contained only the cause numbers related to Amy Ayers' death. The defense claims this was done because the state has received new DNA test results it wants to make extra sure aren’t made public, presumably because they are not favorable to the state’s case.

Lynch did not buy the defense’s argument, saying it was clear his original order covered all the cases and that it only made sense that it applied to all four (original) cause numbers. He further explained that he had handwritten notes on the amended version and that the state had just cleaned up and typed a new copy identical to his handwritten version, which he signed.

“I just re-signed an already existing order,” Lynch said. He said he considered the defense’s motion “spurious,” that he did not believe the state had participated in improper ex parte communication and that the case law cited was “outrageous.” He said the joint motion to set aside the amended protective order was a separate issue that could be argued.

Moving on, Dexter Gilford, one of Scott’s attorneys, brought up their recently filed joint motion regarding Brady material. Lynch quickly warned that “we can discuss it in general but not actual results.” They argued about which DNA results are covered by Brady, and assistant district attorney Efrain De La Fuente said he’d given the defense a roster of names of people who have been tested and their results.

Gilford countered that they’d just been given some results yesterday and that he knew the state had received some results in mid-April that they’d not turned over until mid-June.

In the end, Lynch ruled that the state must turn over any and all oral reports they now have within 72 hours and that further reports must be turned over as they come in, whether or not they’ve been peer-reviewed, the lack of peer review being an excuse De La Fuente gave for not turning over some results in a more timely manner.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I would love to be a fly on the wall when the prosecution gives the defense the DNA results thus far.