Sunday, May 31, 2009
Phil Spector Was Railroaded In A Legal Outrage
Los Angeles, CA—Judge Larry Paul Fiddler seemed like such a personable fellow when I met him in San Francisco at a function hosted by the Investigative Reporters and Editors some six years ago. First impressions are sometimes misleading.
Fidler had the duty to give murder suspects a fair trial under our sacred system of justice. When legendary record producer Phil Spector’s murder case came before Judge Fidler, fairness was replaced by judicial tyranny.
Fidler consistently ruled for nearly every request by prosecutors while denying nearly everything for Spector’s defense. Fidler was more biased than any judge I’ve seen in some 40 years.
Fidler was out to prove that a celebrity could get convicted after a stunning series of acquittals of other accused Hollywood notables.
Fidler was asked repeatedly to recuse himself and when he refused the defense went as far as the Court of Appeals and lost the argument.
The real abuse of judicial discretion was surrounding the newly revised California’s evidence code 1101B that could allow the introduction of so-called prior bad acts committed by the defendant.
Fidler allowed a string of women jilted by Spector to come into court and accuse Spector of whatever they wanted. Allegations surfaced that were never reported to police and there was never a prosecution or trial to sort out fact from fiction. The tales were decades old and the women telling them were felons, freeloaders and even sold their stories to the tabloids.
As for the evidence or rather a lack of it, the jury was allowed to be tainted by a very public hate campaign often centering on the aging Spector or his appearance.
The case was far more about salacious gossip than facts. The pretty dead woman, Lana Clarkson was painted as saintly or angelic. The truth was that she was a troubled alcohol and drug addicted woman who stole from her friends and lived under a cloud of poverty and depression.
The prosecutors took steps to cover up Clarkson’s real problems by asking the Los Angeles County Medical Examiners to not conduct the normal psychological autopsy done in such cases. This obstruction of justice was criminal to say the least.
The prosecution made a, Motion to Fix and Judge Filer sustained that motion. The jury was swayed by the avalanche of what should have been inadmissible garbage rather than evidence. The result was a miscarriage of justice.
Lana Clarkson died at her own hands while heavily intoxicated.
Now Phil Spector can watch the Clarkson family loot his estate as he rots in a prison cell for a year or few until his case is reviewed by a higher court.
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CF:What do you think of Mr. Spectors chances in an Appelate court??Will he get more of the same legal railroading or possibly a better shot.From what I see,it was a suicide and not a homicide.
How long will it take for this Appeal process to happen?
ITA with Anonymous.
Hopefully if Fidler is not involved with the Appellate aspects, Mr. Spector will win this appeal.
Have you heard anything re: the investigation into Jurors illegally using the internet during the trial? Or was there not enough evidence there?
Anything to grant this man an Appeal..
You know I heard on the radio after this all went down, Alan Jackson said "(Spector) got what he deserved!" Wow. Was that not the height of unprofessionalism.
When I spoke with an attorney, they said on average it takes about 2 years in California. It may happened sooner but we won't know for awhile. In the meantime an innocent man sits in prison.
AP March 12th 2010 Update Phil Spector Appeal
Lawyers for Phil Spector have asked an appellate court to throw out his murder conviction on grounds of judicial error and prosecutorial misconduct.
The attorneys asked the California Second District Court of Appeal to reverse the jury verdict and order a new trial.
Among the issues raised were the admission of testimony from five women who claimed they were threatened by Spector with guns &
the prosecution's use of a videotape of the trial judge commenting on evidence in the case. They said prosecutors improperly used the women's testimony to convict Spector.
Spector, the 70-year-old rock music producer, is in prison serving a sentence of 19 years to life for the murder of actress Lana Clarkson, who was shot through the mouth in Spector's home seven years ago.
Spector's defense team argued that Lana was depressed and shot herself.
It took prosecutors two trials to convict Spector. The first trial ended in a jury deadlock.
In the appeal, attorney Dennis Riordan outlined errors he said were committed by Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler in both trials, which occurred when Fidler allowed prosecutors in the second trial to show jurors a videotape from a hearing held outside the presence of Spector and his jury in the first trial.
On the tape, they said, the judge was seen interpreting the action of a key forensic witness testifying about the position of blood spatter on Clarkson's body.
Riordan said that in final arguments prosecutors showed side-by-side photos of the forensic witness and the judge and pointed to them as "persons who supplied crucial evidence supporting a guilty verdict."
They quoted from a transcript in which the judge resolved a conflict over where a blood spot was located.
The judge later refused to exclude his own comments saying he had the right to say what he observed in court.
"Under California law, a judge may not offer evidence in a trial over which he presides," adding that Fidler could not be cross-examined by the defense on what the prosecution told jurors was the most crucial issue of the case -- whether blood spatter evidence showed who pulled the trigger on the gun.
"The evidence was profoundly conflicted on the one issue at the center of the case: who was holding the firearm when it discharged" the appeal said.
Spector’s appeal lawyers also argue that the prosecutors' inflammatory language and their "vituperative attacks on the integrity of defense counsel and the expert witnesses...passed over the line separating aggressive advocacy from prosecutorial misconduct."
They cited to Deputy District attorney Alan Jackson's conduct and called it egregious misconduct.
The appeal quoted Jackson as telling jurors: "How does homicide become a suicide? Just write a big fat check...Just go out and buy yourself a scientist."
After those comments to the jury, defense attorney moved for a mistrial, the judge said no.
The appeal focused heavily on Fidler's decision to allow testimony from five women who had dated Spector in the past, some in decades before, who told of his penchant for threatening women with guns.
The lawyers said the incidents they described did not meet the test of similarity to the events surrounding Clarkson's death.
"None of the...evidence involved events in which Mr. Spector put a gun in someone's mouth, much less fired it."
The appeal said the judge also improperly allowed the prosecution to assert that Spector "had a history and propensity of violence against women and thus should be convicted based on his bad character and evil propensities."
The lawyers said there was "a cumulative prejudicial impact" on jurors which "cannot be deemed harmless.
They noted that Jackson and Deputy District Attorney Truc Do used the term "pattern" 40 times to describe Spector's behavior.
Phil Spector's Appeal Brief is at
My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Phil and his courageous wife Rachelle. I can identify with their plight because here in Chile where I live there are over 60 decorated military officers who were railroaded to prison for life because they destroyed communist terrorist cells en the 70s & 80s. With the return of "democracy" special kangaroo courts were set up in which the judge is also the prosecutor, and the military officers are presumed GUILTY and not given a chance to defend themselves, just like in the Spanish Inquisition.
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