Two days ago, I flew from Minneapolis to Los Angeles for trial. My attorney has been in court since Thursday. I went on Friday, as it's better if I'm there for as much of the case as I can stand.
I arrive in court around 11am. I see my codefendants, two young men in slacks and dress shirts, for the first time. My attorney is standing up front with a blackboard with a map drawn on it.
My attorney and the attorneys of my two codefendants are making a motion to have some, if not all, of the charges against us dropped. My attorney is interviewing the officer in charge on the day of my arrest. The prosecutors keep objecting to her questions, saying she's leading him, which she isn't. The judge, who is not paying attention, sustains. The officer, one Commander George, is lying. He's saying that the police didn't make the demonstrators go anywhere specific, and didn't expect them to go south on Pine, which is where they were ordered to go. He says they were throwing rocks, jumping on cars, and pushing strangers into the street. I didn't see any of this, and I wonder if he and I were at the same event.
The judge calls a recess for lunch. My attorney comes and hugs me. She tells me, sotto voce, that Commander George's testimony contradicts the police testimony they heard yesterday. They're so arrogant, she says, that they're not even bothering to get their story straight. We go to lunch.
During lunch, she and one of the other attorneys talk about credibility. Jurors, as average citizens, are inclined to believe the police even when they're obviously lying because if they can believe that the police are capable of these kinds of atrocities, then they have to believe that the police aren't there to protect and serve them, and perhaps they aren't really safe in their homes.
We talk about keeping what we say subjective, and never volunteering information to the prosecution. I am told not to appear to contradict the police. The prosecution will try to incriminate me by talking about how bad the demonstrators are, and insinuating that I'm one of them. My best strategy is not to disagree with them, but to make it clear that I was not a demonstrator. My attorney also tells me that it's in my best interest not to appear to know my codefendants, not to hang out with them, as it will give the jury the impression that I know them.
Back in court, Commander George's interview is finished up, and another cop is called up. I am noticing the guns the cops are carrying, and my fear starts to turn to panic. My attorney has one of her assistants take me outside.
When I come back, the prosecution is talking about how they're sure they'll get to pick the jury. In the previous trial, the one that had the misfortune to finish jury selection on September 11, the defense used all their cuts up first, leaving the prosecution to literally pick the jury. The defense attorneys get 5 cuts each, and 10 as a group. The prosecution gets the same number. The judge comes back, and they start the motion again.
My attorney begins the legal body of motion, the part with the precedents and the supreme court rulings. She discusses the precedents and how they apply to this case. She talks about entrapment. She says that the demonstrators were ordered to disperse south on Pine, and that when they obeyed that order, they were arrested. She says this is equivalent to throwing water on someone, and then arresting them because they are wet. The motion is great. The judge, who has not been paying attention for most of the day, sits up. He prevaricates for a while, then decides to ignore the precedents set by the supreme court. He denies the motion.
Jury selection for my trial begins on Monday.
To see how this started, please see my daylog for May 3, 2001.
For difficulties in dealing with court dates, please see my daylog for May 7, 2001.
The charges against me are listed on May 10, 2001.
For an account of my first arraignment hearing, please see my daylog for May 24, 2001.
For an account of my bad dealings with my codefendants, please see my daylog for May 30, 2001.
For an account of my second arraignment hearing, please see my daylog for June 22, 2001.
For an account of my decision to go to trial, please see my daylog for October 31, 2001.