I spent two hours yesterday afternoon and another two hours this morning on the witness stand, testifying as to my lack of involvement in the riot I am being accused of participating in on May 3, 2001.
Testimony starts out with direct examination, as usual. My attorney gave me an outline of the questions she was planning to ask me and some of the responses that she wanted to get. We got partway through her examination on Monday, and then continued it this morning.
This morning I managed to sleep past 5 am for the first time since I started staying with my friends in Redlands. We were getting up early, around 630 am to get on the road at 730 am to get to court at 930 am. Redlands is not close to Long Beach. In the morning I get up and take rescue remedy, which had thus far kept me from panicking in court. My friend J. and I get in the car and once again make the drive to Long Beach, projected at just under two hours in good traffic.
I am scared.
As we are leaving, I notice that my pager is going off. We head back to the apartment and I call my attorney. She is not at home, the number I was paged to. I start to worry that she paged me last night and I missed it. I call her cell phone and leave a message.
We get to court. Inside, the attorneys are arguing with the judge about the jury instructions. My attorney whispers that she wants to talk to me before I go back on the stand. In the bathroom she tells me that there's footage of me standing in the street at 1st and Pine, taking photos with the other media people. She's also worried that the prosecutor is going to grill me about not knowing where I found out about the demonstration.
On the stand, neither of these things are issues. During her direct examination, we have to cover what happened to me in the course of the demonstration. This means we have to talk about when the police shot me.
Yesterday we talked about my injuries, and the clothes I wore and the reasons I was wearing them. It didn't bother me to tell the jury about being shot. I was too busy being pissed off at the prosecutor for objecting to most of my attorney's questions about my injuries. We weren't allowed to submit photographs, either the ones the police took or the ones my friend took the next day. I wasn't allowed to say that I would need surgery or even that I had at least one rubber bullet left in my leg. It was okay for the prosecutor to mention that my codefendant, one of the defense witnesses, and I have all filed claims against the city for damages from our injuries, though.
Today we had to cover the end of the demonstration. I watched video of myself being pushed by the police, walking with my hands up, and then from around the time I was shot. I started crying on the witness stand when we got to the part where I was pushed into the street and shot. Proceedings slowed down a little while I stopped crying enough to continue answering questions. Juror 3 stared intently at me for several minutes after this. I didn't see her doing this because on the stand, my vision narrows down to the person asking me questions and my thoughts revolve around answering them without getting confused. This is harder than it sounds because the attorneys tend to ask a lot of convoluted and negative questions.
On cross examination, the prosecutor spent a lot of time trying to put words in my mouth. He kept trying to make me say that I was with the group by asking compound questions like: "Here in this photo, where you're standing with the group, what are you doing?" And I'd say something like: "Here in this photo, I'm not with the group, I'm to the side of them with the other journalists, and I'm taking a photo." And then he'd do it with the next picture. He spent at least 5 minutes trying to determine which parts of the dispersal order I'd heard or not heard, and when I said I didn't remember specifically, he got pissed. He asked how I could not remember this, since it was part of such a significant event in my life. I said I didn't remember. It wasn't clear at the time.
My attorney said I did well. She was pleased with how I held myself and handled the prosecutor's obnoxiousness. She said I was ladylike, a word that is almost never applied to me.
They asked more questions and then let me go sit down. We broke for lunch, and when I got back, the attorneys were arguing over the jury instructions again. My attorney wanted an instruction about entrapment, but the judge denied it, saying there wasn't enough evidence.
He did dismiss the last charge against both myself and my codefendant, remaining at a riot. We now each have 5 charges against us.
Closing statements began then, and lasted the rest of the day. The two defense attorneys were clear and well thought out. They both talked about things that were relevant to the case.
Then the prosecutor talked. He ranted about urban terrorists, called the kids soldiers, said they were organized into cells, and quoted George W. Bush, from his speech about drawing no distinction between terrorists and those who harbor them, or however that goes. He used every buzzword he could think of short of blaming us for the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center. He called me the anarchist staff photographer. He called my codefendant, a republican studying to be a CPA, slick. Finally he shut up. One of the jurors was rolling her eyes, and another was refusing to look at him. A third kept covering his mouth with his hand.
The bailiff and the court reporter both wished me well. I will be waiting in the courtroom for the next few days while the jury deliberates, as this makes a positive impression on them. I'm hoping to go home later this week or this weekend.
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.
For an account of pretrial matters and my journey to LA, please see my daylog for November 17, 2001.
For an account of my codefendant's plea bargaining, please see my daylog for November 24, 2001.