Monday, December 16, 2013



VILLALOBOS HEARING UNDERWAY

UPDATE:  It is 4:30 and there is nothing new on Pacer or from those in court.  It is any one's guess as to what is happening.  The final sealed event could have been a subpoena for the Jury Foreman to come to court, or we could simply be waiting  for Judge Hanen to issue a written order supported by case law.  As I noted below courts have granted new trials over jury misconduct related to FB,  Judge Hanen is a studious judge who wants to get it right - so he and his staff could simply be doing research.  If anything happens later I will post another update.

ORIGINAL POST:

I am not in court because I am busy. Unlike the reporters in court, I do not get paid to be there.

I am getting my summaries from the coverage by Valley Central and the Valley Morning News. I am trying to find channel 5's coverage.  Manuel de la Rosa has a lot of court experience from his days at Court TV. If I can find his coverage I will include it.

They are going over the various counts. The defense has raised two valid points. In the Livingston case there was no evidence Villalobos ever received a penny. The evidence showed his former law partner, acquitted btw, made two $40,000, withdrawals - but there was never any evidence Villalobos got a penny of the money. All the DOJ has is Villalobos paid some bills using money orders - but that evidence was slim and did not amount to a lot of money.

The other issue involves Valle - there was no evidence his campaign money was a bribe or that his clients received any favorable treatment. DOJ noted the money was not reported as campaign donations.

Look, everyone knows that you give money for influence. Sometimes the trial ADA's are impossible to deal with and you have to go over their heads. This happens in every county in the country. What Judge Hanen does with this is any one's guess. I am not justifying the influence issue, but it is a reality - even in how federal judges are selected.  You give to the Party - work for the Party - prove your loyalty and you get nominated.  We can pretend this does not happen, but living in la la land will not fix the problem.

Hanen appears to be favoring the jury, but there is no ruling

Judge Hanen is discounting the argument of jury confusion because the jury is free to believe some, all or none of the testimony of any given witness.  This is true.  But understand what he is saying.  The jury can part A of the witness's testimony and then conclude they lied about part B.  This is the law - like it or not.

JURY MISCONDUCT ISSUE

This in part brings in the nonsense of Facebook and friends.  One of the defense counsel is claiming the Jury Foreman is listed as a Facebook friend of Emma Perez-Trevino, and posted comments to Facebook about getting the deliberations done.

From Valley Central "Defense claim of jury misconduct: citing a Facebook post from juror and jury notes about disagreements & urgency to wrap up trial"

This is why while blogging a trial the bloggers must not give their opinion on the weight of the evidence.  No matter what the judge tells the jury they will get on the Internet.  If you remember on her Facebook page during the trial Emma blasted defense counsel.  If the jury is reading this, how is that  fair?  It is not.  If error is preserved on this, in particular Emma blasting defense counsel during the trial, it could be an interesting issue on appeal and the use of tweeting, Facebook, and blogging live.

From reading the coverage at Valley Central and Valley Morning defense counsel did not raise the issue of Emma trashing them during the trial.  If you do not raise it you waive the issue.

Right now the judge seems to be saying he is not buying any of the defense counsel's arguments.

Norton Colvin going after Emma's Facebook postings and raising concerns.  Emma is not reporting his argument, Valley Central has nothing so far.  Norton is calling for inquiry into what the Juror read and did not read on Emma's Facebook page.  If it is shown he read Emma's trashing of defense counsel - I believe blogging, tweeting and Facebook live will be banned. 

THIS IS GETTING GOOD

Sorry I am not there, but I do not get paid to be there and I have to finish some projects.

From Emma quoting Norton ""If a reporter that does have an agenda, I believe, is communicating with the one who ends up being the jury foreman, that has got to be looked into," Norton said.

Norton is 100% correct.  Hanen is looking at reversal by not allowing for examination of the jury foreman.  Waiting to see what Hanen will do.

From Emma quoting AUSA: "Surovic said this is "gross speculation" and "wild speculation" on the defense's part, asking will the next question be to call all the jurors as ask "How many of you read the Brownsville Herald?"

Look, I live both Norton and Surovic.  They are both great lawyers - they are doing what great lawyers do.  But this just got complex.  Hanen has called for a 10 minute break. 

If he fails to allow the defense to create a record by calling the Jury Foreman he is looking at a reversal - I am certain.  What I do not know is, if Norton noted that Emma trashed the defense team on her FB during the trial.

They are still in break.  I was just going over Valley Central's coverage - they are refusing to name Emma as the reporter whose FB page was read.  Typical BS reporting

STILL AT BREAK

I am certain Judge Hanen and his staff are doing research on the FB issue to see if it has come up before

FROM REUTERS:

"More than half of the cases occurred in the last two years. Judges granted new trials or overturned verdicts in 28 criminal and civil cases -- 21 since January 2009. In three-quarters of the cases in which judges declined to declare mistrials, they nevertheless found Internet-related misconduct on the part of jurors. These figures do not include the many incidents that escape judicial notice."

The above article is for anyone interested in the issue.

We are still at break - what is happening is Judge Hanen is trying to decide if he will allow Villalobos' lawyers to create a record by calling the Jury Foreman as a witness on the misconduct issue.  It is never smart for a judge in a criminal trial to deny the defendant a record on the Motion for New Trial.  The time to resolve this is now.

When we were sitting there waiting for the verdict I rejected comment after comment which included threats against me for not allowing for the comments.  I stated I would not allow for comments on the weight of the evidence because I had no way way of knowing if the jury was reading my blog.  Free Speech requires responsible speech and not trashing defense counsel during the trial.

PARTIES WAITING ON JUDGE HANEN TO EMERGE WITH HIS RULINGS

It is being reported the attorneys are waiting on rulings from Judge Hanen - we will have something soon - I hope

The sentencing will be at a later date and will go a lot faster because of today's hearing.

I am logged into Pacer so if the rulings are typed in I can quote directly from Pacer.

I do not see where Manuel de la Rosa of News 5 is covering this - but if anyone knows let me know - I really want his perspective.


UPDATE VILLALOBOS TRIAL

In Chambers Hearing with Sealed document - something is up

"Full docket text:Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge Andrew S. Hanen: IN CHAMBERS CONFERENCE as to Armando Villalobos held on 12/16/2013. Appearances: G.Surovic, AUSA; J.M.Androphy, Atty f/deft; A.Gargour, Atty f/deft; N.Colvin Jr., Atty f/deft;);(Court Reporter: B.Barnard)(12:30-12:50). Hearing SEALED w/o objections. Discussion held. Courts Exhibit #1 admitted and sealed., filed.(csustaeta, 1)"

This is per Pacer

NOTHING NEW:  The BV is the only one reporting the Sealed Hearing in Chambers and the filing of a sealed document.  There is nothing new on Pacer.  I have texted and emailed a lot of people.  The attorneys are not talking with anyone.  We shall see what happens - back to work.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wish you were there. It would have been better coverage.

BobbyWC said...

Well I think you have the most important information - this FB issue excites me because it will be an issue on appeal if the defense loses the issue.

Sorry - I have obligations which will always come before blogging

Bobby WC

BobbyWC said...

Per your request I rejected your comment - I saw nothing wrong with it - and it is true you did tell the BV about the FB issue - I just did not have enough to go on until today - but I think it is the hot issue.

Bobby WC

Anonymous said...

Maybe during Ernie's trial you'll have more incentive to attend.

BobbyWC said...

First of all, I attended Armando's trial as the only reporter not being paid - I lost business during that week and a half.

Hearings can be long and meaningless - I am not going to walk away from business for a hearing, unless I expect something spectacular.

The fact of the matter is, eventhough I was not there the BV is the only one who got the story of the sealed hearing with sealed documents, and I was not even in court.

The BV is the only one reporting the entire story over the Facebook issue, and I was not even in court.

But nice pathetic try

Bobby WC