P V CM AUGUST 8TH 2011

Summary taken from Official Court Transcripts

Status Updates: Getting ready for Trial: Making sure everyone is in compliance:

DEFENDANT CONRAD ROBERT MURRAY, WAS NOT PRESENT,

 

PRESENT: EDWARD M. CHERNOFF,   J. MICHAEL FLANAGAN, NAREG

GOURJIAN,

 

FOR THE PEOPLE DAVID WALGREN AND DEBORAH BRAZIL, DEPUTIES DISTRICT ATTORNEY

 

THE COURT:   WE ARE HERE FOR A STATUS UPDATE AND PRETRIAL ISSUES.   ON FRIDAY AFTERNOON, I RECEIVED A SUBMISSION CAPTIONED FORMAL DISCOVERY MOTION.   HAS THE DEFENSE RECEIVED THAT, MR. CHERNOFF?

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   I READ IT SATURDAY EVENING,  HAVEN’T BEEN ABLE TO PREPARE A WRITTEN RESPONSE TO IT. I TALKED TO THE PROSECUTION, THIS MORNING.   I WANT TO MAKE SURE THEY ARE FULLY APPRISED OF EVERYTHING THAT IS GOING ON IN THE DISCOVERY. I TOLD THEM WE CAN MEET JUST SIT DOWN AND HAVE A DISCUSSION ABOUT WHAT WE PLAN TO DO AND WHAT OUR INTENTIONS ARE WITH REGARD TO WITNESSES AND THE LIKE, EVERY STATEMENT WE HAVE RECEIVED WITH THE EXCEPTION OF TWO, AND I MET WITH SOME PATIENTS ON FRIDAY, LAST FRIDAY, HAS BEEN TURNED OVER TO THE PEOPLE.   AND WE CERTAINLY ARE GOING TO COMPLY WITH ANY DISCOVERY ORDERS IN THIS CASE.

 

THE COURT:   I WAS GOING TO ASK THE PEOPLE TO SPEAK FIRST SINCE IT IS THEIR MOTION.

 

MR. WALGREN:   I THINK OUR MOTION SETS IT FORTH PRETTY CLEARLY.   WE HAVE BEEN DEALING WITH DISCOVERY ON AN INFORMAL BASIS.   AND AS IT STANDS NOW, AGAIN MAYBE THERE ARE WITNESSES THAT THE DEFENSE IS NO LONGER INTENDING ON CALLING.   MAYBE THEY ARE SIMPLY RELYING ON PEOPLE’S STATEMENT.   IF THAT IS THE CASE, THAT IS FINE. WE CAN RESOLVE THOSE ISSUES. AS IT STANDS RIGHT NOW, THEIR WITNESS LIST OF 103 PEOPLE, WE HAVE NOT RECEIVED ANY WITNESS STATEMENTS FOR 76 OF THOSE 103 PEOPLE, SO WE ARE CONCERNED. AND AS I INDICATED, I THINK WE HAVE RECEIVED JUST ONE STATEMENT OF ANY KIND SINCE THE DEFENSE CONTINUED THIS CASE BACK IN APRIL.   SO WE BASICALLY FIND OURSELVES AT THIS STAGE IN THE SAME POSITION WE WERE IN APRIL.

 

THE COURT:   WE ARE 31 DAYS BEFORE TRIAL.   1054 REQUIRES DISCOVERY COMPLIANCE 30 DAYS BEFORE THE TRIAL. I DON’T KNOW WHAT ELSE IS OUT THERE, BUT I HAVE A LIST HERE AND IT MAY ALL BE MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. LET ME ASK YOU THIS.   MR. WALGREN AND MS. BRAZIL, HAVE YOU MET TO THE LETTER YOUR OBLIGATIONS IN TERMS OF DISCOVERY COMPLIANCE?

 

MR. WALGREN:   WE HAVE, AND WE HAVE ADDITIONAL DISCOVERY WE WILL BE GIVING THE DEFENSE TODAY.

 

THE COURT:   IT SEEMS TO ME WE SHOULD BE COMING BACK ON WEDNESDAY, WHICH IS 29 DAYS BEFORE THE TRIAL IS GOING TO BEGIN.   I NEED A HANDLE ON THE DISCOVERY ISSUES AS THEY RELATE TO THE PEOPLE’S OBLIGATION AND THE DEFENSE OBLIGATION 30 DAYS BEFORE TRIAL. NOW, THERE IS A FORMAL DISCOVERY MOTION.   IT HAS BEEN FILED WITH THE COURT.   THE COURT HAS AN OBLIGATION TO EVALUATE THE DISCOVERY ISSUES TO SEE IF THERE IS COMPLIANCE.   IF THERE IS NOT COMPLIANCE BY A PARTY, THEN WE GET INTO OTHER ISSUES OF POSSIBLE SANCTIONS. WE HAVE BEEN DOWN THIS ROAD BEFORE, AND I WOULD HOPE THAT WE DON’T HAVE TO GO DOWN IT AGAIN. MR. CHERNOFF, YOU SAY THAT IT IS NOT ALL THAT TROUBLESOME OR PROBLEMATIC.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   THE SAME ORDERS YOU HAVE ORDERED US BEFORE.   THOSE ORDERS, I ASSUME, STAND.   I, FRANKLY, THINK THAT WE CAN RESOLVE THIS.

 

THE COURT:   WHEN?

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   YOU ARE ORDERING US TO COME BACK WEDNESDAY?

 

THE COURT:   YES. I’M ORDERING YOU TO RESOLVE IT TODAY OR TOMORROW SO THAT WHEN WE COME BACK ON WEDNESDAY —

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   CAN YOU BE MORE SPECIFIC?   MAYBE WE ARE NOT — WHEN YOU SAY RESOLVE IT, CAN YOU BE —

 

THE COURT:   I WANT A RESPONSE TO THE PEOPLE.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   A WRITTEN RESPONSE.   GOT IT.   OKAY.

 

THE COURT:   ARE THERE ANY OTHER STATEMENTS, REPORTS, NOTES, REGARDING EXISTING WITNESSES, REGARDING NEW WITNESSES.   IS THE DEFENSE DELETING CERTAIN WITNESSES THEY MIGHT HAVE INDICATED AT AN EARLIER POINT IN TIME. ARE THEY RELYING EXCLUSIVELY UPON EARLIER STATEMENTS THAT THE PEOPLE PROVIDED THEM IN DISCOVERY. I THINK WE NEED TO HAVE SOME UNDERSTANDING AND CERTAINTY AS TO STATUS.   WHEN YOU HAVE A WITNESS LIST, WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   WE WILL BE HAPPY TO GO THROUGH THEIR LIST THAT THEY PROVIDED IN THEIR MOTION AND STATE WHETHER WE HAVE A STATEMENT FOR THOSE WITNESSES. BUT ONE THING THAT WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO DO IS TELL YOU THAT WITHIN THE NEXT 30 DAYS WE ARE NOT GOING TO BE ABLE TO FIND A WITNESS, OR THE WITNESS THAT HAS SO FAR BEEN UNCOOPERATIVE HAS DECIDED TO COOPERATE. WE WILL NEVER BE ABLE TO PREDICT THAT FOR YOU. I UNDERSTAND WHAT THE PEOPLE’S CONCERNS ARE, AND I WILL HELP THEM WITH THAT WITH REGARD TO WHETHER OR NOT WE HAVE STATEMENTS OF WITNESSES OR ANY ADDITIONAL INFORMATION OTHER THAN WHAT THEY PROVIDED US. I WILL HELP THEM WITH THAT, BUT I —

 

THE COURT:   IT ALMOST SEEMS WHEN YOU SAY YOU WILL HELP THEM WITH THAT, YOU ARE BEING VERY GRACIOUS AND ACCOMMODATING.   IT IS NOT A QUESTION OF BEING HELPFUL. IT IS A QUESTION OF FULFILLING YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES, AND I HAVE SAID THE SAME THING OF THE PEOPLE.   BOTH SIDES HAVE THOSE RESPONSIBILITIES.   THEY ARE ORDERED BY THE COURT. BUT THE PARTIES IN THIS CASE THROUGHOUT THE COURSE OF THIS TRIAL AND RIGHT NOW ARE ORDERED TO COMPLY FULLY WITH THE PROVISIONS OF PENAL CODE SECTION 1054. I’M SURE THE PEOPLE MAY HAVE SIMILAR ISSUES.   THEY MAY HAVE DIFFERENT STATEMENTS THAT COME UP WITHIN THIS TIME FRAME. I’M NOT REQUIRING YOU TO PERFORM HERCULEAN AND IMPOSSIBLE TASKS, MR. CHERNOFF.   I KNOW THE REALITIES OF LITIGATION AND THE DYNAMICS INVOLVED.   WE ARE TALKING ABOUT EXISTING WITNESSES AND THE STATUS RIGHT NOW AND WHAT HAS OR HASN’T BEEN DONE.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   WE CAN ADDRESS THAT IN A WRITTEN MOTION AND TALK TO THE PROSECUTION, WILL BE HAPPY TO TALK ABOUT THAT ON WEDNESDAY.

 

THE COURT:   YOU HAD ANOTHER ISSUE, MR. WALGREN?

 

MR. WALGREN:   WE WILL HAVE JUST SOME DISCOVERY FOR THE DEFENSE TODAY. ONE PARTICULAR ITEM OF DISCOVERY THAT WE HAVE NO OBJECTION TO TURNING OVER — HOWEVER, WE ARE GOING TO ASK FOR THE COURT’S INVOLVEMENT TO SPEAK TO THE COURT EX PARTE REGARDING ANY NECESSARY POTENTIAL PROTECTIVE ORDER OR THINGS OF THAT NATURE — IT IS AN INDIVIDUAL PACKET OF DISCOVERY.   LARGELY RELATES TO PRESCRIPTIONS THAT CONRAD MURRAY HAS ISSUED.   AND, QUITE FRANKLY, MOST OF THE MATERIALS IN THIS PACKET INVOLVE PATIENTS THAT HAVE NO INVOLVEMENT WITH THIS CASE WHATSOEVER AND CONTAINS A LOT OF CONFIDENTIAL MEDICAL INFORMATION, IDENTIFYING INFORMATION. THE PEOPLE ARE FACED WITH THE PROSPECT OF, IF WE PROPERLY REDACTED IT, THERE WOULD BE ALMOST NOTHING LEFT IN THESE DOCUMENTS.   WE FELT THE MOST APPROPRIATE WAY TO HANDLE IT WOULD BE TO, WITH THE COURT’S PERMISSION, IS TO GIVE A COPY TO THE COURT FOR THE COURT’S REVIEW AND GUIDANCE ON HOW TO PROCEED AS FAR AS THIS INDIVIDUAL PACKET OF DISCOVERY.

 

THE COURT:   YOU ARE DEALING WITH PRIVACY INTERESTS OF THIRD PARTIES.   THAT IS THE POINT YOU ARE MAKING?

 

MR. WALGREN:   YES.

 

THE COURT:   ARE THERE SIGNED RELEASES?

 

MR. WALGREN:   NO.

 

THE COURT:   ALL RIGHT.   YOU HAVE GOT IT NOW?

 

MR. WALGREN:   I DO.

 

THE COURT:   THIS IS SOMETHING I ADDRESS ON WEDNESDAY.

 

MR. WALGREN:   THAT WOULD BE FINE.

 

THE COURT:   I SUPPOSE I COULD TRY TO ADDRESS IT TODAY.   I HAPPEN TO BE IN JURY TRIAL.   WE HAVE A JURY COMING BACK IN 45 MINUTES. I NEED COUNSEL’S GUIDANCE, TOO, IN TERMS OF WHAT THEY SEE AS THE ISSUES.   SO THERE ARE EXTENSIVE DOCUMENTS REGARDING THIRD PARTY PATIENTS ALLEGEDLY OF DR. MURRAY, AND YOU WANT TO KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH THEM.

 

MR. WALGREN:   PUT SIMPLY, YES. REDACTING, THE LEVEL OF REDACTING, WHETHER THEY ARE EVEN RELEVANT.   WE ARE JUST BEING CAUTIOUS AND ASKING THE COURT’S GUIDANCE.   I DON’T KNOW THAT THEY ARE EVEN RELEVANT, QUITE FRANKLY.   BUT IF THE COURT FEELS THEY ARE AND COUNSEL CAN OBVIOUSLY RESPOND ONCE THEY HAVE MORE INFORMATION WHAT THE DOCUMENTS ARE, BUT I WOULD SAY 99 PERCENT OF THE DOCUMENTS RELATE TO PATIENTS THAT HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS CASE AND HAS VERY SPECIFIC IDENTIFYING INFORMATION AS WELL AS INFORMATION PERTAINING TO THE MEDICAL PRESCRIPTIONS.   SO WE DIDN’T WANT THAT OBVIOUSLY TURNED OVER, ABSENT SOME TYPE OF REDACTION OR PROTECTIVE ORDER OR EVEN PRELIMINARY RULING AS TO RELEVANCE.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   HOW DID THE PROSECUTION GET THIS INFORMATION WITHOUT REDACTION?   DID THEY GO THROUGH HIPPA?

 

THE COURT:   I DON’T KNOW.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   HOW WAS IT PROVIDED?

 

THE COURT:   WAS THE DOCUMENTATION RECOVERED DURING THE SERVICE OF THE SEARCH WARRANT?

 

MR. WALGREN:   IT WAS RECOVERED PURSUANT TO THE INVESTIGATION.   I’D HAVE TO INQUIRE OF LAW ENFORCEMENT DETECTIVES ON THAT QUESTION.

 

THE COURT:   THERE ARE VERY SENSITIVE PRIVACY ISSUES UNDER FEDERAL AND STATE LAW ABOUT THIS.   ONE OF THE ISSUES, OF COURSE, IS WHETHER THE PEOPLE EVEN SHOULD HAVE IT.   SHOULD I BE IN THIS POSITION THEN OF GOING THROUGH THE MATERIALS?   I DON’T LIKE GOING THROUGH PEOPLE’S PERSONAL PHYSICIAN OR LEGAL RECORDS UNLESS THERE IS A SPECIFIC REASON.

 

MR. WALGREN:   LET ME BE A LITTLE MORE SPECIFIC THEN.   IT IS PRESCRIPTION RECORDS OF DR. MURRAY.   SO BY DEFINITION, IT LISTS THE MEDICINES PRESCRIBED, THE TYPE OF MEDICINE, AND THINGS OF THAT NATURE.   SO IT MORE SPECIFICALLY RELATES TO CONRAD MURRAY.   HOWEVER, BECAUSE IT IS HIS PRESCRIPTION HISTORY, IT DOCUMENTS SOME OF THE PEOPLE TO WHOM HE MADE THOSE PRESCRIPTIONS, OR FOR WHOM.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   THIS IS PROBABLY SOMETHING WE SHOULD HAVE ADDRESSED I THINK, OUTSIDE THE COURTROOM. THE PRESUMPTION HERE IS THAT ANY OF THAT IS RELEVANT. ALL DOCTORS PRESCRIBE MEDICINE.   ALL DOCTORS HAVE A PRESCRIBING HISTORY.   THAT HASN’T BEEN ESTABLISHED WHATSOEVER.   TO BRING THIS UP IN OPEN COURT WITHOUT ANY FOUNDATION IS, I THINK, UNFAIR.

 

THE COURT:   I’M NOT SO SURE IT IS A MATTER, EVEN IF WE ADDRESSED IT IN CHAMBERS, I DON’T THINK IT IS CONFIDENTIAL.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   I CAN’T IMAGINE ANYTHING MORE CONFIDENTIAL THAN SOMEONE KNOWING WHAT HAS BEEN PRESCRIBED TO YOU.

 

THE COURT:   WE ARE NOT GOING THERE.   THAT IS THE POINT.   WE ARE TALKING IN GENERAL TERMS NOW ABOUT A PARTICULAR ISSUE, NOT ABOUT THE SPECIFICS.   I THINK I NEED A WRITTEN SUBMISSION FROM THE PEOPLE ON THIS ISSUE BEFORE I EVEN ADDRESS IT. YOU ARE ASKING FOR MY GUIDANCE.   I DON’T HAVE A CLUE WHAT ALL OF THIS MEANS, AND I DON’T KNOW IF IT IS WITHIN THE COURT’S DOMAIN TO BE GOING THROUGH RECORDS THAT MAY INVOLVE THIRD PARTY PATIENTS WHO HAVE

CONFIDENTIALITY ISSUES AND SOMEHOW MAKING SOME DECISIONS WHEN I DON’T HAVE A CLUE THE PURPOSE FOR WHICH THIS

INFORMATION IS PRESENTED. I NEED GUIDANCE FROM THE PEOPLE ON THIS. THAT IS WHERE THAT GOES.   YOU CAN GIVE THAT TO ME ON WEDNESDAY. WHAT ELSE HAVE YOU GOT?

 

MR. WALGREN:   WE SUBMITTED A DRAFT OF THE QUESTIONNAIRE TO THE COURT.

 

THE COURT:   DOES THE DEFENSE HAVE THAT?

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   YES, JUDGE.

 

THE COURT:   SOMEBODY TOLD ME OVER THE WEEKEND ONE OF THE NEWS AGENCIES WAS FLOATING AROUND A DRAFT.   I HAVE A FEELING IT WAS RELATED TO THE OLD QUESTIONNAIRE.   IT NEVER STOPS. I DON’T KNOW THE EXACT CHANGES, BY THE WAY. DOES THE DEFENSE HAVE SOME PROPOSALS, SOME QUESTIONS FOR MODIFICATION, ET CETERA, BEFORE I LOOK EVEN MORE THOROUGHLY AT THE NEW QUESTIONNAIRE?

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   HERE IS WHAT I WAS ABLE TO DETERMINE BASED ON THE DRAFT.

 

THE COURT:   I DON’T WANT TO GO INTO DETAIL.   I WANT TO GO INTO SUBSTANTIVE MATERIAL.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   I WAS JUST GOING TO SAY NUMBERS.

 

THE COURT:   THAT IS SOMETHING I WOULD RATHER DO IN CHAMBERS.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   OKAY.

 

THE COURT:   IF YOU WANT TO DO THAT, WE CAN DO THAT IN CHAMBERS.   THIS IS PARTICULARLY CONFIDENTIAL AND SENSITIVE.   THERE IS A PROTECTIVE ORDER OUT THERE THAT NO INFORMATION REGARDING ANY PROPOSED OR PLANNED QUESTIONNAIRE IS TO BE DISSEMINATED OUTSIDE THE INDIVIDUAL CAMPS OF COUNSEL AND THE PARTIES.   THAT IS AN ORDER OF THE COURT.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   DO YOU HAVE TIME TO DO THAT TODAY, JUDGE?

 

THE COURT:   PROBABLY 15 OR 20 MINUTES.   WE CAN

START BEFORE I START UP MY NEXT TRIAL.   LET US COME BACK THEN.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   BEFORE THEN — I’M SORRY TO INTERRUPT YOU.

 

THE COURT:   SURE.

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   I WANT TO MAKE SURE WE ADDRESS A MOTION FOR INSPECTION THAT WE FILED ON CERTAIN ITEMS.   WE FILED THIS ON THE 29TH OF JULY.   WE WANT TO SEE THREE ITEMS POSSESSED BY THE POLICE.

 

MR. WALGREN:   WE HAVE NO OBJECTION.   WE WILL JUST

MAKE ARRANGEMENTS.   WE CAN SET A TIME AND DATE THAT WORKS FOR THE DEFENSE.   THEY HAVE ALREADY VIEWED THE EVIDENCE, BUT I UNDERSTAND THEY WANT TO VIEW IT AGAIN.   WE HAVE NO OBJECTION.

 

THE COURT:   WHEN YOU SAY MOTION FOR INSPECTION FILED ON THE 29TH OF JULY, THIS WAS PRESENTED TO ME?

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   IT WAS FILED HERE.   I HAVE A COPY.

 

THE COURT:   WAS IT SIGNED?

 

MR. CHERNOFF:   WE SIGNED IT.

 

THE COURT:   I USUALLY GET MATERIAL DELIVERED TO ME

AND THEN I EVALUATE IT.   IF THE PEOPLE HAVE NO OBJECTION,

IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN SIGNED AS SOON AS I GOT IT.   IS IT UNSIGNED, MS. BENSON?

 

THE CLERK:   IT IS FILED.   YES, IT IS SIGNED.

 

THE COURT:   BY ME?

 

THE CLERK:   NO, IT IS NOT.

 

THE COURT:   THAT IS KIND OF WHAT COUNTS.   I CAN ONLY SIGN SOMETHING THAT I’VE HAD A CHANCE TO EVALUATE, AND I’M SORRY IF SOMEHOW ALONG THE LINE IT WASN’T PRESENTED TO ME. YOU HAVE SEEN IT AND HAVE NO OBJECTION?

 

MR. WALGREN:   NO, YOUR HONOR.

 

THE COURT:   OKAY.   IT IS SIGNED AS OF TODAY’S DATE, THE 8TH OF AUGUST 2011.   OBVIOUSLY, WE NEED EVERYONE’S

COOPERATION BECAUSE THIS IS IN LAPD CUSTODY.

 

MR. WALGREN:   YES.

 

THE COURT:   I WOULD REQUEST THAT THE PEOPLE MAKE ALL EFFORTS TO HAVE THIS DONE ASAP.

 

MR. WALGREN:   WE WILL, YOUR HONOR.

 

 

THE COURT:   I’M SIGNING IT RIGHT NOW. SO WEDNESDAY, AT 8:30 IN THE MORNING. FURTHER PROCEEDINGS THIS COMING WEDNESDAY, THE 10TH OF AUGUST 2011, 8:30 A.M. THIS DEPARTMENT. BOND TO STAND, AS IT HAS BEEN. WE ARE GOING IN CAMERA RIGHT NOW TO DISCUSS CONFIDENTIAL ISSUES REGARDING THE PROPOSED JUROR QUESTIONNAIRE.  

 

 

 

(FURTHER PROCEEDINGS WERE HELD IN CHAMBERS. SEALED.)

 

 

 NEXT HEARING     TO 8:30 A.M., AUGUST 10, 2011