It's a Particular Friday

We Know What Day It Is.  Do The Legal Teams?

Today, April 17th, is the prosecution’s self imposed deadline to respond to the defendant’s Bill of Particulars.  When the government  missed the first deadline on March 13th, defense argued that they had conceded.  Prosecution shot back saying no harm was caused to the defense while also asking for an extension

And perhaps this is as good a time as any to point out to the prosecution a small typo in that filing:  On page 1, bullet number two should read, “On November 19, 2008 the grand jury returned….”  not “On November 19, 2009…”  

And the defense is having problems with dates, too.  On the front page of the Bill of Particulars, they note the April 24th scheduled hearing before Judge Weisberg as occuring on April 27th.  Let’s see if the defense shows up for their own hearing. 

This case has already ripened for nearly three years without much activity, so let’s try and keep the dates straight and not add any more unnecessary confusion.

 The defense’s motion for a Bill of Particulars argues that the prosecution’s charges are too vague to defend against.  Since the government claims that there were overt acts of conspiracy, the burden rests on the government to show the particulars acts in which any defendant participated.  The defense team maintains that not only does this allow them to mount an adequate defense, but also protects the defendants from double jeopardy.

The government’s answers will give us a clue as to how much information they already put forward vs. how much they are holding back.  It should also provide a pretty clear road map for how the government will prosecute the case in court, that is whenever Judge Weisberg gets around to setting that date.

Mike Scarcella at the Legal Times is the go-to-guy on legal manuevers between the government and defense, so we hope to see more from him when the government responds to the defense’s motion.

— posted by David

46 comments for “It's a Particular Friday

  1. CDinDC
    04/17/2009 at 12:25 PM

    Typos galore…..there are also typos in the search warrant documents. On at least pages 26, 29 and 32, address is erroneously listed as 1709 Swann Street. Excellent work, MPD.

    David says: “The defense team maintains that not only does this allow them to mount an adequate defense, but also protects the defendants from double jeopardy.” Hmmm…..sounds like the defense team is ANTICIPATING a murder charge if they are concerned about “adequate defense” against it already.

    • CDinDC
      04/17/2009 at 12:33 PM

      and perhaps by claiming “the prosecution’s charges are too vague” they are forcing the prosecution to be more explicit, which may push the prosecution closer to the fine line of double jeopardy. Again, you cannot try a defendant twice on the same set of facts.

      Sounds like the defense is already mounting a murder defense strategy. Double Jeopardy.

      • N.M.
        04/17/2009 at 3:42 PM

        Good thinking, CD. Its the kind of risky strategy (if I understand correctly) that someone like Price – he of the stashed porn on his work computer – would go for.

        Meanwhile – what are the chances the prosecution *won’t* fuck up? Personally, I’d go with 10%.

        Maybe we should start a pool – what mistakes will the prosecution make, and in what order.

        • IKWDI
          04/17/2009 at 3:59 PM

          20 bucks here that the defendants go free… and not because I believe they are innocent…

          • CDinDC
            04/17/2009 at 4:05 PM

            hmmm…..I’ll see your $20. I think they’ll get time. The “intruder” didn’t clean up after him/herself. SOMEBODY cleaned up. Most likely culprits are the 3 Stooges.

            But that doesn’t mean the prosecution won’t mess it up for a murder charge down the lane. I think they will screw themselves.

            • N.M.
              04/17/2009 at 4:33 PM

              Somehow that never occurred to me – of course, if it was an intruder who left quickly and silently, it couldn’t have been the intruder who cleaned up. Presuming, of course, that the intruder hadn’t brought along his own cleaning supplies. That’s about as rational as the whole intruder story to begin with, so why not claim that too.

              About betting – I was thinking about predicting what tactical mistakes the prosecution would make. For example, missing their extension deadline. My question is: what will the next tactical (0r lack thereof) mistake be?

              • 04/18/2009 at 8:18 AM

                The Psycho Maid Defense? Brilliant!

          • Dupont Dweller
            04/17/2009 at 4:37 PM

            I don’t mean to be cynical or purposely politically incorrect. But if they were black they might have a chance of getting off even with all that is stacked against them. Three white, rich, gay guys. Not a chance. I imagine though that at least Price and Ward
            might be thinking ahead to all the rough “fun” they could have behind bars. As for Zaborsky it will only be a vale of tears.

            • Lance
              04/17/2009 at 4:41 PM

              OK, this is just uncalled for. First of all, are you seriously suggesting that our legal system is stacked in favor of black defendants over white ones? Because I have to say that’s the single most deluded thing I’ve seen on this site.

              But beyond that, the assertion that the defendants are looking forward to jailhouse sex is hideously slanderous.

              There was an actual discussion going on here about the way the trial might go, and you just introduced an utterly irrelevant, noncontributive personal attack. It’s this kind of post that I wish the editors would delete outright.

              • CDinDC
                04/17/2009 at 5:17 PM

                [insert sound of needle scratching across a vinyl album]

            • CDinDC
              04/17/2009 at 4:44 PM

              DD says: “vale of tears”

              That make me laugh outloud.

              • CDinDC
                04/17/2009 at 4:44 PM

                make = made

            • SheKnowsSomething
              04/17/2009 at 5:23 PM

              DuPont Dweller,

              I am already regretting responding to your post, because your comments are almost certain to divert this thread onto a conversation on racial disparities in our justice system and away from the court proceedings related to the Wone murder and the actions of Price, Zaborsky and Ward. I suspect that is your intent.

              Did a black person in this city do something to you and then the courts robbed you of your justice? I think this

              • Dupont Dweller
                04/17/2009 at 6:32 PM

                None of the above. I think it is a total scandal that this country has so many black men incarcerated. The percentage itself, especially in reference to drugs, is a prima facie level of discrimination in this country which in insupportable. But all of yours’ knee-jerk outrage keeps you from seeing a simple fact about this particular legal jurisdiction. This city has a long, long tradition of doling out special treatment for its black citizens. By the way, this is not necessarily because of black citizens. themselves. I have served on two juries in this city. It was the older black men who were the most willing to convict the young black defendants. I actually hung the jury because the police stories and testimony were so completely contradictory that I could not vote to
                convict them. Eventually, I managed to convince a few others as well. But you are terribly naive if you do not think that there is some level of advantage for blacks in extreme situations in this city. To use a much more mundane and less important matter as an exemplar: This city selectively enforced property taxation for many years. This accounts for why so many properties in the city sat fallow for so long, while the owners
                failed to pay taxes.

                As to Lance’s huff about my suggestion on Price and Ward’s lust for prison sex. I am sorry to offend your tender sensibilities. But I do not think it is far-fetched to think these two have contemplated a likely future. I doubt they will be meeting Jeff Stryker, a la Powertool. The reality will be a lot more depressing.
                But if you can get your mind around murder your can cozen to anything.

                • Dupont Dweller
                  04/17/2009 at 6:42 PM

                  It just occurred to me to mention that in reference to taxation that way back when, the very house in question 1509 Swann was a notorious example of this phenomenon. It was only a neighbors’ lawsuit that got them to sell. They could have sat with that property not paying their taxes for eternity. But given Joe Price and his dastardly family maybe that would have been better.

                • 04/17/2009 at 6:51 PM

                  cozen?

                  would love to see the invoices from that firm to ms. price.

                • Lance
                  04/17/2009 at 7:06 PM

                  OK, look.

                  (a) I’d ask if you had any statistics to back up the claim about race, except it’s so extraordinarily off-topic that I don’t want to encourage you to post any more about it.

                  (b) It’s not a question of “tender sensibilities”; don’t try to turn your transgression of civility back on me. What you posted is, if nothing else, thoroughly irrelevant to the discussion in this post, or indeed the discussion on this site as a whole. Moreover, it ascribes a particular psychological state to the defendants, one you can’t begin to justify or back up.

                  Editors, please. Step in here.

                  • Dupont Dweller
                    04/17/2009 at 7:22 PM

                    “Transgression of civility”. Boy that is rich! You really made me guffaw with that one. Since you have brought up such high-minded rhetoric, let me lay my cards right on the table about people like Price, Ward and Zaborsky. Putting aside the legal matter, where everyone gets a fair trial of course, let us tarry on day-to-day civility. My personal belief and long-standing philosophy is that decent people deserve to be treated decently. People who prove themselves creeps by not meeting even the lowest level of decency deserve something else. I believe in playing hardball with bad people, and any nastiness is within bounds as long as it is within the law. Being high-minded with bad people breeds more nastiness. The gay community is raising a whole generation of creeps by not policing ourselves with a layer of basic shame. Grow up baby.

                    • 04/17/2009 at 7:50 PM

                      amen, sister. are you reading this indictment, victor? what say, you?

                    • Ex Swann Dude
                      04/17/2009 at 7:56 PM

                      Agreed!!

                    • Dupont Dweller
                      04/17/2009 at 7:57 PM

                      Thank you to She Did It for the Amen. I don’t often express myself so bluntly about such matters. I consider myself a very,
                      very tolerant person with all sorts of people. But there is a limit. So thanks.

                    • Lance
                      04/17/2009 at 7:58 PM

                      People who prove themselves creeps by not meeting even the lowest level of decency deserve something else.

                      Funny word, that.

        • CDinDC
          04/17/2009 at 4:01 PM

          Probably depends on how important this case is to them. And at this juncture, doesn’t see all that important.

        • 04/28/2009 at 12:42 AM

          I believe the defense will ultimately produce numerous credit card receipts signed by various household members for bulk Costco purchases of Hostess Twinkies.

    • Lance
      04/17/2009 at 4:29 PM

      I don’t think there’s anything there about an “adequate defense” against a murder charge. The idea is that if the government says “they obstructed justice”, the defense is somehow forced to demonstrate that nothing the defendants ever did at any point could constitute obstruction, which is an unfair burden on the defense. Rather, the government must say “they obstructed justice by performing acts X, Y, and Z”, which allows the defense to specifically refute those claims (by proving that the defendants didn’t do X and Y, and that Z isn’t really obstructive). All of which is entirely tangential to murder charges.

      • N.M.
        04/17/2009 at 4:35 PM

        I agree. I’d put $20 bucks on that happening – the prosecution will stumble over assigning specific actors to specific actors, and that will be an element of how these lose the case.

        • Lance
          04/17/2009 at 4:37 PM

          I don’t think it’s a matter of “assigning specific actors to specific [actions]” (I assume that’s what you meant?). If they’re charged jointly, I don’t think that the government has to say “Price did X, Ward did Y, and Zaborsky did Z”, with the defendants going free if the defense can prove that Ward did X, Zaborsky did Y, and Price did Z. I would guess that it’s sufficient for the government to say “The three of them collectively did X, Y, and Z.”

          (Standard disclaimer: I Am Not A Lawyer, so any of the above legal analysis is subject to being entirely wrong.)

          • CDinDC
            04/17/2009 at 4:45 PM

            I agree…..look at the Menendez Brothers.

            Didn’t matter who shot mom and who shot dad….they were both equally complicit in the crimes committed.

            • N.M.
              04/18/2009 at 12:11 AM

              Ah – I misunderstood. Which I kind of suspected. Didn’t stop me from posting my thoughts, though. 😉

      • CDinDC
        04/17/2009 at 4:41 PM

        My mind is thinking faster than my hands can time. The “adequate defense” was referring to the other charges the defendants are facing. You’re right about that. Tantential…yes again. As it needs to be. But the DEFENSE TEAM said they want to protect their client from double jeopardy. Hence, they are thinking ahead to, most likely, murder charges.

        • David
          04/17/2009 at 5:17 PM

          CDinDC

          I don’t read the double jeopardy issue as pertaining to murder charges but rather if a murder charge does come up down the line (which currently there is no double jeopardy yet on murder because it has not been brought) that subsequent obstruction, tampering and conspiracy charges brought could be double jeopardy if the present ones are too broadly defined.

          David, editor

          • CDinDC
            04/17/2009 at 5:27 PM

            I gotcha….I see exactly what you mean.

            What I’ve been stressing all along (before today) is that the prosecution has to tread lightly with these (3) charges, for it they want to bring forth murder charges in the future, they are in danger of double jeopardy.

            That’s where I’m coming from.

            • CDinDC
              04/17/2009 at 5:28 PM

              And murder charges are VERY relevant here.

  2. Lance
    04/17/2009 at 4:32 PM

    If you’ll pardon an off-topic comment on the typos in the various legal documents: a friend of mine recently sent me a cartoon (which, alas, I cannot find online, but the images are easy enough to describe) with an interrogator talking to a seated suspect; the interrogator says, over the three panels: “Is this your statement? … People like you make me sick. … Your syntax is terrible!”

    I wrote back to ask him whether he thought the police might really be looking to hire copyeditors, since I’m jobsearching right now. He wrote back, “Of course. How else do you think they justify an entire Department of Corrections?”

    • N.M.
      04/17/2009 at 4:36 PM

      That was good…

    • CDinDC
      04/17/2009 at 4:42 PM

      Ha! I like that.

      • Ex Swann Dude
        04/17/2009 at 5:43 PM

        Awww, everybody {hearts} Lance!

    • 04/17/2009 at 5:56 PM

      Lance, I thought you were a cardiologist? Couldn’t resist, love – happy Friday. Does DC have electronic filings? How soon til we see the government’s papers? I say the odds that the government lawyers drop the ball is 50% — think Ted Stevens and Ollie North; guilty but for prosecution incompetence.

      • 04/18/2009 at 8:34 AM

        She did it, I think you should re-read what Brenda Morris and company are said to have done in the Stevens case before you jump to the conclusion that a) he was guilty of the crime alleged, and b) that it was prosecutorial “incompetence.” That’s not to say that he isn’t a scoundrel, mind you, but it looks on the face of things that some of that DoJ team might deserve jail time.

        • 04/18/2009 at 8:59 AM

          i agree. incompetent may not be strong enough to describe that prosecution team. disbarrment anyone?

          i have a concern with all government attorneys . . especially this wone crew who blew a deadline and sought forgiveness AFTER the fact.

          • Kenspeckled Souckar
            04/18/2009 at 7:51 PM

            I have a hunch, or educated guess about this case. It is based solely on the fact that Joe Price was 1.) well-connected in gay legal circles, and 2.) also well connected in a subterranean sex-world. This leads me to think that Price knows a few people’s dirty laundry. These people are hoping it will all wash out in the rinse cycle, so to speak, at not see the light of day. Price may be holding on to it as a bargaining chip to get himself better treatment when all else fails. I am not positing any great conspiracy, just foot-dragging on a lot of
            people’s parts hoping time and events will
            inoculate against whatever Price has got.
            To me it is a pretty clear-cut answer to all the weirdness surrounding the case.

  3. David
    04/18/2009 at 7:11 PM

    Unbelievable, the amount of time and energy on this. Nothing a little LSD and an MRI couldn’t solve with a few hours with each defendant and a skillful interrogator.

    • Lance
      04/18/2009 at 7:20 PM

      Or waterboarding! We could waterboard them!

      • Ex Swann Dude
        04/18/2009 at 7:39 PM

        I vote for the waterboarding …

  4. L.
    04/19/2009 at 11:56 AM

    Is anyone seriously pursuing the $25K cash?

  5. N.M.
    04/19/2009 at 6:24 PM

    Not sure what you mean. Raising money to fund it, or trying to claim it?

    At some point, a fundraiser to boost the reward pot might be an idea to consider.

    Perhaps a certain lawyer and his two best buddies could make donations.

    [cough]

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