Tuesday’s afternoon hearing began with some of Judge Leibovitz’ housekeeping to keep the outstanding motions moving forward as opening statements approach.
At the top of the list: the government’s filings of references to substantiate the expert witnesses David Sargent, as a burglary expert, and Deedrick and Spaulding’s experimental methodology. The ruling: Sargent will be permitted to testify, Deedrick and Spaulding still pending.
The burglary opened up a lengthy discussion regarding the grand jury testimony of Dylan Ward and Victor Zaborsky in the matter of the October 2006 burglary of 1509 Swann Street by Michael Price and his accomplice. The government wants to include this testimony to demonstrate a “State of Mind” among the defendants; i.e., just as they delayed the reporting of the robbery because it involved a family member, they also wanted to confer with Joe and legal counsel prior to reporting the robbery.
Thus the same “State of Mind” to not be completely forthcoming in the murder at 1509 Swann because the defendants knew the murderer was a member of their family. After much argument, Leibovitz ruled the burglary was relevant, assuming appropriate redactions so as not to infringe on Joe Price’s constitutional rights.
The remainder of today’s hearing was dedicated to the jury selection questionnaire. After the jump, how they approach seating the jury.
Judge Leibovitz demonstrated a “green” (or pragmatic) attitude by stating that there would not be a written questionnaire for prospective jurors to complete. Besides the volume of paper consumed, Leibovitz puts value in the one-one-one interviews as more effective in revealing any bias. From her point of view, the three challenges in the jury selection are:
- the anticipated duration of the trial,
- the degree of publicity that the case has generated, and
- bias with regards to the defendants’ sexuality
Defense attorneys Schertler and Grimm jumped on the media coverage and publicity matter zealously. Schertler felt that the publication of the Affidavit in Support of the Arrest of Dylan Ward created bias in the minds of potential jurors. He also characterized media coverage, citing the Washington Post, Washington City Paper, the DC Examiner, and “…many Internet sites, focused on the Robert Wone case…”, as inaccurate and damaging to the character of the defendants. Not leaving well enough alone, Bernie Grimm chimed in saying that “…if the court were to read this blog...it is vicious…”
Jury selection begins Wednesday at 10AM and is expected to continue through Thursday. Friday afternoon will revisit Deedrick’s and Spaulding’s experiments, the motion to suppress the statements of the EMTs, and other matters.
Today’s hearing included a sometimes defensive and confrontational Dylan Ward on the stand under cross examination by Glenn Kirschner. Ward testified that he did not know where he was to be taken for his polygraph test, and bristled when Kirschner read transcript excerpts from that night that indicated Ward was asked if he knew the FBI Building in DC, and Dylan said he did know the building.
Ward also testified under questioning by Robert Spagnoletti that Officer Diane Durham was the first person from the MPD that he encountered at 1509 Swann. On cross examination Dylan’s voice took on a heated tone when Kirschner asked if he knew Officer Diane Durham’s name on the night of August 2, which he did not. Kirschner then asked if Dylan was incorporating information and knowledge learned later into his recounting the events of August 2/3, which Dylan begrudgingly acknowledged.
Matlock Moment: Kirschner’s presentation to Ward with signed copies of the waiver of his Miranda rights and the polygraph waiver.
–posted by Michael and Doug