FLASH: Wone Civil Trial Date DELAYED

This news fresh from the DC Superior Court and the desk of Judge Brook Hedge:

“This case was initially set for trial June 13, 2011.  The potential length of trial, however, will present possible issues with juror selection in light of possible preplanned vacations.  Therefore, with the consent of the parties, the case is reset for trial to September 12, 2011.”

And with her signature, Judge Hedge has vacated the June 13 trial date, resetting it for September 12.  Which is, for the record, exactly one year from this Sunday.

So as the court will adjust for possible juror summer vacations, we all now adjust for another pause of a year before this matter comes to trial.

Mark your calendars accordingly.  We have.   The order follows after the jump.

62 comments for “FLASH: Wone Civil Trial Date DELAYED

  1. denton
    09/10/2010 at 12:11 PM

    It’s now on my calendar. Doug, just curious, how did you get that ‘blue light” up there. It’s so genious of you! I love it!

    • denton
      09/10/2010 at 12:21 PM

      …sorry, forgot ? again. Now we have got to work on potential jurors issues/problems!

    • Clio
      09/11/2010 at 10:09 AM

      The “blue light” special for a “red light” District Family — another reprieve! By then, Doug, Sparkly Cat alone will certainly have more than nine lives, careers, and beaux. At least, the elder Zaborsky’s Pennsylvania neighbors wouldn’t have to hear about the contents of the trouple’s erotica collection until next fall. But that’s “cold comfort”, indeed!

  2. Michael
    09/10/2010 at 1:48 PM

    police siren .gif gave me an epileptic fit. thanks WMRW…. ='(

    the ninja intruder has a year to strike again, then the trouble trouple can finally clear their names!

    best of luck to joe, dylan, and victor. <333333

    I hope whoever killed robert gets cancer and AIDS 4 real

    • denton
      09/10/2010 at 8:22 PM

      Yeah … Michael … after starring at that police siren for a while my eyes started rolling backward! But it was very cute.

    • Michael
      09/14/2010 at 8:28 AM

      whoa! who slashed my junk

      • denton
        09/14/2010 at 10:55 AM

        “Ninja” did it!

  3. Craig
    09/10/2010 at 4:38 PM

    Doing the math: First post went up in December 2008. Civil trial will wrap by December 2011. Hmmmm… I could’ve gotten through law school in those three years. My time was better spent here I think.

    • Bea
      09/10/2010 at 5:10 PM

      And it’s a lot more interesting than law school.

      • Deb
        09/10/2010 at 6:26 PM

        And no bar exam. . .

        • Clio
          09/12/2010 at 3:14 PM

          And, yet despite the 37,000 plus comments and the Editors’ determination to see this case through to the bitter end, the prime suspects may go scot free, enjoying a Florida retirement from public service.

          It’s enough to just go start TV watching at the homes of random gay male couples in the District.

  4. Eagle
    09/10/2010 at 6:15 PM

    Well, with the way this scheduling is going, we won’t have to worry about contaminated juries. By the time the courts get to this trial, anyone who had an interest in the murder, has a conflict of interest or bias will have either moved away or will have forgotten everything they knew.
    The manner in which justice is handled in the District of Columbia is a disgrace. And this is a federal court!!!
    So, why can’t the justices adjust their vacations to the needs of the people who they are supposed to serve and who pay them.
    I tell you what- make the judges health care providers and the government programs would all
    be in great financial shape- the patients would have died quickly and therefore the costs would be very low.
    Of course the judges (doctors, nurses) would all have been paid- plus benefits- and had their vacation to suit their personal whims.
    Greetings from Northern Virginia- home of the rocket docket.

    • Deb
      09/10/2010 at 6:32 PM

      From a plaintiff’s perspective, I kind of like the delay. Were it our office, we’d continued to prep the June date, allowing us nearly 90 days beyond our “go” date to fine tune. Also, it would give us the potential benefit of “jumping in” 5-6 weeks after the anniversary — a short enough time that the pool may recall “something” but a long enough time that it would not muddy the waters. You’d want some quick, quiet, but comprehensive press around 08/02/11 . . . but then sh!

      • Clio
        09/12/2010 at 10:23 AM

        That begs these question, Deb: in what ways, if any, does this unnecessary delay help the plaintiff? Will Covington use the extra time to depose every member of the daisy-chains of love around Mr. Hixson? Will Michael’s Manhunt courting be canvassed? Will his (and possibly, his big brother’s) drug connections be catalogued?

        • Deb
          09/13/2010 at 5:21 PM

          Clio: Since it does not appear the discovery schedule has changed, I would assume all depositions would have already been taken.

          Every lawyer and every office is different. I am not a lawyer – which must be said up front.

          In our office, we would embrace the extra time to fine-tune our “presentation” and “emphasis” of the previously completed discovery. Our lawyer would rehearse everything ad nauseum, especially tonal emphasis in the way he vocalizes questions. He believes in the “theatrical” side of the barrister, and with good reason — emphasis on just one word or one phrase can cause a witness to answer the question the way you WANT him to answer, as opposed to how he might have answered without the emphasis. In a sense, your method of questioning will influence the response you receive.

          In our office, with the few cases we try or arb, we find extra “showtime” prep after discovery closes to be invaluable.

          Others may well feel differently, but the lawyer for whom I work is more effective with more time to perfect his own performance.


  5. Rich
    09/10/2010 at 7:28 PM

    Hey, folks:

    Still in Honduras, making my way home.

    Too funny a thing happened here in San Pedro Sula.

    I´m using an Intrnet Cafe and th Browser is Google Earth. Never used B/4.

    I key in, ¨Who Murdered Robert Wone,¨but, I get as far as,¨Who M¨and it knows what i want. Obviously, a Robert admirerer has already been here before me. More, importantly, when it loads, it span the globe and hones in on, Metroploitan police Department.¨

    Then it says, ¨Here is the answer to your question!¨

    With a photo and address of Police HQ on Indiana Avenue.

    So, we now have the answer to our question.

    We now know, who killed Robert Wone?

    Metropolitan police.

    Okay, moving on…

    As I mentioned days ago and have thought about for over 6 months, there wil be delays. This is not the end of it. The plaintiff and defense will ask for delays and we´ll be lucky if this matter is closed by New Year´s 2012.

    Can you imagine, how much more initmate we will become over the next 15 months.

    And, we will still not have answers and we will have plenty to talk about.

    I still pitch for a rendevouz.

    • denton
      09/10/2010 at 7:42 PM


      While we wait … let’s throw a “Ninja Party” and invite the trouple to our houses. Get your knife ready, your sex toys, leather thong, some kind of funny drinks, and prep for September 12, 2011.

      • Rich
        09/10/2010 at 7:58 PM

        Dear Denton:

        I have a hunch my thong and toys are very vanilla compared to our boyz.

        • denton
          09/10/2010 at 8:06 PM

          As long as it still working, Rich! Oh … don’t forget a “bucket of margarine” and “that fake nipples” ….

          • rich
            09/10/2010 at 8:21 PM

            I thought the discussion was about Crisco, not margarine.Isn´t Dylan the margarine boy?

            • denton
              09/14/2010 at 10:57 AM

              Yes, Rich, the magarine lips!

    • rich
      09/10/2010 at 8:30 PM

      Whoops! A Correction.

      The husband got out of the shower and he is clearly the, ¨Tech Weenie,¨in this marriage.

      Google Earth is not a browser, but an application.

      Who knew?

      And, there is only one,¨ËR,in Admirer.

      Native New Yorker in me adds, ËR´s.

      And, for the record, since its inception, I have had a shitload of issues navigating and leveraging this blog.

      Every week, I learn a new trick.

      Like, did you know, you can look to the right of the headline and see who just posted where rather than scroll up and down ad nauseum. 🙂

    • handypandy
      09/11/2010 at 3:01 AM

      Rich, probably that’s Google Chrome you’re referring to, Google Earth is not a browser. The “instant” autofilling of your search query is another google-function (google instant), and doesn’t mean someone has put it there just for fun or because related to WMRW, rather it is (I think)an indication that this site is read and searched for by a lot of people on the web.


  6. rich
    09/10/2010 at 8:15 PM

    Dear Eagle:

    Not a lawyer here, but, my hunch about vacations is that the Judge is talking about selecting jurors who had previously scheduled vacations. Not, her.

    Three months later, she will take a life long vacation with retiring.

    • Eagle
      09/10/2010 at 11:42 PM

      Thanks Rich
      Perhaps- good information.
      It is still going to be 5 years before the Wones-and Robert- get a chance at some semblance of justice.
      To think that one of the stepping off places for the Supreme Court is the District Court of Appeals tells us the whole system is bogged down.
      I am not at all involved in the legal system, so I have a common folk (well, sort of) way of looking at court outcomes.
      One thing I have learned-observing this trial and having read books about the OJ Trial and Oliver North’s trial(in DC, by the way) is that it is best to have a very expensive attorney team.
      Maybe in a century or two we can make some adjustments . (Much like the Vatican. They just recently cleared Galileo.)

  7. CDinDC (Boycott BP)
    09/10/2010 at 8:45 PM

    Since when is the judicial system so concerned about Joe Blow’s vacation plans???

    When September rolls around is the judge going to be concerned about returning students class schedules?

    give me a break.

    • denton
      09/10/2010 at 9:39 PM

      . . . and wait to hear more about “jury pool EXCUSES!” Excuse me Judge … excuse me, I can’t serve on this case because I didn’t like the way you decided to select jurors who had previously scheduled vacations back in September 2010. I want to be excused!

      • Rich
        09/10/2010 at 9:46 PM

        Denton, that one was funny.

    • Cat from Cleveland
      09/11/2010 at 6:53 PM

      Generally, a judges will move a trial at the request of a party because of a preplanned vacation of one of the lawyers, not for unknown schedules of potential jurors. If there isn’t a motion for continuance on the docket, I suspect that a telephone conference call occurred with the judge’s law clark (or, as some courts now call them, staff attorney) initiated by a lawyer with a preplanned vacation, during which a lawyer for each of the other parties told the court he/she did not object to a continuance. I’m just guessing, but that is how these things usually happen.

      • Eagle
        09/11/2010 at 8:48 PM

        It’s still a lousy way to run a business whose objective is clearly defined as justice.
        So everyone else, including the Wones have to wait for a specific lawyer to
        have his little old vacation. Disgusting.
        As I say, I have no legal connections, I just sit here and dream that we have justice in this country- what a fantasy.

        • Eagle
          09/11/2010 at 8:52 PM

          I see the schools taking a hit (they have eliminated Friday schools in Hawii).
          I see the libraries taking a hit.
          I see the doctors and hospitals taking a hit.
          And the legal profession can’t even adjust their personal vacations a year ahead of time.
          The honorable thing to do would be to just give the case to another lawyer who can fulfill his obligation to the society that licensed him.
          Pitiful state of governance.

          • Clio
            09/12/2010 at 10:12 AM

            Yes, Eagle, Craig Roswell’s possible time-share at Fire Island and/or its “straight” equivalent take precedence over a speedy trial: it’s all about the lawyers, after all!

            • Eagle
              09/12/2010 at 11:59 AM

              Hi Clio:
              No offense against lawyers as a group.
              Lawyers propose. Judges dispose.
              The constant delays in the Wone cases clearly rest with the policies and actions of the judges. (We would still be in trial mode if we had the original judge of the criminal charges.)
              The Supreme Court on down (starting with televised hearings just as Canada does without difficulty) needs a big overhaul.
              To begin with the courts need to be reeducated as to the issue of for what and for whom they work. ( Answer: They work for justice. They work for we the people.)
              Just for starters they could take a short trip across thePotomac to Northern Virginia and learn from the federal court there which prides itself on the rocket docket. (that of course is a relative term.)
              I think this is probably the most lasting gift of this
              WMRW blog: the increased transparency about
              the workings of the court.

              • Cat from Cleveland
                09/12/2010 at 6:54 PM

                First, let me say that this case is not the norm. It is unusual in a wrongful death or other personal injury case to have unlimited resources on both sides. Usually, there is a small plaintiff’s firm with limited resources going up against a large defense firm financed by an insurance company or large corporation.

                Rocket Docket judges are not typically the ones known for being the most concerned about justice. They are usually known for being more concerned with their own stats and clearing their own docket. This nearly always benefits the defense, as the defense will simply drag its feet through discovery, forcing the plaintiff’s counsel to file motions, driving up the cost of litigation. The Rocket Docket judges then penalize the plaintiff because they cut off discovery and force them to trial. I say the plaintiff is penalized, because the plaintiff has the burden of proof.

                As for the 3 month delay, trial lawyers have their lives scheduled years in advance. So, when the judge said she is moving this trial, at least 8 lawyers had to check their schedules. This was probably the next block of time that the court and the lawyers all were available.

                Finally, with regard to the suggestion that a lawyer should step aside and let another lawyer try the case-some judges take that position, but most understand that litigants are entitled to the lawyer of their choosing, and they should not have a different lawyer forced on them by the court. If courts allowed that to occur, some lawyers would be scrambling to create a scheduling conflict to bounce the opponent’s lawyer off the case.

                • Deb
                  09/13/2010 at 5:29 PM

                  Keep in mind as well, as I’ve previously suggested, the new date allows media attention prior to trial on the anniversary of the murder, but not so close to the trial as to taint a jury pool.

                  My suspicion is that more than one attorney on the Estate’s team had a little orgasm over the delay.

                • Deb
                  09/13/2010 at 5:36 PM

                  Galileo’s head was on the block
                  His crime was looking up for truth!

        • Craig
          09/12/2010 at 9:14 PM

          Just who the Hell has summer vacation plans for 2011 booked already? Justice delayed suspended animation. No matter; they have all the clocks, but we have all the time.

      • Bruce
        09/12/2010 at 12:47 PM



        The time to have considered the effect of summer vacations on potential jurors would have been before the judge entered the June, 2011 trial date. She knew then that this was a big long trial, nothing new there.

        Also, no one would have any idea of the possible summer vacation plans of the jurors in this case, because nobody knows who those jurors will be.

        I’m smelling a mouse-like creature, but with a bigger tail.

        My guess is that the “possible preplanned vacations” she notes, more likely correspond to the attorneys’ or the judge’s “possible problems” with a June trial setting. Just saying….

        Judges in state court here in Chicago would unlikely do this unless an attorney showed the judge a receipt for a paid-for vacation at the time of the scheduled trial, or told the judge of a major event happening then (like a wedding of a child, etc.).

        Most judges here feel it is one of their jobs to push the case to trial. They would think that a summer trial (more sooner than later)in this matter might push the parties closer to seriously trying to settle the case.

        Judges know well that the one thing that puts a fire to the parties’ settlement negotiations is when they really have to start preparing for trial. Some attorneys don’t consider settlement until they are really pushed and at the stage of climbing the court house steps to try the case.

        Generally, trial judges would prefer that the parties settle rather than go to trial.

        Why? Most jurisdictions keep records publicly or privately on how many cases any one judge has “closed” on his or her docket during the year. The more shown “closed” the more the chief judge likes you.

        Ain’t no money award, but it reflects on how the judge is doing. More cases “closed” through settlement usually, but not always, reflects an active judge.

        The chief judge of the jurisdiction has, as two of his or her main concerns, keeping down the time between filing a case and ultimate trial (public statistics are usually provided as to the “average” time span), and closing cases to ease any backlog.

        It may be that the DC cases have no backlog. Chicago always has a large backlog of cases.

        • 09/12/2010 at 2:26 PM

          Yeah, but the trial wasn’t moved by a few weeks or even a month (the length of vacations) but by 3 months. I guess judges and lawyers must get that much vacation time, in a lump. (I thought that would get a reaction from the attorneys here!)

          Obviously, the excuse of jurors’s vacation time is a sham since one doesn’t know who the jurors would be and they don’t all take off the same time. But why not just be honest and say the truth? Don’t need to detail and point fingers, but it reeks of dishonesty.

          • Eagle
            09/12/2010 at 2:45 PM

            The judge can’t tell the truth about why the scheduling changed because then someone (the press? the public? ) might want to know who was accommodated by the change on schedule.
            So- the court has preferred to give an explanation that does not make sense and risk the court’s basic credibility rather than be honest.
            Transparency equals embarrassment for the judges, who by the way, are supposed to be employees of the public.
            I mean, I hate to denigrate their royal highnesses to the category of “employee”, but the facts are that is what they are. They contract to work year-round just like all the other federal employees.
            In so many categories of life, the professionals appear to have for forgotten that their society- given privileges also come with responsibilities. Not to mention the obligation to give good example.

        • Clio
          09/12/2010 at 2:41 PM

          Sigh! The “justice” system ain’t pretty, Bruce, but it is a living, I guess, for you and so many others.

          So, the incentive for judges is to NOT do their jobs via forcing settlements through scheduling and other seemingly neutral routines. What a perfect scam that that is — legal and judicious chicanery at its worst! And, I had thought that only tenured radicals at research universities had it that easy.

          • Bruce
            09/12/2010 at 4:22 PM

            Dear Clio:

            Shrug! I did not mean to suggest laziness as a reason for the change of trial dates.

            In busy jurisdictions, it is more likely that if a case scheduled for trial is changed, that the judge will have another one to pop in to its place (maybe a ahorter one).

            But, you are certainly most free to seek chicanery wherever, however and whenever you like, and I, of course, would lay down my life in support of your God given right, along with all those other little freedoms in America, to do so.

            While it is most true that the “justice” system ain’t pretty, as you say, and it is a living, the one thing that I can say is that it is rarely boring.

  8. rich
    09/10/2010 at 10:58 PM

    Here’s one for Legal Beagles.

    Has Kathy Wone ever expressed dissatisfaction with DC Police

    Does she think they botched the case

    If we’re uncertain, do you think she will make it a big issue in the civil trial

    Is she up for waiting another year to resolve this case

    Her justice will take well over five years

    Doesn’t seem kosher.

    no question mark keys on these keyboards. The @ sign is “Alt 64.”

    Know how long that one took

    • Bea
      09/11/2010 at 1:50 AM

      Hi Rich,
      Pretty sure ChiLaw is a woman.

      I’m sure Kathy Wone is dissatisfied with the police – the Ashley’s Reagent debacle alone would put anyone over the edge. Not that it matters or will matter in the civil trial. I think she will wait as long as necessary to get justice. Don’t know if these were supposed to be rhetorical but it didn’t look like it.

      • Cat from Cleveland
        09/11/2010 at 7:02 PM


        I’ve seen lots of references in comments on this blog to the police screwing up the trace blood evidence. I’ve also read motions that refer to the FBI report, stating that the FBI found no evidence of blood. Have I missed something? Is there more specific information on this? Thanks.

        • Bea
          09/11/2010 at 8:50 PM

          Hi Cat – yes, instead of using Luminol on the scene, they used Ashley’s Reagent which essentially destroyed all the blood evidence. Major problem. Not the intended purpose of Ashley’s Reagent.

          • Cat from Cleveland
            09/11/2010 at 8:53 PM

            Thanks, Bea! Where is that documented? I read everything I could find on this site on the iPad all the way from South Carolina to Northeastern Ohio (I wasn’t driving, lol), and I couldn’t find anything that specific?

            • Cat from Cleveland
              09/11/2010 at 9:13 PM

              Let me clarify-I found the docs referencing the use of AR. Is there anything that sheds light on these questions — do we know that the AR destroyed the blood evidence, or is it possible there was no blood evidence? Did the police screw-up make it impossible to find out whether there ever was any blood, or is there evidence of blood that was not admissible in the criminal trial? That’s the question I haven’t been able to answer. . . Thanks!

              • 09/11/2010 at 10:38 PM

                The 3/31/2010 post “Blood Simple” has this info: “…As far as the chemical testing of blood traces, we’re reminded of the misapplication of Ashley’s Reagent. Expected to take the stand will be Mr. Donald Ostermeyer, “the manufacturer of Ashley’s Reagent.” He’ll testify to the rather limited value his product provides even under the best of conditions.
                Apparently “Ashley’s Reagent is not designed to detect the possible presence of blood,” because it reacts with proteins found in common substances like hardwood floor finishes, paint polymers and fabric dyes. Ostermeyer will testify that the MPD tests, “…erroneously interpreted these reactions as indicative of the presence of trace blood evidence,” i.e., false positives.”

                • Cat from Cleveland
                  09/12/2010 at 9:27 AM

                  I interpreted all of that to mean that the initial findings of trace blood evidence were all false, and it’s entirely possible that there never was any clean up. Combined with the fact that the FBI checked every drain on the property and found no evidence of cleaning products, it seems reasonable to argue that there simply was no cleanup. Is there evidence to the contrary?

                  • Bill Orange
                    09/12/2010 at 11:06 AM

                    I tend to be VERY skeptical of reports of evidence that we haven’t seen, particularly if it doesn’t make any sense on its face. If the FBI didn’t find any evidence of “cleaning products” in the drains of a house occupied by three “fastidious” gay men, then I think they weren’t looking hard enough.

                    • Cat from Cleveland
                      09/12/2010 at 6:58 PM

                      We don’t have the FBI report. We have briefs that cite to it. The briefs cite to the FBI report as noting no cleaning products were found in any of the drains, and all were checked.

                  • 09/12/2010 at 8:36 PM

                    I interpreted it as saying that the application of Ashley’s Reagent could have given many “positives” for “blood,” but because Ashley’s Reagent “reacts with proteins found in common substances like hardwood floor finishes, paint polymers and fabric dyes,” they were “false positives.” [Ideally I would want a testing agent for blood to react only with blood, I have no experience in blood testing]. The Ashley’s Reagent was said to be missaplied. Had the right testing agent(supposely luminol) been applied perhaps the evidence could have been different and able to stand up in court. Thus there could have been a clean up.
                    Re: …”FBI checked every drain on the property and found no evidence of cleaning products,…” As with drug testing, I would think to detect “cleaning products” would take many different tests (unless you were lucky on the first test or knew what to test for). [Again I have no experience in testing cleaning products]. Of course there could have not been many common cleaning products in the house at the time, but were there “uncommon cleaning products” present due to their assorted activities?

      • 09/11/2010 at 11:00 PM

        Bea; Why do you say that the Ashley’s Reagent debacle doesn’t nor will matter in the civil trial? Would not the civil trial benefit from similar evidence (and suffer from not having it) as a criminal trial? Am I missing something here about the difference between criminal and civil evidence, proceedinigs, etc?

        • Bea
          09/12/2010 at 1:12 AM

          Hey Gloria, I say it won’t matter because it still won’t be admissible – the Ashley’s Reagent ruined whatever evidence there may have been. It might be relevant only in the sense that one side or the other may point to the bungling by the MPD but that won’t go to the defendants’ liability or lack of liability (I say ‘liability’ instead of ‘guilt’ as that is what to be determined in a civil trial).

          • Bill Orange
            09/12/2010 at 11:09 AM

            I don’t agree. A plausible defense would be for the three to put the cops on trial. The plaintiffs are then going to have to argue that the cops were incompetent rather than malicious.

      • Rich
        09/12/2010 at 6:52 PM

        Dear Bea,

        At first, I too was certain Chi Law was a woman.

        However, upon reading old posts, I saw a reference to “her” being a “him.” It wasn’t challenging her being a woman, it was just referencing her as a man.

        I remember in the beginning reeling over the fact that she was teaching me way more about gay sex than I already knew. Maybe I really want to believe she’s a he, so I don’t feel so inadequate.

        Maybe “he/she” will surface and set the record straight.

        • denton
          09/12/2010 at 10:10 PM

          Dear Rich and Bea – ChiLaw, to me, is a “walking law library!” Not a single subject that is left unanswered. I dream one day “I want to grow up sharp like ChiLaw.”

          ChiLaw – Where are you?

  9. rich
    09/10/2010 at 11:04 PM










  10. Clio
    09/11/2010 at 9:39 AM

    Heavens to Murgatroid! Osama still is at large nine years later, and our trouple have been just granted another endless summer of burnt steaks and exercising at home. It’s enough to make one eat another stick of margarine, or another tub of Crisco, by oneself. But at least, Robert may get some justice before the alleged Mayan forecast of the world ending on December 23, 2012 … unless Brook or her replacement decides to take an Olivia cruise next fall.

    • denton
      09/11/2010 at 10:28 AM

      . . . or 2 days earlier on December 21, 2012 with no “black holes” on the (new) Judge’s decision that would leave all of us with “no solar alignments” and new “cold comfort” to live with! eeerrrrrrrrrrr

      • Clio
        09/12/2010 at 2:57 PM

        Editors, if Brook is retiring in a few months, who specifically is in line to take her place? Who will choose who takes her place?

        On a side note, is Gail, the policewoman on the other side of Michael’s parking-lot tirade, still on the case? If not, can she be interviewed by WMRW to get her take on the status of the “very, very active” investigation?

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