[Original post date: 10/09/09 12:16pm PST by Deep Sounding]
[Minor Edits: 10/09/09 06:20pm PST by Deep Sounding:
Updates appear in green, editorial in blue]
Updates appear in green, editorial in blue]
The Third Time's A Charm:
On its third attempt, the People got a date commitment from the defense. Jonathan McDougall proposed a trial date of April 12th, 2010, and had prepared an extensive statement regarding the work that he had to do to be ready for trial. The prosecutor agreed with the date without any objection. (Those of us in the peanut gallery discussed this a bit beforehand: While it is a bitter pill to swallow, we don't want the defense weasels to come back and say that they were not allowed enough time to prepare. Again we see that ayres does continue to get exactly what he's paying for... more time. In the end, it may work to our advantage. The bureaucratic machine yields for no man...)
NOTE: The Associated Press has incorrectly transposed the numbers in the date, and the April 21st date that they are reporting is INCORRECT. (See my notes on the bottom of this post.) Two mainstream press sites that have it correct are here and here. (Although the Mercury News is also reporting it incorrectly in another spot on their site.)
The judge thanked McDougall for his efforts in preparing his information based on the "enormity of the written record", and reluctantly granted the April 12th, 2010 retrial date, stating her clear preference for an earlier trial date. She further specified that it is a FIRM date with regard to the defense readiness, and stipulated that of course there are other outside influences that could result in further continuance.
The judge set a pre-trial conference for April 2nd at 1:30pm to discuss the mechanics of the trial. She stated that NO RULINGS would be made, but that counsels should be prepared with written motions, discussion about jury questionnaire wording, discussion about number of alternate jurors required, approximate trial duration requirements, discussion of witness timing, etc... Judge Freeman further stated that as no rulings would be made, ayres himself is excused from being present in the courtroom during the pre-trial hearing if he so desires.
Trial will run 5 days per week this time, with the obvious exception of holidays and mandatory court closure days.
The defense filed a motion to seal 3 exhibits that are apparently some of ayres' medical records. The judge did not ask if there were any objections, and granted the motion to seal the records based on properly submitted paperwork. Those three exhibits are now sealed. (My speculation here is that given ayres' lucid reminiscence of all things pedophile during his own testimony in the last trial, they don't want medical records to highlight the "loss of memory" stunt that Weinberg pulled. Probably they'll have some new medical evidence to replace it.)
The defense then filed a motion to reduce bail, and pointedly argued that this case was abnormal due to the length of time it has taken (everyone seems to love irony, don't they?) The Mercury News story from later this afternoon claims that the argument was that ayres is not a "danger to public safety" and is not a "flight risk." I heard it much differently: while McDougall did mention flight risk in passing as one of the "four factors" listed in his filing, he actually stated in court that he was NOT going to argue those four factors, and instead focused almost exclusively on the fact that the trial has been dragging on for so long, and that it's a hardship to ayres. Funny how everyone picks up on something different.
The prosecutor was VERY opposed to this motion, stating that bail was already well below schedule for ayres, and that the motion to reduce bail has been made unsuccessfully a number of times over the life of the case [since the original reduction] and that there was no change in circumstances that would merit a reduction in bail.
The judge denied the bail reduction stating that there has been no significant change to circumstances.
[Yet Another Press Snafu: 10/09/2009, 8:40pm PST]:
The Contra Costa Times (as of their update at 2:45pm PST) is reporting the trial date as April 21. This is an incorrect transposition of numbers. The correct date is April 12th. They attribute this information to http://www.sanmateotimes.com which of course is not correct either...that appears to be a non-functioning address at this time.
I think they mean: http://www.insidebayarea.com/sanmateocountytimes but one can never be too sure.
[Update: 10/09/2009 9:40pm PST]:
And of course, now the Contra Costa Times errors have propagated to other linked online fish-wrappers: see the San Luis Obispo Tribune. And even CBS is in on the game...
Round and round the errant bits flow... where they stop, only Vinton Cerf knows...
[Update: 10/09/2009 10:00pm PST]:And at these places:
The San Francisco Chronicle
[Update: 10/09/2009 10:35pm PST]:Now even the Mercury News is contradicting their own, earlier post.
What a joke.
It's now listed as an Associated Press news story, so as of right now, it's listed incorrectly on at least 77 sources. Game over man... game over!
On the defense side of the house, ayres and Solveig were present along with attorney Little Johnny McD, with Solveig sitting behind ayres rather than next to him, as normally occurs. They were looking a bit more morose today. Perhaps they were concerned that any "conversational openers" that they might try today would result in a lengthy discussion, as happened last time... It was positively refreshing to see the dour glow, if you can call it that!
There were two members of the press present.
6 prosecution supporters were present, but two of them had to leave before the 10:30 time.
At 10:40 the lawyers were called to chambers to meet with the judge.
At 10:55 court was underway.