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Retired judge chosen to preside over Scott Peterson murder trial
The San Francisco Chronicle ^ | Wednesday, January 21, 2004 | Kim Curtis

Posted on 01/22/2004 5:39:59 AM PST by runningbear

Retired judge chosen to preside over Scott Peterson murder trial

Retired judge chosen to preside over Scott Peterson murder trial

KIM CURTIS, Associated Press Writer Wednesday, January 21, 2004

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(01-21) 12:17 PST SAN FRANCISCO (AP) --

The judge presiding over Scott Peterson's murder trial will be Richard Arnason, a retired Contra Costa County judge chosen Wednesday by California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George.

Scott Peterson's murder trial is being moved to the San Francisco Bay area because of hostility toward Peterson in his dead wife's hometown.

Judge Al Girolami ruled earlier this month that the trial had to be moved out of Modesto to make sure Peterson got a fair trial in the slaying of his wife, Laci, and unborn son.

Four counties had offered to host the trial, and on Tuesday the judge picked San Mateo County, situated south of San Francisco and about 90 miles away from Modesto.

Girolami had said he wanted a county close enough to Modesto that witnesses could drive there.

"I'm satisfied we can get a fair and impartial jury in San Mateo," Girolami said, adding that he wants another judge appointed to handle the trial.

Arnason, 83, was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court by Gov. Pat Brown in 1963.

No stranger to high profile court drama, Arnason presided over People v. Angela Davis in which the black militant was acquitted of murder and conspiracy in the 1970 Marin County courthouse escape attempt that resulted in the deaths of four people, including a judge.

Arnason also oversaw the trial of a California woman whose 13-year-old daughter weighed 680 pounds when she died of congestive heart failure in 1996.

The trial is scheduled to start Monday but will probably be postponed. A hearing is scheduled later this week to discuss a delay. Prosecutors asked for two weeks to move their operation from Stanislaus County to San Mateo County.

Peterson, 31, is charged with two counts of murder for allegedly killing his pregnant wife just before Christmas 2002 and dumping her body in the San Francisco Bay. In April, her remains and those of the fetus she was carrying washed ashore in the bay two miles from where her husband said he was fishing when she vanished. Peterson could get the death penalty.

Peterson's lawyers argued that he had been demonized in the Modesto area, citing vandalism of his house, crowds yelling "Murderer!" outside the jail and T-shirts sold with Peterson's likeness and the motto: "Modesto, a killer place to live." Blood drives have been held in honor of Laci Peterson and 3,000 people attended her internationally televised memorial service.

The trial will now be held in Redwood City, a .........

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Contra Costa judge Arnason to hear trial of Scott Peterson


Judge Richard Arnason at the Martinez courthouse today. (Bob Pepping/Contra Costa Times)

Posted on Wed, Jan. 21, 2004

Contra Costa judge Arnason to hear trial of Scott

Peterson By Claire Booth

CONTRA COSTA TIMES

Contra Costa Superior Court Judge Richard Arnason, who juggles a calendar as busy as any in the Martinez courthouse, even though he has retired, will preside over the murder trial of Scott Peterson in San Mateo County, state officials announced today.

Arnason was assigned by Chief Justice Ronald George today to preside over the double murder trial. The case was moved to Redwood City because of extensive pretrial publicity in Stanislaus County.

Peterson, 31, is accused of murdering his eight-months pregnant wife, Laci Peterson of Modesto, and their unborn son in the early morning hours of Christmas Eve in 2002. Their bodies were found along the Richmond shoreline in April 2003.

In 41 years on the bench, Arnason has handled many complex cases, including that of Angela Davis. Davis was charged with murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in connection with a 1970 Marin County court shootout where four people, including a judge, were killed.

More recently, Arnason presided over the case of a former Stockton gang member who was sentenced to life in prison for murdering retired plastic surgeon Kim Fang during a home invasion robbery in Alamo in 2000.

Technically retired since 1995, Arnason, 82, still sits on the bench and gets paid on a per-day basis.

"There's Methuselah in the Bible, and there's Judge Arnason," state appellate justice and former county judge James Marchiano said in a 2001 interview.

Gov. Edmund G. "Pat" Brown appointed Arnason, an Antioch lawyer, to the bench in 1963. The judge has handled criminal law ever since, outlasting lawyers and judges that came before and after him.

"I had a long, lengthy career in the D.A.'s office that will have started and ended while Arnason's been on the bench," said former District Attorney Gary Yancey in 2001.

But it's not Arnason's longevity that is most admired.

"He exudes a sense of respect for other human beings, and he seems to know what it's like to be in someone else's shoes," said Public Defender David Coleman........

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Peterson judge appointed

Peterson judge appointed

By Michelle Durand, Daily Journal Staff

When the Scott Peterson murder trial begins it will be a hodgepodge of resources, venues and participants from throughout the state — a crime in Stanislaus county, an arrest and defense attorney from Southern California and a trial in San Mateo County.

Now added to that list is retired Contra Costa County Judge Richard Earle Arnason, 82, who was tapped yesterday to preside over what stands to be the most publicized criminal trial since O.J. Simpson.

Arnason served for 31 years on the Contra Costa County Superior Court before his 1995 retirement. His record is filled with high-profile cases although Peterson’s will likely make Arnason a well-known name much as Judge Lance Ito did during the Simpson double murder trial.

Arnason was picked for the slot by state Chief Justice Ronald George a day after Stanislaus County Judge Al Girolami announced the case would move to San Mateo County. Girolami said he thought San Mateo County offered Peterson, a 31-year-old fertilizer salesman, the fairest shot at an objective jury. That jury will be charged with deciding whether Peterson is guilty of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, 28, and the couple’s unborn son near Christmas Eve 2002. Peterson faces the death penalty if he is found guilty.

Girolami declined to hear the case himself because he did not want to travel and asked the Judicial Council of California to appoint a successor.

Arnason, who was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court in 1963, is no stranger to death penalty cases. Arnason, who was not receiving media calls yesterday, is well-known as a criminal law expert, said Lynn Holton, council spokeswoman.

Arnason attended college at the University of North Dakota before moving onto law school at the University of California, Berkeley. He received his degree in 1945 and worked in private practice in the East Bay before joining the bench. In 1973, he was named Judge of the Year by the California Trial Lawyers Association.

Despite his retirement, he continues presiding over cases through the Assigned Judges Program at the standard rate of $529.32 daily. The program provides temporary judicial assignments to alleviate court congestion, fill vacancies or to handle change of venue requests. Arnason has participated since his retirement.

He heard the murder case of a Stockton gang member convicted of killing a plastic surgeon during a 2000 home invasion robbery. Soknoeun Nem was eligible for the death penalty in that case but instead Arnason imposed life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Arnason also presided over the 1972 murder/kidnapping trail of African-American activist Angela Davis. Davis was acquitted of murder and conspiracy in a 1970 shoot-out at the Marin County courthouse in which four people died.

In 1998, Arnason found El Cerrito resident Marlene Corrigan guilty of misdemeanor child abuse after her 13-year-old daughter died of congestive heart failure two years previous. The girl had weighed 680 pounds. Arnason sentenced Corrigan to probation and community service but dismissed felony child endangerment charges.

Also in 1998, Arnason halted death penalty proceedings against Jesse Martinez despite the man’s assertions that he wanted to go to death row. Arnason declared doubt about Martinez’s mental state although he said he has no illness. Martinez was convicted of murdering a 57-year-old convenience store clerk in September 1994.

Arnason was among the first judges to try a case under Proposition 21, the California law which allows minors to be charged as adults in certain crimes.

He has never tried any criminal cases in San Mateo County, said Chief Deputy ........

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FCSL forensics conference: The Pursuit of Truth

FCSL forensics conference: The Pursuit of Truth


Jagdeep S. Bhandari, professor of law at Florida Coastal School of Law, discusses the school’s upcoming conference, entitled Forensic Investigation: The Pursuit of Truth.

by Richard Prior
Staff Writer

The “big top of forensic investigation” will be in the shape of one large tent May 7 as Florida Coastal School of Law presents a conference featuring the nation’s top forensics experts.

The conference, which will be limited to 500 spectators, will be held at the Adam’s Mark Hotel. “We’re trying to give people exposure to the nation’s top forensic experts, the real CSI, the pursuit of truth,” said Eric Smith, associate dean for External Affairs and director of the Center for Strategic Governance and International Initiatives. “This is a world-class event.”

The line-up includes Sen. Arlen Specter, who concluded that a single bullet caused President John F. Kennedy’s neck wounds and all of the nonfatal wounds inflicted on Texas Gov. John Connally; and Dr. Cyril Wecht, Allegheny County (Pa.) coroner and founder of the Cyril Wecht Institute of Forensic Science and Law at Duquesne University School of Law.

Wecht has argued against the “tale of the magic bullet” since Specter proposed it in 1964 and it became part of the Warren Commission’s findings.

“My understanding is they’re good buddies,” said Smith. “They’ve made a lifetime arguing the theory.” Other speakers include:

• Dr. Henry C. Lee, a forensic scientist and criminalist, best known for his work in high-profile cases such as O.J. Simpson, Vince Foster and JonBenet Ramsey.

• Dr. Michael Baden, co-director of the New York State Police Medicolegal Investigation Unit. His cases include the examination of the remains of Czar Nicholas and his family, the death of John Belushi and the disappearance and death of Laci Peterson.

• Barry Scheck, professor of law and director of clinical education at New York’s Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law. The co-founder of the Innocence Project has represented clients such as O.J. Simpson and au pair Louise Woodward.

• Ann Wolbert Burgess, RN, professor at William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College and a renowned researcher, author, educator and advanced practice psychiatric nurse.

The law school also expects to have lawyer and author Scott Turow attend the conference, perhaps making a public speech before the event gets under way. “This law school and the Cyril Wecht Institute are bringing the people who are behind the scenes in one respect and yet very much in the forefront of the cases that are out there now,” said Smith.

The public’s knowledge of forensic science has been boosted by the popularity of two CSI shows on CBS, which has been responsible for making it “the No. 1 network,” said Jarrod Turner, FCSL’s director of Institutional Support and one of the conference’s organizers.

“One cannot overstate the value of forensic science in our search for truth in criminal, civil and family medicolegal investigations and court proceedings,” said Wecht. “This conference is designed to explore and inform professionals and academics, from a variety of disciplines and fields, of the value and scope of forensic science as a powerful investigative tool.” The idea for the conference, “the guy that’s riding the point on this,” Smith said, Is Professor Jagdeep Bhandari, who worked on the project with the school’s new owners, Sterling Partners.

“It is he who brought the idea to the table,” said Smith. “Without him, this dog doesn’t hunt.” Bhandari has taught economics, done international transaction and immigration work, and has worked at the World Bank. He has also worked with several of those who will be at the conference, including Lee, Wecht and Scheck.

“It was a matter of making a lot of phone calls,” said Bhandari. “Henry Lee consults to 12 governments. You can’t talk to him on the telephone. Or Barry Scheck, unless they know who you are.

“I had to use up all the capital I had to say, ‘Come to Florida, and we’ll show you a good time.’” The conference has been approved for continuing legal, medical and nursing education.

“It’s good for professionals and for interested lay people as well,” said Smith. “We’re hoping that, not just national and international people, but local people will attend.”

Smith expects the rush will be on soon for tickets to the conference, which will “comfortably accommodate” an audience of about 500 at the Adam’s Mark. Those who are interested in attending may register online at www.fcsl.edu/forensics or by phoning (888) 24........

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Jury selection a tedious process

Jury selection a tedious process

By Dana Yates, Daily Journal Staff

In the coming weeks, hundreds of potential jurors in San Mateo County will receive court summons attached to a pleasant letter highlighting the positive side of the responsibility.

“It’s a really nice letter that tells them that they can bring laptops, where to find parking, how to get a parking permit and how to check the Web site,” said San Mateo County Presiding Judge Mark Forcum.

Despite the cheery tone, the process of picking a jury for the Scott Peterson trial will be long and painful for all involved.

Peterson, a Modesto fertilizer salesman, is charged with the murder of his wife Laci Peterson and their unborn child. If convicted, Peterson could face the death penalty or life in prison.

“The jury selection will be tremendously important for both the defense and prosecution. In this particular case, it won’t go as routine. Given the length of the trial they will go through an extensive procedure,” said Jim Hartnett, an attorney with Hartnett, Smith & Associates and a Redwood City Councilmember.

For potential jurors, it’s going to be long and tedious. For attorneys, it’s going to be crucial and possibly very expensive.

Those who receive a summons will be pooled together in the courthouse and given a questionnaire to determine if a lengthy trial would create a hardship for them. Those who can afford to devote months to the trial are randomly divided into “panels” of approximately 60, said Forcum.

Each panel is sent to a courtroom where attorneys question them in person. People may be questioned individually, as a group or with a lengthy questionnaire. The judge determines the process and scope of questioning. Retired Judge Richard Arnason, 82, was chosen yesterday to oversee the Peterson case. The trial is expected to last five months.

Questions could range from religion to family history. Each side has 20 opportunities to eliminate jurors in what’s called a peremptory challenge. Jurors can be eliminated for any reason except on the basis of race, said Jeff Boyarski, a San Mateo County defense attorney.

In most high-profile cases, attorneys often hire consultants to analyze the jury pool and recommend selections. Consultant groups, like the Oakland-based National Jury Project, provide services ranging from demographic studies to mock trials.

“They do a lot of studies on cases and what their outcomes have been. They help with preparing questionnaires, change of venues — if you want to go full board, they can get sample jurors before they are tried,” said Boyarski.

Depending on the type of money Peterson can afford to drop on this trial, consultants can create trial scenarios by picking different types of focus groups to act as juries before the real trial ever starts. The focus groups allow the defense to figure out how different types of jurors would respond.

Sequestering the jury might prove to more difficult than choosing one.........

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We have a judge!

Article Last Updated: Wednesday, January 21, 2004 - 1:59:49 PM PST

We have a judge!

By Jason Dearen - STAFF WRITER

REDWOOD CITY - Retired Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Richard Arnason, a jurist with long experience in trying complex murder cases, was named today to preside over the Laci Peterson murder trial.

California Supreme Court Justice Ronald George made the announcement just one day after the trial was moved to the County by Stanislaus County Judge Al Girolami to San Mateo County.

Laci Peterson was reported missing on Christmas Eve 2002. Her body and the body of her unborn child washed ashore in Richmond four months later. Her husband, Scott Peterson, 31, is the alleged killer, and faces two counts of murder and the death penalty.

Arnason is a well-known criminal law expert who has extensive experience with death penalty cases. He sat on the Contra Costa County Superior Court bench for 31 years before his retirement in 1995.


Members of the media tour the courtroom in Redwood City Tuesday, where the murder case against Scott Peterson is to be tried. Judge Al Girolami ruled Tuesday that the case will be moved to San Mateo County after rejecting a prosecution request to keep the case in Modesto. Peterson, 31, is charged with two counts of murder for allegedly killing his pregnant wife just before Christmas 2002 and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)

The judge is a member of the Chief Justice's Assigned Judges Program, which assigns judges to preside criminal trials. He has done so primarily in Contra Costa County. Arnason was one of the first judges to try a case under Proposition 21, the law that allows prosecutors to file felony charges for some offenses against juveniles 14 years or older without a judge's approval.

He also presided over the murder-kidnapping trial in the case of Angela Davis, a UCLA professor and radical activist who supported the Black Panthers and others during the 1960s and 1970s. She was acquitted and continued her academic and writing career. Judge Mark Forcum, the presiding judge in San Mateo County, said he will provide Arnason all of the support he needs during what is expected to be a lengthy and contentious trial. Admitted to the California Bar in 1945, Arnason attended Boalt Hall School of Law at UC Berkeley.

Arnason's appointment was the latest event in a fast-moving drama that began Tuesday when the hyper-publicized trial was sent here from Stanislaus County.

With its high profile and masses of media from around the world, the trial may easily become the biggest criminal event in County history, while bringing millions of visitor dollars to hotels and retail outlets.

Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami moved the trial after finding that Peterson, 31, could not receive a fair trial in Modesto because of extensive media coverage. An hour after Girolami sent the trial to the County, television camera crews and newspaper reporters began arriving in droves.

"I'm satisfied we can get a fair and impartial jury in San Mateo," Girolami said from a Modesto courtroom Tuesday. .........

Peterson attorney cites burden borne by defendant's parents

Peterson attorney cites burden borne by defendant's parents

By Harriet Ryan

Court TV

Wednesday, January 21, 2004 Posted: 4:12 PM EST (2112 GMT)


Peterson, left, and attorney Mark Geragos.

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(Court TV) -- Scott Peterson's lawyer said Tuesday the double-murder suspect's parents have spent a million dollars on his defense.

Attorney Mark Geragos made the disclosure while asking Superior Court Judge Al Girolami to move the trial to southern California, closer to the Petersons' San Diego home, as well as Geragos' office in Los Angeles.

He said Jackie and Lee Peterson's funding "has saved the taxpayer's a seven-figure sum, at least" and asked the judge to consider which venue was more convenient and cheaper for them.

He noted that his client has the right to ask the taxpayer's to foot some of the bill if he can no longer afford private representation, but has so far not exercised that right.

Under California law, if a capital defendant becomes indigent before the conclusion of his or her trial, a judge can order the local government to pay the private attorney's costs, albeit at a reduced rate.

Prosecutor Dave Harris objected to the mention of the Petersons' finances, saying the defense team starts talking about public money whenever "the court doesn't give them their way."

In the end, Girolami said Southern California was too far from Modesto .........

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(Excerpt) Read more at sfgate.com ...


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society; Extended News; Government; Miscellaneous; News/Current Events; US: California
KEYWORDS: avoidingchildsupport; baby; babyunborn; conner; deathpenaltytime; dontubelievemyalibi; getarope; ibefishing; laci; lacipeterson; smallbaby; smallchild; sonkiller; unborn; wifekiller
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Next Hearing & Media Requests for Friday

Posted on Tuesday, January 20 2004 at 2:17 PM PST ----

The next scheduled court date is Friday, January 23, 2003 at 9:00 am (PST) in Department 2. The court will certify the transcript for January 8th, 14th and 20th and determine the final details of transferring the case to San Mateo County for trial.

Media Requests for Courtroom Seating for Friday's hearing will be accepted beginning at 8:00 am (PST) on Wednesday, January 21st. Click on "Court Forms" and following the instructions carefully.

1 posted on 01/22/2004 5:40:01 AM PST by runningbear
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To: Rheo; Mystery Y; Searching4Justice; brneyedgirl; Scupoli; sissyjane; TexKat; Lanza; Mrs.Liberty; ...
Pinging......
2 posted on 01/22/2004 5:40:46 AM PST by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: amazed; Wednesday's Child; LuvMyNick; RightOnGOP; Valpal1; phd2b; SandyEgo; shattered; ...
Pinging......
3 posted on 01/22/2004 5:41:15 AM PST by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: Constitution Day

Fishin'? I'm 'sposed to believe that? You's a lyin' punk, Scotty.

4 posted on 01/22/2004 5:46:37 AM PST by Tijeras_Slim (Come see the violence inherent in the system!)
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Retired judge to preside over Peterson case
Trial scheduled to start Monday but probably will be delayed

Retired judge to preside over Peterson case
Trial scheduled to start Monday but probably will be delayed

The Associated Press Updated: 6:17 p.m. ET Jan. 21, 2004

SAN FRANCISCO - A retired judge whose long experience with high-profile cases dates back to the sensational 1970s trial of black militant Angela Davis was picked Wednesday to preside at the murder trial of Scott Peterson.

Retired Contra Costa County Judge Richard Arnason, 82, was chosen a day after Judge Al Girolami decided to move the trial to the San Francisco Bay area because of hostility toward Peterson in his dead wife’s hometown of Modesto.

The trial is scheduled to start Monday but will probably be postponed. Prosecutors asked for two weeks to move their operation to San Mateo County, and a hearing is scheduled later this week to discuss a delay.

Peterson, 31, is charged with two counts of murder for allegedly killing his pregnant wife, Laci, and unborn son just before Christmas 2002 and dumping her body in the San Francisco Bay.

Attorneys say Peterson demonized Peterson’s lawyers said he had been demonized in the town where the couple lived and Laci Peterson grew up, citing vandalism of his house, crowds yelling “Murderer!” outside the jail and T-shirts sold with Peterson’s likeness and the motto: “Modesto, a killer place to live.”

Arnason was selected by California Chief Justice Ronald George, in part because officials wanted a retired judge to keep the months-long trial from slowing down local courts.

Arnason presided at the trial of ’60s radical Angela Davis, a former member of the Communist Party who was charged in 1971 with plotting a bloody courthouse shootout during the trial of three .....

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Court document cites allegation on past research

Court document cites allegation on past research


Stephen Schoenthaler, criminal justice professor at California State University, Stanislaus, arrives at the Stanislaus County Courthouse on Tuesday morning. MARTY BICEK/THE BEE

By JOHN COTÉ and GARTH STAPLEY
BEE STAFF WRITERS

Last Updated: January 21, 2004, 06:48:30 AM PST

A professor at the center of a Peterson trial survey scandal ordered a researcher to falsify data on an unrelated poll several years ago, according to a witness cited in a court document.

The allegation did not change Superior Court Judge Al Girolami's decision to move Scott Peterson's double-murder trial out of Stanislaus County. Tuesday, Girolami reaffirmed his decision, and selected San Mateo County as the trial site.

Also on Tuesday, university officials said they are pressing forward with investigations into the scandal. They are targeting at least 65 criminal justice students at California State University, Stanislaus, and their professor, Stephen Schoen- thaler.

"There is nothing I would like to deliver more than a quick, appropriate, fair action," university President Marvalene Hughes said.

Hughes, other administrators and a California State University attorney declined to comment on Schoenthaler's history at Stanislaus State. Incidents include:

Sexual harassment allegations brought in 1990 by two female researchers; one was Justine Pinto.

Schoenthaler's demotion from full professor to associate professor pending investigation into those allegations.

Schoenthaler's exoneration and reinstatement in 1993......

5 posted on 01/22/2004 5:55:38 AM PST by runningbear (Lurkers beware, Freeping is public opinions based on facts, theories, and news online.......)
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To: runningbear
I just pulled up the map of San Mateo on Mapquest and realized the irony of the location...nice twist of fate that the jurors will be so close to where Snotty did the evil deed.
http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?country=US&address=&city=San+Mateo&state=CA&zoom=3
6 posted on 01/22/2004 6:05:57 AM PST by Jackie-O
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To: runningbear
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/chronicle/archive/2004/01/22/PETERSON.TMP

...However, some attorneys who have appeared before him say they're sure of one thing -- that he won't allow cameras in the courtroom and that he'll easily handle the expected media circus.

(snip)
7 posted on 01/22/2004 6:11:16 AM PST by maggief
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To: maggiefluffs; runningbear
It seems like a circus already..............


Thanks for all the background info.
8 posted on 01/22/2004 6:22:54 AM PST by nuconvert ( "It had only one fault. It was kind of lousy.")
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To: maggiefluffs; Jackie-O; runningbear
Bad news for us trial junkies; this guy hates cameras in the courtroom!
9 posted on 01/22/2004 7:42:42 AM PST by Howlin
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To: maggiefluffs; runningbear
"Arnason, 83, was appointed to the Contra Costa County Superior Court by Gov. Pat Brown in 1963."

Lets hope he is in real good health, but at that age anything could happen.

10 posted on 01/22/2004 7:43:18 AM PST by Spunky (This little tag just keeps following me where ever I go.)
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To: runningbear
Geragos stated that Snotts parent have already spent 1 million dollars on this case.

Quick somebody find the Petersons a financial advisor.

Since when is it any business of the court how much a defendent pays privately to his attorney.

Gegaros is now being funded by the Nation of Islam via MJ and watch this SOB end up claiming Scott indegent and collecting his funds albeit through the courts anyway.

What has been done for the cost of a million bucks? A couple of cheap Navy suits and chasing around a transeint tweeker family claiming they are a Satanic cult?

My prayers for Laci's family who will be spending private funds and time traveling to represent their daughter and grandson.

Wouldn't it be cool to see a huge MJ type of party after Scott found guilty. That would be a party where no one would have to be bussed in as good decent Americans would just show up to support justice.
11 posted on 01/22/2004 8:20:44 AM PST by oceanperch ( Newsflash! Scott Peterson has joined the Nation of Islam!)
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To: runningbear
Hmmmm Men with pretty umbrellas? Is this like a NAMBLA thing?
12 posted on 01/22/2004 8:26:41 AM PST by oceanperch ( Newsflash! Scott Peterson has joined the Nation of Islam!)
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To: Jackie-O
Good! It'll make that bus tour to the final resting place of Laci and Conner that much more accessible for the prosecution.
13 posted on 01/22/2004 8:32:11 AM PST by oceanperch ( Newsflash! Scott Peterson has joined the Nation of Islam!)
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To: Spunky
Yeah NO NAPS during courtroom activity your Honor!
14 posted on 01/22/2004 8:35:46 AM PST by oceanperch ( Newsflash! Scott Peterson has joined the Nation of Islam!)
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To: Howlin
Yes, this is bad news of all of us who have following this so religiously.
I look at it two ways...I'm sorry it may not be televised, but glad that I won't be missing it all while at work!
15 posted on 01/22/2004 9:06:56 AM PST by Jackie-O
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To: oceanperch
Someone commented on yesterday's thread that the jurors can just stare out at the ocean and get a clear picture of the grave site Snotty chose for his wife and child.
It will be devastating for the Rochas to be camped down in that area too.
16 posted on 01/22/2004 9:09:28 AM PST by Jackie-O
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To: Jackie-O
Sloooooow Server this morning huh.

Hey will they move metrosexual Scott to another facility?

Hmmm what is the facility?

Might not be as comfy up in the bay area county slammer as his hole he is in now. Scott may become so frail and thin his bottom lip may quiver during the trial and thoughts of those wonderful meals Laci made will dance in his head.
17 posted on 01/22/2004 9:28:01 AM PST by oceanperch ( Newsflash! Scott Peterson has joined the Nation of Islam!)
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To: Spunky
From what I have read about this Judge is that he often sides with the defence and serves up light sentences for those found guilty
18 posted on 01/22/2004 1:27:31 PM PST by joyce11111
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To: joyce11111
......and serves up light sentences for those found guilty

I am not real sure how the California system works, but what I recall and read from the Westerfield/VanDam case when the jury found him guilty of murder they also later had the decision of life or death. They said death, but the Judge could have changed it to life, which he didn't.

I don't see how this Judge who will be presiding over the Peterson case could go outside of the guidlines. If Scott is found guilty of 1st degree murder the choice as far as I understand it, is life or death. If the jury says death he could change it to life.

19 posted on 01/22/2004 2:09:22 PM PST by Spunky (This little tag just keeps following me where ever I go.)
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To: oceanperch
A couple of cheap Navy suits and chasing around a transient tweeker family claiming they are a Satanic cult?

LOLOLOL!!!

They've just got to think of SOMETHING so Mark can keep raking in the bucks! Look for Scott to appear in one of those robes and little pillbox hats that black muslims are so fond of. One plus: if Scott joins the Nation of Islam, he'll never be seen grinning like a moron in the courtroom again. Have you ever watched those Nation of Islam guys? They NEVER smile! I think their cult requires them to wear an angry expression at all times...

20 posted on 01/22/2004 2:31:24 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Jackie-O
Here's hoping that whatever jail they house Scott in up there has a really nice ocean view.

I notice this judge went to Berkeley; graduated in 1945? I know a college professor who was from that area and who went to Berkeley, and he has often told us that Berkeley was a much different place in the 50's... so I'm assuming it was different in the 40's from what it now is known for.
21 posted on 01/22/2004 2:34:35 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Devil_Anse; Spunky; MEG33; RGSpincich; The Other Harry; Quilla; runningbear; oceanperch; spectre; ..
Just annouced: this judge appointed yesterday has been removed.

REMOVED!!!!
22 posted on 01/22/2004 4:12:38 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Howlin
Thanks for the ping. Saw some discussion of this on Court TV this afternoon--the panelists seemed baffled by this move.

Off topic for this thread, but I'm not finding anything on FR or on Yahoo about a new development in the Michael Jackson case: it appears his minions are now threatening that fellow Masada who has spoken favorably of the young boy.
23 posted on 01/22/2004 4:16:41 PM PST by MizSterious (First, the journalists, THEN the lawyers.)
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To: Devil_Anse; runningbear; Jackie-O; Velveeta; Spunky; Canadian Outrage; Sandylapper; All
Whew! He's out!!!

http://www.ktvu.com/news/2785639/detail.html

Peterson Prosecutors Challenge Arnason Appointment

POSTED: 12:33 PM PST January 22, 2004
UPDATED: 3:30 PM PST January 22, 2004

MODESTO, Calif. -- Prosecutors in the murder case against Scott Peterson exercised their authority Thursday to remove the judge appointed to preside at the trial, contending he is biased against them.

Video


Video On Demand: Ted Rowlands Reports On Prosecution Challenge




Under California law, the prosecution and the defense each have one opportunity to remove a judge without having to give a reason. A new judge will be appointed by California's chief justice.

Peterson, 31, is accused of murdering his pregnant wife, Laci, just before Christmas 2002 and dumping her body in San Francisco Bay. Her remains and those of the fetus she was carrying later washed ashore.

Prosecutors acted a day after retired Judge Richard Arnason, 82, was named to oversee the Peterson case when it is moved from central California to the San Francisco Bay area.

The case is being moved after a Modesto judge ruled Peterson could not easily get a fair trial in his dead wife's hometown.

Deputy District Attorney Rick Distaso said Arnason "is prejudiced against the interest of the party, so that I believe I cannot have a fair and impartial hearing."

Video


Video On Demand: Jury Experts Says San Mateo Favors Prosecution





Prosecutors refused to comment on their reason for removing the judge, said a receptionist in the Stanislaus County District Attorney's office. Peterson's defense lawyer did not immediately return calls seeking comment.

The tactical move will postpone the case that was scheduled to start Monday, said Lynn Holton, spokeswoman for the state's court administration.

Holton said it will take State Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George until next week to find another judge for the case.

A hearing is scheduled Friday in Modesto to discuss the transfer to a courthouse in Redwood City and future court dates.

Arnason was selected in part because of his experience handling major trials.
24 posted on 01/22/2004 4:18:19 PM PST by maggief
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To: Howlin
That is news!I was concerned about his age and the length of the trial.
25 posted on 01/22/2004 4:18:46 PM PST by MEG33
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To: MEG33
Maybe the next one will give us a break and LOVE cameras!
26 posted on 01/22/2004 4:22:11 PM PST by Howlin
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To: MizSterious
The one who introduced the boy to Jackson? When Geragos said that even though the prosecutor had asked other to come forward nobody had, I thought to myself, who would, after that speech Mark made about going after anybody who spoke ill of Jackson tooth and nail!
27 posted on 01/22/2004 4:23:48 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Howlin
I just read the Modesto Bee article.It was the prosecution's one challenge and they used it.
28 posted on 01/22/2004 4:24:53 PM PST by MEG33
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To: MEG33
On the judge? I did not know you could do that!
29 posted on 01/22/2004 4:26:10 PM PST by Howlin
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To: Howlin
One each challenge allowed.The prosecution said they "could not receive a fair and impartial hearing" with this judge.
30 posted on 01/22/2004 4:32:48 PM PST by MEG33
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To: Howlin
Yes, that is the fellow. He gave a press conference about the threats, which aired on CTV. He seemed really nice, but also pretty scared. Jackson is a piece of work.
31 posted on 01/22/2004 5:08:38 PM PST by MizSterious (First, the journalists, THEN the lawyers.)
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To: All; maggiefluffs; Devil_Anse; runningbear; Jackie-O; Sandylapper; Canadian Outrage; Diver Dave; ...
2/3 National Enquirer - courtesy of Rickamorti at Purgatory

SECRET WITNESS; SCOTT TOLD ME HE WANTED TO KILL LACI!

'MY INFORMATION IS THE SMOKING GUN'

BY DON GENTILE

NEW PICTURE; DUMPY LOOKING, 45 YEAR OLD, PEGGY GAGNON, IN FIJI T-SHIRT
WITH GREASY HAIR

SYNOPSIS

2 Months before Laci vanished, her husband hit on a housewife in a Death Valley bar- and she says he told her he wanted to kill his wife.

They even discussed weighing down a dead body with anchors and dropping it in the ocean, housewife Peggy Gagnon told the NE.

Weeks before the body washed ashore, Penny went to police and told them about the shocking conversation she had with Scott.

"I think my information is the smoking gun," said Penny. The NE confirmed that Penny has been interviewed several times by Detective Al Brocchini, one of the investigators on the case.

Penny told the NE that her 'scary encounter" with Scott occurred in October 2002.

"I was a member of a Jeep club," she said. "We'd been on one of those camping trips to Panamint in Death Valley and I was coming home. I lived in Long Beach at the time."

Penny stopped at a small bar and restaurant in Death Valley around noon, she ordered food and a drink. Scott was already at the bar. He came and stood next to her and she noticed he was handsome. He told me his name. He said it was Scott Peterson. "I told him it was a neat sounding name." "My grandma likes the name Scott. She always wanted me to name my kids Scott. So whenever meet a Scott I always remember his name."

Penny introduced herself and wasn't ready for what Scott said next. Scott came right out and asked Penny, "You want to have an affair?" She told him
she was a good Christian woman and that wasn't her thing.

Then she said, Scott told her in a calm, matter of fact voice: "I'm married. "She's six months pregnant and I want to kill her." Said Penny: "It sounded so off the wall to me, it didn't really sink in right away what he was saying."

"I said, "Why do you want to kill her? There's always divorce." Penny says Scott's answer surely interested investigators. "Scott said, "She's going to have this kid and if I divorce her, I'll have to pay for it for the rest of my life," Penny disclosed.

"Then he asked me, "IF you were going to kill somebody, how would you do it?" It seemed like just a stupid conversation. I mean, you don't talk about stuff like that if your really serious."

" So I told Scott, I've wanted to kill my ex-husband a few times, not that I was serious." I told him if I would kill him, I'd get a boat and drop him into the ocean with weights or anchors around his knees or something." "That's how."

Penny said the man left the bar after the talk of murder.

She sat there a few minutes, then thought it might be good to get his license plate number.

"But when I went outside he was gone".

Peggy soon forgot the strange encounter. But as the news of Laci's disappearance burst onto the nightly news, she spotted a familiar face on TV. "It was this guy Scott!"

Her husband Donald remembers it was a few days after Christmas, as he and his wife watched the news, when a report about Laci came on.

He told Detective Brocchini that when his wife saw Scott, she immediately recounted the story of the man she met in the bar. But three months passed before Penny got up the courage to call the police.

"I was scared. I thought Laci would turn up or Scott would confess," she said. "And for some reason I thought I could be charged as an accessory for suggesting a way to kill someone."

"On March 6, 2003, five weeks before the bodies of Laci and her unborn son washed up in the Bay, Penny finally called police in Modesto.

Brocchini called her back that day for the first of her several interviews, assuring her that her fears about an accessory charge were unfounded.

Penny added: "I told police I'd take a lie detector test- and testify at Scott's trial!"
32 posted on 01/22/2004 5:13:06 PM PST by Velveeta
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To: Spunky
Somehow I just can't see "any" Judge being reluctant to impose the death penalty in a case as brutal as this one. Just wait until he sees the "pictures" of what is left of the beautiful Laci Plus a bloated little baby boy.!!
33 posted on 01/22/2004 5:27:05 PM PST by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South!!)
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To: joyce11111; Spunky
This guy looks like he has one foot in the grave.
34 posted on 01/22/2004 5:31:36 PM PST by Queen Jadis
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To: Howlin
Yipee!! I took one look at this Judge and I just had a "feeling"!! Thank God. I hope they get a real tough on crime Judge and one that hates Geragos!!
35 posted on 01/22/2004 5:32:01 PM PST by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South!!)
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To: Howlin
I figure Girolami should have STUCK WITH the case. He knows the case best and I'm sure he could afford to rent a hotel room for the week days and go home each weekend. These Judges are WELL PAID and in fact, the accomodation would probably have been paid as expenses.!! Just hope that Geragos doesn't remove the next Judge, however, IF he does, I'll bet that just might bring Girolami back in. Girolami said if they couldn't get a Judge he would do it. He doesn't appear to like Geragos very much.
36 posted on 01/22/2004 5:37:51 PM PST by Canadian Outrage (All us Western Canuks belong South!!)
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To: maggiefluffs
I am relieved by the Judges removal, simply because of his tolerant behavior in previous cases.
Whew! I am so happy the Pros. did this!
37 posted on 01/22/2004 5:58:41 PM PST by joyce11111
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To: Canadian Outrage
... He doesn't appear to like Geragos very much...
I had felt that Judge G caved in to the defence one too many times and I saw him as another Judge Ito.

38 posted on 01/22/2004 6:03:34 PM PST by joyce11111
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To: Canadian Outrage
New Peterson judge ousted by prosecutors

HERE IS WHY I DON'T LIKE THE NEW JUDGE...........



Judge Richard Arnason










By JOHN COTÉ
BEE STAFF WRITER


Last Updated: January 22, 2004, 01:46:12 PM PST


One day after he was appointed to hear the trial, Judge Richard Arnason apparently is off the Peterson case.
Prosecutors today challenged the appointment of Arnason to hear Scott Peterson's double-murder trial.

In a one-page document filed in Stanislaus County Superior Court, prosecutors contend they "cannot have a fair and impartial hearing before said judge."

Under state law, a new judge will be assigned. The defense and prosecution are allowed one such challenge each per criminal case.

Arnason's bailiff said he would have no comment.

California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George tapped Arnason Wednesday for the trial after Stanislaus County Superior Court Judge Al Girolami said he didn't want to follow the case to San Mateo County.

The prosecution move to remove the judge could delay Peterson's trial, scheduled to start Monday. That date was already in doubt as attorneys and court officials sought extra time to move operations to San Mateo County.

Girolami earlier this month agreed to a defense request to move the case, ruling that massive publicity endangered Peterson's ability to get a fair trial in Stanislaus County.

The 31-year-old Modesto man is charged with murdering his wife, Laci, and unborn son, Conner, in a case that has drawn international attention. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

A retired Contra Costa County Superior Court judge, Arnason, 82, is best known for presiding over the sensational trial of activist Angela Davis, who was acquitted of murder, kidnapping and conspiracy in 1972.

The charges stemmed from a 1970 Marin County Courthouse escape attempt that left four people dead, including a judge. Arnason took the case after five other judges withdrew or were disqualified.

Here are a few other career highlights, taken from published reports:


In 2001, the judge said two high school football stars who later pleaded no contest to several sexual assaults could not be tried as adults. Proposition 21, approved by voters the year before, gave prosecutors the power to charge minors as adults in severe crimes. Arnason said the initiative violated the California Constitution.

In 1996, the judge presided over the trial of a mother who was convicted of child abuse because her 680-pound daughter died of congestive heart failure at age 13. The trial attracted national attention. Arnason sentenced the mother to three years' probation and 240 hours of community service.

In 1994, Arnason refused to sentence a man who stole $80 worth of batteries to life in prison, even though California's "three strikes, you're out" law, adopted earlier that year, allowed the stiff sentence. The judge said he had the discretion to reduce a felony conviction to a misdemeanor.
Bee staff writer John Coté can be reached at 578-2394 or jcote@modbee.com.

Bee staff writer Susan Herendeen contributed to this report.
39 posted on 01/22/2004 6:06:38 PM PST by joyce11111
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To: Devil_Anse; Howlin; oceanperch
Yes removed at the request of the prosecution...
I saw a discussion on yesterday's tape of the proceedings where Girolami asked about detention facilities in San Mateo, and they said they were able to accommodate Snotty...don't know if the TP/TP origami will be permitted, but I'm sure they will allow some sort of craft time for Suck-Tooth. He may be there for about 6 months it seems...
40 posted on 01/22/2004 6:46:20 PM PST by Jackie-O
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To: Howlin; maggiefluffs; joyce11111
Whoa--that was quick! And looking at the details in the article posted by joyce11111, now I see why the prosecution didn't want him as judge.

Geez, I didn't even take the time to read up on the guy, so I didn't even have time to agonize about the probable result if he had heard the trial! I'm glad he's out.
41 posted on 01/22/2004 7:08:59 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Velveeta
Thanks for the article. I'm always glad when you post the latest Rickamorti scoop! They are always interesting.

This one seems, um, a little farfetched.

But... if she really spoke to Brocchini in MARCH, the question is, did she THEN mention the bit about sinking someone in the bay with weights? IF she did, then her story may be a lot more worthwhile than it sounds right now.
42 posted on 01/22/2004 7:11:32 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Velveeta
P.S. I can just imagine chatting with one's husband over dinner one evening: "Well, dear, how was your day? I stopped in a bar at lunch and a man came up and asked me if I wanted to have an affair. How was YOUR day?"

43 posted on 01/22/2004 7:14:28 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Jackie-O
OLD SUCK-TOOTH!! LOL!!!

Scott needs to give up all these exotic pastimes like toilet paper crafts, and just do what other prisoners do to pass the time: cover himself with homemade tattoos. Let's mail him some ink pens and a pin!

44 posted on 01/22/2004 7:17:22 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Canadian Outrage
The "hates Geragos" part should be easy; the "tough on crime" part, now that's another matter.
45 posted on 01/22/2004 7:19:05 PM PST by Devil_Anse
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To: Velveeta
SECRET WITNESS; SCOTT TOLD ME HE WANTED TO KILL LACI!

If this Peggy Gagnon is for real, it certainly would be a smoking gun.

I can only say, Scott had to either be high on something, drunk out of his gourd, or an absolute idiot to discuss killing your wife with someone.

46 posted on 01/22/2004 7:24:52 PM PST by Spunky (This little tag just keeps following me where ever I go.)
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To: runningbear
Thanks for doing such a great job on the updates & pings!
47 posted on 01/22/2004 7:40:39 PM PST by drjulie
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To: Devil_Anse
"But... if she really spoke to Brocchini in MARCH, the question is, did she THEN mention the bit about sinking someone in the bay with weights? IF she did, then her story may be a lot more worthwhile than it sounds right now."

True, but her story is in the NE. Does this mean she sold it? If so, that may be a problem for the prosecution. Didn't this happen in the OJ trial? I think a potential witness was discredited because she sold her story.
48 posted on 01/22/2004 7:43:58 PM PST by drjulie
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To: Velveeta; maggiefluffs; Devil_Anse; runningbear; Jackie-O; Sandylapper; Canadian Outrage; Howlin
Well, now that Scaught is gonna be movin' on down the road to San Mateo, makes me wonder if the "500 lynch-mob folks" will be there to watch the cop car leave the jail like they did when Scaught arrived.

Better yet, maybe they'll form a caravan to the Bay Area. The media will likely try to follow with their camera crews.

Since Scaughty's social life has been altered, thanks to law enforcement, maybe the authorities will offer a gesture of kindness to him - like taking the loooong way to Redwood City. Rather than crossing over the Bay on the San Mateo Bridge, they could circle up past Berkeley, check out a few fishing spots, then back to Oakland and cross via the Bay Bridge.

A nice drive through the Embarcadero, Fisherman's Wharf, Chinatown, and then the short jaunt down 101 to his new digs. Yeah, I think that'll work out just fine. :)
49 posted on 01/22/2004 7:48:15 PM PST by Diver Dave
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To: drjulie
Doesn't sound like she'll be a witness to me, unless she hasn't received a subpoena yet - The gag order and all that kinda stuff.
50 posted on 01/22/2004 7:50:57 PM PST by Diver Dave
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