Tuesday, October 02, 2007

L.A. Confidential: How to Beat a Murder Rap

From Paul Levine

My good friend Randy Anderson is appalled by the hung jury in the Phil Spector murder trial. A native Minnesotan, the son of a Lutheran minister, and a former college basketball player, Randy still believes in “equal justice under law,” the words carved in the granite of our courthouses. Or, he did...until watching People vs. Spector, both on Court TV and in the courtroom.


Randy is no rube. He has a master’s degree and has worked as a teacher, a journalist, and a business owner before coming to L.A. where he’s enjoyed a highly successful career as a television writer. But he’s peeved about the clearly GUILTY Phil Spector getting away with killing actress Lana Clarkson.

(Spector will be retried. It took the state more than four years to get him to court the first time. Presumably, the second trial will take place within a few months, but don’t count on it. Free on bail, living in his mansion, it’s in Spector’s interest to delay as long as possible. Expect new defense lawyers to slink into the case, pleading for time to prepare.)

With righteous indignation, and with input from other court watchers who have posted thousands of comments on the Court TV website, Randy passes on this primer on getting away with murder.

1. A moment after shooting the victim, let a witness see you with the gun in your hand.

2. Tell the witness: “I think I just killed somebody.”

3. Do not dial 911.

4. Clean up as much of the evidence as possible, including wiping down the gun and placing it near the victim, as if she dropped it after committing suicide.

5. Be belligerent with the cops and tell them the victim was a "piece of shit."

6. Have a long history of shoving guns in women’s faces when demanding sex or just for the hell of it because you’re a psychotic creep.

7. Fire the lawyer who advises you to plead guilty, then sue him to get back your retainer.

8. Hire a platoon of expensive mouthpieces who will smear the deceased victim's reputation with vicious lies. . Blowhard Bruce Cutler, who skipped much of the trial to film a reality TV show, attempts to fly.

9. Hire big name expert witnesses who will contort the evidence, obfuscate the truth, and confuse the jury.

10. But most important, only do this in Los Angeles where you are sure to get a couple of flakes on the jury, which will then be hung, 10-2 for conviction.


Sunshine State Turnaround:
Would you have taken this bet a month ago?

"Five weeks into the college football season, the University of South Florida will be ranked higher than Miami, Florida State or defending national champion Florida."

You better believe it. USF, which didn't have a team until about 10 minutes ago, is ranked sixth in the current AP poll. Florida, upset Saturday by Auburn -- a team USF defeated -- is tenth in the rankings. Florida State and Miami, traditional powerhouses, are nowhere to be found in the Top 25.

My beloved Penn State Nittany Lions have dropped two games in a row, and there's no joy in Happy Valley. Yep. I'm hurting. But it could be worse. Notre Dame is 0-5. [If you reverse the numbers, you get Charlie Weis' pants size.]



  1. Paul,
    I feel your pain. Papa Joe is my second favorite coach behind Saint Bobby.

    I've been through so many trials I know not to count on anything. However, I have never been convicted, I mean, I have never had anyone acquited in one of the cases that went to trial.

    A few were dropped prior to trial for generally reasonable concerns but the prosecutors are hesitant to take anyting to trial that has a chance of losing.


  2. I was just at the downtown courthouse in the jury assembly room yesterday gazing around the room wondering how the powers-that-be could possibly put together a jury of my peers. The jury wrangler actually had to explain (3 times) how to tear off the perforated jury badge at the bottom of the form. Given that, I am not surprised that Spector got off.


  3. Paul,

    My hypothesis still holds: If you're famous BEFORE being charged with murder, you'll get off. If you're famous BECAUSE you've been charged with murder, you'll be convicted.

    Sad state of affairs, indeed.

  4. Jim,
    Fun in Orange Bowl at end of 2005 season, JoePa and Dad-gummit Bobby. (Fun, too when PSU won in triple overtime.

    Patty is much too polite to say: "If I'm on trial, do I want to be judged by 12 people to stupid not to get out of jury duty?" Actually, if you're guilty, YES!

    Louise makes a good point. Witness O.J., Robt Blake and Spector for the former proposition. And Scott Peterson, the Mendendez Brothers, & Charlie Manson for the latter proposition.

  5. OJ....Blake....Spector; The Celebrity Murder's Club....at least Phil won't be going on one of those "find the real killer" cruises-----and don't think he'll show up at some hack hotel in Vegas, with thugs a pistol waving, trying to get HIS "lost" memorabilia back.

    As for "Upset Saturday," I think it was more "REALITY CHECK Saturday." If you watched USF last year, including their 1st Bowl Game appearance, you can see that they have a solid program.
    The other "upsets" are upsetting only to the blind Homers....you know those delusional folks who probably never even played a down of football in their lives, but know so much about the game.
    Despite Touchdown Jesus finally making an appearance, and St PATrick having his problems, SHOCKER, ND lost AGAIN. Reality: ND will be lucky to win at Duke or one of the Service Academies.

    However, PSU isn't looking as stellar against their conference opponents as they did against those 0 and 5 "Fighting" Irish...or those other two powerhouse colleges FIU and Buffalo.Multiple turnovers and poor special teams play, that ain't gonna get it done!


  6. For Pete's sake! Can't the PROSECUTION ask for a change of venue when they try a celebrity, on grounds they can't get a fair trial in L.A.?

    Tom, T.O.

  7. Yes, it DOES make the world a better place that Notre Dame is 0-5.

    And I'll have to point out that USF is bolstered by two former stalwarts of my Cyclones--linebacker Ty McKenzie and defensive line coach Danny McCarney (whose best friend and QB growing up is now an attorney in Houston).

    Who's Phil Spector?