Legal Ethics

Judge: Spector Lawyers Violated Rules

The judge in the ongoing Phil Spector murder trial has rebuked the music producer’s attorneys for a violation of discovery rules “so deliberate and so egregious” that it requires a remedy. Hence, Judge Larry Paul Fidler said Thursday, he is going to instruct the jury to take it into consideration in their deliberations.

Intending to gain a tactical advantage and “throw the prosecution off their game,” the judge said, the defense presented expert testimony Tuesday that Spector’s alleged victim, Lana Clarkson, 40, had lived for several minutes after she was shot to death on Feb. 3, 2003, according to the Associated Press and the Los Angeles Times.

This could account for her blood being on Spector, now 67, if she coughed up blood on him as she was dying. The defense contends that the former B-movie actress–who was working as a restaurant hostess and depressed, according to some testimony–committed suicide in Spector’s home by shooting herself in the mouth. Prosecution witnesses testified that Spector has a history of threatening women with guns, and prosecutors say he was sprayed with her blood as he shot her. He is charged with second-degree murder, and faces a possible prison sentence ranging from 15 years to life, if convicted.

As far as the specific remedy to be applied concerning the discovery violation is concerned, “Fidler said he will instruct the jury not to blame Spector for his lawyer’s actions, but rather to consider how the infraction prejudiced the case,” the Times writes. “Jurors can also consider the misconduct when weighing the credibility of witnesses. Fidler said prosecutors and defense attorneys can propose language for the instruction, but he ultimately will be the author.”

We welcome your comments, but please adhere to our comment policy and the ABA Code of Conduct.

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.