(April 5th update: Marvin was sentenced to two consecutive 99-year sentences. See recent blog entries below for more details about the sentencing hearing.)
(November 3rd update: Two guilty verdicts for murder in the first degree were returned at noon Saturday. See Saturday’s blog entries below for more details about the reading of the verdict.)
The case of a Hoonah man accused of shooting and killing two police officers is now in the hands of a jury.
Ten men and two women will begin deliberations on Friday in the trial of John Nick Marvin, Jr. that is now underway in Juneau.
A handful of witnesses were called to the stand to testify on Thursday morning, and then the defense rested its case.
Before closing arguments Thursday, Marvin told the judge that he didn’t not want to testify in his own defense.
“I will remain silent.”
Marvin is accused of killing police officers Matthew Tokuoka and Anthony Wallace in Hoonah in August 28, 2010. He allegedly remained in his house – only coming out briefly – before surrendering to officers over a day after the shooting.
Jurors reached a verdict at about noon Saturday which was announced about 42 minutes later.
Read more about Thursday’s closing arguments with KTOO’s live blog of the day’s proceedings.
Additional information can be found on KTOO’s Special Projects page devoted to the case.
- The PFD veto of $666 million covered a little more than a fifth of the budget gap.
- The CEO of the Alaska Mental Health Trust Authority stepped down on Monday. Jeff Jessee served as CEO for 21 years. According to a press release from the organization, he is transitioning to a new role ahead of his planned retirement in three years.
- The Alaska State Commission for Human Rights is the state’s anti-discrimination agency. In 2011, a legislative audit found that the agency wasn’t doing its job. Five years later, the agency is still trying to move forward.
The recent story from the Associated Press on the latest developments in Haley Tokuoka’s civil suit is a bit misleading.
The latest responsive filing by the City of Hoonah names John Marvin, Jr. as a third-party defendant in an ongoing civil case initiated by Haley Tokuoka. Marvin is not the subject of a brand new lawsuit as implied by the story. The inaccuracy is exacerbated with some newspapers editing out or dropping the explanation of Marvin’s third-party defendant status.
Here’s the link to our edited version of the AP’s broadcast version of the story:
And here’s the link to our November update on the criminal case that includes a brief explanation of the civil suit in the last few paragraphs:
I’ve been trying to upload additional pictures from the sentencing hearing on Friday, but I’m having some connectivity issues.
As an alternative, here’s the full produced story based on the interview I did with Debbie Greene. It’s a little longer than what aired on Friday morning:
And here’s the link to the page that includes pictures of Tony Wallace:
Here’s the almost-raw audio from yesterday’s sentencing hearing. I’ve split it up into two files as the hearing ran about 1 hour 48 minutes. There may be some noticable volume and audio quality changes at the very start as I changed recorder settings and did some other techy stuff to optimize the audio. I also did some post-processing by boosting the levels of the judge near the end.
Some of the voices include Superior Court Judge David George, District Attorney Dave Brower, and public defender Eric Hedland.
Haley Tokuoka, widow of Matthew Tokuoka, makes a victim impact statement during the hearing. Haley also reads a prepared statement by Debbie Greene, mother of Tony Wallace, who listened in by phone from her home down south. Dean Goodner, father of Matthew Tokouka also appears in court and makes a statement.
John Marvin also makes his own statement that lasts just under 15 minutes just before the judge hands down his sentence. The microphone also picks up Marvin talking or trying to talk to Hedland as he or someone else is trying to make their remarks. The jingling sound that you may occasionally hear is Marvin’s handcuffs jangling against his waist chain restraint.
Court is adjourned just before 11. Marvin is led out of the courtroom.
Concurrent sentences likely not effective.
99 years for Tony Wallace’s murder.
99 years for Matthew Tokuoka’s murder.
Consecutive sentences. But no restrictions on parole for Tokuoka’s charge.
“You are a dangerous individual.”
Judge George addressing his remarks to Debbie Greene and Haley Tokuoka, and their losses.
Now, impact on community of Hoonah, loss of 2/3 of HPD, “scar on emotional heritage of this community.”
Judge George: “Direct assault at the heart of public safety.”
Deterrent message needs to be sent…
Is the judge hinting of possible consecutive, two 99 year terms?
Judge George believes actions were deliberate, to exact revenge, purposeful, nature of conduct was persistent, circumstances most serious.
Three JPD officers just entered the courtroom.
Judge George now considering whether this is the worst offense or Marvin can be considered as a worst offender, eligibility of parole, other considerations.
Judge George: “Mr. Marvin, address your comments to me.”
Marvin is largely speaking to Hedland about various proceedings and events that apparently were “out of order,” alleges “double jeopardy” and “have this covered by insurance.”
“I emphasize. I understand.” But he says he’s innocent.
Quite frankly, I’m having a hard time making sense of his comments or following his train of thought. It does not appear that he really referred to the shooting of August 28, 2010.
Marvin’s done now.
John Marvin now standing up, making his own comments. He says many proceedings in case have been out of order. He says officers trespassed on his property, warned them. Now, something about closing this case to proceed on the other one.
He says officers injured themselves while entering his home. Waist chains rattling as he gestures with his hands. Small incident? More comments about being a ‘high ranked royal’ and something about DUI.
Hedland finishing now with comments about what can be learned from this, possession of guns.
Marvin: “I’m next. I’m supposed to be next.”
Revenge is not a sentencing criteria. Focus on isolation.
Hedland: “Don’t know if he cares” about going to jail for the rest of his life. He can’t really understand his client.
This is different from other recent shooting incidents, says Hedland, because of prior contacts between Marvin and police.
He’s advocating for 20- to 99-year sentence for Tokuoka’s murder.
Not worse offense?
Marvin’s mental condition is touched on now. Any indication made to jail guards that Marvin was malingering? No.
Paraphrasing here: If he was, then “He’s got Andy Kaufman covered.”
“Nobody saw anything…” says Marvin to Hedland as hearing-assist headphones are retrieved for Goodner.
“OK” responds Hedland.
“It’s illegal for the other case to still be open…”
“You’ll get to speak later,” says Hedland.
Marvin is still trying to say something, mumbling a bit, as Hedland is making his comments.
Incident happened without provocation? Not exactly right, says Hedland.
Defense attorney Eric Hedland now making his remarks. He says that John Marvin still maintains his innocence despite the jury verdicts.
He also called for Haley Tokouka’s civil suit against City of Hoonah to be dismissed.
Goodner now explaining what he thinks of John Marvin, no respect for him. He wants two 99 year sentences imposed.
He’s explaining the loss to family and friends, eventual financial impact on family.
Dean Goodner, Matthew Tokuoka’s father, now making his remarks. He’s thanking everyone for their support and accomadations after the tragedy.
Haley now recounting aftermath, memorial. “You still to answer to the ultimate maker, Jesus Christ Almighty.”
I forgive, she says. But calls for Marvin to receive 99 year sentence for murder of Matthew.
She extends thanks to everyone, police, DA’s office, people of Hoonah… for their support and help.
Why? Asks Haley. Revenge, she speculates.
Tokuoka family skittish of loud noises. Children fatherless.
Haley now remembering last words with Matthew as he died in Hoonah clinic, Tony being prepared for medevac to Juneau. Harsh words from Haley about what she wanted to do to John Marvin for taking both Tony and Matthew.
Haley now recounting meeting Debbie, shooting incident.
Haley recounting spending time with Matthew, kids, Alaskan activities…
Marvin keeps thumbing through pages of a court rule book as Haley reads the letter. Greene writes that she forgives Marvin. Now, Haley reads an officer’s prayer.
Debbie Greene’s letter refers to destroyed family, no prospects of grandchildren, Tony’s grandmother dying shortly afterward. Marvin does not appear to be listening, but Judge George’s attention is squarely on Haley.
Haley Tokuoka to read Debbie Greene’s letter. Greene is listening…
Brower: court should focus on isolation and deterrence of others. Notes recent shootings of court officers down south.
Question from judge: At some point the years stack up and become superfluous (sic), right? Brower responds by citing earlier case.
Marvin is talking to defense attorney Eric Hedland while Brower is making his remarks. Brower wants the judge to find Marvin as worst offender.
Brower says Marvin knew that both men were officers. Small town. Brower references an encounter exactly a year earlier between officers and Marvin.
District Attorney Dave Brower now making his remarks. Remembers visiting Hoonah. He wants two consecutive 99-year sentences for murder of both officers.
No evidence to be presented by defense or prosecution. Straight to sentencing remarks.
PSR or pre-sentence report now being discussed by judge and attorneys.
One of the officers just sworn to the thumb printing and signing of the form.
John Marvin was fingerprinted before the judge came into the courtroom. But he apparently refused to sign the form.
But two Judicial Services officers witnessed the fingerprinting and one signed it as a witness.
Haley Tokuoka and Matthew’s father are in the courtroom. Debbie Greene, Tony Wallace’s mother, is listening by phone from Louisiana.
Superior Court Judge David George just walked in with a huge stack of case files and documents.
Sentencing hearing getting underway momentarily. Everybody is in the courtroom and waiting for the judge.
John Marvin, Jr.’s sentencing is still scheduled for this Friday starting at 9 a.m. Check back here later for further updates and coverage of the hearing.
Haley Tokuoka’s lawsuit is still active.
We broke the story about the civil suit as well as the request for a new trial in the criminal case. You can read it here:
I just checked court records and it looks like the defendant, the City of Hoonah, has just retained an attorney for case. Leslie Longenbaugh is a local private attorney who specializes in civil cases and also works as a part-time federal magistrate. Last week, she asked for an extension to respond to the original complaint filed by Tokuoka’s attorney back in August. This may be a slow-going case.
John Nick Marvin, Jr.’s sentencing has been moved to April 5th. It had been planned for February 1st.
Judge David George said during a hearing on Monday that he made a verbal request for a presentence report (PSR) at the very end of the trial in November. But the necessary written order for a PSR was never issued. Listening to his explanation, it sounded like something he simply forgot to do as they tried to wrap up the trial on that particular Saturday evening.
A short story on the Monday hearing is here:
Also on Monday, Public Defender Eric Hedland made a very cryptic comment about the giving the court a heads-up about something happening later that may either require the knowledge or consent of the District Attorney. I didn’t include that bit in Tuesday’s story.
I asked Hedland about it afterward even though I knew it was a completely futile effort. He was being obscure simply because there were only two spectators in that courtroom, myself and another reporter.
Check out the link just above the entries for this blog to go to the Special Projects page devoted to this case. Previously-missing links have been added for various stories on the trial and other pre-trial proceedings. They include daily wrap-ups of the previous day’s testimony and evidence presentation. There were some stories that aired during our morning newscasts or which were distributed to other Southeast Alaska radio stations that simply did not get web-published. That was simply the result of not being able to squeeze all that into the 18-hour work-days that I experienced during the trial. I’m still going through all the hours of audio, pages of notes, and hundreds of photographs to make sure the archive is complete. As I find more stories that may not have been published, I’ll continue adding the links to the Additional Coverage tab on the Special Projects page.
Links have also been added for early stories that we did in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. They include a recap of a somewhat-bizarre hearing that included John Marvin’s first appearance in court and the setting of bail at $1,000,000. It was then that we first reported on Marvin’s prior criminal history that included his conviction for sexual abuse of a minor. I made sure that it was added after the somewhat odd and very belated story by a local newspaper over the weekend on that early conviction. Not only is it old news, but it’s not even relevant to the shooting of the officers. Aside from being prejudicial, it’s doubtful that the prosecution — even if they were allowed — would even bother bringing it up at trial. And, no, those early cases that have been archived on microfiche are not that difficult to find. All you have to do is ask. No implied sturm und drang is involved; It’s not like filing a FOIA request and then waiting for months to get back redacted copies. The helpful staff in the Dimond Courthouse’s Clerk’s Office will even teach you to operate the microfiche machine and help you locate the case file. One of the things that I recall (to be confirmed by my notes from that research) is that a previously-confidential psychological assessment report of Marvin included an early diagnosis that was echoed by clinicians during his recent rounds of competency evaluations.
I still hope to produce that interview with Debbie Greene shortly. Other unrelated stories have had priority lately. I want to do right by her after she agreed to sit down with me for a long interview.
Finally, I recently rediscovered this piece of tape from the last few days of the trial. This is a portion of testimony by Harlena Warford, aunt of John Marvin, who was a witness for the defense. Under cross-examination by District Attorney Dave Brower, she talks about seal hunting and how difficult it is to hunt seals from a skiff versus from the beach. I was trying to figure out where Brower was going with this line of questioning until he made the connection to Marvin’s apparent shooting proficiency during closing arguments. Anyway, Harford’s description of calling the seal was delightful and I thought it’d be fun to post it here:
During a break in court later that day, Warford told me that she only did half of the call. There’s another sound that’s made (I can’t remember if it’s before or after) that is intended to imitate the seal taking a breath.
Here are some of those documents from the request for a new trial from Marvin’s defense. His attorney essentially questions whether Sgt. Wallace was actually performing his duties as an officer during the shooting.
This is the response from the District Attorney’s office.
As we reported earlier, the judge has yet to rule on the motion.
I sat down with Debbie Greene for a nice, long interview about her son Anthony Wallace. I had planned to ask her about everything she knew about him: his interests and experiences, and what he was like as a person. So, I purposely did not ask her any questions about the shooting since she had already verbalized her experiences on the stand over a week ago. It didn’t seem necessary to ask her to relive the horror through another retelling of the incident. But, mid-way through the interview, her train of thought naturally progressed to the concept of closure. This was the part of the interview that I aired on the morning news today:
It’s normally good practice for a journalist to ask one, final question in case the interviewer has forgotten something or the interviewee has something that they’d like to get off their chest. I haven’t aired this actuality yet. But this is the final take-away that was specifically meant for the people of Hoonah:
Greene also sent along some pictures of Anthony Wallace and her last few days with him (She called him Tony). I hope to have a story produced later this week or next week about her son.
Here’s the raw tape that I recorded when the local media descended on District Attorney Dave Brower and cornered him for comments.
Audio runs about 3:32.
As I mentioned in an earlier posting, family members and public defender Eric Hedland left the courtroom and the building fairly quickly.
It should be noted, though, that Hedland never talks to media on the record or on tape. He eschews the usual media grandstanding that some private attorneys like to do, and he prefers to let his filings or courtroom arguments speak for himself.
These are the last comments that the ten-man, two-woman jury heard from Superior Court Judge David George on Saturday before they turned in their electronic key cards and left the building. He extends his appreciation for their service and gives them a heads-up that the trial attorneys and members of the media (like myself) may try to contact them about the case.
The audio runs about 1:45.
Debbie Greene, mother of Sgt. Anthony Wallace, embraces Haley Tokuoka, wife of Officer Matthew Tokuoka, after reading of the jury’s verdict on Saturday.
Debbie Greene (in white) and Haley Tokuoka (obscured) embrace friends after the verdict is read and court is adjourned.
John Nick Marvin, Jr. on Saturday just moments before the jury’s verdict is read.
Here’s the audio from this morning’s hearing in which attorneys and judge try to answer a question from the jury regarding jury instruction No. 32 about the charge enhancement for first degree murder of a police officer.
This was important for the charge as it related to Officer Matthew Tokuoka who was not on duty at the time of the shooting on the evening of August 28, 2010. In addition to the charge itself, jurors were required to make a finding of fact about whether it was clear that Tokuoka was an identifiable officer. Jurors probably determined that the defendant knew that it was a police officer that he was alleged to have shot. But it’s clear that jurors were also being very careful about following the law. The difference, if convicted, could mean as much as 79-years in prison for a defendant.
This audio runs about 34 minutes.
This hearing, which was attended by John Marvin and attorneys, was delayed for about half-an-hour as everybody waited for an in-court clerk to arrive at the courthouse. Within minutes of Judge David George sending an answer back to the jury, they had sent out another note saying that they had reached a verdict.
This was the scene earlier this morning when the media arrived for the second day of jury deliberations, or the twelfth day of the trial.
Calendar sheet noting the trial was still up from Friday.
Full day set aside for sentencing: February 1st starting at 9 a.m.
Pre-sentence report is due December 28th.
Marvin will be sentenced to 99-years in prison for Anthony Wallace’s murder. He will be sentenced to anywhere from 20- to 99-years in prison for Matthew Tokuoka’s murder. Since it’s open sentencing following a trial (not part of a pre-arranged plea and sentence agreement negotiated by prosecution and defense), the length of the sentence for Tokuoka’s murder will be completely up to the judge in this case. He will likely consider findings in that pre-sentence report (normally confidential and not open for public review) before deciding on a particular prison term.
Here’s the sound of the reading of the verdict. In recent trials that I’ve covered, the jury foreman has read the verdict. But Judge David George read it this time around. There’s a period between about 1:00-3:00 in which it seems a little quiet. That’s when we were waiting for the jury to file into the courtroom and take their usual seats.
I edited the audio so it ends just before Judge George polls the jury and addresses each one by name. The first juror was a little confused when it came to the findings of fact regarding whether Wallace or Tokuoka were clearly identifiable as police officers. The juror initially remembered it as reversed from the actual verdict form. Some of the other jurors were shaking their heads back-and-forth as if to say “No, no, no” when Judge George was polling the juror. The jury was asked to return to the jury room to get it straightened out. Later, they returned and the polling continued.
Public defender Eric Hedland, Debbie Greene and Haley Tokuoka all left without commenting. Jurors left the building as attorneys were scheduling sentencing. District Attorney Dave Brower did talk to the media briefly afterward. I’ll try to post something from that shortly.
Part of my view of Marvin was blocked by Hedland sitting next to him, but I did not see any reaction from him during reading of the verdict.
Correction: Two weapons misconduct charges
Brower: Misconduct charges being dismissed. They were bifurcated earlier.
Comments of appreciation from judge to jury in their consideration of such a tragedy.
“I can’t thank you enough for your service.”
Polling done. Bench conference.
Half-way through polling.
“Is it a true and correct verdict?…”
“Yes, your honor.”
“Is the factual finding…were proved beyond a reasonable doubt?”
“Yes, your honor.” (or “Yes” if the question is asked in the negative for the count relating to Tokuoka).
Judge George is asking each juror about the verdict for each officer, and associated factual finding about each man being a clearly identifiable police officer. Yes for Wallace, no for Tokuoka.
Jury back in. Polling to resume.
Overheard from Haley to Brower: “Thank you”
One juror appears to be confused about factual findings. Back to jury room for jury.
Debbie and Haley upset in relief. Jury being polled.
Guilty for murder 1 for Tokuoka.
Guilty for murder 1 for Wallace.
Mr Marvin would you rise?
Foreman hands verdict form to judge.
Most are looking down as they are coming in.
Only eleven hours of deliberations over two days.
Jury being brought in…
Verdict reached at noon, according to note.
Debbie Greene and Haley Tokuoka, John Marvin, Judge George now in courtroom.
More officers apparently on the way.
Brower just explained the jury question to the two officers.
We’re waiting for attorneys, judge, defendant, relatives to return to hear the jury verdict.
Two uniformed police officers have stopped by.
Answer sent back to jury.
Judge George is crafting a response and dating it.
Judge George: ‘When the (statute) is ambiguous, I’m supposed to construe it in favor of the defendant.’
George is deciding in favor of an objective standard.
Judge George: “Statute is ambiguous” and is not clear on ‘clearly identifiable’.
This question appears to center on the charges related to the shooting of Officer Matthew Tokuoka who was with his family at the time and had not yet reported for duty.
Brower: “…Clearly identified to him (the alleged shooter) that he is a police officer.”
Hedland is referring to other examples in statute about identifiable peace or police officers.
Judge George: “Fundamental question is whether it is a subjective test or objective test.” He highlighted examples of officers along with other officers, or clearly engaged in the course of their duty.
Brower makes a comparison between a big city and a small town where there may be fewer officers, but everyone knows them.
Brower: ‘Clearly identified’ is not defined.
Brower: “The instruction is what it is.” But the jury is not to leave common sense at the door.
“…uniformed or otherwise clearly identified peace officer…”
Hedland: The question is not subjective. The question is whether the person was clearly identified as a peace officer.
Some talk from Marvin to Hedland about interpreting the question from the jury.
The question from the jury appears to be whether first degree murder of a peace officer requires simple visual recognition of an officer (even out of uniform), or it requires the display of a badge or uniform patch.
Judge out for a moment to retrieve copy of his own jury instructions.
I expect some comments, or maybe a tactfully-crafted request, from attorneys to the judge about the delay caused by bringing a clerk in from the Valley.
Hedland just now: “I got called a half-hour ago.”
New in-court clerk (different clerk than most of the trial) just made it in. She’s booting up computers and doing check of audio system.
In-court clerk on her way in. Judge is in the building. John Marvin already brought up from holding.
Both attorneys are dressed for court with shirt and tie.
Marvin’s Judicial Services escorts are little more casual today. One in his Christmas sweater again. The other is in a red polo shirt and his JDHS Crimson Bears football coach windbreaker.
We’ve got a question from the jury.
I should’ve brought a coffee maker.
Dimond Courthouse lobby (I incorrectly called it a mezzanine earlier) which is open to the both first- and second-floors is occupied only by three reporters and a security person. We wait.
Courthouse is open on schedule, but Courtroom C is dark and locked.
I can only assume that jurors, who have electronic key card access to an entrance at the back of the courthouse, have already gathered in the jury room in the back of the second floor.
I may have posted something like this a few days ago, but this may be a slightly better version even though it’s still a photo of a projection.
This is the view out of the second-floor south side window on John Marvin’s house (where he’s alleged to have fired the shots) toward where the officer’s were located on August 28, 2010. The Tokuoka truck has been parked in a scene that was recreated by Alaska State Trooper investigators. There appears to be a blue tent (from a recent vigil?) located near where the Tokuoka vehicle was initially parked on the evening of August 28. The Tokuoka vehicle, a black Chevy Avalanche, in this picture is parked near where Anthony Wallace’s patrol vehicle would’ve been parked on that night. Haley Tokuoka (in white) is standing near where she was talking to Debbie Greene sitting inside the patrol vehicle. The person in orange is in the approximate location where Matthew Tokuoka was shot.
Judge George to tell them to come back tomorrow at 9 am. Print out to be given to them then.
They came down with a print out. Designate it Exhibit #177a.
Bring the jury in to admonish them before sending them home?
John Marvin back. Now we’re waiting for DA and PD.
Judge George to in-court clerk: “Jury wants to go home for the evening…”
Judge and attorneys may be discussing both issues at the same time momentarily.
Brower just left to go upstairs to check with his staff about a print out of some sort. Hedland went to follow him. Marvin escorted back downstairs. Back in 15 minutes or so…
Radio traffic audio file is combined with 31 clips. Each clip likely has a time/date tag that may be viewed or printed out.
Judge George: “I already gave them highlighters. I figured that was a purely administrative function.”
The latest question is about timestamps. But no one can figure out if it’s the court record’s timestamps, radio call traffic, or timeposts of incident.
Brower and Hedland (with judge out) are now discussing the radio call traffic which has been edited or tightened to remove the non-voice portions.
Now, John Marvin has been brought in.
Earlier, the jury had asked for highlighters. Now they have a question. But there’s no one in the courtroom except the in-court clerk and the media. Where is everybody?
Here are a few pictures from yesterday evening’s closing arguments which I didn’t have a chance to put up yet:
I think I ended up taking way too many pictures of the back of District Attorney Dave Brower’s head during this trial. Something a little different here.
The alleged murder weapon and some of the officer’s clothing with blood stains and bullet holes. The rifle is one of the few items that jurors will NOT be able to take back with them to examine in the jury room.
The trial’s other major attorney, Eric Hedland, from the public defender’s office, makes use of his last chance before the jury. Superior Court Judge David George listens in the background.
I’ve posted the complete closing arguments from yesterday at the top of this page. I was a little slow in hitting the record button at the start of the prosecutors’s rebuttal, but it’s only a few seconds that are missing.
From a few minutes ago…
All sandwiches, just different types, according to the cheerful deliverywoman from Bullwinkle’s.
But when it comes to flavors of Teddy’s, it looks like we’ve still got a hung jury.
Second floor, going up?
Debbie Greene, who witnessed her son Anthony Wallace becoming mortally wounded on Front Street in Hoonah, has been another principal character in this trial.
I was so taken aback and stunned after the first day of testimony last week that I completely forgot to take her picture when she first appeared on the witness stand. This picture of Greene was taken yesterday when she was recalled to the stand by public defender Eric Hedland. He tried to get her to specifically describe the location of a set of trash dumpsters next to the Hoonah Liquor Store and roughly across the street from John Marvin’s house. That’s where the Tokuokas were going to unload their trash in what turned out to be just minutes before the shooting on August 28, 2010.
Greene said she really didn’t know where the dumpsters were located. It just wasn’t something that she remembered from the shooting.
Judge David George, District Attorney Dave Brower, and public defender Eric Hedland met in open court at about 9:15 this morning. The meeting apparently had been scheduled for 9:00, but they were waiting for John Marvin to arrive at the courthouse and be brought up from the downstairs holding cell by his Judicial Services escorts.
He was wearing blue jeans, a gray sweatshirt, and standard-issue slip-on shoes in addition to the now-familiar hand cuffs, and waist and leg shackles.
The on-the-record portion of the hearing was barely two-minutes. Judge George found a syntax and punctuation error in one paragraph of the jury instructions. The word ‘offense’ was also dropped a few times where the phrase ‘lesser included offense’ was supposed to appear in the instructions.
Paraphrasing Judge George before my recorder had powered up: ‘I just didn’t want to make any changes to the instructions without attorneys present.’
In addition to myself, four men who have attended portions of the trial before and were curious about the jury process were the only other observers in the courtroom.
Marvin was taken back down to the holding cell to await further communications from the jury.
Attorneys and interested observers like the media will get calls if there is ever a note or a request from the jury. That includes a request to hear playback of testimony, an explanation or definition of a legal term or phrasing, or a request to leave early or stay late. Of course, if and when they reach a verdict (or even if they don’t), the foreman may pass out a note when they believe they’re done.
Some attorneys and observers don’t bother attending when the jury returns to the courtroom to listen to a playback of testimony by a witness. But if it’s a note that the jury has reached a verdict, then usually it’s a race to the courthouse and through security. Those with offices nearby or who decide to camp out at the courthouse have an advantage.
After court had adjourned Thursday evening, John Marvin asked the judge about the playback routine and inquired if he needed to attend.
The 19 mg/dl of ethanol found in Sgt. Wallace’s eye was not addressed again during testimony or closing arguments. It wasn’t relevant to the case.
Some of my source material for Wednesday’s blog entry can be found here:
Go to the first entry in Wednesday’s blog for a recap about the ethanol testimony: