Ruling: Juror 5 and Brent Rocha Incident
June 21, 2004
DELUCCHI: All right. This is the case of People vs. Scott Peterson. And let the record show the defendant is present with counsel. And these proceedings are taking place out of the presence of the jury. It is now a little after 10:00 o'clock in the morning. The record should reflect that the court has conducted an in-camera hearing both with Mr. Rocha and juror number 5, and after discussing the issues with both of those gentlemen, the court's of the opinion that there was no misconduct on the part of either Mr. Rocha or on the part of the juror, which is what we're really looking at. And, apparently, based on what I heard in chambers -- and for the benefit of the media that's here this morning, the in-camera proceedings will be on the Internet tonight, so you'll know exactly what was said; but I regret to say that the media account of what took place is inaccurate, based on what I was told in the hearing. And you'll all have a -- all be able to look at it tonight when it's on the Internet. Mr. Geragos, you wanted to address.
GERAGOS: Yeah, I want to amplify for the record, not only was the media account -- and I don't -- I don't want to paint -- everybody always says "the media." It was not "the media." It was certain specific elements of the media that went out there and deliberately fabricated events that transpired. Mr. Rocha's testimony in chambers completely jives with what juror number 5's testimony was in chambers. There was never anything said about You're going to lose today. In fact, the only reason that there was any encounter, I believe, between Mr. Rocha and this juror was because there was a camera sitting right in -- right in their face, and, as will become apparent from the transcript, as a result of that, that's why there was any comment made whatsoever. Then certain other people wanted to spin this, if you will, created a -- out of whole cloth and fabricated what was said, went on and I believe committed the ultimate in media irresponsible conduct. They fuzzed out the juror's face in one portion, and then let the juror -- and showed full face of the juror walking away behind Mr. Rocha, as well, which I believe is actionable in one sense, violative of state law, may even be criminal in what was done. In addition to that, there has been blatant fabrication by certain reporters -- and I'm not painting the media because there has been a number of responsible reporters who actually have called and said I never saw that, and I've confirmed with them that never happened. It's one of the few times -- I don't think Distaso wants me to put it on the record, but it's one of the few times Distaso and I agree that some of these supposed imaginations of -- or imaginings of things that have happened with jurors just did not happen. And people have fabricated them, they've started telling the story out there, they started going on and claiming that one juror's going Yo, yo, peace to whatever and hitting his chest when he's walking into this courtroom, which is -- absolutely never happened. It has been the height of irresponsibility on just certain members. They know exactly who they are. The majority of the media has acted I think --
GERAGOS: -- responsibly. But there are those out there who have just been -- who are so totally out to lunch and have such an agenda here in terms of trying to cause or insinuate themselves into this case that they should be ashamed of themselves. They should be outed by the rest of the media so that they don't have -- the media itself doesn't get tainted. I specifically asked for a remedy to that, which the court well knows, which will be on the -- which will be on the record, but I want to be on the record as saying that, categorically, almost 100 percent of what has been reported has been 100 percent false.
DELUCCHI: All right. Does the DA want to add anything, Mr. Harris?
D. HARRIS: No. It's in the transcript. It's part of the record.
DELUCCHI: All right.
D. HARRIS: And that's what we wish the media would stick to is the facts.
DELUCCHI: All right. Well, I haven't been privy to these conversations that you have had with the media. I wasn't aware of that. I should qualify my statement then by saying that some members of the media have been irresponsible as to reporting what took place. And, like I said, the media will have access to the proceedings that took place in chambers, and they can review it and come to their own conclusions. Okay. Now, for the balance of this morning, what's left of it, we still have one, two, three, four, we have four witnesses scheduled, and then Detective Brocchini is scheduled, but we have to have a 402 hearing with Detective Brocchini. So what we'll do is we'll bring the jury in and I will explain to them that we conducted this hearing, because I'm sure they'll want to know what happened to juror number 5 when we took him out of the courtroom. We'll explain what happened and what steps we're going to make to avoid having this -- this accumulation of witnesses, family members and jurors at the security checkpoint all arriving at the same time. So, with that, I'll just take a short, brief recess. We'll bring the jury in and then explain what's going on. (Pause in proceedings)
DELUCCHI: All right. This is the case of People vs. Scott Peterson. Let the record show the defendant's present with counsel. And ladies and gentlemen of the jury, we've conducted an in-camera hearing with respect to certain allegations, and the court finds that those allegations were untrue, that there's been no juror misconduct as far as the juror is concerned. Part of the problem is everybody trying to get through the security checkpoint at the same time, where you're exposed to family members and you're exposed to potential witnesses, and so forth, and everybody congregates at the same place at the same time. So we're trying to reach some accommodation with the sheriff's department so that that doesn't happen in the future. I know it's human nature if you see somebody to say, you know, Good morning, or something like that, but I want to caution you all again that even the most innocent type of communication with somebody who is involved in this case is to be avoided, okay? Even with the lawyers. You're not to talk to them. I say Good morning to you in the morning. That's okay; okay? Because we're not talking -- we're not talking about the case, right? So I want to again remind you about the admonition I gave you, and -- and you have to live by that. And -- and I would, just out of an abundance of caution, if you see somebody who is involved in this case, family members, potential witnesses or people that you have seen here before, I would just suggest that you have no -- no comment to them at all; okay? It's not a question of being, you know, insensitive or indifferent, but it could lead to problems; all right? So I want to remind you of that. Now, getting on with this trial, we have five witnesses scheduled today. We're getting a late start this afternoon (sic) because of all these issues that came up this morning.