Arrived at court this morning and found out a juror had called in sick.
Noted also the Frank Carson was not present in court, Percy Martinez advised the court that he was misinformed but there was still an assembly of the attorneys this morning. He was told Ct. was canceled.
They discussed a little bit about finishing Dr. Leo tomorrow, as they have also scheduled other witnesses for tomorrow. If Dr. Leo is not finished tomorrow he will not be able to return until about 14 May.
Judge Zuniga talked about some scheduling issues and there is some days where jurors need time off during the week of 20 May. So it appears possibly at this point there will be no court that week. In addition on May 28 and 29th it appears also there is a conflict in scheduled with a juror and an attorney, so there will be no court those days either.
About that time Judge Zuniga stated this case may not be finished until the beginning or middle of June.
In my this is a result of keeping a jury for 16 months and not getting the case resolved, and that has happened for a variety of reasons but all can be put squarely on the shoulders of the judge. It was her responsibility to move this trial along and it hasn’t been done.
Unknown if any’s court is scheduled for tomorrow, due to the juror.
Today I could see the look of defeat in the eyes and faces of Marlisa Ferreira and Kirk Bunch. Defense attorney Hans Hjertonsson called Dr. Richard Leo to the stand on behalf of his client Daljit Atwal. His testimony kept all of us on the edge of our chairs, and I could see the jury watch and listen to his every word. He painted a picture of manipulation and abuse of key prosecution witness Robert Woody. By the time that Hans Hjertonsson was done with direct examination, there was no doubt that the investigators had manipulated the statements of Robert Woody through psychological techniques and threats and had fed him the story that they wanted him to say happened. It was riveting, and powerful testimony that will make it impossible for the prosecution to refute. Now sit back and let me paint for you yet another picture of this travesty of justice (injustice) that should never have happened.
Court began this morning at 9:43AM with Hans Hjertonsson calling Dr. Richard Leo to the stand. I apologize in advance for not being able to capture everything in my notes. Hans Hjertonsson speaks very quickly, and frequently has to be reminded by Judge Zuniga to slow down. When she cautions him to slow down, it is one of the few things that comes out her mouth that I always agree with. I always seem to be two sentences behind in my note taking, but I assure you I captured most of the great things that were said. Dr. Leo is a professor of law and psychology at the University of San Francisco. He specializes in false confessions and erroneous prosecutions, and is considered to be one of the most respected experts in his field. He has a Bachelor’s of Science degree in sociology, a Master’s degree in sociology, a PhD degree from U.C. Berkeley in jurisprudence and social psychology. There were some other degrees that were listed that I could not capture in my notes. This man has is Doctorate degree in Law, but has never intended to take the State Bar exam. He teaches law, and uses his understanding of the law to augment his study and analysis of abusive law enforcement interrogation techniques and false confessions. His Doctoral Dissertation concerned how police interrogation policies have changed in the 20th Century. He has written 6 books, and had received numerous awards for his work. He has received career achievement fellowships from institutions that include Stanford University. He has received one nomination for the Pulitzer Prize, and his work has been cited 4 times in decisions made by the U.S. Supreme Court. He is one of the 25 most cited people who were cited in case law by the U.S. Appellate Courts. He has made over 100 presentations to Universities, and has testified 350-360 times in court as an expert. Three of those times, he testified for the prosecution. Dr. Leo testifies that when he is called up by attorneys, and given details of a case, he rejects approximately 50% of the cases immediately. Of the remaining 50% of the cases, he only actually testifies in 15-20 percent of the cases.
Dr. Leo testifies that in the 1920’s and 1930’s law enforcement mainly used coercion to obtain confessions from suspects. He testifies that in the 1940’s this practice stopped, and law enforcement switched to using psychological techniques to obtain confessions. Dr. Leo testifies that a book was published that outlined the “Reed Technique” that law enforcement uses to this day. Dr. Leo testifies that there is no doubt that false confessions occur. He states that he has reviewed thousands of cases, and has seen many instances of false confessions. Dr. Leo testifies about a publication called a “White Paper” that was written and is a published empirical psychological analysis on police interrogations and confessions. Dr. Leo testifies that innocent people do confess to crimes that they did not commit. Dr. Leo lists four ways that it can be proven that a false confession has occurred. The first way is to show that no crime occurred. The second way is to show that it was impossible for that person to have committed the crime. The third way is find conclusive scientific evidence like DNA that would prove that the person did not commit the crime. The fourth way is if someone else provides a proven confession to the crime. We now have a side bar. The whole time Dr. Leo has been testifying, I can see that sick look of defeat on the faces of Marlisa Ferreira and Kirk Bunch.
After the side bar, Dr. Leo talks about the Reed and Associates book, and how all police work today is based on the techniques contained in the book. He speaks about reviewing over 2000 interrogations and finding that the police used the techniques used in this book. Dr. Leo testifies that the Reed Technique is psychologically coercive some of the time when it is used. He testifies that he determined this by doing research using established and proven research methods. Dr. Leo testifies that there exists two different types of coercive techniques. The first type is called inherent coercion, and the second type is called cumulative coercion. The inherent coercion happens immediately, and the cumulative coercion happens after a series of coercive techniques are employed. Dr. Leo testifies that there are two different phases in psychological coercion. The first phase is convincing the suspect that they have been caught. The second phase is coercion to cause the suspect to stop denying their involvement. Dr. Leo testifies that the police use accusations that include telling the suspect to stop lying, and inducements that include moral inducements, psychological inducements, and legal inducements. Dr. Leo now speaks about a scenario technique that utilizes the good scenario and bad scenario. The investigators would give the suspect the good scenario if he gives them what they want, and would then give the suspect the bad scenario that would happen if he did not give them what they wanted to hear. Dr. Leo states that this technique is used to shift denials to confessions.
Dr. Leo testifies that there are three types of false confessions. I am not quite sure of my notes, but it appears that the first type of false confession is one that would be called in, the second type of false confession would be called “Compliance” where the suspect just wants to put an end to the interrogation. The third type of false confession is called “Persuasive” where the investigators urge the suspect to reach deep into his memories to give them what they want to hear. Dr. Leo speaks about three different types of errors that exist. He speaks about misclassification errors, coercion errors, and contamination errors where the investigators feed the suspect details of their theory on the case.
Hans Hjertonsson now asks Dr. Leo if he reviewed the statements, recordings, reports, transcripts, and interviews of Robert Woody. Dr. Leo: “Yes.” Hans Hjertonsson: “Did you find some psychologically coercive techniques that were used?” Dr. Leo: “Yes.” Hans Hjertonsson now sets up the projector to show some slides that he has prepared. Dr. Leo testifies that the relevant factors in an interrogation include the length of the interrogation where the investigators try to wear the suspect down to get him to say what they want to hear. Dr. Leo states that investigators also use techniques called minimization and maximization. This would be the good scenario/bad scenario technique that I wrote about earlier. Dr. Leo calls this technique psychologically coercive. Dr. Leo testifies that he found numerous instances where this technique was utilized on Robert Woody by the investigators. Dr. Leo testifies that the investigators also used promises and threats to get Robert Woody to say what they wanted him to say. The investigators also used individual traits, contamination, and scripting to get Robert Woody to say what they wanted him to say.
Dr. Leo now testifies how he went through the four different statements that were made by Robert Woody in 2014, and how he went through the statements by Robert Woody that he made in 2012. Dr. Leo states that an interview is open ended in nature, and an interrogation is accusatory and not open ended in nature. Dr. Leo testifies that all of the Robert Woody statements made in 2012 were interviews, and that all of the Robert Woody statements in 2014 were interrogations. He speaks about the interview at the Stanislaus County DA’s Office that lasted 7 ½ hours. Dr. Leo speaks about the 2015 interview where Robert Woody was taken to the Carson property, Pop N Cork Liquors, and the mountains. He calls this a reenactment. Dr. Leo testifies that during the 7 ½ hour interrogation of Robert Woody, the investigators used the minimization technique. Dr. Leo states that he also reviewed the Miranda Dykes body wire, and states that the investigators told Robert Woody that they already had his confession, and had convicted people with murder with less evidence. Dr. Leo states that the investigators also used maximization with Robert Woody where they told him that all the people were pointing fingers at him, and were going to make him the scape goat. Dr. Leo testifies he has prepared an over 40 page report that lists many more examples how the investigators used coercion to get Robert Woody to say what they wanted to hear. Dr. Leo testifies that the investigators used promises to get Robert Woody to say what they wanted to hear. Stuff like: “Robert, I am trying to help you, there are consequences for what happened, I don’t think you are the one who is responsible for the killing of Korey Kauffman.” Then the investigators told Robert Woody: “If you tell the truth, I will go to my boss and speak to her, this is your golden opportunity.” Dr. Leo states that this is what is called “Time pressure.” Dr. Leo testifies that the investigators used threats to get Robert Woody to say what they wanted to hear. Dr. Leo states that the investigators threatened Robert Woody that he was being charged with first degree murder with special circumstances that would give him life in prison or the death penalty. Dr. Leo now states that the investigators told Robert Woody that they could “Mitigate that” if he told them what they wanted to hear. Dr. Leo now states that the investigators fed Robert Woody with details of what they believed happened. Dr. Leo testifies that the investigators told Robert Woody that he was there, but did not intend to kill Korey Kauffman, and that he had tried to stop the Athwal brothers from killing Korey Kauffman.
Dr. Leo discusses how Robert Woody had told the investigators: “To tell you the truth, I don’t know anything.” Dr. Leo testifies that the investigators then told Robert Woody: “You were there, we have your confession.” Dr. Leo speaks about the transport from Tuolumne County where DA Investigator Steve Jacobson was driving Robert Woody to Modesto. It is brought out that Robert Woody recanted his confession, and told Steve Jacobson: “Every time I tell you the truth you tell me I am a fucking liar.” Dr. Leo states that he detected contamination and scripting techniques were used during that transport. It is now 11:53AM, and it time for our lunchtime break.
It is now 1:34PM, and we are informed that the jury is stuck in a broken elevator coming up from the basement. While we are waiting for this to get sorted out, it is announced that there will be no court next Tuesday. The jury is finally back in the courtroom at 2:07PM, and Hans Hjertonsson continues his direct examination of Dr. Richard Leo. Hans Hjertonsson gets Dr. Leo to testify that he has spent voluminous time on his analysis of this case. He testifies that he charges $375.00 per hour for his work, and has prepared a 44 page single spaced report. He testifies that he has spent over 300 hours, and has exceeded $100,000 for his work thus far. That does not include his time spent on the stand. Dr. Leo states that he has testified over 350 times in court over the years, and nothing that he has done has even come close to the time he has spent on this case. Hans Hjertonsson now gets Dr. Leo to testify about how the investigators had told Robert Woody: “If you squeeze out all the information we want this will be better for you.” “It can take you out of this situation and put you in one that is much more favorable.” “You will never be able to see your kids again except in prison, and you won’t be able to comfort your ailing mother.” Dr. Leo testifies that Robert Woody told the investigators: “I feel like I have been treated like a fucking animal for something I didn’t do.” Dr. Leo now states that the investigators told Robert Woody: “I guarantee you that it took more than one person to do this.” Dr. Leo now states that the investigators told Robert Woody: “You couldn’t have stopped it, and you didn’t want it to be done.” Dr. Leo states that the investigators later told Robert Woody: “You are going to go away for life.” Dr. Leo now states that the investigators told Robert Woody: “You perhaps witnessed this, but you didn’t participate.” Hans Hjertonsson now points out how Robert Woody on 03/14/2014 recanted that he was on the Carson property. Hans Hjertonsson now points out that on 08/14/2015 Robert Woody stated that he had lied. Hans Hjertonsson now shows how Robert Woody was told by the investigators that he couldn’t have stopped it, and that they all knew that he had been manipulated and exploited. Dr. Leo testifies that Robert Woody was fed information about the alleged incident at Michael Cooley’s house that included details about the black BMW, the “Your Ass Is Grass” threat, and an Indian male being in the car with him. We now have another side bar. Dr. Leo now testifies that the investigators told Robert Woody: “You cleaned up the mess, and that this was going to make Uncle Frank proud.” Dr. Leo testifies that he found many examples of scripting in what the investigators had done with Robert Woody. Dr. Leo testifies that the investigators told Robert Woody that Daljit Atwal had obtained a small caliber handgun, and that he had walked away from the scene and had heard a sound that could have been a gun shot. Dr. Leo speaks about the testimony that showed that Robert Woody and Baljit Athwal had to search for Frank Carson’s property after leaving Frank Carson’s Law Office in May of 2012. This is about two months after the prosecution says the Athwal brothers killed Korey Kauffman on the Carson property. Dr. Leo testifies that when DA Investigator Steve Jacobson heard this from Robert Woody, he told Robert Woody that this did not make any sense. It is clear to me that they got Robert Woody to change his testimony concerning this issue so that it would fit their theory on the case. Dr. Leo testifies that the techniques that are used by investigators are used to overbear the will of their suspects. Dr. Leo testifies that he is not here to testify that what Robert Woody said is true or false. Hans Hjertonsson has no further questions. None of the other defense attorneys had any questions for Dr. Leo. Hans Hjertonsson had done a simply marvelous job with Dr. Leo.
Marlisa Ferreira now pathetically tried to show that Dr. Leo’s qualifications were lacking. She tried to criticize him for not taking the Bar exam, and Dr. Leo stated that he never intended on practicing law in a courtroom. She tried to criticize him for not working for a District Attorney, and Dr. Leo testifies that he worked for the Consumer Fraud Division while he was in college. Marlisa Ferreira then tried to tell Dr. Leo that he is not a psychologist, and Dr. Leo corrects her by stating that social psychology is one of the specialty forms of psychology. Marlisa Ferreira now tries to criticize Dr. Leo for never going to medical school, and not being able to prescribe medications. I could see a look of disgust on the faces of the jury as they listened to her pathetic attempt at minimizing Dr. Leo’s amazing accomplishments. Marlisa Ferreira now tries to tell Dr. Leo that he had written a blog on the “Death Penalty Focus.” Dr. Leo states that he did not write that article. Marlisa Ferreira then criticizes Dr. Leo for only working for the prosecution three times in his career. Dr. Leo testifies that he has worked over 300 times for the defense, and was unable to enumerate the number of false confessions that he had uncovered. He states that he would have to refer to a list to give Marlisa Ferreira the count of false confessions he had encountered. It is now 3:13PM, and Judge Zuniga sends the jury home for the day. She instructs them to return by 9:30AM tomorrow. Judge Zuniga has Dr. Leo step out of the courtroom, and discusses a discovery issue with Marlisa Ferreira. Judge Zuniga now shows the attorneys the verdict form she intends to use when the case is turned over to the jury. We are now all sent home for the evening. I will be there tomorrow to report to you on what I see and hear.
Good evening everybody. This is Marty from DAWG’s blog with tonight’s podcast for the Frank Carson et al. Trial on Wednesday, May 1, 2019. This morning, as you all know, we had Dr. Leo on the stand this morning. He continued on direct with Hans Hjertonsson this afternoon. We had a little excitement before the jury came into the courtroom, they were locked in the elevator. They got in the elevator in the basement, the doors would not open and they were stuck. The jury, at least 7 of them, 1 man and 6 women, were sequestered in the elevator. I did notice when they came out, the one man that was in there with 6 women and was smiling. I don’t know what that means. They finally got them out of the elevator, and they had to climb the stairs. The elevator was out of order for the rest of the day. The Jury came up at 1:57 PM. The Judge on the bench at 2:03 PM.
Also note that prior to the jury coming up, the Judge was talking to the attorneys. Some of the 1101 evidence (prior bad acts, some of the things they went through and testimony that was heard. Acts that show a history of this type of behavior, ie a history of assaulting people in the past. Some of it within reason is allowed.) that has been allowed in this case, and she did strike much of it, she has lost her “stickies” in her notes in regard to that evidence. She needs input from attorneys on which witness did what and when and she needs them to start assembling the jury instructions. SMH – Shaking my head and then the jurors get stuck in the elevator. It was an interesting afternoon right off the bat.
Dr. Leo was back on the stand. Attorney Hans (I don’t know how to say Hjertonsson and I’m Swedish and I believe he’s Swedish) Hjertonsson asked him about the amount of time that was spent on this case. He went through what he called voluminous transcripts, interviews, videos, preliminary hearing transcripts, trial transcripts, law enforcement reports and other things. Hans Hjertonsson asked if he ever had been bombarded with this much paperwork in any one case? He said never, it has never been like this before. This man has been doing this for 30 years. He charges $375 dollars per hour and that is at 300 + hours, plus he’s being paid to testify.
They talked about the 3/3/14 interview, just a few days after Robert Woody was arrested. They put up on the overhead screen, they were using a powerpoint presentation where he had snippets out of each interview, statements that were made or questions that were asked. One of the things he put up “it is better to squeeze all the information out now” is what the investigators were telling Robert Woody, “the District Attorney wants Robert Woody to be a witness in this case”. This is what they were telling him at the time, but that morphed into other things and went back and forth.
Talked about the 3/14/15 interview. If I remember correctly that is a transport with Jake Jacobson. He was told he could get a more favorable position if he talked about who killed him and what happened. He was also told he should not go down for others bad deeds. Dr. Leo said that was what he called minimization. That was a prime example of minimization.
Again, concentrating on the 3/14 transportation with Steve “St. Juice” Jacobson taking him to a court date. St. Juice was telling him that he was going to go away and never see his kids again. He’s never going to be around to help his Mom and Dad and especially his Mom, who has failing health. Robert Woody made some statements in the transportations and he said: I feel like I’m going down for something I didn’t do. I’m being treated like an animal. “St. Juice” told him that four people are suspects and you are the only one in custody. It took more than one person to do what happened in this situation. These guys did street justice and Robert Woody is facing the death penalty. “St. Juice” continued saying these guys will take you out, that is why you are housed at a different jail. Dr. Leo said that is another classic example of minimization, trying to minimize Robert Woody’s culpability and trying to blame other people.
The 8/14/15 interview with Sgt. Domby (at the time) and Steve “St. Juice” Jacobson and they were telling him that he couldn’t have stopped it, nothing that he could have done could have stopped the homicide and this is rolling down hill and there is nothing he can do to stop it now. Dr. Leo was talking about some of the scenarios that led up to these conversations too. Robert Woody had lied in the 3/1/14 interview to “The Juice” and “The Juice” said there is nothing you can do to stop what is going on. He later recanted some of that. “The Juice” wants Robert Woody to help us, help you. The Chief Deputy DA, which I believe was Marlisa Ferreira, is trying to help. During that interview, they were talking about the investigators told him that Woody knows he was manipulated by these other people, they got him to do something he wouldn’t normally do and his family loves him too much for him not to what he needs to do to get out of this.
It was daylight and they went to Korey Kauffman’s house in the BMW, made the “ass is grass” comment and told him the neighbors saw that. Again, they were scripting Robert Woody – telling him what they knew, telling him what to say. It was daylight and Woody doesn’t know the difference between days and months, he said that on the stand. It was the last week in March and the neighbor heard the threats. Again, it was some contamination. They were educating Robert Woody in the facts, instead of getting facts from Robert Woody.
They told him the Athwals had Robert Woody doing their bidding. That was scripting.
The details on the phones, they told him they had cell phone evidence. That was contamination and scripting.
Baljit Athwal hitting Korey Kauffman in the head with his fists and Korey Kauffman couldn’t get away. This was both contaminating and scripting.
Saying no one could have stood up to that assault. “The Juice” asking Robert Woody, in regard to Korey Kauffman, probably getting his ribs punched with fists. They were scripting. He was continually being told what happened on the property. They were scripting. They said there was some doubt about what Robert Woody had done. They did help in some manner on the property. Again, scripting. Make Uncle Frank proud and beating Korey Kauffman made Frank Carson happy. Again Scripting. They were doing what law enforcement officers could not do. Again scripting. “The Juice” and Domby suggested that “D” had fired from a low caliber firearm at Korey Kauffman. Again, scripting, they were telling him what they wanted him to say. Robert Woody had denied seeing any weapons whatsoever at the scene, prior. Domby was telling him he heard a shot being fired and didn’t actually see it because he said he was walking away. Again scripting. “The Juice” was asking about the fence on the Frank Carson property. Again scripting. He was saying the was the same day they went to court and they had gone to the Mike Cooley residence. Robert Woody said Baljit Athwal had drove around looking for the Frank Carson property. Robert Woody said they drove around until they found the Carson property. Steve Jacobson said well, that’s not making any sense because he knew where the property was. So Woody said, Oh yeah, he found the property. Jacobson said he was on the property prior. They also said the Cooley visit was in May 2012, but the court date was a different date than they were talking about.
Dr. Leo said the techniques used creates a risk for false confession. The research over the years and a consensus in the community shows these types of techniques face high risk of false confessions. The techniques beat down and manipulate the suspect until they finally just give in. Dr. Leo stated he was not here to say that Robert Woody’s statements were true or false, just techniques that were coercive that were used in this case.
Attorney Hans Hjertonsson had no further questions. Jai Gohel had no further questions. Percy Martinez had no questions.
Marlisa Ferreira started on cross-exam. She asked about him working at University of San Francisco and he started there in 2006. He teaches classes there and is a researcher. He had never taken the bar exam. He has a PhD in jurisprudence, that makes him a lawyer. She asked him what type of law experience he had? He worked as a paralegal for three years total and then in college worked for the San Francisco DA’s office as an intern. She also asked him if he got involved in cases. He said no I was just an intern and no direct involvement of any criminal cases. She asked him if he licensed to practice psychology or psychiatry? He said no. He does not diagnose psychiatric issues. She asked does he have clinical status. Is he board certified? He said there is no such things as board certified. He is not a doctor. He is a recognized psychologist in the rule of law. He is a social psychologist in the rule of law.
Marlisa Ferreira was trying to discredit him and trying to go at him a little hard. Many objections and sidebars.
Marlisa Ferreira asked Dr. Leo if he’d ever been to medical school? He said no. I think he’s answered that several times. He can’t write scripts for prescriptions. She asked if he is a practicing lawyer? He said no. He is a professor and a researcher. Now, she asked him three times the same question. She kind of gets stuck sometimes, it seems.
She asked him how many cases has he had where it has been proven it was a false confession? He said, I have no idea, I don’t keep those statistics. That isn’t his thing. He isn’t there to get people aquitted, he’s just there to talk about false confessions. She asked him three times, there were objections three times and he told her Ma’m, I’ve told you three times now. Of course, that was objected to and the Judge didn’t like the way he answered it, but he kept getting asked the same question over and over again.
She asked him about the three times he testified for the District Attorney’s Office. One was in San Diego in California vs. Tuit (?). He said it was actually one person involved, it was two trials and a pretrial. It was handled by the Attorney General’s Office. It was in San Diego The charges were homicide. He testified in 2002, 2003 and 2013. The defendant was acquitted.
He has testified 300 times for the defense. Again, she asked about statistics for false confessions. Again, he said I don’t keep those statistics. It was getting a little heated and she didn’t like his answers. He didn’t like her questions nor her attitude.
The Judge shut it down around 3:10 PM. There was an article that Marlisa Ferreira was bringing up that the defense wasn’t privy to. It was about him, I understand, so they had to give copies to defense attorneys to look over, so they called it a day.
The jury is coming back at 9:30 AM tomorrow. Dr. Leo will be back on the stand. There has been some shortening up of days. Dr. Leo is supposed to be done testifying by Tuesday of next week. Next Tuesday there is no court, because a juror has something going on. They say he can’t testify past Tuesday because he has other obligations, but the Judge is saying once I’ve got him and he’s sworn in, he’s mine. There is short day on Friday, we get out at 3:00 PM, due to a juror.
Today we had a Judge who lost her “stickies”. A jury sequestered in the elevator for 20 min or so. Dr. Leo on the stand talking about false confessions. We will be doing this again tomorrow.
I just ordered a few transcripts and they are a little pricey. I buy them sparingly, but I ordered them when I got home today and I’ll be getting those soon and I’ll keep you updated on that.
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A few people in court today, it’s cool, it’s good to see. Every once in a while, we see fresh faces. We’ll be back at it tomorrow. As I always say: Don’t take my word for it come to court and find out yourself. Good Night everybody!