Court Report Explained
February 23, 2017
More subpoena issues. Next hearing: March 10. Time remains waived until April 24.
January 20, 2017
Not much to report. More compliance issues with subpoenas. Charles Merritt has waived his right to a speedy trail until April 24, 2017.
Wait and watch…
December 15 & 16, 2016
The hearings on December 15th and 16th were partially closed to the public. In fact the hearing on the 15th was not even recorded. At this point it looks doubtful that a trial date will be set as soon as February 2017, even though there is no indication that Merritt has waived time beyond this.
January 3, will be in-camera, at least in part, Merritt isn’t scheduled to be present, but a status conference was added to the calendar that day, so who knows? He may be in court. This quiet progress could go on for months.
A media request has been put in for the January 3 hearing, so possibly this hearing will be about more than the noncompliance of certain subpoenas.
December 9, 2016
There are three upcoming hearings on the calendar.
It is unclear what the hearing on 12/15 is to be. It is simply listed as “other”. “Other” could mean any number of things, including a follow-up on subpoenas.
Because Merritt is required to attend the 12/15 hearing, and the very next day on December 16, there is a “Status Conference”, I’m wondering if the 15th is for addressing house-cleaning business in preparation for the Status Conference hearing on the following day. The dates could also be squeezed together because the holidays are quickly approaching.
On 12/16 there is a Status Conference scheduled–a Status Conference is a hearing held to establish how close all parties are to bringing the case to trial. Maybe this will finally happen. But with subpoenas still being pursued it’s hard to tell. *
Time has not been waived beyond the February 7, 2017 date, in place since the October 21, 2016 hearing. This might also be an indicator that all sides are finally zeroing on a actual trial date. (For anyone not familiar with “time waived” a defendant has the right to waive a speedy trial. In October Merritt waived his right to the Feb. 7 date, and this date has been in place for almost 2 months. )
January 3 is simply one more, in a series of hearings, regarding subpoenas filed under seal. And unless the Defense wants to talk about these subpoenas we may never know what they are for.
*The James Howard Erwin portion of the Colonies trial is scheduled to begin January 7, 2017. (Voir Dire is complete for that trial, I think. There are motions still being filed, though.) Not sure how long Erwin’s trial is expected to go. Two key participants in the Merritt Trial are involved in the Erwin/Colonies trial. The Honorable Michael Smith and Defense attorney, Raj Maline. Even if Erwin’s trial is completed by February, Smith will likely be tied up with the other defendants in Colonies trial for many months to come. However Maline (Erwin and Merritt’s attorney), may be freed up, and perhaps the case will be assigned to a new judge and proceed in February or March. Who knows? Perhaps by next week we will have the answers.
November 14, 2016
Recent People v. Merritt hearings are for defense subpoenas that have not been complied with, and defense attorneys are asking the judge to intervene and issue a court order.
Primary objective of the last two hearings: “Order to Show Cause for Failure to Comply with a Defense Subpoena Under Seal”
The party who received the subpoena from the defense doesn’t like something about what is being asked of them. This could be for any number of reasons.
These hearings are simply for representatives of both parties, to make their case before the judge, who will then decide if he will issue a court order requiring compliance, or will defer to the wishes of the non-moving party. (The term “non-moving” party is used in civil cases. I use it here, because it means the party that did not file the motion.)
“Under Seal” means that this hearing will be In-Camera, or “private”, as in, the general public does not have access to any information about this hearing.
To date Merritt’s defense team has subpoenaed the following companies (these are the ones that have been made public):
- Paul Mitchell
- Verizon (landline)
- Verizon (wireless)
- Southern California Edison
- Metro Sheet Metal
- Western Towing
There are likely more companies and persons subpoenaed, but this information can remain under seal at this time.