Diary of a Doors Drama
Los Angeles County Superior Court
111 North Hill Street, L.A. Dept. 36, Room 410
The jury trial in the matter of the lawsuits of John -vs- Ray & Robby, et al, and the Morrison and Courson families -vs- Ray & Robby, et al, is underway. Ray & Robby also counter-sued John.
I will try to chronicle events in general, but I will not repeat or report on specific testimony given. I will not try to interpret the proceedings, I will not discuss my own views or opinions on the case, and I won't speculate on what the outcome may be ... so, please don't ask! Thank you. Ida June 29, 2004
W E E K O N E
Tuesday, June 29, 2004 I attended the afternoon session in Department 36, Room 410 of L.A. County Superior Court, with Judge Gregory W. Alarcon presiding. There were four attorneys present: two representing Ray and Robby, et al; one representing John and the Courson family, and one representing the Morrison family.
As courtrooms go, it seems on the small side. On each side of the center aisle were 3 rows of 6 seats and 1 row of 5 seats, or 23 seats per side, 46 seats total in the spectator section (actually, 45). John sat alone in the front row. A few minutes after I arrived, Robby entered and sat in the back row, where I also sat.
A panel of prospective jurors was brought into the room. Judge Alarcon read a summary of the case to them. The judge explained that the case was expected to last about 4 weeks, and would include hundreds of exhibits and possibly as many as 50 to 60 witnesses. The majority of the afternoon was spent with each juror answering standard questions about themselves, their families, prior jury service, and the like. Jurors who felt they would be unable to serve on the trial due its duration or for other personal issues, presented their individual circumstances to the court for consideration.
As the day drew to a close, it was decided that a second panel of prospective jurors would need to be brought in the next day in order to ensure a jury of 12 plus 4 to 6 alternates. The court proceedings ended about 4:45 p.m.
Wednesday, June 30, 2004 I was not in court this morning, but my friend & fellow fan Gerry was! When I arrived for the afternoon session, Gerry brought me up to speed on what I had missed. Yesterday's panel of prospective jurors was further questioned and whittled down, so that 11 jurors were selected.
Robby was not in court today, but Ray was ... and of course, John. The afternoon session began with the attorneys reviewing, discussing, and negotiating about the content of the slide show presentation that the defense intends to use in their opening statements to the jury.
Another 15 or so prospective jurors were brought into the courtroom, and the balance of the afternoon was spent once again going through the questioning process. Tomorrow the 12th juror and the 4 or 6 alternate jurors will be selected, and the attorneys will make their opening statements.
The court session ended about 4:15 or 4:30, and tomorrow's court session convenes at 9:30 a.m.
Thursday, July 1, 2004 I arrived this morning for what was hoped would be the finalization of the jury panel and alternates. John & his wife Leslie Neale were in court, as well as Ray. Robby arrived mid-morning. Finally at 11:55, a jury of 12 was sworn in, but there were only 3 prospective jurors remaining who could comprise the desired 4 to 6 alternate jurors ... so, another group of prospective jurors was to procured by the afternoon session, which would reconvene at 2:00.
After they completed the extensive questionnaire which covered their opinions on certain topics, prior jury service experience, familiarity with the band, etc., the afternoon group of jurors were questioned by attorneys representing all parties. When court reconvenes Friday morning at 9:30, the alternates will be further questioned and selected, then sworn in. The attorneys' opening statements can finally get underway after that.
Monday, July 5th is a court holiday, so there will be a 3-day weekend before court meets again next Tuesday. By that time, Ray and Robby and the band and crew will already be in Europe to play the first of eleven shows in ten countries over the next 15 or 20 days. The Doors of the 21st Century play Chicago's Loopfest on Sunday the 4th, and leave for Europe from there.
Friday, July 2, 2004 This morning's session began with juror issues, as one called out sick and was eventually excused from the case by Judge Alarcon. Two others were removed in peremptory challenges, so three new jurors from the pool of alternates were sworn in. The size of the alternate jurors pool was still inadequate, so another pool of prospective alternates was being rustled up when court broke for lunch at 12:00.
After lunch, while the new jurors completed the questionnaires outside of the courtroom, the attorneys discussed and negotiated about the revised exhibits that would be presented during trial. If I understand correctly, there may be as many as 900 exhibits presented by one of the sides.
At 3:15, the panel of 14 prospective jurors were brought in and questioned by the plaintiffs' attorneys. Since this is an important and often time-consuming process which screens and evaluates all prospective jurors for criteria important to both sides of the case, it cannot be rushed through due to time constraints. The attorneys for the plaintiffs finished their questioning; the attorneys for the defendants will have their turn to question them when court reconvenes at 9:30 on Tuesday, July 6th.
John was the only Door in the courtroom today. Rear Admiral and Mrs. Morrison are expected to appear in court next week, as is Mrs. Courson. Today's session adjourned at 4:30.
Related media stories:
July 3, 2004 -- Times UK by Nigel Williamson: "And The Brand Played On"
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