Los Angeles, California
The jury of the Phil Spector murder trial returned to deliberations with new instructions from the judge, Larry Paul Fidler, today. They received the new judicial instruction after six days of deliberation in which they were deadlocked, unable to reach a verdict. Legal experts are saying, however, that the judge's new instructions to the jury are controversial as they make it impossible for the jury to return with any other verdict but acquittal.
Spector, who faces anywhere from 15 years to life for the alleged murder of actress Lara Clarkson at his Alhambra mansion in February 2003, is accused of using his handgun in the commission of the felony. That handgun has always been central to determining his guilt or acquittal during the trial but now with the judges new instruction has become crucial in the deliberation process, as well, as turns the defense's own evidence against itself.
The following is a transcript of the new controversial instructions given to the Spector jury:
Ladies and gentlemen of the jury thank you for your service. Here are your new instructions to guide you through your new guilty verdict deliberations:
You do not have to believe that the beady-eyed woman hating murdering defendant shot poor Miss Clarkson. No. Just that at the time of the commission of the felony that he owned a handgun, borrowed a handgun, knows what a handgun looks like, has a picture of a handgun, or knows how to spell handgun.
Again, ladies and gentlemen of the jury, I thank you. And remember, he did it. Come back with a guilty verdict this time, okay? Good luck!
-- Superior Court Judge, Fidler
Those new jury instructions all but guarantees Spector of a mistrial or at least greatly increased his chances of a successful appeal of any guilty verdict, say some legal experts.