Phil Spector Convicted of Murder

Update: Phil Spector has been convicted of second degree murder . The Judge refused bail pending sentencing. He faces at least 15 years in prison. More here -- and on the rise and fall of Phil Spector here. You can watch the jury verdict here.

As the Guardian puts it, at 68, Spector is likely to die in prison.

Our prior coverage of the trial is here. [More...]


The Phil Spector jury has reached a verdict. It will be announced this afternoon.

Stay tuned.

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    MSNBC.com: Guilty (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 04:16:50 PM EST

    second degree murder (none / 0) (#2)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 04:21:46 PM EST

    Whether he meant to kill her or not, (none / 0) (#3)
    by Cards In 4 on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 04:51:55 PM EST
    Spector is responsible for Lana Clarkson not being alive today.  2nd degree sounds right to me.

    What is the nature of 2d Degree (none / 0) (#4)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:00:35 PM EST
    under California law? With malice but w/o premeditation?  Intentional commission of act risking sbi or death but w/o intent to kill?  California attys:  Explain please.

    All murder (none / 0) (#5)
    by eric on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:10:58 PM EST
    under the statute requires malice aforethought.  The difference between 1st and 2nd?
    All murder which is perpetrated by means of a destructive device or explosive, a weapon of mass destruction, knowing use of ammunition designed primarily to penetrate metal or armor, poison, lying in wait, torture, or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing, or which is committed in the perpetration of, or attempt to perpetrate, arson, rape, carjacking, robbery, burglary, mayhem, kidnapping, train wrecking, or any act punishable under Section 206, 286, 288, 288a, or 289, or any murder which is perpetrated by means of discharging a firearm from a motor vehicle, intentionally at another person outside of the vehicle with the intent to inflict death, is murder of the first degree.  All other kinds of murders are of the second degree.


    I guess Specter didn't do any of those things.


    That's the same as common law (2.00 / 1) (#7)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:18:54 PM EST
    second degree, then. (Remembering 20+ years ago when I was a law prof and taught first-year criminal law!) Causing the death of another human being, with "malice" (outrageous disregard for the extent of the risk and the value of human life, for example; commonly referenced with the expression "cold-blooded") but without the specific and immediate subjective intent to kill.  And the penalty or penalty range in California for this crime?

    As I recall, 15 yrs. to life. (none / 0) (#8)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:30:04 PM EST
    Plus enhancement of, I think 2 yrs., for use of firearm, if there was a true finding on that allegation.  

    P.S.  New subject:  in federal criminal law, is there a means for a 16-year old (say a Somalian pirate) to be tried as an adult?  


    could be only 17-19 yrs old (none / 0) (#17)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 09:27:27 PM EST
    ... the bunch of them, according to Defense Secy Gates, the AP is reporting.  There's something I didn't think about.

    LAT says 15-years to life for 2nd (none / 0) (#14)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 06:39:23 PM EST
    degree murder and minimum of 3 years for gun use enhancement:



    Federal "Juvenile Delinquency" Act (none / 0) (#16)
    by Peter G on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 08:28:35 PM EST
    Found at sections 5031-5042 of title 18 allows prosecution of someone under 18 yrs old who commits what would be a federal crime (had s/he been at least 18), but only if a State court does not have jurisdiction or refuses to accept the case.  (That would appear to be so here if as you say the "pirate negotiator" is only 16.) The juvenile must be kept separate from adult detainees or convicts at all times.  If the kid is under 18 at the time of the offense, then if convicted s/he cannot be detained past his/her 21st birthday, unless the maximum penalty for the offense would ordinarily be less.  18 USC 5037(c)(1)(A).

    He's only still alive because he got sick (none / 0) (#20)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 10:30:36 PM EST
    and agreed to be taken off the lifeboat by the US Navy.

    Saw the "scenario" for how it all "went down" tonight on NBC.


    Thank you. (none / 0) (#23)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 11:32:14 PM EST
    No, common law murder (none / 0) (#25)
    by Bemused on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 06:55:37 AM EST
     requires specific intent to kill, as does common law manslaughter.

      At common law:

    1st degree murder: an unlawful, intentional killing with malice and premeditation. (also most common law jurisdictions classify felony murder, mueder by posion, lying in nwait as 1st degree)

    2nd degree murder: an unlawful, intentional killing with malice but without premeditation.

    voluntary manslaughter: an unlawful, intentional killing without malice.

    involuntary manslaughter: an unlawful killing without malice and without intent to kill or to inflict the injury causing death, committed in the commission of some unlawful act which is not a felony (that triggers the felony-murder rule) or in the improper performance of an act lawful in itself.



    Source? (2.00 / 1) (#27)
    by Peter G on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:47:54 AM EST
    "At common law" in the true sense, that is, in England before 1600 or so, there were no degrees of murder.  I think your analysis is incorrect, unless by "intentional killing" you only mean that the victim's death results from an intentional act of the perpetrator, but not necessarily that the perpetrator's subjective intention is to cause death. The first degree/second degree distinction is an American innovation, introduced first by Pennsylvania's Quaker government in 1794 to limit the application of the death penalty.  In PA at least, malice (the mens rea for "all other murder") could be established by an intent to injure w/o the specific intent to kill, although death results, as well as by the cold-blooded taking of action in gross disregard for the risk to and the value of human life, even w/o a proven intent to kill or even to injure -- prime example being shooting into a crowd. Here is an authoritative source -- an article by Harvard Law prof Lloyd Weinreb and Yale Law prof Dan Kahan from the excellent Encyclopedia of Crime & Justice.

    It is true (none / 0) (#28)
    by Bemused on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:58:24 AM EST
      that in early common law there were no degrees of murder.

      However, as the common law developed in this country the distinctions I describe above were established and in most jurisictins codified. (the MPC suggests a different classification scheme).

      I can ASSURE you that 2nd degree murder always requires proof of intent to kill and you are wrong in sugeesting that intent provides the distinction betwen 1st and 2nd degree. As i said even voluntary manslaughter requires specific intent (though it may sometimes be the intent to do the unlawful act resulting in death).


    No assurance without a source (2.00 / 1) (#30)
    by Peter G on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 10:30:13 AM EST
    Your word is not "assurance."  My well-credentialed expert source, cited with link in my prior comment, supports my interpretation.  (Did you check it and read it?) Definitions of crimes in the US are state-specific, of course, and time-specific (being legislative in origin), so while what I say is correct in PA (and in general in the US, as Kahan and Weinreb confirm) it may be different where you are, Bemused.  I agree that voluntary manslaughter, in the same general scheme that I am discussing, requires intent to kill (but no malice, because it is "hot-blooded").  

    Response by Bemused deleted (2.00 / 1) (#36)
    by Jeralyn on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 07:06:09 PM EST
    for a personal insult on another commenter. Watch it, Bemused. You are no greater authority than any other lawyer on this site. And this site does not give legal advice. You may state your opinions, others are free to disagree.

    Well, actuay, I am a "greater authority" (none / 0) (#37)
    by Bemused on Wed Apr 15, 2009 at 07:03:20 AM EST
     than a lawyer under the mistaken impression that the the absence of intent to kill  is the distinction between 1st and 2nd degree murder.

      Being correct makes one a greater authority than one  who is incorrect. Even the link he provided demonstrates which one of us is correct.

      Intent to kill isS an element of 2nd degree murder and 1st degree murder and traditionally defined voluntary manslaughter.

     Do you you want to disagree with tha?


    This is what the jury (none / 0) (#6)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:18:04 PM EST
    decided was missing for first degree murder, I gather:

    or by any other kind of willful, deliberate, and premeditated killing

    he wasn't charged with first degree murder (none / 0) (#10)
    by Jeralyn on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:51:05 PM EST
    please read the facts before posting comments like this.

    Sorry. Looks like the grand jury (none / 0) (#12)
    by oculus on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 06:10:59 PM EST
    indictment was for 187a but DA's office charged second degree murder and trial judge permitted jury to also consider manslaughter.  

    cant help but have mixed feelings (none / 0) (#9)
    by Capt Howdy on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 05:37:28 PM EST
    Im sure he deserved it but he was one of my early heros.
    the whole wall of sound thing and all.

    Well.... (none / 0) (#15)
    by trillian on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 06:52:40 PM EST
    ...the victim's family and friends are ecstatic, I can tell you.



    Phil Spector (none / 0) (#13)
    by bk on Mon Apr 13, 2009 at 06:15:44 PM EST
    2nd degree murder in California carries 15 years to life in state prison.  He will not be eligible for parole for at least 13 years.  If the jury found that he personally and intentionally discharged the gun that caused her death he gets a consecutive 25 years to life.  Total is 40 years to life in which he will have to do about 32 to 34 before he is eligible for parole.

    Just a quirky little bit (none / 0) (#24)
    by rghojai on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 02:57:38 AM EST
    Noted in the statute someone shared (thanks!) that the list of means by which murder may be committed includes "train wrecking."

    Is it common that things presumably from long ago (?) are still in statutes?

    All too common (none / 0) (#26)
    by Cream City on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 09:25:55 AM EST
    In some states in this great land of ours, one of my children -- and at least 2 percent of the U.S. population -- is not allowed to marry, owing to a health condition that those states still in the 19th century mindset see as similar to insanity.

    I've seen lists of stupid laws from the past that still are on the books in lots of states.


    Big case just last year here in LA (none / 0) (#29)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 10:09:00 AM EST
    where a guy killed a bunch of people by causing a train wreck with his car after chickening out of his suicide plan. I believe he was charged with murder, though I'm too lazy to google...

    More... (none / 0) (#32)
    by KoolJeffrey on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 12:18:41 PM EST
    ...alcohol-induced murder. Hope the Angels player's killer meets the same fate.

    But he was caught crying behind bars (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 01:08:44 PM EST
    by the tv cameras. And his brother says on tv that he's not a bad guy. Don't you think he's suffered enough?

    who needs unanimous juries? (none / 0) (#33)
    by diogenes on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 01:02:36 PM EST
    So we see that if a jury votes 10-2 to convict beyond a reasonable doubt, that in all likelihood the large majority if not all of the jurors in the next trial will vote the same way.  What a waste of money this retrial was.

    Blame the mother (none / 0) (#35)
    by MyLeftMind on Tue Apr 14, 2009 at 05:20:06 PM EST
    The Telegraph article on the rise and fall of Phil Spector:

    When he was nine-years-old his father committed suicide, leaving him to be brought up by an overbearing mother who alternately smothered and bullied him.

    Gee, maybe his dad committing suicide is an indicator of genetic mental illness.  Maybe his mom wasn't overbearing or smothering, but just trying to deal with whatever it is in Phil that makes him so bizarre.  

    Phil Spector (none / 0) (#38)
    by odzerchenma on Wed Apr 22, 2009 at 01:57:24 PM EST
    I have a question:  what is the nature of 2nd degree murder when a woman, who mixed alcohol and vicodin, comes to your house, behaves bizarrely, waves a gun, sings Da Doo Run Run, and shoots herself?  That's precisely what Phil Spector told me when we had dinner and drinks after the Clarkson incident.  I had no reason to disbelieve him - do you know why?  Because I have known him for approximately 25 years and worked for him.  In fact, I happen to believe that Leonard Cohen perjured himself in Phillip's grand jury.  He told the detectives who came by to investigate his comments to the newsmedia that they were good rock 'n roll comments.  "Ducking bullets in the violin solo" would support that sentiment.  I also happen to believe that Diane Ogden, a witness who has since died of an apparent drug overdose, lied when she said she worked for Phillip in 1988 and/or 1989.  I did.  Furthermore, I have dealt with the District Attorney's office in Los Angeles - they approached me after receiving an anonymous tip about my friendship with Phillip.  They liked me very much at first.  This turned into threats - on their part - when I dared to report that Cohen had committed tax fraud (I was told was criminal) to their Major Fraud Unit.  I had already reported it to the IRS and the State of Kentucky, and others.  I would imagine when I recounted Phillip's comments to me about Clarkson shooting herself that this further upset these people - who are, from my perspective, liars and thugs who believe like criminals.  

    In any event, it's fascinating that Cohen also ended up in the prosecution's legal document but didn't testify publicly.  Perhaps that was part of "the deal" - who can say for sure at this moment in time.  I can say this - I have asked Phil Spector to join me in a lawsuit against the District Attorney, Leonard Cohen, and others, for dragging me into this nightmare.  I am waiting for Bruce Cutler as I would like him to represent me.

    Kelley Lynch


    Phil Spector Was Obviously Framed (none / 0) (#39)
    by odzerchenma on Sat Oct 24, 2009 at 12:25:22 PM EST
    An Open Letter From Phil Spector To A Good Friend.

    Sunday July 26th


    I had no voice the day I was sentenced in court on May 30th 2009 due to throat papalomas I had removed 3-days earlier on the 27th.of May. It left me with no voice. I was indeed very upset because when I was asked to address the court, I could not speak for I had no voice. What I wanted to say follows: Be it known that I, Phillip Spector had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with the death of Lana Clarkson. And irrefutable science and five of the greatest, most famous forensic scientists all swore under oath that Ms. Clarkson died of a self inflicted gun shot wound, a suicide. They swore by irrefutable science. And while juries and judges lie and make mistakes, science and DNA do not. When their scientific findings and words were ignored is a mystery to me, and hopefully will not be ignored by the appellate court. And I shall return.

    But let it also be known that there IS a murderer in the court room and it is NOT Phil Spector, it is Alan Jackson. During the trial he murdered the truth, ,he murdered the constitution, he murdered the law, and he murdered my reputation, and he should not go unpunished for his dastardly deeds.

    He used his five little "groupies" women, one of whom recently overdosed and died from drugs, and could not be here to testify to slander and lie about me, and victimize me so that he could get his conviction without any scientific proof whatsoever. That's because he had none. He lied and cheated and double crossed that before along with his cohort Truc Doe whenever they got to it, yes my friends, HE is the real murderer. But, what goes around comes around. And the appellate court will see through his chicanery and smoke and mirrors, and false law and overturn my conviction, and then I will be back stronger than ever, a free man as I should be. Until then, POWER TO THE PEOPLE!

    Steven, I would like this published verbatim from the beginning of this letter to the end. And tell Chris Paven to also put it on my website.