Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Brittney Spears

In October 2008, in the LA County Superior Court, pop star Britney Spears went on trial for a misdemeanor charge of driving in California without a valid California drivers license. She did not attend the trial, and did not present a California drivers license, but still avoided a conviction.

How did that happen? Here is the explanation.

The Facts:
Britneys case began near her well home in Malibu, where she used to reside with former husband Kevin Federline and 2 kids. While driving around Los Angeles to run errands, with photographers chasing, Britney lightly crashed into a parked car in a parking lot.

It is reported that dozens of photographers were following the star at the time, and that there are hundreds of photos of the incident.

When police arrived on the scene to take a routine collision report, they asked Britney to show her California drivers license. She could not produce one.

As a result, she was given a citation for a misdemeanor violation for driving without a valid drivers license.

Despite the fact that did not have a California Drivers License, Britney refused pay the usual fine and plead not guilty. She hired a team of trial lawyers, and demanded a jury trial. And she was able to do it all from home.

Under California law, defendants charged with minor misdemeanors, such as a VC 12500, can have an Attorney make court appearances, present a defense, and conduct a trial for them. Once Britney had an Attorney, they could do all the work for her.

During the trial, which lasted several days, 12 average everyday LA citizens sat in a uncomfortable courtroom, in uncomfortable jury chairs while they listened to mind numbingly boring evidence from police officers and witnesses to the star’s fender bender.

After 2 days of jury deliberations in a closed room in a crowded LA courthouse, the jurors could not agree. They sent a note to the judge stating that they were hopelessly deadlocked, and could not reach a decision.

When a mistrial happens, the prosecutor has the option of refilling the case and starting over. The prosecutor can demand a retrial, and get a second chance at convicting the defendant.

But in Britneys case, prosecutor Michael Amerian confessed he has no intention to push for a retrial. His decision was not based on the fact that Britney was factually innocent, or that she did not live in CA.

Rather, he declined to continue with the case because it was really just a waste of time. He stated: “We put our best foot forward. It just goes to show you how difficult it is to convict a celebrity in Los Angeles.”

With the mistrial and decision to not refile, Britney Spears beat her VC 12500(a) case. She will not have to pay the $200 fine, will not have a misdemeanor conviction, and will not have to spend any time in jail.

In this case, there can be no doubt that Britneys defense Attorneys made the difference. Somehow, they convinced enough jurors there was not enough evidence that Britney actually lived in CA.