Wednesday, September 29, 2004

The Jurist Notebook-Day One

Welcome to the new LFR. Today I am relaunching my blog with some subtle changes. First of all being a new template. Today was also my final day of jury duty. The Honorable Judge Peggy Hora has lifted her gag order in this case, so beginning today I will be publishing my daily thoughts of The People of the State of California vs. Zameer Riaz Azam.

In this criminal case, Mr. Azam is being charged with a total of 12 counts. Two felony counts of assault on the mother of his child, two felony counts of criminal threats to harm (one with a knife), one felony count of verbal threats with a knife, one felony count of threatening a withness to change testimony, 1 felony count of kidnapping and five misdemeanor counts of disobeying a court order.

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 8, 2004

HAYWARD--After nearly three full days of jury selection the trial began late in the day. Out of nearly 90 possible jurists, 12 were selected, including me (juror #3) and two alternates. There were slim pickings left in the audience; maybe 25 left.

Initially, jury selection seemed quite appealing. It was interesting learning personal facts and attitudes of perspective jurors. Just by looking at some of these people you would have never guessed that they were computer engineers, professors or small business owners. Although, I started noticing some people might have been overstating their importance.

At 3:30, the jury was set for the criminal trial of the People of California vs. Zameer Riaz Azam. Nine men and three women varying in age from maybe early 20s with a majority over 40. Not exactly a jury of his peers, but I think an advantageous one to both sides.

Deputy district attorney, Jennifer London began the state’s opening statement by describing the defendant as a “brute, a coward and a caveman.”

She detailed a highly abusive relationship with the defendant's girlfriend/mother of his child, Jennifer Bascom, who is scheduled to testify tomorrow.

On August 26, 2003, it is alleged that Azam beat his then-girlfriend in a manic rage. Azam seemed to favor beating her head against walls. The prosecutor described this action numerous times. He is also alleged of dragging her up a flight of stairs by her hair to her bedroom where he continued assaulting her.

We were shown numerous photos of bruises and scratches of Ms. Bascom and to be honest, I really didn’t think they were so horrific. Of course, they were real but the coloring of the photos seemed over-exposed. I believe there made with a standard printer rather than on photo paper.

On November 1, 2003, he again battered her and threw her through a glass shower door. I’m interested in seeing Ms. Bascom’s size. The defendant doesn’t seem to be more than average build. Would it be possible for him to throw her through glass doors and drag her by her hair?

He’s probably around 24-26 years old, possibly of middle-eastern or Indian descent and around 5-11 to 6 feet tall and fit.

The state alleges that he beat her in his home in Dublin on November 1st. She was able to escape and while getting help from a neighbor, the defendant grabbed her by the hair and dragged her across the street. Apparently, a policemen witnesses this act and he runs into the house.

The kidnapping charge seems to stem from this day. I’m going to need a definition of kidnapping under California state law. Is this kidnapping?


Tomorrow: The defense attorney, Mr. Brian Bloom will give his opening statement and Jennifer Bascom is due to testify.

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