Courtroom discussions - judge to jury and with attorneys

Michael Travesser / Wayne Bent at sunset

Courtroom discussions - Between Judge and attorneys for the state and the defense.

Judge Baca explains Bench conferences to the jury.

Judge Baca: Let me give this explanation to the jury, so they sorta understand what’s happening. The lawyers will approach the bench, so that we may discuss some matters out of your hearing. It is the lawyer’s duty to offer evidence they believe proper and to object to evidence they believe improper. It is my duty to decide what evidence finally will be admitted for your consideration. It may be necessary for us to confer about this and other matters from time to time during the trial. You must not speculate about what we are discussing. You may talk amongst yourselves, but please do not talk about the case. Discussion regarding the impending bad weather is discussed between Counsel and Judge Baca.

Judge Baca: Alright. Thank you for your patience. Given the fact that we are actually moving a little bit faster than we anticipated, we are at this point going to take up some matters outside of your presence and I’ll require additional time, actually a larger amount of time than just to have a bench conference. So rather than have you sit in the jury room and come back and maybe listen to about ten or fifteen minutes of evidence, we’re going to excuse you early for today. Alright. But we’ll be ready to go right at nine o’clock, which means that we’d like for you to all return by eight forty-five in the morning and be ready to come out and continue with the evidence at nine o’clock. But we’re going to be working between now and then myself and counsel, so that we’re trying to stay on schedule.

Alright. So at this point and time, the jury is excused for the day. I remind you, do not discuss the case amongst yourselves or with anyone. And please, by all means, we know that there are media in the courtroom and that there is coverage out there. Do not listen or read anything at all about this or watch anything at all about this case. And if your family wants to watch something, ask them to at least respect the position that you find yourselves in for at least this week. Alright. Thank you and have a good evening. Stand for the jury.

Judge Baca gives another brief talk regarding weather concerns for the next morning and what the plan will be for Court.

Judge Baca: We are on the record, on December eighth two thousand eight at four forty P.M. in the matter of State verses Bent. All parties and Counsel are present. We’ve sent the jury home for the day in order to take up some matters outside of the presence of the jury, one of the matters that I’ve just addressed or have done is to review the video that the State is offering. It’s a statement by Mr. Bent in a documentary. Is it by BBC?

Tomas Benevidez: Yes, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Alright. It seems to be about a minute or so long, maybe as much as two minutes. I’ve reviewed that in the courtroom in the presence of all Counsel and Mr. Bent. I also have a copy of the photographs, that are going, that may be tended by the Defense. I’ll take those with me tonight and review them and I’d ask the parties to... Well, we won’t take up those issues, really, until they become an issue in the Court, if they do. But, I’ll at least have reviewed them ahead of time. Let me ask the State, are you prepared to argue this matter at this point or do you wish to wait until morning? My preference is probably to wait until the morning.

Tomas Benevidez: Your Honor, the morning is fine with the State.

Judge Baca: Ok. And Ms. Montoya?

Ms. Montoya: Your Honor, I wanna point out two things...

Judge Baca: Sure.

Ms. Montoya: ...for the Court, before we come to argue tomorrow. One of them is that this is not by BBC. This was a Firefly Production. It is not by BBC. The beginning with the broadcasting, whatever that introduction was, was unfamiliar to me. But the original taping was done by Firefly Productions and the excerpt that the State wishes to show was a very miniscule part of a two hour long interview that Mr. Bent did with the interviewer and a great many things were discussed, before they got to that point in the conversation. And so we believe, "A," foundation is missing, "B," authentication is missing, because there’s a great deal of the interview itself that is missing and, "C," that it in and of itself is hearsay and remains hearsay.

Judge Baca: Ok. Alright, is this the next piece of evidence that the State intends to introduce?

Tomas Benevidez: I’m sorry your Honor.

Judge Baca: Is this the next thing in the State’s presentation?

Tomas Benevidez: No, your Honor.

Judge Baca: No. Ok. How far away are we from it? How many witnesses?

Tomas Benevidez: Two witnesses and then this or... Your Honor, we’ll probably use this piece more in terms of either in rebuttal or cross examination of the Defendant when he testifies.

Judge Baca: Ok. So it’s not going to be a part of the Case in Chief?

Tomas Benevidez: That’s correct.

Judge Baca: Ok. Well then, there’s no real emergency in terms of getting it done tomorrow. Let’s see where we stand and if we find some fifteen minutes that we can use tomorrow, we may take it up if we need to. But the parties should be ready whenever they intend to use it. Alright, anything else that we can do today on behalf of the State?

Judge Baca: Ok. On behalf of the Defense?

Ms. Montoya: No, your Honor.

Judge Baca: Alright. Then this matter will be in recess until tomorrow morning at nine o’clock. I’d ask all parties and counsel to appear by eight forty-five, ready to start at nine o’clock and if there’s anything that comes up overnight that we need to address, we can take care of first thing in the morning. The matter about weather is that, as I mentioned earlier, if we get the word from Chief Judge Sanchez that there’s a delay, that’s what will do. If he decides for safety reasons that there’s a closure, then we will be closed tomorrow and we’ll come in first thing on Wednesday. Alright. Hopefully, none of that happens and we can start right at nine o’clock.

Alright. Then the matter 's adjourned and because they do have Drug Court immediately following this hearing, I’d ask that everybody take all of their stuff with them and don’t leave anything here.

Ms. Montoya: Your Honor, may I approach and leave you with my cell phone number?

Judge Baca: Certainly. Thank you. You may give it to Ms. Valdez.

Back to Transcripts menu

To return to the trial "transcripts menu," click the "Trial" tab at the top of this page.