GUILTY GA - Lauren Giddings, 27, Macon, 26 June 2011 # 9

Discussion in 'Recently Sentenced and Beyond' started by bessie, Aug 21, 2011.

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  1. bessie

    bessie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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  3. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    Wanting to re-ask this question, since I posted it so near the end of the other thread:
    Given the extreme interest in this case, is there a chance the commitment hearing will be, in effect, closed to the public? If so, will media reps still be able to attend? Anybody know?
     
  4. elmomom

    elmomom I may lean, but I sit on a fence

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    Boy, the best and brightest of WS seem to all be on the case here! It took me awhile, but I read every single post and every article, and there really isn't a whole lot that hasn't been said, or hypothesized. (and man you JDs sure know how to talk it up!) But, after all of that I do have one thought that I would like to share.
    I think it's possible that the attempted break in on the Thursday night prior actually did not happen at all. I think that it is possible that McD made it up, and told it to Lauren as a warning, so that she would tell her friends and it would add to the reasons that McD would not be focused upon as suspect in her disappearance.
    I'm not convinced, but I do think it is possible, and it would explain why she was not all that shaken up by it (and perhaps not entirely convinced it even really happened). This would also make it more likely that she did in fact write that last email mentioning it, and why McD focused on that part of the email so intensely during his press interview.

    I also have a question... early on, in one of the first threads, there was a rumor that LE was upset about how the very beginning of the investigation (the night before she was found) was botched, and that led to problems with evidence having been moved. The obvious evidence was her torso, naturally. But is there any hint that any other evidence was moved? I thought perhaps the Zaxby's bags which were originally reported as being in her apt (I thought) and later they were said to be in her car (which struck me as odd). Though I can see no rational reason to move that sort of evidence around...
     
  5. PsychoMom

    PsychoMom Verified expert in mental health

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    I hope we can get the info. I'd hate to be left in the dark.
     
  6. GeorgiaRoyalty

    GeorgiaRoyalty New Member

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    in response to Psycho Mom(please forgive me I'm a newbie and I don't know all the quote functionals yet)

    With it being a different night I cant phantom someone as competent as SM not being forthcoming with this MM on the balcony at the first sign of trouble if that was indeed what he saw....just seems very out of the norm for someone as smart and young as him to not initially remember this, especially strange for a new Law graduate.

    as far as the saw packaging, yes this may be insignificant based on how it was found as you said, it also is a paper trail of insignificant things leading back to him

    as far as the detectives name and car, it seems odd b/c he is very acute and detailed with almost everything but LG...not sure if she had a boyfriend, didn't remember much about seeing her family once, didn't remember the loud noise and MM being on a balcony in the wee hours of the morning, couldn't give a definitive answer on her age.

    as far as the burglary with the condoms. I'm clueless myself as to exactly why these were taken....just another oddity in a odd crime.
     
  7. ~SuperSleuth~

    ~SuperSleuth~ Certified

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    I think you may have to explain this to me as well :waitasec:
    Is there something in particular you're hoping someone captured in a photo?
     
  8. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    Hello!
    Regarding what I bolded in your post:
    I did bring this up once, the possibility that Stephen might have told Lauren that he had witnessed or suspected someone trying to break into her apartment -- but I sort of turned around and shot the theory back down by saying that might have been too risky ... because if she told friends "Stephen said..." and then later any finger of suspicion pointed at him ... well, I kind of ruled it out as unlikely. Not impossible though.

    We know about the email that mentions the possible break-attempt, but other than that, it seems that LG didn't tell anyone about it. I know we had a report of someone who was out with Lauren on Friday night thinking it odd that Lauren didn't mention it, if it concerned her at all. (This was when we were theorizing about whether the perp might have written the email.) Of course, she could have mentioned it to others that we just don't know of.
     
  9. elmomom

    elmomom I may lean, but I sit on a fence

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    Thanks for your reply, and my sincerest apologies for not remembering that you had brought it up already (there were an incredible amount of posts I had to read through!)
    I see your point about how it may have turned around and led to more suspicion of McD, but I tend to think he wouldn't have seen it that way. Maybe. He certainly didn't worry about that thought when he really played it up in his TV interview!
    One thing I am not clear on. I think the consensus is now that she did indeed write that email, is that correct? And also, it was to her BF in Atlanta (but presently in CA) if I remember correctly. ?
     
  10. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    Quoting my own post to add a few thoughts!

    After getting myself a cup of coffee, I'm thinking -- guess it is possible that Stephen (or someone else) might have reported something about witnessing or suspecting a Thurs. break-in attempt at her apartment, telling her about it on SATURDAY, after she returned home. That would explain no mention of it to the friend Friday night, but she could have mentioned in the email sent Saturday.

    We still don't know exactly what she said in the email regarding the possible break-in attempt -- IMO, knowing that could clear a lot up.
     
  11. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    I mentioned it very briefly only, so I am in no way surprised it didn't jump out at you. I had to "catch up" through about 3 threads, I think, before I started posting and THAT was enough to try to pack in. Catching up through 8 would be intense indeed!

    On whether she wrote the email and that it was to her boyfriend in Atlanta (but who was on a California trip at the time) being a consensus ...well, I guess, kind of!! There was a whole lot of confusion and discussion on those two things, but I do think it has settled down to "she probably wrote the email" and "it was sent to her boyfriend". Her sister Kaitlyn has said something to the effect that there were a few things that were a little odd about the email but that under other circumstances she wouldn't have questioned it, and pretty much said she thinks Lauren did write it.
     
  12. Givsmetheshivers

    Givsmetheshivers Inactive

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    Her pictures were in the front yard of a historic landmark about a block away from Barristers Hall Apartments. If you are trying to piece together Lauren's last couple of days, you might be able to see something in the background.

    It is a pretty far stretch, but they have seen Natalee Holloway in the background of certain shots and it has helped them piece together her night to a small extent.
     
  13. bessie

    bessie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    One of the lawyers can give you a better answer, but for now this link might help. It's a state by state guide to cameras in the courtroom. It basically says media has to submit a written request to cover a case in the courtroom, and the judge has the discretion to grant extended coverage, but can also limit coverage to one video camera and one still camera in the courtroom at one time.
    http://www.rtnda.org/pages/media_items/cameras-in-the-court-a-state-by-state-guide55.php

    There's also a possibility the judge could rule a gag order prohibiting any of the players from speaking to the media. I was afraid that was coming when Mrs McD was talking so much. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it won't come to that. :crossfingers:
     
  14. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    Thanks, bessie.

    I bet the Macon media folks are getting those requests in, huh?

    I was thinking, too -- as far as the public attending (thinking of course about WSers here): if there are main courtrooms and smaller ones (as there are some places, not sure about Bibb Co.), it might be held in a small one even if not formally closed, something along those lines.

    Is the commitment hearing generally an open one, barring a gag order or something similar?
     
  15. Irene_Adler

    Irene_Adler Verified Expert

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    After some digging, I was able to find some information regarding the commitment hearing. Because of the unique stage at which the commitment hearing takes place, it was difficult for me to pinpoint an explicit statement regarding public access to those records. However, I was able to find the following:

    1. Under the Georgia Open Records Act,

    50-18-72.
    (a) Public disclosure shall not be required for records that are:

    (4) Records of law enforcement, prosecution, or regulatory agencies in any pending investigation or prosecution of criminal or unlawful activity, other than initial police arrest reports and initial incident reports; provided, however, that an investigation or prosecution shall no longer be deemed to be pending when all direct litigation involving said investigation and prosecution has become final or otherwise terminated;
    http://www1.legis.ga.gov/legis/2003_04/gacode/50-18-72.html


    One preliminary note that I took from reading earlier portions of this statute was that the agency from which information is requested has three days in which to provide an affirmative response. Assuming the local media will maintain its avid attention to this case, I suspect we'll know whether we'll gain access to any relevant information within three days of the hearing.

    The issue with the applicability of this provision, of course, is that a commitment hearing isn't solely a record of LE or of the prosecution (as in, say, documentary/forensic evidence in a pending file), but it's also a proceeding in court, which led me to:


    2. Uniform Rules of Magistrate Court of Georgia:

    25.2. Commitment Hearing
    A. A magistrate, in his or her discretion, may hold a commitment hearing even though the defendant has posted a bail bond as provided in Rule 23.
    B. At the commitment hearing by the court of inquiry, the judicial officer shall perform the following duties:
    (1) Explain the probable cause purpose of the hearing;
    (2) Repeat to the accused the rights explained at the first appearance;
    (3) Determine whether the accused waives the commitment hearing;
    (4) If the accused waives the hearing, the court shall immediately bind the entire case over to the court having jurisdiction of the most serious offense charged;
    (5) If the accused does not waive the hearing, the court shall immediately proceed to conduct the commitment hearing unless, for good cause shown, the hearing is continued to a later scheduled date;
    (6) The judicial officer shall bind the entire case over to the court having jurisdiction of the most serious offense for which probable cause has been shown by sufficient evidence and dismiss any charge for which probable cause has not been shown;
    (7) On each case which is bound over, a memorandum of the commitment shall be entered on the warrant by the judicial officer. The warrant, bail bond, and all other papers pertaining to the case shall be forwarded to the clerk of the appropriate court having jurisdiction over the offense for delivery to the prosecuting attorney.
    Each bail bond shall contain the full name, residence, business and mailing address and telephone number of the accused and any surety;
    (8) A copy of the record of any testimony and the proceedings of the first appearance and the commitment hearing, if available, shall be provided to the proper prosecuting officer and to the accused upon payment of the reasonable cost for preparation of the record;
    (9) A judicial officer, conducting a commitment hearing, is without jurisdiction to make final disposition of the case or cases at the hearing by imposing any fine or punishment, except where the only charge arising out of the transaction at issue is the violation of a county or state authority ordinance.
    C. At the commitment hearing, the following procedures shall be utilized:
    (1) The rules of evidence shall apply except that hearsay may be allowed;
    (2) The prosecuting entity shall have the burden of proving probable cause; and may be represented by a law enforcement officer, a district attorney, a solicitor, a private attorney or otherwise as is customary in that court;
    (3) The accused may be represented by an attorney or may appear pro se; and
    (4) The accused shall be permitted to introduce evidence.

    http://www.georgiacourts.org/files/Uniform+Magistrate+Court+Rules_08_10.pdf

    BBM

    This is the first time I've actually seen a detailed description of the precise procedure that takes place at a commitment hearing (as I'm in unchartered territory with criminal law). If someone has already posted this, my apologies. There were two things that I noted here. First, it is still unclear to me, on the face of the rule, whether such a record would be available upon request to the public. Second, I noted that hearsay evidence may be allowed. This might prove to be great for the prosecution, but not so great for those of us still yearning for even the slightest bit of new information. We may not, after all, hear any more information regarding what description McD gave of his perfect murder scenario.

    Sorry for the length, but I just thought I'd share what little bit I found.
     
  16. angelanalyzes

    angelanalyzes ~2.4.1. Morgan Dana Harrington~

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    Posted by Starry Nights:
    Wow, thanks, more than you know that means a lot to me! I don't really deserve all that, I haven't done anything yet to make a mark, but I'm just now starting my senior year and words like this mean a lot to me and help me stay focused. It's easy to stay focused on my area of interest, but not on the other classes I have to take as pre-req's lol. This post is self-absorbed but after saying something so nice about me I just had to thank you in a post :)

    To (not so)PlainJaneDoe:
    Inbox isn't full now, but if anyone tried to send me something and couldn't, my apologies. I haven't been home much this weekend. I'd love to hear what I might have missed :)

    On a side note...this case is really starting to affect me emotionally. Seeing the vidoes made for Lauren struck a nerve and really humanized her to me, my heart breaks for Lauren and her family. I have no instinctive doubt that Stephen McDaniel did this to them all, and my anger and disgust is growing by the day. What right did he have? So incredibly tragic.
     
  17. ~SuperSleuth~

    ~SuperSleuth~ Certified

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    You may want to look at the following two documents from georgiacourts.org
    UNIFORM PROBATE COURT RULES
    UNIFORM SUPERIOR COURT RULES

    The following sections and excepts are of particular interest.
    Disclaimer: I have only briefly scanned these documents. It's late, and my brain is shutting down :biggrin:
    Code:
    UNIFORM PROBATE COURT RULES
    
    2.7 Article 6 Probate Courts.
    2.8 Article 6 Probate Courts — concurrent jurisdiction with superior courts.
    
    5.2 Ex parte orders.
      Under compelling circumstances, a motion for temporary limitation of access, 
      not to exceed thirty (30) days, may be granted, ex parte, upon motion
      accompanied by supporting affidavit.
    
    10.10 Electronic and photographic news coverage of judicial proceedings.
    
    15.8 Initial appearance/commitment hearings.
      (B) Commitment hearing.
        3. At the commitment hearing, the following procedures shall be utilized:
          (a) The rules of evidence shall apply except that hearsay may be allowed;
          (b) The prosecuting entity shall have the burden of proving
              probable cause; and may be represented by a law enforcement officer,
              a district attorney, a solicitor, or otherwise as is customary in that court;
          (c) The accused may be represented by an attorney or may appear pro se; and
          (d) The accused shall be permitted to introduce evidence.
    
    Code:
    UNIFORM SUPERIOR COURT RULES
    
    Rule 21.3. Ex Parte Orders
      Under compelling circumstances, a motion for temporary limitation of access, 
      not to exceed 30 days, may be granted, ex parte, upon motion accompanied 
      by supporting affidavit.
    
    Rule 22. ELECTRONIC AND PHOTOGRAPHIC NEWS COVERAGE OF JUDICIAL PROCEEDINGS
    
    Rule 26.2. Commitment Hearing by Court of Inquiry
      (B) At the commitment hearing, the following procedures shall be utilized:
        (1) The rules of evidence shall apply except that hearsay may be allowed;
        (2) The prosecuting entity shall have the burden of proving probable cause; and may be
            represented by a law enforcement officer, a district attorney, a solicitor, 
            a private attorney  or otherwise as is customary in that court;
        (3) The accused may be represented by an attorney or may appear pro se; and
        (4) The accused shall be permitted to introduce evidence.
    
    ETA:
    I believe the Probate Court (Judge Self) handles these matters in Bibb County
    http://www.co.bibb.ga.us/ProbateCourt/About.aspx
     
  18. bessie

    bessie Administrator Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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    I think we're all in agreement on that point. Imagine their current task. A family pulling together and asking for help to find the missing parts of their daughter's body! It's surreal, and so utterly sad.
     
  19. SouthernKate

    SouthernKate New Member

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    I could've sworn I remember someone with a law background say earlier on here that this wouldn't be an open hearing. I could be wrong, and I hope I am because I know we all want more info. I guess we'll see.
     
  20. Backwoods

    Backwoods New Member

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    Well, it's late -- or early! -- and kinda lonely here on the thread at the moment, but I'll go ahead and post about something I ran across a little earlier that I had not really registered before ... and any later-comers who want to can ponder it along with me:

    Now this MAY very well have been discussed before, but I just don't remember it...please excuse if I am rehashing.

    On July 13, there's a report on Macon news station 41WGMT that includes this:

    QUOTE: "Macon Police spokesperson Jami Gaudet says the evidence was collected when 'they conducted a search warrant Tuesday... of Stephen McDaniel'. Gaudet says a tip from the public led police to search McDaniel's apartment again"

    link: http://www.41nbc.com/news/local-new...gation-police-focus-investigation-on-mcdaniel

    Then also, in a Macon Police Department press release of July 13, this statement is included:

    QUOTE: "3. After a new tip yesterday, a second search warrant was executed last night (Tuesday, July 12), at the apartment of burglary suspect Stephen Mark McDaniel, Lauren’s neighbor and classmate."

    link: http://maconpolice.us/?p=967

    So these are indicating that the second search warrant for SM's apartment came about after a tip from the public, right? Somehow I never realized that. What do you all think the tip was about -- seems likely it was something deemed to be pretty important, since they had already done the search with permission and one search warrant, and came back at night to do the second search warrant. (Is there something anyone can think of, pursuant to a tip, that would be best done at night? Or was it more likely done at night for urgency or for fewer disruptions, reporters, etc.?)

    Also on July 13, Macon news 13WMAZ brought this report:

    link: http://www.13wmaz.com/news/story.aspx?storyid=135548

    ...which carried the news of an increase in the reward being offered for tips and also the following about the search on the night before (Tuesday, July 12):

    QUOTE FROM TRANSCRIPT: "MACON POLICE CHIEF MIKE BURNS TODAY SAID CORRESPONDENCE WITH THE F-B-I AND OTHER CLUES LED THEM BACK LAST NIGHT TO THE APARTMENT OF GIDDINGS' NEIGHBOR... STEPHEN MCDANIEL."

    Here, the tip is not mentioned as such, but is among the "other clues" I'd assume, though certainly other information (from the FBI, etc.) was probably in play, too.

    I really have to wonder what that tip was!
     
  21. PsychoMom

    PsychoMom Verified expert in mental health

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    That's the rub! It can be seen in totally different ways depending on how it is presented to the jury. I can bet we will hear both versions. Unfortunately, only one is correct. And we don't know for sure which one is correct. I hope the dots are connected by more than this or we may see one of two things:
    1) McD may walk free because of reasonable doubt, or
    2) McD may be convicted on questionable evidence. ​
    That could mean a murderer is walking free, or an innocent man is facing the death penalty - AND a murderer is still walking free. Either of these is scary to think about.

    It could also mean a guilty man is convicted using slip shod evidence. Which, of the options, is the best option.
     
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