Foreman Says Spector Jury At Impasse

Music producer Phil Spector leaves the courtroom following the defense's closing arguments in his murder trial in Los Angeles on Friday, Sept. 7, 2007. Spector is accused of fatally shooting actress Lana Clarkson in his home in February 2003.
AP Photo/Paul Buck, Pool
The foreman of the jury in music producer Phil Spector's murder trial told the judge Tuesday that the panel is at an impasse of 7 to 5, but he did not indicate which way it was leaning.

"At this time I don't believe that anything else will change the positions of the jurors," the foreman said when Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler asked if there was anything he could do to help.

Polled individually, some jurors agreed with the foreman and others disagreed. One suggested further instruction about reasonable doubt.

The judge then sent the panelists back into the jury room to discuss the situation with lawyers, saying he intended to send the jurors home for the day.

The defense immediately asked for a mistrial, but the judge denied it on grounds that three jurors indicated further instructions may help.

Spector is charged with second-degree murder, and the judge previously ruled that the panel would only decide that charge and not consider possible lesser charges such as manslaughter.

The judge, however, told the attorneys that he was reconsidering and believed he might have cause to instruct the jury to consider a lesser charge.

Spector, 67, is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 3, 2003, gunshot death of actress Lana Clarkson, 40. The case went to the jury Sept. 10.

Clarkson was killed by a bullet fired from a gun inside her mouth. The defense contended in the lengthy trial that she had many personal problems and killed herself either by accident or suicide.

Spector was a producer of hit rock music records decades ago, creating what became known as the "Wall of Sound" recording technique.

Clarkson had modest success as the star of Roger Corman's 1985 cult film "Barbarian Queen." She was working as a hostess at the House of Blues when she met Spector and went home with him after work, just hours before she died.

Earlier in the day as the jury deliberated in private, the court held a hearing requested by lawyers for Clarkson's estate.

Attorney John Taylor asked for the defense to be prohibited from publicly releasing documents and materials belonging to or relating to the estate. The materials include Clarkson's computer hard drive, e-mails, photos, autopsy photos, writings, journals, unpublished stories and miscellaneous documents.

Defense attorney Bradley Brunon said the defense had no intention of releasing anything.

Brunon opposed any ruling by the judge, saying the judge had no jurisdiction over the material, which is being used by the estate for an anticipated trial of a wrongful-death lawsuit against Spector.

The judge said he was uncertain of his jurisdiction in the matter.

"When this case ends - if it does end - what power do I have?" he said wryly. "The question is, should I interfere with something that may have some effect on the civil case?"

The judge said he would take the matter under submission and rule later.

Meanwhile, Brunon asked about a report that the judge's clerk had been in the jury deliberation room for 12 minutes on Monday.

The judge said he understood the jurors buzzed and said they had a question, but when the clerk went inside they changed their minds and said they didn't have a question.

"So they are hung on whether there was a question," Brunon joked.