CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION
IN THE COURT OF APPEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA
SECOND APPELLATE DISTRICT
Plaintiff and Respondent,
(Los Angeles County
Super. Ct. No. BA255233)
ORDER MODIFYING OPINION
[NO CHANGE IN JUDGMENT]
Defendant and Appellant.
It is ordered that the opinion filed herein on May 2, 2011, be modified as follows:
1. On page 2, insert the following INTRODUCTION before the
Phillip Spector was convicted murdering Lana Clarkson, a woman he met one
night at the House of Blues nightclub in Los Angeles, where she was working.
Clarkson accepted Spector’s invitation to visit his home. They were driven there by
Adriano De Souza, Spector’s chauffeur. According to De Souza, Spector came out of the
house two hours later with a revolver in his hand and said he had killed someone. The
police subsequently found Clarkson’s body slumped in a chair near the back door of
Spector’s house. There was a revolver on the floor underneath one of her legs. She had
been shot once in the head and neck, the bullet having entered through her mouth.
Spector and Clarkson were the only two people inside the house when Clarkson was shot.
The question at trial was whether Spector had committed implied malice murder
by killing Clarkson in the course of assaulting her with the gun, or whether Clarkson had
used the gun to shoot herself, either committing suicide or killing herself accidentally.
Because Spector could not be convicted solely on the basis of his extra-judicial
confession to De Souza, the prosecution sought to provide corroborating evidence in the
form of crime scene forensics and “other crimes evidence” demonstrating his long history
of violence toward women in similar situations. Spector did not testify. The defense put
on forensic and mental state evidence trying to show Spector could not have fired the gun
and that Clarkson had reasons to commit suicide.
A key question at trial was what the resulting forensic evidence would have been
if Clarkson, rather than Spector, had fired the gun. In this regard, Spector contends the
trial court erred by admitting into evidence a videotape in which the trial judge
purportedly acted as a witness for the prosecution. We will hold, however, that this
videotape merely shows the trial judge seeking to clarify a prosecution criminalist’s
Spector contends the trial court erred by admitting the “other crimes evidence”
consisting of testimony from five women who, over a 20-year period, were the victims of
armed assaults by Spector. We will conclude this evidence was properly admitted to
prove Spector’s motive for committing implied-malice murder and that Clarkson’s death
was not self-inflicted. We will conclude the trial court properly admitted “generic threat”
evidence tending to show Spector’s state of mind at the time of his fatal encounter with
Clarkson, and that the jury was properly instructed on how to consider all of this
Finally, we will reject Spector’s contention there was prosecutorial misconduct
during closing argument and conclude the prosecution neither impugned the personal
integrity of defense counsel, nor improperly attacked the credibility of the defense expert
[There is no change in the judgment.]