Panel Refuses to Reconsider Case Against Spector

Spector is serving 19 years to life in prison for the shooting death of actress Lana Clarkson

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    Phil Spector (L) listens to the judge during sentencing in Los Angeles Criminal Courts on May 29, 2009.

    A state appellate court panel refused Thursday to reconsider the case against record producer Phil Spector.

    The three-justice panel rejected a defense request for a re-hearing on a May 2 decision that upheld Spector's February 2003 conviction. That conviction was for the shooting death of Lana Clarkson at Spector's Alhambra mansion.

    The defense's petition alleged that the trial judge prejudiced the case when he allowed prosecutors to use pictures of him in the closing argument.

    "In the countless discussions of this case appellant's counsel have had with members of the legal community, including prosecutors and judges, the  assertion that prosecutors included multiple images of the presiding judge among the photos of their witnesses is met without exception by shocked incredulity," Spector's attorneys wrote. 

    The denial, handed down Thursday, said the lawyers gave the issue only cursory treatment in their first appellate brief, which was inadequate. The justices said Spector did not properly raise it as an independent issue in his opening brief.
       
    The justices added, "Moreover, given the overwhelming evidence against Spector, we cannot  see how the issue could have prejudiced him."

    Spector is serving 19 years to life in prison on a second-degree murder conviction.