June 27, 2016
Court started late this morning around 10:30 AM. We continue to hear the cross examination of self-proclaimed cell phone expert Jim Cook by defense attorney Timothy Rien.
He is using a methodical approach to his cross examination, and showed that Jim Cook does not follow policies that are required by AT&T, the FBI, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and the San Diego Police Department in analyzing cell phone tower data.
Jim Cook marches to his own drum. He refuses to answer “yes or no” questions with a “yes or no” answer, and insists on giving a narrative answer to them.
He goes against accepted procedures in trying to locate where cell phone communications originated from. He is the expert you know, and I guess he can make his own rules to get the conclusions on data that will fit what he wants. I will try to give you some detail of what happened in the morning session of this never ending fiasco.
We start out the morning with CHP officer Scott McFarlane in the courtroom, with his attorney. His pretrial is scheduled to be heard on August 1st. We may be stuck in this preliminary hearing on that date if things go as slowly as they have gone so far. It turns out that August 1st is also the day that the confessed killer of Korey Kauffman, Robert Woody, is scheduled for his pretrial. Woody has sat in jail for two years now, and has changed his story numerous times while being incarcerated.
The next thing up for discussion is confidential records on Michael Cooley that have been subpoenaed by Prosecuting DA Marlissa Fereirra.
These records were subpoenaed by, and received, by the defense attorneys some time ago. They had to be reviewed and redacted by Judge Zuniga before they were able to have them.
At that time, Marlissa Fereirra was told that she would have to subpoena her own copies of these records.
Today, a Deputy State Attorney General named Ms. Hecker showed up in court with a motion to quash Marlisa’s subpoena. She stated that it would be unnecessary to disclose these records to the prosecution.
Judge Zuniga denies the motion to quash, and says that she will go through the confidential files and disclose the allowed material to the prosecution.
At 10:53 AM, Jim Cook takes the stand, with defense attorney Timothy Rien continuing his cross examination. Rien gets Jim Cook to talk about 24 AT&T cell phone towers that he took pictures of, and 4 Cricket cell phone towers that he took pictures of.
Jim Cook says he mapped the 4 Cricket cell phone towers. When asked if he knows what a cell site survey is, he said: “yes.”
When asked what a survey is, he answered: “It is a computerized model as well as a manual survey. When asked about a manual survey he said the purpose is to know what the area of coverage is, and to find uncovered areas.
Timothy Rien: “How is a manual survey done?” Cook: “using specialized equipment or a hand set.
These next questions asked by Timothy Rien expose Jim Cook’s shallow approach to his analysis.
After a bunch of objections by Marlissa Fereirra, Timothy Rien gets Jim Cook to grudgingly admit that he had not done a manual survey on any of the AT&T cell phone towers in 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, or 2016.
Jim Cook had also not done a manual survey on the 4 Cricket cell phone towers in 2012, 2013, or 2014.
Timothy Rien seems to get a disingenuous answer from Jim Cook when he asked Mr. Cook if without a cell phone survey in 2012 it would be impossible to map the coverage of the cell phone towers.
Mr. Cook denies that it would be impossible. I guess he only has to guess what the coverage was in 2012 to make his assumptions and conclusions.
Jim Cook admitted on the stand that his work is not a science, and is an approximation. This seems totally inappropriate for any trial, much less a murder trial. Kind of like using lie detector results in a trial, but that is not allowed. This should not be allowed as well.
During this segment of questioning, I notice DA Investigator Kirk Bunch clenching his teeth. It makes the muscles bulge out on his jaw, and gives him the look of Bugs Bunny. I am sure his jaw aches after days in the courtroom like today.
Marlissa Fereirra makes an objection to the questions concerning Mr. Cook’s work not being science based, and that it is an approximation. This objection was overruled. The clenching of the teeth intensified, and Marlissa Fereirra had a sour look on her face.
Timothy Rien then goes into what are called data events. He asks Jim Cook what a data event is.
Mr. Cook says a data event is when an application on a device is used, or when the internet is accessed on a device, and can also happen when updates are happening for an application. We then go into “push” or “passive” events with cell phone devices.
At 11:37 AM, Timothy Rien continues to ask Jim Cook about push and passive events.
Mr. Cook testifies that a push event is a user generated data entry, and that it also includes incoming E-Mail.
Mr. Cook says a passive event is when a voice mail notification is left on a device.
Jim Cook then makes a statement that conflicts with guidelines in place with the FBI, and other law enforcement agencies earlier mentioned. Jim Cook states that it is not important to know if cell phone data is from a push or passive event for mapping purposes.
Defense attorney Timothy Rien points out that the FBI has a policy to not use a passive data connection for the purpose of locating a device.
Jim Cook denied that it is improper to use passive events to do his cell phone tower mapping.
He seems to work with his own rules, and gets paid $250.000 to do so.
What a country. It is brought out that the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department as well as the San Diego Police Department does not allow passive data connections to be used for locating devices.
We now break for lunch, and go out into the parking lot to talk. There is a strange lady present who is taking pictures of those of us outside talking, and our cars.
We get a picture of her, and her run down Ford Ranger pickup. We are simply exercising our 1st Amendment rights in a public trial.
William Thomas Jensen (Tom)