One year later LaCalamita on trial
now on trial.
Some cases go quickly to a jury, sometimes as fast as a couple months
for run-of-the-mill cases. But high profile or controversial cases
can take a couple years, especially if there is an issue of mental
illness and the subsequent competency and criminal responsibility arise.
So let's hear it for Oakland County Circuit Judge Rudy J. Nichols,
who has had his share of high-profile trials and cases involving
LaCalamita, 39, is accused of buying a shotgun after getting fired
from his job at a Troy accounting firm, returning to the office a few
days later, and killing a receptionist and injuring two executives.
He is charged with first-degree murder, and if convicted, he must be
sentenced to life without parole.
According to accounts this morning, his attorney — Jerome Fenton —
told the jury that LaCalamita is not guilty by reason of insanity,
and the case will rest on the analysis and understanding of expert
witnesses: psychologists and mental health professionals.
Not much of a whodunit, but this will require jurors paying close
attention to the details of the case, both before, during and after
the shooting; understanding of the mental health issues; and a
comprehension of the law and legal explanations of what is defined as
Most impressive, so far, is Judge Nichols ability to get the trial
underway in such a timely manner. He is one of the judges with a
tight control of his courtroom, helped with capable and professional
staff, who know what needs to be done to keep a case moving.
Picking such a jury in about two hours is an almost amazing feat,
especially because this shooting was one of the biggest news stories
Though jurors may have heard of the shooting, they must keep an open
mind when it comes to making a decision on the case.
The case will take time, as witnesses have much to explain and
attorneys have much to probe. But Nichols will keep the case moving
and will not get bogged down in needless delays, appreciating the
time taken by jurors as well as everyone else whose jobs brought them
to this trial.
Consider this: In the federal criminal trial of well-known attorney
Geoffrey Fieger, attorneys spent Monday through Thursday of last week
picking jurors, and they still had much more work to do this week.
Nichols, who has been a judge since 1991, had his jury listening to
opening statements before lunch and witnesses testifying after the
He is off to a great start.