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Efren Carrillo spectacle draws diverse audience to courthouse (w/video)

  • Supervisor Efren Carrillo is questioned by his attorney Chris Andrian as judge Gary Medvigy listens during Carrillo's his peeking trial, Thursday April 24, 2014 at the Sonoma County Courthouse in Santa Rosa. (Kent Porter / Press Democrat) (KENT PORTER/ PD)

There were high-society types. Students. Political junkies. Activists. Court lookie-loos. Unrelated attorneys. All were curious and intrigued by the Efren Carrillo peeking trial going on Thursday in Sonoma County Superior Courtroom No. 4.

For many it was their first step inside the county's justice complex. Some even got lost looking for the right courtroom. Others knew the drill and staked out a seat so when bailiffs opened the door they could find just the right spot to see the defendant, the jury and salacious photos that might be shown.

A west county couple, Bill Carlsen and his wife Kathie O'Shea, were there for three reasons: Carrillo is their representative on the county Board of Supervisors, Carlsen is a retired legal affairs reporter for the San Francisco Chronicle and a good friend is on the jury.

Efren Carrillo Trial

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“We told her we'd have a debriefing afterward,” Carlsen said before court began Thursday morning.

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“It's an intriguing case,” he said. “Even though I've seen many, many trials, I still find it fascinating.”

The courtroom was nearly filled to capacity, a rarity except for the most unusual cases in Sonoma County. At least two Bay Area TV stations and several regional newspaper reporters took up the front row of spectators, tweeting or relaying live-stream tidbits about the case. The Twitterverse seized upon Carrillo's admittedly embarrassing behavior, mocking him and calling for his recall.

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