Spector Case Declined by California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court refused Wednesday to take up Phil Spector's claim that the judge who presided over his deadlocked murder trial was biased against him and should be disqualified from handling his second trial.

The notice on the Supreme Court Web site said: "Petition for review denied." It noted that Chief Justice Ronald George was absent and did not participate in the decision.

The action clears the way for Spector's second trial to proceed. It is scheduled for Sept. 29 with a pretrial hearing on July 29.

Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, who presided at the first trial, rejected the defense claims months ago and signed a declaration that he was not biased or prejudiced against any party in the case.

Spector, famed for his revolutionary "Wall of Sound" recording technique, is accused of killing actress Lana Clarkson at his mansion on Feb. 3, 2003.

In its Supreme Court brief, the defense argued that Fidler's rulings toward the end of the first trial were designed to ensure Spector's conviction, in part to counter media reports that a celebrity could not be convicted in a Los Angeles court.

The district attorney's office has argued that Fidler was "scrupulously fair to the defendant."