Patterico's Pontifications

8/21/2006

The O.J. Posts — Part Two: The Jury

Filed under: Crime,General — Patterico @ 8:19 am



[This is Part Two of a series of posts on the O.J. Simpson trial. Part One is here. Also, be warned that the extended entry has harsh language.]

One of the most important things that prosecutors do is to pick the jury. All we want is a fair shot to prove our case. But in order to get that fair shot, we need a group of 12 people who are willing to listen to the facts with an open mind. Not everyone out there is capable of doing this. Some people have preconceptions about the police and/or the criminal justice system that would prevent them from ever rendering a guilty verdict in any criminal case.

The bottom line is this: people who don’t want to be convinced of something cannot be convinced.

An analogy may help make the point. Every person who reads the comments to this site knows that there are people who simply cannot be convinced of certain issues, no matter what the evidence might be. I’m not naming names here; many of these people are one-time commenters who rush in from lefty sites when some prominent leftist happens to link here. You can tell from these people’s tone that there are certain things that are a matter of faith — a faith that runs so deep it discounts any evidence and/or argument that might tend to contradict it. They are the people who truly believe that Bush is worse than Hitler, that the World Trade Center was destroyed in a controlled demolition, and that suicide bombings are an understandable and acceptable response to what they see as Israel state terrorism.

Now imagine people like this on a criminal jury. Even better, imagine them on the jury in a hypothetical trial of Bill Clinton for perjury and obstruction of justice. Is there any way such a person would ever convict? Of course not. You could show them a video of Clinton declaring his intent to lie under oath and obstruct justice, and they would tell you the video is doctored. Clinton could get up on the stand and confess to his crimes under oath, and these folks would tell you that George W. Bush was off to the side of the courtroom, just out of sight, pointing a gun at Clinton’s head to coerce him to confess. No matter how powerful and compelling the evidence might be, such people would come up with some lame excuse to explain it away.

People who don’t want to be convinced of something cannot be convinced.

Often, people like this will admit in jury selection that they are biased against the prosecution. But sometimes, they won’t. The prosecutor has to try to identify the anti-prosecution jurors by closely examining their behavior and responses to questions. Sometimes a person’s bias is palpable. Sometimes people fool you, of course — it’s not a science. But you can often get a feel for people.

In the O.J. case, it’s my sense that the jury was packed with people who didn’t want to be convinced by the prosecution case. It wasn’t true of all of them, of course, but it was true of a critical mass of jurors. What’s more, they were drawn from a group of prospective jurors who were just as bad or worse.

I have a couple of stories to illustrate my point. A colleague I worked with downtown was a law clerk at the time of the O.J. trial. He was one of the first people to sound the alarm within the office, and he did it based on watching a few days of jury selection. He went to a couple of fairly high-level DAs that he was working for in the office, and told them: “We’re going down on this case.” They replied; “You’re kidding. We’ve got more evidence against this guy than we’ve ever had in a murder case. There’s no way we can lose.” My colleague replied: “I don’t care. You need to take a look at that group of jurors.”

I heard a story from Mrs. P. that directly reinforces this point. My wife joined the office three years before I did, and was getting trained during the jury selection in the O.J. trial. The training took place on the ninth floor of the Criminal Courts Building — the same floor where Judge Ito’s court was and still is. (The L.A. Times thinks it’s on the fifth floor, but that’s another story for another day.) Mrs. P. would routinely see Marcia Clark and Bill Hodgman as she walked to and from her training. Hodgman was always very cordial and went out of his way to speak to the new Deputy DAs — to congratulate them on getting the job, and to tell them what a great career they were going to have. Marcia Clark was more standoffish.

Anyway, one day Mrs. P. was getting off the elevator when Marcia Clark was getting on. This was still during the jury selection process. Mrs. P. stepped off the elevator, Clark got on, Someone piped up and asked: “So, Marcia, how’s it going in there?”

The elevator doors started to close. Clark had only enough time to give a pithy answer. And as the doors closed, this is the answer she gave:

“We’re fucked.”

[Doors slam shut.]

So. Make of that what you will. To me, it says that Clark saw trouble even before the jury was seated.

I think that the composition of the jury was the critical factor in the trial. In my opinion, there is no evidence in the world that would have convinced that particular jury — no pictures of “ugly ass” Bruno Magli shoes, no statements or testimony from O.J. — nothing.

It was all about the jury. And the second Garcetti chose to try the case downtown, after being lobbied on the case by members of the “community” including Johnnie Cochran (who was not yet representing O.J., as far as we know), the case was lost.

P.S. I suppose you could fault the prosecutors for picking the jurors they picked from the larger group. But everyone I have ever spoken to who saw any of the jury selection says otherwise: “You should have seen the others . . . If you can believe it, they were even worse.”

66 Responses to “The O.J. Posts — Part Two: The Jury”

  1. Hi,
    Given this information about the perception of the jury, I really have to wonder about the decision on how to try the case.
    Seems to me they would have been much better off with a quick, simple, hard hitting trial presentation and not the convoluted case they procesed.

    seePea (751079)

  2. That’s for damn sure. That would have been better regardless of the composition of the jury.

    [Although, I should add, I seem to recall that the prosecution was waiting for some time on the more detailed DNA results. Perhaps they stretched out the presentation to get those results; I’m really not sure. — P]

    Patterico (760ea0)

  3. this is symptomatic of a much larger problem.
    america no longer exists. america was a set of common, shared principles held by the people who founded it. they didn’t agree on everything, some were federalists, some republican (not the same as the party of that name today), but they had similar cultural outlooks, similar life experiences, had read the same books and ultimately agreed on a format for governance.
    look around you, there are no longer any principles of such broad application that they can be said to be universal. it’s a hyphenated, balkanized society out there where the national identity has been subordinated to the ethnic and sexual identities to the point of extinction. at least one prominent ethnic identity has openly disparaged education as an effort to become white, many of its members never read books and unfortunately, it was the predominant identity the o.j. prosecutors had from which to select jurors when they elected to prosecute o.j. downtown.
    from off the street into the courthouse they came, not with the shared american principles held by jurors of years ago, but with their own unique cultural outlook and imperative: first and foremost, sticking it to the man for several centuries of undisputed racial injustice. this is what you impanelled, and they rendered the correct verdict according to their lights. imagine how that community would have treated a dissenter after the trial.
    this doesn’t mean that blacks are bad or that the o.j. outcome is the fault of anybody other than the prosecutors who played along and the weak sister judge who lost control. i believe results like this can be mathematically modeled in accordance with a simple calculus. planet earth is a cage with over 6.5 billion rats on two legs fouling it. quality of life equals available resources divided by the number of rats competing for them. just as with four-legged rats, when the density exceeds a certain point, universal cooperation vanishes and throat-ripping ensues. rats evolve from being members of the entire community (“americans”) to an interdependency model where they associate with rats of the same tribe to hold power and protect themselves against other tribes of rats doing the same thing. an elected community leader no longer governs with the support of the entire community as of yore, but has to engage in distributive democracy among the various groups to get that 51% of the vote, and if successfully elected, must pay dividends back to the supporting groups immediately. this leads to civic corruption and loss of sight of what should be primary objectives such as educating our young rats to compete with the ones in china and india, and maintaining our vital infrastructure to serve our continuing growth and hold fast against changing conditions. in a state of mature decay, all it takes is one little push and what you get is new orleans about a year ago: nature in the raw, folks.
    to pre-empt the obvious response: yes, i’m a rat too, i’m as bad as anybody else, at least i found a nice part of the cage. you city rats are doomed when new orleans conditions come inevitably to los angeles and the urban model collapses, neither a good nor a bad thing, just an inevitable consequence of overpopulating our cage. have a good monday!

    assistant devil's advocate (c15b31)

  4. america no longer exists.

    Dang it, now I have to order new mailing labels!

    Jim Treacher (ab39fa)

  5. And the second Garcetti chose to try the case downtown

    What a useless piece of political flesh he was, with spectacular failures like the Menendii. That decision alone killed any chance for justice.

    X_LA_Native (4f15ca)

  6. Patterico, you’re correct about the composition of the jury. Once Gil Garcetti made the decision to switch the trial from Santa Monica to downtown Los Angeles, the stage was set.

    Garcetti’s next blunder was to appoint Marcia Clark to prosecute. Her preoccupation with her clothes and hairdo, her obvious delight at being on TV, and her seductive flirtations with Chris Darden reduced her to the status of a silly self-absorbed and inconsequential woman incapable of being taken seriously.

    Letting OJ get away with the glove stunt was the last straw. Gloves are made slightly narrow at the wrist so they won’t fall off. To get your hand in a glove you curl your thumb into the palm to make it small enough to get past the narrow wrist section, then you allow your hand to return to the normal position and the glove stays on.

    When OJ tried to put on the glove, he kept his hand flat so the glove couldn’t get past his thumb. It was a cheap trick which could easily have been exposed, but wasn’t. It gave Johnnie Cochran his summation line, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” Get a glove and try it for yourself.

    A wrongheaded decision by the DA and a distracted and incompetent prosecution team combined to let a double murderer walk away and make a mockery of the criminal justice system in LA.

    Black Jack (5e3718)

  7. Marcia Clark was and is an embarrassment. Her “mountain of evidence.” Wanting to try a double murder as a domestic violence abomination. Her complaining in the elevator about every decision.

    nosh (d8da01)

  8. My guess, Patterico, is that based on your reding of my posts here you would put me in this category:

    “They are the people who truly believe that Bush is worse than Hitler, that the World Trade Center was destroyed in a controlled demolition, and that suicide bombings are an understandable and acceptable response to what they see as Israel state terrorism.”

    I would further guess that you would put me in the category of folks whoppin’ and hollerin’ it up with glee at Simpson’s “not guilty” verdict.

    You would be wrong on all counts, which for me calls into question how perceptive you are at picking a jury. But even more troubling is this:

    “Even better, imagine them on the jury in a hypothetical trial of Bill Clinton for perjury and obstructioon of justice. Is there any way such a person would ever convict?”

    Ahm, a little reminder: There actually was such a trial. And it was argued before a jury of 100. And the defendant was found, in a manner of speaking, not guilty.

    Sheesh!

    Asinistra (ee4de5)

  9. I was the foreman of a civil jury a few months ago and if it had not been for the 9-3 rule we would have never come to a verdict. One of the three kept repeating ‘but he lost money and should get it back’ while the rest of us argued that the plaintiff himself was provably at fault. Answer: ‘But he lost money and should get it back.’ Lovely.

    So although not scientific, my current thinking is that there are about 25% of folks who come pre-convinced. Of anything. Elvis is alive. Humans have not walked on the moon. Then when you add in confirmation bias for ordinary intelligent people (Intelligent design etc.) the problem becomes even more complex. Yet, while the psychology of grasping for flimsy material to build comforting belief palaces is potentially riunous to the cause of justice, how would you reform the system?

    Although I came away from my experience with a renewed appreciation of the irrationality of many people, I also developed an appreciation of the jury system, and could not have formulated a perfect system to deal with cases like the one we heard.

    Thanks for your posts–

    Marc (b966e3)

  10. Ahm, a little reminder: There actually was such a trial. And it was argued before a jury of 100. And the defendant was found, in a manner of speaking, not guilty.

    Of course, exactly backwards.

    The Senate “trial” was on removal only.
    He was found guilty by the House.

    What is comical is that you denied any categorical characterization of yourself before posting this.

    The Ace (8154cd)

  11. It’s a bit of a stretch to call what went on in the Senate a “trial.”

    The dirty little backroom deal which prevented the House Impeachment Managers from presenting evidence, calling witnesses, or cross examining Clinton’s enablers under oath, precludes any pretense of calling that charade a “trial.”

    The similarities between the two events are that both OJ and Bill Clinton were guilty as sin, and both got away with it because the fix was in well before the opening bell sounded.

    Black Jack (5e3718)

  12. My mistake.
    Clinton was indeed to be “tried” (and convicted) by the Senate.

    The Ace (8154cd)

  13. If the prosecution felt they had an unconvincible jury, why then did they not truncate the presentation of their case. I mean, if you think members of the jury are already adversarial to your position, why tick them off with seemingly endless, mindnumbingly repetitive, and sometimes even irrelevant testimony?

    bains (3f9c1c)

  14. Asinistra,

    I don’t necessarily put you in the category of people who hold the silly beliefs I listed — but I would never, ever, ever seat you on a jury deciding Bill Clinton’s fate. And it appears I would be right.

    Patterico (760ea0)

  15. Patrick,
    My youngest and oldest brothers are both attorneys.The youngest had a wrongful death case(guy tried to beat the train) which I’d assumed was going nowhere.He was chortling through the trial.I asked why and the oldest said,”Location,location,location”-meaning the make up of the jury.He won.

    lincoln (c4b933)

  16. I rmbr in Civl Procedure when venue was discussed. Most 1Ls just don’t pay as much attn to that as it deserves. But just after the O.J. verdict, our professors had more material than ever to convince us of the importance of venue. Man, did Garcetti ever f* it up.

    sharon (63d8f8)

  17. Yes, Pat. Me and Olympia Snow and Linda Collins and Lincoln Chaffee…and whoa…Holy Joe Lieberman. All closed minded dolts.

    And a shout out here to Black Jack…as regards the Clinton impeachment, the only difference between you and the Simpson jurors is that they really were black.

    Asinistra (5296f2)

  18. Yeah, me and Slick Willie, you know, the First Black President.

    Black Jack (5e3718)

  19. Patterico ,
    Do you believe that jury nullification is a valid option for a jury?

    seePea (7cec08)

  20. Asinistra,

    Senator Snowe spells her last name with an “e”, Senator Collins’ first name is Susan rather than Linda, and Senator Chafee only has one “f” in his last name.

    By the way, Asinistra, I was just curious about your thoughts on the Netroots crowd photoshopping Lieberman in blackface in a pic of him standing next to Bill Clinton.

    Desert Rat (d8da01)

  21. I have wondered over the years how “experts” that testified for the defense like Barry Scheck and Henry Lee continue to have any credibility. It seems to me that these two (and there were a few others, but these are the names that come to mind) really prostituted themselves. Why aren’t they shunned by the legal & pundit communities?

    Susan (d9066b)

  22. Patterico, I sure hope you’re going to get to Judge Ito at some point. I think it was his conduct, more than anything else, that doomed the trial.

    I do believe an all-white (or least more-white) jury probably would have convicted OJ, but that doesn’t mean it would have been the right verdict. I’m also not convinced that the jury OJ had was predisposed to find him not guilty and could never have been convinced otherwise.

    And as you know, I believe they reached the correct verdict – irrelevant of whether or not OJ was truly guilty of the crime (which you know I do not believe is true, based upon the evidence.)

    But what bothers me more than anything is a bunch of white guys wishing devoutly that whites had been on the jury just so OJ could have been convicted.

    But that’s just me.

    Some of your commenters need to watch Twelve Angry Men – several times, until the message sinks in.

    antimedia (bb6e02)

  23. I would counsel Patterico, as one attorney to another, not to comment on Judge Ito either positively or negatively regardless of what we irrelevant kibitzers might have to say about the judge.

    I’m probably jumping ahead but I found it moderately hilarious that O.J. was acquitted and F. Lee Bailey went to jail.

    nk (06f5d0)

  24. seePea,

    You didn’t ask me but that’s obviously not stopping me from chiming in:

    I believe jury nullification is a valid option for a jury when the underlying law is illegal on its face (a rare occurrence) or will cause a grave injustice if properly applied to the facts in the jury’s case. For instance, I think jury nullification would be appropriate where a plaintiff seeks condemnation under Kelo of someone’s home if the condemnation is not done for the public good but solely to benefit a third party and thereby enhance tax revenues. In other words, jury nullification is a way to object to an unjust law.

    On the other hand, I don’t think nullification is appropriate in criminal matters like this.

    DRJ (b47f9c)

  25. I have wondered over the years how “experts” that testified for the defense like Barry Scheck and Henry Lee continue to have any credibility.

    Susan, Barry Scheck was defense counsel, not a witness. In fact, he did the direct examination of Dr. Lee. What testimony did Lee give that equates to prostituting himself?

    Pablo (08e1e8)

  26. Even after all these years I’m still baffled that some people think he wasn’t guilty.

    I can get my mind around the idea that some folks think the verdict was OK due to his race and the history of racism in this country. Mind you, I don’t agree with that, however I can understand it.

    But not guilty? Please.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  27. Dwilkers, did you watch the trial? Or did you get your information about it from the media? I did the former, and I am convinced that OJ is innocent.

    The trial was quite a bit different from the coverage of the trial. I was not at all surprised when the jury came back with an not guilty verdict.

    antimedia (1cee5d)

  28. I watched large portions of it, but I didn’t watch it end to end, and sorry but I don’t remember a lot of the details.

    Didn’t he leave a bloody fingerprint on the back gate? I can’t remember if that was true or not…seems to me like it was.

    In any case what I remember is being floored by the verdict. In fact, the OJ verdict was really an epiphany for me that there was something about race in this country that I truly did not understand.

    Dwilkers (a1687a)

  29. It’s pretty simple, the LAPD got caught trying to frame a guilty man. There can’t be very many venues where a jury won’t acquit in the face of police misconduct.

    Heck, Cochrane warned the prosecutors what he was going to do to them right in his opening statement. I took notes. The whole deal from glove to Mark Fuhrman was all right there.

    Naturally the jury bought it.

    Maserati (c7fff4)

  30. Desert Rat
    Re: “By the way, Asinistra, I was just curious about your thoughts on the Netroots crowd photoshopping Lieberman in blackface in a pic of him standing next to Bill Clinton.”

    I’d say I feel about it the same way you feel about cartoons of Mohammed with a bomb on his noggin.

    Asinistra (ee4de5)

  31. Asina writes:

    “By the way, Asinistra, I was just curious about your thoughts on the Netroots crowd photoshopping Lieberman in blackface in a pic of him standing next to Bill Clinton.” I’d say I feel about it the same way you feel about cartoons of Mohammed with a bomb on his noggin.

    Donkey-woman, just answer the question. Do you approve of the use of racist caricatures for political purposes, or don’t you?

    David Ross (a8b31a)

  32. seePea,

    I do not believe in jury nullification as a valid option. I have discussed this before, here; I promised a longer explanation in that ,but events intervened and the subject seemed stale when I was going to return to it. Suffice it to say that even those who believe nullification should be a valid option in some cases should not even begin to contemplate it as a valid option in a double murder case with overwhelming evidence like the Simpson case.

    Patterico (88ee30)

  33. did you watch the trial? Or did you get your information about it from the media? I did the former, and I am convinced that OJ is innocent.
    .

    I have yet to see where you refer to anything from the trial that convinced you of that. Your theory in the other thread about his son accounting for the DNA evidence (which of course is not from the trial) is nonsensical.

    Gerald A (add20f)

  34. I’d say I feel about it the same way you feel about cartoons of Mohammed with a bomb on his noggin.

    Comment by Asinistra — 8/22/2006 @ 7:36 am
    *************
    Asinistra, you don’t know what I think of the Mohammed cartoons.

    I realize you harbor intense anger for Joe Lieberman, but I just figured you would be eager to reject the repulsive use of ‘blackface’ to demean black people.

    Desert Rat (d8da01)

  35. for the record, i support jury nullification in appropriate cases (john peter zenger, william penn, not o.j. simpson). jurors are not automata deftly manipulated by counsel and the court, they are an independent reserve of power, the voice of the community applying community standards to the situation at issue.
    on the other off-topic issue, i have no problem with either lieberman in blackface or mohammed with a bomb on his head. they’re just cartoons, and they speak of an underlying truth with which some people are very uncomfortable. i chuckle at the lieberman campaign’s faux outrage, its shrill demand that lamont apologize for the cartoon, as if he had drawn it, as if he were responsible for it, as if he owed an apology for it. nice try, bwahahaha!

    assistant devil's advocate (14009e)

  36. Dwilkers asks

    Didn’t he leave a bloody fingerprint on the back gate? I can’t remember if that was true or not…seems to me like it was.

    Frankly I don’t recall now. IIRC, a small amount of blood was found on the back gate some days after the initial investigation.

    I don’t recall any fingerprint evidence at all. Basically the evidence was footprints at the scene and blood at the scene, in the Bronco and leading up to the front door of his house, as well as blood on a sock found in his bedroom. All of which proves he was at the crime scene but does not prove he committed the murders.

    Gerald A writes

    I have yet to see where you refer to anything from the trial that convinced you of that. Your theory in the other thread about his son accounting for the DNA evidence (which of course is not from the trial) is nonsensical.

    Nonsensical because?

    I haven’t referred to specifics because the trial was quite a few years ago. I don’t have the transcripts, so it’s a bit difficult to accurately describe what took place. But I can assure you, I viewed the trial just as I did the trials I viewed as a juror, and I came away convinced OJ was innocent. Not “not guilty” but innocent.

    I’m afraid I don’t follow you WRT the DNA. There was a great deal of DNA evidence discussion during the trial. Are you asserting that Jason’s DNA would not be very similar to OJ’s?

    Now you can call that nonsensical if you like, but it ought to strike as rather odd that an intelligent white man with jury experience came to the same conclusion as the supposedly racially biased jury that actually served in the trial.

    antimedia (1cee5d)

  37. Since Gerald A asks for specifics from the trial, here’s the major issues that convinced me of OJ’s innocence.

    First, the prosecution’s major problem is the timeline. According to the known facts, OJ had about 20 minutes to leave his house, drive to Nicole’s, commit the murders, drive home, get rid of his bloody clothes (the nature of the murders necessitate that the murderer’s clothes be drenched in blood) and appear at his front door to take the limo to the airport.

    While it’s physically possible to do almost all of that, where are the bloody clothes? (Please don’t point to the single sock. That’s not nearly enough blood to account for two people who were savagely stabbed repeatedly, one of whom was almost beheaded.)

    Secondly, had OJ actually committed the murders, his Bronco should have been covered in blood – lots of blood. It wasn’t. The amount of blood found in the Bronco is suspiciously small. (But all both blood donors were there [Nicole and Ron] – proof he was at the crime scene.)

    Thirdly, the killer struggled mightily with Ron Goldman. Where are the scratches, bruises and cuts on OJ? The only cut they found was made by a broken glass at the hotel OJ stayed in right after the murders. While OJ may have still been an impressive physical specimen, Ron Goldman was fighting for his life. The killer would have had to have some evidence of that struggle.

    Where’s the knife? Where’s the blood on the knife? (I don’t recall if the criminalists had access to luminol back then.) The Bruno Magli shoes that everyone makes such a big deal out of – his son owned some as well. And has the same shoe size.

    These facts alone make me very suspicious of the prosecution’s case. They place OJ at the scene of the murders, but they do not put the knife in his hand. In fact, they argue that he did not commit the murders but knows who did.

    The bloody glove was theatre – nothing more – a stupid decision on the prosecution’s part – but not fatal to their case to anyone who thinks rationally and eliminates the emotive elements from their decision processes. OJ was wearing rubber gloves – I would not have expected the glove to fit. Furthermore, it was covered with dried blood, which would have made it both smaller and much more difficult to put on.

    OJ and Johnnie Cochran milked that moment for all it was worth, but for an impartial observer it was meaningless and didn’t enter in to the decision to convict or acquit.

    antimedia (1cee5d)

  38. Antimedia: I guess we’ll just have to put cameras everywhere there might be a crime so that we can “place the knife in the killers hand”.

    Nothing here, just move along …

    Charlie (72b728)

  39. antimedia,

    Innocent? Not “not guilty” but innocent? I would be very interested in how you came to that conclusion. How in the world can you explain away all of the physical evidence linking him to the scene? An intelligent person might be able to somehow rationalize “not guilty”, but not “innocent”.

    Tom from LA (47ad59)

  40. Charlie – do you want a serious discussion of the issues? Or do you just want to insult and ridicule people whose views aren’t quite as black and white as yours?

    Tom – did you read what I wrote? The timeline creates a serious problem for the prosecution – which they failed to overcome.

    Remember, the prosecution’s burden is to prove someone guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If you can’t find the bloody clothes when the defendant could not have had time, under your own constructed timeline, to have gotten rid of them anywhere else but in his own home, and you can’t find the knife the defendant supposedly used to commit the murders, is that not reasonable doubt?

    Or are we supposed to convict people simply because “it’s obvious they did it”? I submit to you that we, as jurors, must weigh all the facts, without emotion, and determine whether or not the prosecution met their burden. All else is folderol.

    In our system of justice, the defendant’s guilt or innocence is secondary to the prosecution’s requirement to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt. Otherwise we’d not bother with trials.

    It isn’t the jury’s job to be swayed by emotion or bombastic rhetoric or persuasive, mellifluous orators or the cut of a $2000 suit. It’s the jury’s job to weigh the evidence and determine whether or not the prosecution has met their burden.

    [antimedia: you didn’t answer my timeline question. — P]

    antimedia (1cee5d)

  41. While it’s physically possible to do almost all of that, where are the bloody clothes?

    Gone to Chicago, quite possibly.

    Secondly, had OJ actually committed the murders, his Bronco should have been covered in blood – lots of blood. It wasn’t.

    Why should it be? No one had their throat cut in the Bronco.

    Where are the scratches, bruises and cuts on OJ? The only cut they found was made by a broken glass at the hotel OJ stayed in right after the murders.

    How do you know how he got cut?

    Where’s the knife? Where’s the blood on the knife?

    Same place as the clothes.

    These facts alone make me very suspicious of the prosecution’s case. They place OJ at the scene of the murders, but they do not put the knife in his hand. In fact, they argue that he did not commit the murders but knows who did.

    Then you’d think he’d know which golf course to find them on.

    Pablo (efa871)

  42. So OJ packed clothes soaked in blood into his suitcase, flew to Chicago and dumped them there, and no one was able to find them?

    Apparently you’re unfamiliar with knife killings. They leave a lot of blood evidence, which is next to impossible to hide, all over the murderer. [Not necessarily. It depends on how it was done. — P] The Bronco should have been covered in it. It wasn’t.

    You flippant attitude doesn’t do much to convince me that you have a solid argument. I certainly hope you never sit on a jury, if you can explain away crucial evidence in a trial simply because you have a gut feeling that someone is guilty.

    antimedia (1cee5d)

  43. antimedia,

    All your points are taken regarding establishing reasonable doubt, but you are saying he was innocent. What makes you think he is innocent?

    Tom from LA (47ad59)

  44. Let’s be real here:
    1. “Downtown” Juries is a code word for Blacks, government employees, and mostly unemployed freeloaders.
    2. Every lawyer in LA says you cannot win a case “Downtown” if you are a corporation, landlord, or white businessman.

    Here’s my experience. My best friend, and THE smartest person I have ever known, went to South LA Law school (or some such title) that nobody thought much of. Shortly after he got out I was in his office when one of his friends dropped by and asked him if he was taking the bar exam the next day. My friend was surprised at the question and was told that “your name is on the list,” and so he took it. He passed easily. He had been a very successful writer’s agent but wanted to switch to law. He interviewed at all the big firms, nobody would hire somebody from South LA Law School so he got a job in a firm that just represented insurance company claims. I met him in his windowless office about four months later. He tried all his cases downtown, the place where no corporation could win, and he was 53 and 0; he had not lost a case. After his most recent win the opposition lawyer cornered him in the hall and told him that he knew he should have hired him but his monster firm only took Ivy, Michigan, and CAL-Berkeley top fives. And even after having his ass kicked he told my friend that he still couldn’t hire him.

    I submit to you that the prosecution was manned (womaned) by raging incompetents who couldn’t have convicted John Wilkes Booth in Springfield Illinois. Marsha Clark is hopefully unemployed and her partner in incompetence has vanished.

    Howard Veit (28df94)

  45. Antimedia: I’m really trying hard not to pick on you, but if I wanted to have a serious discussion of the issues, who would the other person be?

    I’ve already said you are entitled to your opinion. Likewise, I’m entitled to mine.

    I’ve already stated that I’ve served on trials. Having not been a member of OJs jury, I can not say that I know how I would have voted because there is much to consider during deliberations, namely did the prosecution prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Sidebar: the one case I was an alternate on the person was found guilty; however, I’m not certain I would have voted guilty because I wasn’t sure there was enough evidence to convict; I believed the individual was guilty, but I would have had serious discussions with the fellow jurors whether guilt was proven beyond a resonable doubt.

    However, back to OJ, despite stating that I do not know how I would have voted, I once again assert that he was guilty.

    Your placing him at the scene, witnessing the murder, but not committing it is a bit unreal. But as I said before: nothing here, move along …

    Charlie (72b728)

  46. Charlie, I did not say OJ witnessed the murder. His son killed them, then called his father in a panic. OJ rushed over, saw what Jason had done, told him to get the hell out of there and then rushed back home to catch his flight.

    antimedia (1cee5d)

  47. @howard veit:
    i call bullshit on that story. your best friend was scheduled to take the bar exam the next day and didn’t know it until another friend saw his name on the list? he passed easily?
    the california bar exam is three days (when i took it and passed). examinees most assuredly know when it’s coming up. lists of examinees are not circulated outside of the offices of the state bar itself, and passers just get a “pass” so they don’t know if they passed easily.
    then there’s the notion of a lawyer who has actually counted his first 53 cases…

    assistant devil's advocate (07855f)

  48. I thought the author William C. Dear who wrote “O.J. Is Guilty But Not Of Murder”, has asked that the LA District Attorney Office look into the evidence he has found about Jason Simpson? Has anything become of that?

    Antimedia? I believe your scenerio is right on the money.

    sp (12cbe8)

  49. So OJ packed clothes soaked in blood into his suitcase, flew to Chicago and dumped them there, and no one was able to find them?

    Apparently you’re unfamiliar with knife killings. They leave a lot of blood evidence, which is next to impossible to hide, all over the murderer. [Not necessarily. It depends on how it was done. — P] The Bronco should have been covered in it. It wasn’t.

    You flippant attitude doesn’t do much to convince me that you have a solid argument.

    What in your post is solid argument? All I see is incredulity, facts not in evidence and conclusions not supported by the evidence.

    For instance, by your logic SOMEONE must know who the murderer is because they would have been covered in blood, which you just can’t hide. But someone got away from the seen without having been noticed while being covered in blood.

    And why is it so hard to see the possibility that OJ could have dumped the clothes in Chicago? Did we find the killer’s clothes in LA?

    Pablo (efa871)

  50. To all who may believe that Devil’s Advocate knows that I don’t have a friend who passeda the bar without studying for so much as an hour, let e=me assure you that he is full of it. The lawyer’s name was Norman Rosen (now dead) and he was brilliant. I only posted this TRUE story to demonstrate that “Downtown” juries can think if a good lawyer presents a case. As a side story, he even got a drunk driver who was 100% at fault off.

    Howard Veit (28df94)

  51. […] [This is Part Four of a series of posts on the O.J. Simpson trial. Part One is here; Part Two is here; Part Three is here.] […]

    Patterico’s Pontifications » The O.J. Posts — Part Four: We Really Could Have Used Bill Hodgman (421107)

  52. Given the number of posts and the days since this post went up, I doubt anyone but Mrs. P will even read this.

    I was a commentator for Fox in NY as well as other media outlets for the trial. I watched it gavel to gavel. I was one of four national commentators (according to Newsday in NY)to “call the correct verdict the morning it was to be announced.)

    It was a long time ago but I agree that venue made the defense job easier. The case was not the white v. black thing it became after the verdict however. That happened as the case went on.

    The problem from the begining of the case has been outlined by many of the writers above. That the jury may have been more likely to believe police misconduct happened is not dispositive. The Glove had an effect on these jurors not on the commentators.
    What really sealed it however was the evidence that the LA Police wanted to be sure to get this guy that they would lie and cover up lies to do it.

    Jury nullification didn’t play a role in the case, the jury didn’t think he did it but nullified because of the misconduct. It didn’t know and couldn’t intelligently decide if he did it because of the obvious police misconduct.

    One other point on jury nullification. It would have been appropriate here. The police and the District attorney not only work on behalf of the People of the State, they represent what these people stand for. When police or prosecutors (by the way I believe Clark and Darden for all the BS in this case were talented lawyers doing a good job against other exceptionally talented lawyers, I do not think they lost their case, I think they were beaten by their own witnesses and a top notch crew of attorneys)play the games and lie and fabricate evidence the way the LA Police did in this case, the jury has every right to say whoa this offends our sense of justice and we are not going to stand for it. While I firmly believe that the jury here didn’t do this, it could have and it would have received no fault from me.

    That Lawyer Dude (6c6858)

  53. Well said.

    [Garbage. That Lawyer Dude doesn’t understand that criminal trials are not a game. Say someone knocks you over the head and takes your wallet. You and three other witnesses positively identify him, and he’s caught with your wallet. The jury believes all this evidence and believes the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, a handling detective is found to have lied regarding whether the defendant was Mirandized before his confession, which was disregarded by jurors as unnecessary. Should a juror acquit? Of course not. Convict the guilty robber and then charge the detective. That’s what you do when you don’t treat the system as a game. — P]

    Chris from Victoria, BC (9824e6)

  54. re post 52:
    Wow, That Lawyer Dude comes darn close to what my feelings were back then.

    see Patterico, it was not just the jury pool.

    seePea (b6f894)

  55. Patterico, I understand the system far better than you might believe. I have been part of it far longer than even you.
    I have never seen a prosecutor do what you suggest. It doesn’t happen and if it happens once in a blue moon that is the exception that proves the rule.
    I handled a case recently where the co-d’s testified. They promised to tell the truth. It was clear to everyone that they didn’t.
    I argued jury nullification. The district attorney promised on summation (over objection)that he was to be the judge of their testimony and that they would get what was comming to them after the trial.

    The jury bought most of the nullification argument and convicted on only some of the charges despite the testimony, confession.

    Know what happened to the lying co-d’s? They got the benifit of their deal. When juror’s found out they were outraged. When I asked the prosecutor what happened turned out he wasn’t the judge of their testimony, his boss was and he was happy to have any conviction of my client.

    Patterico, unless you are gullible enough to think that cops or prosecutor’s don’t lie, or cynical enough to think it doesn’t matter, you know that what you suggest just doesn’t happen. Our system is wonderful but not perfect. Juries have a responsibility that goes beyond checking their brains at the door. If justice is about anything, it is about fairness. When the government turns a blind eye to it’s witnesses lies, there can be no fairness.

    If you think the jury in OJ was prejudiced against the cops, maybe the failure of the system in your state to punish the authorities that lie about minorities is the reason they feel that way.

    I on the other hand do not see prejudice in this jury, I just see a jury that could not decide and refused to drink the kool aid.

    That Lawyer Dude (c9973a)

  56. re: 53 and Patterico’s addendum:

    I don’t see how your example compares to what That Lawyer Dude wrote.
    There was no eyewitness , there was no “wallet” found on the accused and there was no confession in the case we are rehashing.

    If a juror dismisses all the evidence tainted by police/detectives who acted improperly and have the DA show that a crucial piece of evidence does not apply, then there is a much different discussion taking place in the jury room.

    [He supports acquitting the clearly guilty in cases where there has been police misconduct, to make a statement about police misconduct. I’m simply pointing out how absurd that is. — P]

    seePea (87441a)

  57. I totally agree with your reasoning, Lawyer Dude, about why the jury acquitted in this case.

    As I said at the time, I’d have acquitted the guilty son of a bitch too with the case they were handed in the court room and the reasonable doubt the police created and the prosecution reinforced in the court room.

    What I would not do, however, is (if I was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt, which this farcical trial would have not done) take it out on the victim and on justice.

    I would convict and ask the jury foreman to read a statement expressing our extreme displeasure with the police and prosecution’s handling of the case. I would call for their investigation, but I would not knowingly let a guilty man, proven beyond a reasonable doubt, go free.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (9824e6)

  58. Chris I guess it might depend on the case. However a criminal jury that acquits because it is fed up with prosecution misconduct does not “take it out on the victim or justice.” First as proven in the OJ Case the victim’s justice lies in a different venue, the Civil court. Society’s justice lies in the criminal court. Frankly if the victim has justice in a criminal court many victims could do better with their own attorney’s than those provided by many DA Offices in the USA.

    As for Justice, what happens with a guilty verdict in any one case is small in the grand scheme of things. It effects that defendant on that case. A note from the jury expressing outrage is better than nothing, but unless the case is a high profile case it also will mean nothing.

    A verdict notwithstanding the evidence based on misconduct of the government is a far reaching event. Because acquittals are rare and because nullifications are rarer yet, high ranking Police and Prosecutors (as well as watchdogs and opposing party candidates)quickly become aware of the case and there will be reprecussions.

    In the case I handled I am sure that had their been a full acquittal, the plea bargaining and use of codefendant rules in the office of that prosecutor would have changed drastically. As it was the supervisor of the original ADA on the case was not kept on after the recent change of DA, I am told in part because of the juries decision in my case.

    Jurys speak for all of us. I am sorry but if the misconduct was bad enough, I would nullify. As a juror I have no other way to check the behavior of Government.

    So what becomes of the guilty defendant now acquitted? Who knows. Maybe he reoffends and though another is injured, we finally put him away. Maybe he sees the error of his ways and goes straight because he caught a lucky break. Either way what happens to him is negligible in the global sense. The victim may have his faith in the system shaken, but if the judge and the prosecutor believe in the rights of the jury, they explain what happens and do what they can to send the victim to a lawyer who will work for the victim to recover.

    What happens when nullification happens? Rules change that better protect the innocent. Heads of bad cops roll that better protect the innocent. Better prosecution efforts and training happen that better protect not only the innocent but secure that the guilty will be put away.

    It is not easy to support nullification. Especially for one who is conservative, as I am. It is essential though that the system be as pristine as possible to ensure that all citizens believe they can get a fair shake when involved.
    The OJ case may have shaken some White and Conservative feelings about the criminal justice system. It went a far way to make others feel they can get a fair shake with a jury. That would be a far better long term result than his being convicted and business go back to being as usual.

    That Lawyer Dude (3410a5)

  59. “As for Justice, what happens with a guilty verdict in any one case is small in the grand scheme of things.”

    Now I disagree with you entirely. I’m not a collectivist.

    While the prosecutor and even the judge may have to consider society as a whole as part of their mandate, individual jurors do not.

    Their role is to assign guilt if possible, and vote to acquit where there is none.

    Sorry, Ron and Nicole were sliced to bits and they would be contributing to the broader society even now if they hadn’t been. I do not believe this is small in the grand scheme of things.

    I think every life is precious – or why have a justice system in the first place?

    Order for the sake of order?

    Screw that. I care far more about people. And order is only valuable if it serves real people.

    I believe there is inherent value in making the guilty party pay. Indeed, this is the cornerstone of justice.

    Chris from Victoria, BC (9824e6)

  60. re Patterico response in post #56:

    Hate to tell you this Patterico , but this white-male-politicalConservative would have nullified the testimony of certain police officers for police procedure misconduct (ie: not Furman).

    What you need to get over is the belief that the prosection case was just fine and it was only becuase of the jury pool that there was an acquittal.

    [“this white-male-politicalConservative would have nullified the testimony of certain police officers for police procedure misconduct . . .” — that’s not “nullification,” it’s just rejecting testimony you don’t have confidence in . . . which is fine. And I never said the prosecution case was “just fine” — I said it was riddled with errors but still proven beyond a reasonable doubt. — P]

    seePea (83787f)

  61. First of all the jury is not the most important thing in this matter. To say so is totally assanine.
    The most important thing is to have a strong case with actual proof, which the prosecutors did not have, period. Prove me wrong here if you feel you can.
    This crime, no matter who did it, was a perfect example of how our judicial system has been torn limb from limb from our original way of running our law and order.
    Now you don’t even have to be guilty, you just have to have someone think you are that is in a position to place you under arrest and ruin your life FOREVER! it happens all the time here in America and has for hundreds of years.
    If you have the money to fight, you’ll win if you are innocent and possible even if you are guilty.
    What we all forget is that every entity in the system of our courts have emotion in them. Every one from the Judge to the observers. Live with it. thats being human.
    The next time a case is brought against a person lets hope it has some real meat and potatos in it so that if they are guilty they are found so. If they are not found guilty i believe they should have the right to turn aronud and sue each and every person in the prosecutors office, the police dept., the county, the city, the state and anyone else that ruined their lives.
    Just like Richard Pearle (spelling), his life is ruined and he did nothing!

    we better learn quick or our system will eat us up!

    i just hope if it gets real bad, that Texas, the state i am from, has the balls to pull out of the union and become an independent nation again.

    why live where you are guilty first and then have to prove you are innocent.

    stephen

    stephen haley (c2c4ec)

  62. in one oj book it reports that marcia clark is daughter of an israeli mother. is that true? having lived over there for many years, her use of salty language is pretty indicative of her zionist origins…

    Michael Korn (871696)

  63. […] One of the most important things that prosecutors do is to pick the jury. All we want is a fair shot to prove our case. But in order to get that fair shot, we need a group of 12 people who are willing to listen to the facts with an open mind. Not everyone out there is capable of doing this. Some people have preconceptions about the police and/or the criminal justice system that would prevent them from ever rendering a guilty verdict in any criminal case. […]

    Jury Experiences (f515ed)

  64. Considering our recent conversation under this thread and how you would strike me from a jury, do you believe in any way, shape, or form that I don’t “want” to be convinced?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  65. The very sad thing about this #2 post on the OJ verdict is that it fits EXACTLY the mindset of conspiracy theorists. It is the absolute identitcal mental defect problem, and in this case it is ascribed to all 12 jurors, not just 9, or 10, or 11.
    The good thing about this mindset, especially from a ADA, is it’s a great way to condone any sort of unethical and immoral and untruthful behavior. If one is up against the all too common “idiocy” of 12 truthers, why then one must surely use any method to blast them out of their immoveable mindset, even if it is considered, as stated, impossible. In fact, if one were to sway in such a fashion, the claim for the greatest argumentative mind, the crowning glory for an upwardly mobile ADA, would be achieved.
    I, for one, sit in amazement, that I read this on the often hailed Patterico blog, by the man himself.
    Patterico, or whatever your name is, take a look in the mirror, and ask yourself, how close are you to sounding like those you claim will believe only one thing, when you declare all 12 jurors of unsound mind, and let us know, it is the only thing you can possibly believe.
    Should all of us believe the prosecution and it’s assistants on and off the stand, and the investigation itself was free of lies and avarice ? I’m pretty sure an ADA wants all of us to believe that as well, no matter what.
    This is absolutely amazing to me. Really.

    SiliconDoc (da9276)

  66. In Part Five you claim that the “prosecutor” was “lying” at the civil trial.

    I.e. you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    And no, I do not “condone any sort of unethical and immoral and untruthful behavior” regardless of whether I think the O.J. jury got it wrong — and I most assuredly do.

    Patterico (bad89b)


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