A Camera Silencers Mandate

Cameras are noisy.

Which ones will Ito approve?

All must use sound blimps.

9/1/94

By September 1, 1994, Simpson judge Lance Ito had decided that the pool cameras in his courtroom were too noisy and needed to be silenced with rather pricey equipment called hard blimps or he wouldn’t let them in. The photographers weren’t happy, even those with news organizations that had hard blimps. Most professional news photographers had the much less expensive soft blimp, which is a sort of leather sack the camera can be put in. Soft blimps muffle, but don’t do as well at deadening the sound of the camera shutter as hard blimps.  It’s harder to operate cameras that are encased in ridged hard-sided hard blimps, and the opening for lenses isn’t large enough for their longest lenses.  But hard blimps became the ticket for camera access to Simpson courtroom proceedings.

Fuhrman’s Back. For the Last Time?

The haiku I wrote 20 years ago today.

Pitchess for Fuhrman.

“Not pertinent to this case.”

Is this matter closed?

8/31/94

Ito denies defense’s “Pitchess” motion to gain access to LAPD Det. Mark Fuhrman’s personnel records. But this is not the last he and we will hear about this Simpson case lead detective.

It’s Leaking, It’s Pouring

Leaked information continued to plague Simpson trial judge Lance Ito, who wanted desperately to have a relatively uncontaminated pool of prospective jurors available for the jury selection process, which was still weeks away on this date twenty years ago. One move Ito considered was to issue a restrictive order, commonly called a gag order, which would order the parties to the case and their staff to refrain from making public statements or to talk to the media about the case. Ito probably knew what criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos, who represented such notables as celebrities Michael Jackson and Winona Ryder, and (subsequently) convicted murderer Scott Peterson, once noted:  Lawyers, particularly prosecutors, in a court case can easily have surrogates, such as those in law enforcement, pass information along to the news media that the lawyers want to make known. Leaks also dominated my daily haiku. Here’s the one I wrote on Aug. 30, 1994.

To gag or not to,

Will an order stop the leaks?

It won’t solve the case.

Simpson Dream Team Adds a FLee

FLee is on the board.

Court TV staffs the camera.

Conflict of interest?

8/29/94

Defense attorney F. Lee Bailey is on Court TV’s board of commentators. Ito asks if the prosecution thinks a conflict of interest would exist if Court TV (since renamed truTV) staffs the courtroom pool TV camera. They say it’s OK.

Media quickly nicknamed Bailey, FLee and gossiped about how he was always helping himself to the hard candy the court clerk kept in a dish at her desk. A testament, some said, to his propensity to over imbibe.

Crazy Comparisons of Michael Brown and Simpson Murders

Letter in opinion section of Columbia, Missouri, Tribune:

My response to those putting their hands up for Michael Brown: I would also like to put up my hands for Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, who were murdered by a black man in cold blood. Where is the justice for them? I am willing to bet most of those protesters supporting Michael Brown also supported O.J. Simpson.”

Oh, boy. Where to start with the false-equivalency parallels.

First, does this letter writer really equate a police officer shooting to death a citizen who was stopped for walking down the street to a non-police officer laying in wait with a knife, then slashing two people to death?

Second, what’s stopping this writer from putting her/his hands up for Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, or for anyone else s/he wants to?

Third, betting that protesters supporting Michael Brown also supported O. J. Simpson is as specious as me betting that this letter writer wears a KKK hood and sheet.

As for “where’s the justice”, at least the Simpson-Brown/Goldman case went through the legal process and justice system, which will never be afforded to Michael Brown.

How Do They Find Out?

Confidential information was constantly being leaked to the media. My haiku of this day 20 years ago reflects the trial judge’s frustration.

This case is a sieve.

“File all motions under seal.”

Will that stop the leaks?

8/26/94

Detective is the News

The Simpson case in a haiku a day continues.

A new motion filed.

Fuhrman protects his records.

Defense shouldn’t get.

8/25/94

Simpson’s lawyers were determined to get at LAPD detective Mark Fuhrman’s personnel records. The prosecution was just as determined to keep the defense from seeing Furhman’s records. Thus, the dueling motions go on and on.