An unexpected and cool part of publishing a book is reconnecting with people from the past. One I had been looking for. Michelle Carswell was one of Judge Lance Ito’s law clerks during the Simpson trial. I knew Michelle had graduated Pepperdine Law School, moved to one of the Carolinas where she was practicing law, married and taken her husband’s name.
During a visit with Judge Ito last year, he told me her last name and that she was living in North Carolina. With that surely I would be able to find her. My Internet searches didn’t turn up current information, however, and I was stuck. Then, along came a message via an online business network – from Michelle.
Turns out we have a mutual acquaintance whom I had notified about the publication of Anatomy of a Trial. He told Michelle about it. She bought the book and contacted me.
“Thank goodness somebody finally wrote about some of the things Judge Ito had to face and consider,” she wrote. “The book was also incredibly well written from an academic sense about considerations specific to high profile jury cases. Amazing job.”
I sure appreciated the praise, but more importantly, I wanted the book to be objective and accurate.
“I do think the book came across balanced and not at all like you were trying to be overly defensive,” Michelle wrote in a followup email, “but rather provided valuable insights that people need in order to get a true picture of everything he had to contend with.”
I guess it will take a third party who had no direct involvement to weigh in our both Michelle’s and my objectivity, but it sure was great to hear from her.
I think the judge was horrible for making Chris Darden apologize publicly during the trial for some comments he made to Johnny Cochran. At a later time, Johnny Cochran was caught coaching a witness on the stand. And what did the judge do to him….NOTHING. I guess he was scared of him.
Would you please be specific about comments Chris Darden made to Johnnie Cochran that you’re referring to? What were the comments or what were they about or what did they refer to? At what point during the trial did they occur? Re: Johnnie Cochran coaching a witness on the stand, it isn’t unusual for counsel to ask what are called leading questions. If opposing counsel doesn’t object, it isn’t unusual for the the judge to not intervene.