Simpson Trial Participants Update Found Wanting

Every so often, a Simpson trial “where are they now” story pops up. I guess the 19th anniversary of the “1994 ‘Trial of the Century’ double-murder case” — at least in the mind of HLN scribe Jonathan Anker (never mind that opening statements in the trial didn’t begin until January 1995) — was as good an excuse as any.

I also should have been forewarned by the “1994 ‘Trial of the Century” in his The O.J. Simpson Trial: Where are they now?  “slide show” posted today on the HLN website, that  it might contain an error or two.

And it does. The very first slide is of the trial judge, Lance Ito. The caption says:

“Judge Lance Ito: Ito remained a Los Angeles Superior Court judge until 2012, when budget cuts closed his courtroom. He now oversees the appointment of experts in Los Angeles County death penalty cases. In a recent interview, Ito estimated he’d presided over more than 150 cases since the Simpson trial. Before leaving the bench, Judge Ito’s courtroom was the only one in the courthouse without a name placard out front; thieves kept swiping the well-known judge’s nameplate, so the court finally decided to stop replacing it.”

To his credit, Anker did get a couple of things right in that blurb. One is the spelling of Ito’s name.

Snark aside, Anker did get a number of things wrong. One is that Ito is no longer a judge. Wrong. Ito remains an active judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court. His current term expires in two years and, according to a conversation I had with him less than a week ago, he is contemplating whether to run for a fifth six-year term.

It is true that Ito’s was one of 55 courtrooms in Los Angeles County closed recently because of draconian budget cuts. He did not, however, lose his judgeship as a result. He is serving as a fill-in judge in his colleagues’ absence, and he is handling special projects assigned by the court leadership.


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