Who Gets the Seats Takes the Day

Court’s back in session 20 years ago, so here’s my haiku about the issue of that day:

Seating takes the stage.

Victims’ kin don’t have enough.

Marcia Clark lobbies.

1/9/95

Here’s what I wrote in Anatomy of a Trial about the court proceeding that day:

“The lawyers also took up court time wrangling over the number of courtroom seats each side could get. Initially, the defense wanted twenty-eight and the prosecution slightly fewer in a courtroom with sixty-two seats. Ito initially allocated six for the defense and ten for the prosecution. That represented five for each victim’s family. But Clark lobbied for more.

“‘I think that there is no one of greater importance who has a greater right to have a presence in this courtroom than the family of the victims,’ she argued. ‘The media then is occupying more that two times what the prosecution and the defense are occupying, and that seems way out of balance.’

“Ito finally settled on seven seats for each family, but added the same conditions he set for the media; everyone must be in his or her seat before court convened, no one could enter while court was in session, any assigned seat not occupied when court convened would be reassigned for the day, and any seat not occupied by the party it was assigned to for two days in a row would be permanently lost.”

 

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