Category Archives: Bar association

“Made in America” Edelman Examines Simpson, Trump, Celebrity, Country

The insights documentarian Ezra Edelman reveals in these two articles are so thought provoking, nothing I say can do them justice. Fascinating reading.

OJ: Made In America’s Ezra Edelman interview: ‘It’s a deeper portrait of a country’

‘The director of the Oscar-winning documentary talks about the the scourge of celebrity and the similarities between the rise of O.J. Simpson and Donald Trump” 

 

Oscar-winning director of OJ: Made in America says Donald Trump is a lot like OJ Simpson

 

 

 

 

Simpson Rising From Ashes to Reality TV?

Headlines like this —

O.J. Simpson could be on reality TV following release from prison

— are popping up all over the place.

Yet, his first parole hearing isn’t until October, and there’s no guarantee he’ll be released. I wonder if he will be released. If so, he will, no doubt, be signed onto this

Will his celebrity trump (yes, deliberate word choice) the pariah status he achieved after being acquitted of murdering his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ron Goldman?

 

It Wasn’t Just Her Hair

A story headlined The Female Gaze: Marcia Clark in ‘People v. O.J.’ faces sexism in the courts and in the media which was published in Daily Titan, the student newspaper of my alma mater, California State University, Fullerton, perpetuated at least one media generated People vs. Simpson misperception involving Marcia Clark’s hairdos.

I had to respond, so here’s what I wrote:

As L.A. Superior Court’s director of public information & media liaison during the 1990s, and was present in the courtroom every day of Simpson’s murder trial, I feel compelled to address some points in this article.

Regarding “As soon as she entered the courtroom, all eyes were on her hair.”, that is not true.

As noted in this article, Marcia Clark had two young sons who needed childcare on weekdays. Clark asked Simpson trial judge, Lance Ito, for trial proceedings to begin later than the court’s regular start time of 8:30 a.m. so she could take her boys to childcare herself, rather than have someone else do so. Ito accommodated her request by taking care of other court matters at 8:30 and scheduling trial proceedings to begin at 9 a.m. For whatever reason, however, Clark was chronically late, sometimes by half-an-hour or more. Indeed, all eyes were on her when she entered the courtroom, but not because of her hair. In fact, one morning after she had assured Ito she would be there for a specific matter, she wasn’t. He delayed and finally, with an apology to the jury, said court would remain in session with everyone seated and wait for Clark to arrive. We did, in uncomfortable silence, for many minutes. I didn’t keep track of exactly how long, but it is reflected in the court transcript. Here is my account of Clark’s morning arrival routine as described in my book, Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson http://www.anatomyofatrial….

“And her [Clark’s] late entrances, at times with an entire courtroom full of people—and, indeed, the entire television-viewing world—sitting and waiting, were just that. Entrances.

Rather than trying to be unobtrusive or quiet, she would shove the courtroom door open and prance in and down the tiled aisle with the clack of her spike-heeled pumps reverberating loudly in the otherwise silent surroundings. She would push through the little swinging gates in the rail and leave them flapping behind her as she crossed the courtroom well with the eyes of spectators, defendant, fellow attorneys, bailiffs, clerk, court reporter, judge and jurors following until she finally arrived, with no hint of apology in her body language, at her place at the counsel table, a bare arm’s reach from the jury box.”

Clark’s hair was an issue, not for trial participants, but for the news media and, I suspect, for District Attorney spokeswoman Suzanne Childs. Childs was much about appearance. Here’s another short excerpt from Anatomy of a Trial:

“Pulling me aside one day, Los Angeles District Attorney Gil Garcetti’s director of communications, Suzanne Childs, said that since the whole world was watching and forming an impression of the court and judge, she thought we should change out the florescent bulbs in the ceiling that were standard—and cast a rather harsh light—throughout the Criminal Courts Building and put in pink-tinted ones. Those, she asserted, would give the courtroom and everyone in it a softer look.”

I thanked Childs, but thought about the public outcry if the chronically underfunded court spent money on special lighting just for the sake of appearance when the media reported on it, which they would have.

It makes sense to me that Childs suggested that Clark change her hairdo, but I think it backfired. Had Clark not permed her hair in the midst of the trial, no one—either with the media or in the courtroom—would have even remarked about her hair, much less made it headline news.

MarciaClarkImage result for Marcia Clark's hairdos

I agree with this article’s assessment that unfair scrutiny is embedded in American culture, and is magnified and exacerbated by the media. I did a presentation years after the Simpson trial about how differently female attorneys in death penalty cases have been depicted in the news.

I was not immune. As you can see from my description above of Clark’s courtroom entrances I mentioned her clicking spike heels and what might be interpreted as “haughty” demeanor” (although in retrospect, she might have just felt self conscious).

And as a Cal State Fullerton alum who majored in communications/journalism, I learned from the best. –Jerrianne Hayslett

Interesting Question, What’s the Answer?

O.J. Simpson pal raises a question that I don’t recall being raised in court during Simpson’s 1995 murder trial, or even being battered around behind the scenes. The question is, “…what would Mark Fuhrman have to know before he placed the glove at Simpson’s (house).?’

My first thought when I read that in a Huffington Post article was if that question had occurred to Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark or her assistant Christopher Darden either before, during or after the trial that ended in Simpson’s acquittal. If so, why didn’t that question make it into the trial? If not, why not?

Guess we’ll never know.

Will Simpson Tell All?

New York Daily News headline: Oscar-winning filmmaker says O.J. Simpson story still not complete, because, OJ: Made in America director Ezra Edelman says, “the final chapter in the Simpson saga is O.J.’s to write.”

But will he?

Nicole Brown, Ron Goldman at the Oscars

Here’s an early — and nice — story about documentarian Ezra Edelman accepting and dedicating the Oscar he won for his ESPN documentary O.J.: Made in America at tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony to murder victims Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.

Nicole Brown Simpson

Simpson Documentarian Honors Two Most Deserving

In accepting the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature for O.J.: Made in America at tonight’s Academy Awards ceremony, documentary maker Ezra Edelman saluted the two people he said deserved most to be honored, Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown. Although they were the victims of the brutal murders that launched arguably the most notorious criminal trial in the country’s history, their names got and have continued to get lost in the hoopla and the fame and success so many have realized as a result.

I found that moving and long overdue.

Touching and laudatory as Edelman’s recognition of those two people whose lives were cut so short, I must say, I was surprised, though. The documentary featured the man so notoriously accused of murdering them and spent little time on Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown.

We take a look back at the 'trial of the century' 20 years later

I’ve been pretty cynical and critical of the many books, films, TV shows and other attempts exploit and capitalize from the terrible tragedy, I feel great gratitude for Ezra Edelman and his acceptance of his award on behalf of Ron and Nicole, and hope their families were pleased.