Tag Archives: high profile trials

Menendez brothers join OJS in headlines

Sometimes I think it might be a curse to have not only been involved in both the Menendez brothers and the O.J.Simpson cases and all of their trials, but to have such extensive behind-the-scenes knowledge.

First, I saw this story:

ESPN profits off black culture, does not stand by black employees views’

which contains this paragraph:

“This incident reminds me of the dynamic between Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden during the OJ Simpson trial. The white Clark brought Darden, a black man, onto the prosecution team, yet ignored his plea to not use white supremacist Mark Fuhrman as their primary witness in the case. In the FX dramatized rendition of the case, once Fuhrman’s racist background dominates the trial, Darden angrily tells Clark, ‘You put me on this trial because you wanted a black face, but the truth is you never wanted a black voice.'”

While I think it was no secret that the Simpson prosecution wanted an African American on its team, I thought it was a micromanaging DA Gil Garcetti who assigned Darden, not Clark. Although, I have no reason to believe they weren’t on the same page with each other.

Also, I have no idea whether such an exchange between Darden and Clark even occurred. If it did, I got no wind of it during the trial, and so much fiction about the trial and its participants and behavior have swirled about since, it might just be a fabrication of someone’s imagination.

But the biggest bone I have to pick is with the writer of this article is referring to Mark Fuhrman as a white ‘supremacist’. Mr. Price and everyone who uses that misnomer needs to understand that there is no such thing. Individuals who self sort into anything called that are nothing but white racists.

That, however, is a subject  for another blog.

Then I saw this story:

Law & Order: The Real Story Behind the Menendez Brothers’ Claims of Abuse

which contains this paragraph:

“He later added that the current District Attorney in Los Angeles was desperate for a win after the Rodney King and O.J. Simpson trials, so there “were major mitigating circumstances” in the Menendez case that the average viewer may not know about.”

What seems strange is that Menendez prosecutor Deputy District Attorney David Conn gave DA Gil Garcetti that win with the convictions and life sentences of both Menendez brothers for the shotgun murders of their parents, then demoted Conn and exiled him to some nether office, but rewarded losing Simpson prosecutor Clark with with an obscenely generous bonus — only to have her turn around quit her job with the District Attorney’s Office.

It is, indeed, a crazy world.

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A Sad Anniversary

Twenty-one years ago today a jury in Los Angeles that had been sequestered for nearly 9 months and was itching to go home, declared O.J. Simpson not guilty of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Brown’s friend Ron Goldman on a June night in 1994.

I have spent a good deal of my professional and personal time since then trying to correct many misperceptions that have abounded ever since the Simpson case entered the court.

Now, as the 21st anniversary date comes and goes after a year of TV blockbusters rewarded with Emmy nominations and awards, which not only perpetuated many of those misperceptions but created new ones, such as Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark’s accusation that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito, who presided over Simpson’s trial, is sexist and misogynistic, my one small voice is getting smaller and being drowned out in all the renewed ballyhoo.

I saw in the news some time ago that Clark was making a public appearance in Milwaukee this month. I rehearsed daily what I would say during her q&A session of that appearance. But I’ve decided to save my time, money and breath. Trying to say anything would be futile and upset me more than anyone else, and certainly not Clark.

Even though I feel a bit of closure with this decision, I will continue to promote and sell Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson, post comments and observations on this blog, and post status updates on my “Anatomy of a Trial by Jerrianne Hayslett” Facebook page.

My experience with that trial, the Los Angeles courts, the media that covered them and all the characters who were part of them, will always be part of me.

“Anatomy of a Trial” a Bargain $10.99!

20 more copies of my book, “Anatomy of a Trial, Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson”, are now available on Amazon for the bargain price of $10.99. Read it and find out what American Crime Story’s “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” got wrong. https://www.amazon.com/gp/offer-listing/0826218229/ref=dp_olp_new?ie=UTF8&condition=new

Shigata ga nai Explains a Lot

The website “Bustle” had this story, Where Is Judge Lance Ito Today? He’s Stayed Out Of Spotlight Since The Simpson Trial, today. It’s one of the more accurate stories I’ve seen about the Simpson trial and people associated with it in a long time. And it was a good story.

It pretty much reflected what I wrote eight years ago about Ito in the introduction of Anatomy of a Trial (pages 4-5):

“Interestingly, although Ito was and still is trivialized as star struck and grasping for fame, immediately after the trial he tried to return to anonymity. By contrast, the other major figures capitalized on their celebrity with book deals, speaking tours, TV shows, commentating gigs and even acting stints. Without a doubt, Ito could have joined their ranks—publishers offered deals with two-to-three million-dollar advances and eventual five-to-six million net—but didn’t. He also, until agreeing to contribute to this book, has turned down interview requests and public-speaking invitations, and declined to counter his critics.

“I prefer to remain in the tall grass,” he said a few years ago when I proposed doing a magazine profile of him. He’s done a good job of that. People generally express surprise when they learn that he’s still on the bench trying felony cases and has twice since the Simpson trial been re-elected to his Superior Court office.

“While Ito’s discipline in remaining mum and out of the spotlight might be laudable, he has not necessarily done himself or the judiciary any favors as it has left his judicial reputation publicly besmirched and allowed other judges’ disdain for him to flourish. Some in the media, such as syndicated talk show host Larry Elder, have speculated that Ito’s silence springs from embarrassment. That, however, is not the case.

“Fingers of blame for Simpson becoming the spectacle that it did have pointed in many directions, with most eventually resting on Ito. But the truth is, blame belongs to just about everyone associated with the trial, including the vast public audience that followed it.

“Ted Koppel, host of ABC’s Nightline said in an interview on a Public Broadcast Service tenth anniversary show of the verdict that although Nightline tried to minimize its coverage of the trial, it got a ten percent ratings boost every time it included coverage in a broadcast.

“In that same PBS show, Harvard law professor and member of Simpson’s legal defense team Alan Dershowitz, puzzled over the public’s obsession with the trial.

“’I could never understand that,’ he said. ‘To me it was just another murder case.’”

I then go on to list all the reasons it wasn’t just another murder trial.

Lance Ito was and still is one of my favorite judges, even though he is now retired. It distressed me that he and his actions were so blatantly misrepresented in media reports. Long after the trial as ridicule and criticism of him continued at every mention of the case or his name, I offered to find ways to counter it. He seemed interested, then would decline. I also wrote about that and how I came to understand why in Anatomy of a Trial, It’s at the end of Chapter 3 on page 34. Here it is:

“Ito was deeply affected by the criticism and the blow to his professional image. During the trial and in the months following it, he seemed grateful for my offers to rebut the most blatant of misperceptions. Yet, when I gave him drafts of letters and op-ed pieces for his review, he would tell me not to send them.

“’Just let it go,’ he would say.

“It wasn’t until I read a profile of him in a legal newspaper years later that I began to understand that aspect of his persona.

“As reported by Los Angeles Daily Journal writer, Don Ray, in his June 2005 article, Ito ‘remained silent, true to the same cultural fabric that gave his parents and grandparents emotional strength during their internment.’

“’It’s called ‘shigata ga nai,’ and it’s a philosophy of life that’s very, very typically Japanese,’ Ito is quoted as saying in the profile.

“’Shigata ga nai means it can’t be helped,’ Japanese-American pastoral counselor Cliff Ishigaki explained in the profile. ‘It’s the deepest form of resignation. It signifies a form of victimization, where life is done without their permission.”

I thought it ironic that in attempting to educate the public about how “life” was done to interned Americans of Japanese descent without their permission during World War II, he had inadvertently become a victim of that very phenomenon himself.

If anyone would like to buy my book, it’s no longer available from the publisher, University of Missouri Press, even though it’s still listed on Amazon.com as being “Temporarily out of stock.” I bought the remainder of UMP’s stock and am selling it for $10.99 directly and on an Amazon program called Fulfillment By Amazon, which, unfortunately is buried two clicks away from the main page where no one can find it unless they know how. (FYI — type the name of the book, Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson in Amazon.com’s search window. Under the first listing (which is the UMP listing that says (Temporarily out of stock), click on the tiny live link HardcoverOn the page that opens, go down to “More Buying Choices” and click on “13 New from $7.00. My listing (currently) is the  first one on the page that opens. I say “currently” because on a couple of occasions, I’ve had to scroll down a bit to find it. I’m really angry that Amazon won’t list it on the main page–i.e. the first one that opens when the book title is typed into the search window and have a 1/2-inch (so far) file of printouts of email communication with Amazon — or rather people in some other country with names like Jaden and Abdul — trying to get moved to the main page. If you’d rather buy it directly from me, please let me know.

 

3 Down, 7 to Go

So much of the FX dramatization of the 1995 Simpson murder trial has been private conversations that my take on the miniseries so far is pretty much as a spectator.

Perhaps having spent most of my waking hours in the downtown area of Los Angeles as the main city and county administrative centers, a couple of scenes caught my eye.

One was the balcony Marcia Clark stood to feed her nicotine habit. My assumption is it was a balcony of the Criminal Courts building because City Hall could be seen across the street and the District Attorney’s office complex is in CCB (since renamed the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center). What jarred me was that the balcony Marcia Clark was on looked like it was about two and no more than three stories from the ground. The DA’s office complex is on the 18th floor. I can’t think of anything on the second or third floor that would have accounted for Marcia Clark being there.

On the plus side, Sarah Paulson became a more believable Marcia Clark in this episode. Not being part of the attorneys’ conversations, which made up the bulk of this episode, I focused more on the actors’ portrayals.

The more I see John Travolta in this show, the less I see Robert Shapiro. Travolta doesn’t look like Shapiro, is much larger than Shapiro, doesn’t sound like Shapiro and just isn’t the same presence as Shapiro. Or more accurately, Shapiro wasn’t the same presence that Travolta is. Travolta comes across to me as a larger-than-life character. Shapiro wasn’t.

Bruce Greenwood, except for being a bit smaller, is a dead ringer for Los Angeles Superior Court Criminal Division Supervising Judge James Bascue, not the Gil Garcetti character he was playing.

I’m still trying to figure out why David Schwimmer was cast as Robert Kardashian. Nothing about Schwimmer looks, sounds like or reminds me in any way of Kardashian. The character Schwimmer is playing looks like a lost geek who has no idea what’s going on.

And what was that ChinChin restaurant scene all about? Just as all of the promos featuring Kardashian’s ex, Kris Jenner, seemed like the maximum exploitation of what has become The Kardashians, scenes of Kardashian’s children seemed like nothing more than yet another way to capitalize on that brand.

Thinking about it later, though, perhaps it was a vehicle to showcase what the series makers’ effort to portray Kardashian as a principled person and loyal friend and not as vapid as his progeny appear to be.

The best performance so far as being the character he was portraying, in my opinion, was Sterling Brown as Christopher Darden.  My sense of Darden during the trial was that he was introverted and Marcia’s foil.

Kato Kaelin’s line, “Fame is complicated,” made me laugh. It was unbelievable to me that Kaelin could have formulated such a complicated thought. So was the sort of big personality he was imbued with. He always struck me as just quirky.

We’ll see how upcoming episodes play out. I do have to keep in mind that, like all dramatizations, fiction is sure to be mixed with fact. What bothers me about that is an unwitting public, unable to know one from the other, tends to believe that it’s all true.

 

 

 

 

Sorry, FX, Disbelief Is Not Suspended

As I watched the first episode of FX’s “The People vs. O.J. Simpson” tonight, which I had DVOed last night, I tried to think how to process what I had seen. I had the most trouble with Cuba Gooding Jr. as Simpson. He just wasn’t. Not in size, not in looks and definitely not in voice.

Before I logged onto this blog to write about it, however, I decided to read a review in “Connecting” newsletter by recently retired AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch, possibly the only person save the courtroom bailiff, the trial judge and his clerk, the parties to the case, and photographer Haywood Galbreath, who spent more time in the courtroom than I did.

I’m glad I read Linda’s review before I wrote anything. So far as I’m concerned, she nailed it.

Because of that, instead of writing anything else, at least about the first episode, I’m going to provide the link to her review.  http://myemail.constantcontact.com/Connecting—February-03–2016.html?soid=1116239949582&aid=tU78hcPb9YY

Thanks, Linda!

Kardashian-Jenner Ex a One-Time Show

I’m trying to square this as reported in People magazine:

Kris Jenner still recalls sitting in the courtroom during the trial of O.J. Simpson, hanging on every word, still grieving the loss of her best friend, Nicole Brown Simpson.”

According to my records and memory, Kris Jenner made it into the courtroom a grand total of once, and that was Sept. 27, 1995, a full 15 months after Nicole Brown was murdered and more than nine months after the trial’s opening statements.

That’s right, more than nine months after the trial’s opening statements. That means, while she was indeed pregnant–very pregnant according to my memory of her that day–as the People piece points out, she became so after the trial began. That should be neither here nor there, except that almost every mention of her in connection with the trial includes a reference to her being pregnant.

What merits noting is that she was not a frequent courtroom attendee. Here’s my account in Anatomy of a Trial of the only day in my records that Kris and her husband at that time, Bruce Jenner, came to the Simpson trial:

“Another day of a strange star alignment occurred less than a week before the trial ended. On September 27, Ito had given the two courtroom seats he held in reserve for his use, generally for visiting judges, his parents or other relatives, to a songwriter, David Foster, he knew and Foster’s wife. The wife had previously been married to former Olympian Jenner. And there in court that same day was Jenner with his current wife, who was the ex-wife of Simpson attorney Robert Kardashian.[i] The Jenners sat with former baseball star Garvey and his wife, who, months earlier, had been a prosecution witness.

            “While the media didn’t miss a chance to report on celebrity comings and goings, their accounts were silent on the non-stars he met with, often sacrificing lunch or a couple minutes of down time to do so.”

[i].  Author’s notes, Author’s journal, September 27, 1995.