Tag Archives: judiciary

Where a Precious Few Are Now

In an apparent attempt to hitch a ride on Sunday’s Academy Awards in which ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America is nominated in the “Best Documentary Feature category, comes this brief on where five of the host of O.J. Simpson murder trial principals are now. I can’t think of any other justification for this little story.

Interestingly, the entry for the Simpson trial judge, Lance Ito, says he “became the most famous judge in the world, but then stayed out of the limelight. He retired in 2015.”

Omitted from that blurb is that during the 20 years between the end of the Simpson trial in 1995 and Ito’s retirement in  2015, he was one of the very few Los Angeles Superior Court judges to continue to allow camera coverage of proceedings in his courtroom. That in the face of judges and collective judiciaries in California, in the rest of the U.S. and in other countries that cited and continue to cite Ito allowing camera coverage of the Simpson trial for an almost universal camera ban in their jurisdictions.


Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson tells why Ito allowed cameras in both the Simpson trial and other court proceedings, and the fear and trepidation that kept his judicial colleagues from following suit.


Pistorius Creates S. Africa’s O.J. Moment?

When I read in The Telegraph that the downtown of South Africa’s administrative capital of Pretoria “was brought to a virtual standstill as legions of satellite trucks and emblem-emblazoned radio cars descended on the red-brick courthouse for what was billed as ‘South Africa’s OJ Simpson moment'”   during South African Olympian hero Oscar Pistorius’s court appearance on charges he murdered his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, I cringed. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/southafrica/9873170/Oscar-Pistorius-a-single-charge-read-out-and-the-world-famous-Blade-Runner-crumpled.html

That Pretoria, the South African judiciary and the world would be subjected to a comparable spectacle is bad enough. But court magistrate Desmond Nair’s indication that cameras would be barred from proceedings, was truly consternating.

Read my book! I wanted to scream. Please read “Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson”! I devoted an entire chapter to cameras, photographers and camera crews that covered the 1995 Simpson trial.  http://www.anatomyofatrial.com  The book also addresses the pros and cons of courtroom-camera coverage.

The crucial point, as I point out in “Anatomy”, is just where exactly the “media circus” is taking place.  A secondary consideration is whether courtroom-camera coverage helps mitigate or actually exacerbates a circus atmosphere — which, as astute observers of courtroom proceedings, both with and without camera coverage, know does not occur inside the courtroom.