Tag Archives: Marcia Clark

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

It’s true that Marcia Clark got a lot of grief during the Simpson trial, much of it ridiculous, so far as I was concerned. Her hairdo, her attire, shade of her lipstick. Even though I thought all the coverage of her appearance was vapid non-news didn’t mean I had a favorable opinion of her or felt sorry for her.

She struck me as arrogant, haughty, overly confident and inappropriately flirtatious toward defense attorney Johnnie Cochran — when she wasn’t fighting with him.

My sole knowledge of her was from my courtroom vantage point. What I saw each day was a woman for whom the trial judge had agreed to start court a half-hour later than he wanted to because of her child-care situation, who, as I wrote in Anatomy of a Trial, “habitually arrived later than the agreed-upon later time. And her 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, barely an arm’s reach from the jury box.”

I also thought she misjudged the jury.

I had no direct communication with her and knew only what was reported about her, which might have been no more accurate than representations many members of the media made about the trial judge, Lance Ito. That said, it was my understanding that Clark believed she had connected with the jurors and that they thought the prosecution was presenting a convincing cased against Simpson.

In my book, I described my perception of the jury’s reaction to her:

“The African-American women sitting in the jury seats no doubt understood child-care problems, but more likely from a different perspective than an affluent attorney. I detected a growing disdain among the jurors for Clark’s chronic tardiness—in itself a sign of disrespect for not only for them but for the entire court and its business—the haughty demeanor she projected, and inexplicable schizophrenic alternating hostility and flirtatious posturing toward defense attorney Cochran. The black female jurors’ body language included arms crossed over chests, heads lowered with chins tucked into necks and an almost imperceptible drawing back into their seats. Certainly, none of that was lost on arguably one of the defense team’s most perceptive and incisive members in the courtroom.”

An article I read recently, made me reconsider my perception. Was what I had seen as haughtiness really her way of dealing with the stupid media stories about her appearance. Was what I saw as her nose in the air really her holding her head high to show that she was above the mindless coverage and focusing on the serious business of prosecuting a man accused of committing a double murder.

Might what seemed to me to be vamping into the courtroom, unapologetic to anyone about anything have been her way of dealing with feeling self-conscious and trying to ignore the media’s superficial tripe?

In the article, “‘The People v. O.J. Simpson’ star Sarah Paulson: It’s ‘mind-boggling’ that nobody rallied around Marcia Clark“, Paulson, who plays Clark in the miniseries is quoted as saying, “She was collectively abandoned by her people. She didn’t really have a lot of support from either other female attorneys or just women in general — and that, I think, is a great shame,” she continued. “I don’t know how she did it. I don’t know how she got up in the morning.”

Whether or not that was the case, I don’t know. But taking into consideration the ridiculous media coverage of her along with the marital and child-custody conflict going on in her personal life, which I don’t think was exaggerated in the miniseries, has made me rethink my assumption about her demeanor during the trial. How would I have acted entering a courtroom to face, not only the need to make my case, my responsibility to the people of the state I was representing, the murder victims’ families and the very people who were critiquing my clothing and hair  as if that were important news, or news at all? I wonder.

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The Wrong and the Right of OJS Episode 4

Most of what FX got wrong in the fourth installment of its People vs. O.J. Simpson miniseries was either minutia most people wouldn’t care about or reinforced misperceptions they already have, or even worse, created misperceptions that those who weren’t born then or were too young to have known about it.

First is the trial judge, Lance Ito’s glee or even giddiness upon learning that the Simpson case had been assigned to him. Just a few months before the murders Simpson would be accused of committing even happened, Ito spoke at a conference I also participated in, in which he said any judge who wanted a high-profile trial should have his head examined. Ito had past experience with trials like that and knew they created headaches no one would want. I had also had some experience in that arena with both the Rodney King-beating and the Menendez brothers-parricide trials.

Ito was much more astounded and flummoxed by the crazy media coverage than “star-struck.” He was a highly regarded jurist and probably one of the smartest individuals I’ve known. His flaw, so far as I’m concerned was his naiveté. He neither welcomed nor craved the media attention.

Of all the TV talk shows that Faye Resnick appeared on in connection with her rushed-to-print book, it was surprising that the miniseries producers chose Larry King Live for its production. When Ito learned that the book was to be released before the jury was seated, he instructed me to contact all the popular TV talk shows and ask to delay booking Resnick until he could sequester the jury. Larry King is the only talk show host who agreed to do so.

Otherwise, the niggling things that bothered me was the lousy casting of Ito’s bailiff, Guy Magnera. I look more like Magnera than the guy that played him in this show.

The preliminary hearing judge in the case was Kathleen Kennedy-Powell, an attractive middle-aged woman, not the old white guy who was cast in that role.

One would have thought that with all the attractive, leggy blonde actresses to chose from the show’s casting director would have had no problem finding one who looked credibly like the defense team’s jury consultant Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, instead of the gnome who got the part.

On the plus side, Joseph Siravo is a dead-ringer in both looks and passion as Fred Goldman, whose son Ronald was murdered along side Simpson’s ex-wife, Nicole Brown.

I understood the focus group’s assessment of Marcia Clark. No matter what her intentions or self-image, she came across as a haughty know-it-all who consistently vamped into the courtroom late almost every morning, even though Ito complied (reluctantly) with her request to start the court day half-an-hour later than the normal time.

That brings me to the clocks. Ito’s courtroom had only one clock on the wall when he first got the case. After the attorneys, particularly Clark, didn’t seem to grasp the concept of time, he ordered three more — I was there the day they arrive and he had them installed. They didn’t look anything like the one in the miniseries, either. He also didn’t have his collection of hourglasses on the bench in those early days, either. He brought them out from his chambers, one by one, as another ‘subtle’ hint for the lawyers to be on time and to quit their delaying tactics.

 

 

Don’t Make Excuses for Him, Marcia

Media reports abound these days with accounts of what the 1995 Simpson trial participants think of the FX drama “The People vs. O.J. Simpson. Here’s and excerpt from one quoting Deputy District Attorney and lead prosecutor in the case Marcia Clark:

Marcia Clark on What Episode One of The People v. O.J. Simpson Got Right and Wrong

(Q) It was also depicted in Jeffrey Toobin’s book as if you had no choice but to work with Bill.

“That was what I was going to tell you. It’s not the writers’ fault, you know. They didn’t know. They based the script on a book that has glaring inaccuracies. Toobin got a lot wrong because he’s not behind the scenes. He’s not there. And so he has third-party sources he talks to that don’t care about getting it right, or deliberately lie.”

I made this observation in my book Anatomy of a Trial (available directly from me at the deeply discounted price of $13, which includes shipping cost — give me your email address so we can make arrangements) on pages 65-67. Hearsay wasn’t Toobin’s only problem with inaccuracy. He could get it wrong even when he was behind the scenes. That is covered in my book, too, on page 64.

‘Documentary Promoted With Fantasy

If  the upcoming ESPN-produced miniseries “OJ: Made in America” isn’t any more accurate than a promo piece posted on the website Hollywood Outbreak then categorizing it as a documentary is a misrepresentation.

The promo includes the assertion that “While (former Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney Marcia) Clark has been involved with the media since the trial concluded in 1995, she has never really spoken about the trial and her feelings on the case until now.”

Surely, this is a jest. A mere 20 months after Clark’s prosecution of Simpson for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Brown’s acquaintence Ronold Goldman went down in flames with Simpson’s acquittal, Clark’s book co-produced with Teresa Carpenter in which she went into detail about her take on that trial.

She’s also done numerous print and broadcast/cable interviews and is represented as a public speaker by Hachette Speakers Bureau.

 

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia! Geez

The Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney, Marcia Clark, who was the lead prosecutor on the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder case, was interviewed not long ago and included as part of a promo barrage for a made-for-TV fantasy drama due to air next year.

In the interview with ET, she said, “I knew if there was a verdict, it was going to be a not guilty, and still there was that little part of me that said, ‘But they can’t! They can’t do it.'”

My reaction was, just believing a defendant is guilty isn’t enough, Marcia. You had to make the jury think so, too. Beyond a REASONABLE doubt.

Clark might have thought “The evidence was overwhelming” as she told ET, but I think there was plenty of evidence proving that she didn’t use the evidence she thinks was overwhelming to prove Simpson’s guilty beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury. Two glaring examples of what might have planted seeds of doubt in jurors’ minds are(1)  having Simpson try on gloves that were guaranteed not to go on over his latex-clad, arthritis-swollen hands, and (2) the lead detective on the case committing perjury on the witness stand.

One bit of fantasy being promoted as fact in the upcoming TV drama is this contention: Kris was often present in the courtroom with Caitlyn Jenner, formerly Bruce Jenner, as Kris’ ex-husband Robert Kardashian was a part of Simpson’s legal “Dream Team.”

All I can say is, NOT! The Jenners showed up one day very late in the trial, Sept. 27, to be exact, and sat with their buddies former Dodgers pitcher Steve Garvey and his wife. I wrote about that strange spectacle on page 67 of Anatomy of a Trial.

 

Tapes Fallout Continues

A conflict concern.

Was it a ploy for mistrial?

Prosecution blinked.

8/17/95

Marcia Clark threatened to move to recuse Ito over the issue of his wife being a subject of the Fuhrman tapes, but waited over night. Suspicion was she was testing public opinion to see if the public would be against recusal and causing a mistrial.  When she said she decided not to file the motion, Ito and I both said she blinked. No one wanted to have to start that marathon all over again. My guess is that D.A. Gil Garcetti, who was elected to his office, said no to recusing Ito because public uproar would have almost guaranteed he wouldn’t have been re-elected.

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia

Marcia runs them down,

Casting nasty aspersions.

Cough up two-fifty!

7/20/95

Ito fined Marcia Clark $250 for making disparaging remarks at Simpson’s lawyers. That was some pretty expensive lip.