Tag Archives: University of Missouri Press

Remember Where You Were When…?

The evening of Friday, June 17, 1994, I was winding down from a hectic work week that was dominated by the criminal case involving former football star-turned TV and movie celebrity O.J. Simpson capped by his disappearance that morning. He had failed to surrender to police at his lawyer-brokered time of 11 a.m. on charges that he had murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and a man at her condo, Ronald Goldman.

My husband and I were making a quick trip to a nearby shopping mall and thinking about grabbing a bite to eat. As always, our car radio was tuned to an all-news station. En route came a report that a car in which Simpson might be riding had been spotted on a freeway and might be trying to flee. I turned up the radio.

More reports aired. The car, a white Ford Bronco, wasn’t exactly fleeing. It was proceeding along within the speed limit — with a huge phalanx of police vehicles tooling along behind — apparently heading north from Orange County. No attempt by law enforcement to stop or corral the Bronco. Bizarre.

More reports. It looked like Simpson might be holding a gun to his head. Gawkers were flocking to the anticipated route reported by the media and crowding freeway overpasses, screaming, cheering, waving signs. Signs? People actually had time to make signs before or while rushing to a freeway overpass near them?

Forget why we had gone to the mall, I needed to find the nearest TV set — like in an anchor store home furnishing department. There, we joined other store customers and and gawked along with them — and, it turned out, a media-estimated 95 million other Americans. Television stations and networks across the country interrupted their regular programming — which included an NBA championship basketball game and coverage of international soccer’s World Cup — to broadcast the “chase.”

The rest is history, or rather what the media reported as history.

Yesterday, director of NYCityNewsService at CUNY Graduate School of Journalism, and former New York Daily News city editor Jere Hester, told listeners of Canadian Broadcasting Corporation‘s Q with Jian GhomeshiWhy the O.J. Simpson Bronco car chase was a game-changer“.

Something Hester said stopped me short.

“All of a sudden,” Hester said, “we were seeing him in a far different light. … this was someone who had a better than stellar reputation in the entertainment and sports world for 20-plus years and we were seeing that image transform before us.”

That image. A media-made image, for sure.

What struck me was the irony of another media-made image and how Hester formed his opinions and conclusions, not as someone who actually covered the Simpson case, although he believes he did. But as a member of the television-viewing public.

Twenty years ago, instead of being in Los Angeles and attending court proceedings in person, Hester was sitting in his New York Daily News newsroom watching events on TV. Yet, listen to this delusion:

“I came at this from a unique vantage point. For the most part, I was watching this on television, so my vantage point was seeing this through the eyes of the public.”

That, I submit, is NOT a unique vantage point. That is the same vantage point 100 million-plus other people in the U.S. and countless more in other countries had. Nothing about sitting in a newspaper newsroom makes his vantage point any more unique than Joe Blow sitting in his living room — except, perhaps, having more people around him to chew what they were viewing with.

And that has been my point and the primary reason I wrote Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson (University of Missouri Press, 2008).

What you see on TV is not the full or necessarily accurate picture, or complete or spin-free story.

Hester makes that point himself, not just in his comment about the media-made image of Simpson going into what quickly became known as that “slow-speed Bronco chase”, but in his observation about the courtroom and the proceedings during a brief visit he made to Los Angeles during the trial.

Someone who, through the media, we thought we knew.

Hester agreed that the fluff, such as Marcia Clark’s hairdos, overshadowed substance in “Simpson land.”

Although not indicting the media, he did say that being in the courtroom presented a different view than what he saw on TV.

“If you’ve ever had the experience of being at a taping of a television show … it was very much like that. You see that when you ever go through TV studio, it always looks bigger on TV than it does in person. The people look different.”

But the actual “show”? “I’m walking into what’s really kind of  an average-sized courtroom in the Los Angeles courthouse  and you’re seeing  these very familiar figures  and your first kind of instant recognition is the way that you would have when you pass a celebrity on the street and you do a double take.”

During proceedings, however, he realized the trial was not about entertainment “on any level, but that it was a search for justice.”

That said, he also realized that the “court of public opinion was going to have an effect in this case.”

And that’s where I part company with Hester. The court of public opinion had an effect on the aftermath of the case. But the trial itself, was the the prosecution’s to lose, which it did.

And that other media-made image? That of the trial judge, Lance Ito. That image fell victim to the “court of public opinion” along with what would have been a different judicial career.

Much of that is covered in Anatomy of a Trial, along with caveats and counsel for other jurists, courts and news organizations.





“Vanity Fair” Catches up with Simpson Trial Cast

Vanity Fair’s “Where Are They Now: The O.J. Simpson Cast” update of some of the players in the notorious 1995 O.J. Simpson trial in L.A. graces the magazine’s issue next month.

June 12, 2014, marks the 20th anniversary of the murder of Simpson’s ex-wife Nicole and her friend Ronald Goldman, which Simpson was charged with committing.

The VF promo includes 16 photos of icons of that case, including Kato, Nicole’s Akita dog, and the white Bronco Simpson’s friend drove in his televised freeway-gawking slow-speed chase.

Not among the photos are lots of actual people who had a daily courtroom presence from the day Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito got the case in August 1994 until the Oct. 3, 1995, verdict that made Simpson a free man. One of those people was AP reporter Linda Deutsch. Another was me.

A few days ago, I started re-reading my book, Anatomy of a Trial, as a refresher for my book club, which selected it this month. It is, by far, not the first time I’ve re-read the book, which was published in 2009, but it has been quite a while.

Amazing! popped into my head before I had even gotten through the Introduction. Amazing all that went on. Amazing that we all survived. Amazing that those murders were almost 20 years ago.

I also realized how relevant the book is, despite the trial taking place 19 years ago and the book being published five years ago. I still urge every judge facing a high profile trial, every lawyer participating in such a trial and every journalist who might cover one to read it. It’s still available in hard copy and e-format from the publisher, University of Missouri Press, Amazon.com and Barnes and Noble.

In addition to the book website, Anatomy of a Trial also has a Facebook page


The Book Author Who Didn’t Dies

Reading this morning that Fatal Vision and The Selling of the President 1968 author Joe McGinniss died, I repressed the urge to say, another one bites the dust.

Joe’s death follows that of a number of notables from the 1995 O.J. Simpson trial–fellow authors Dominick Dunne and Joseph Bosco; defense attorneys Robert Kardashian and Johnnie Cochran; newspaper reporters Andrea Ford, Dennis Schatzman and Robin Clark (killed in an automobile collision late in the trial), at least one juror, Tracy Kennedy–although McGinniss ended up shucking the chance to profit from it after investing daily attendance at court proceedings for more than a year.

In Anatomy of a Trial (published in 2009 by University of Missouri Press), Joe makes his entrance at my office in the Los Angeles County Courthouse within days of Joe Bosco. Here are a couple of excerpts that spotlight the rivalry and contempt among writers of various stripes who intended to cover the trial:

Bosco, author of Blood Will Tell, about a DNA-based court case in New Orleans, arrived in my office in late August 1994 full of hand wringing and teeth gnashing over the news that he might not get a courtroom seat in the Simpson case. …

With his graying mane flopping over a forehead festooned with bushy eyebrows, he hrumphed at newspaper reporters, who were “at the bottom of the food chain,” getting seats over himself, Joseph Bosco, who had paid his reporting dues and graduated to the fine art of writing books. He spewed indignation that Fatal Vision author Joseph McGinniss, whom Bosco called a hack, was going to get a seat and Bosco might not. The very idea was unthinkable to any rational human being who had the slightest modicum of intelligence or literary knowledge. …

Joe McGinniss was the yin to Bosco’s yang. Quiet, unpretentious and anything but flamboyant, McGinniss washed in to my office not long after Bosco with the advent of Southern California’s rainy season. Intent on learning the terrain and players, he seemed oblivious to his dripping jacket and rivulets of water running off strings of his gray hair and into his eyes. He announced sometime into the trial that he wasn’t talking to anyone or doing any research. His book would be from the jury’s point of view and based entirely on what occurred in the courtroom.

Although Bosco beat McGinniss to Los Angeles, McGinniss had the upper hand. Within days after Ito got the Simpson case, McGinniss wrote to him requesting a seat. Ito agreed, then told me. It was a done deal. Ito would not go back on his word, even though in hindsight after learning the ultimate fate of the book McGinniss said he was going to write, he might have decided otherwise. At the end of the trial McGinniss ditched his book project and reportedly took off for Europe to cover international soccer.

Veteran reporter, Linda Deutsch, who is in her 47th year with The Associated Press as its renowned legal affairs reporter whose coverage goes back to the 1970 Charles Manson mass murder trial, was outraged than any book author got a media seat at the trial. Here’s what I wrote in Anatomy about her reaction:

While hers was a cult of professionalism as opposed to the cult of personality that imbued so much of the nouveau journalism that was emerging in the mid-1990s, Deutsch could express righteous indignation with the best of them. An example is when the Simpson trial seating plan included seats allocated to people who were writing books.

“That’s unconscionable,” she fumed, puffing up her five-foot-tall frame, her cloud of champagne-colored hair fairly shivering. “They’re just in it for the money. They won’t be reporting anything to anyone until their books come out months after the trial.”

And Joe McGinniss’s didn’t come out at all, and never will.

While we all know none of us will get out of this life alive, the departure is a bit unnerving when one among the Simpson-trial ranks, which, as Deutsch observed at the memorial gathering for Robin Clark, who was about 40 years old, that Joe McGinniss held at his rented Beverly Hills house following Clark’s shocking and untimely death in August of 1995, had become family.

NBA Finals Wasn’t All Simpson Trial Affected

Some people don’t remember or were too young to realize — after all, it was 19 years ago — the unprecedented disruptions and alterations to normal life this trial and events swirling around it created.

O.J. Simpson chase chased NBA Finals off NBC in some markets  http://www.newsday.com/sports/media/watchdog-1.812020/o-j-simpson-chase-chased-nba-finals-off-nbc-in-some-markets-1.5501590

Something else that happened that, to my knowledge, was unprecedented was the secretary of state asking the Simpson trial judge, Lance Ito, to suspend court proceedings on the first Tuesday in November, which was election day and he was worried that people would be glued to their TVs watching the Simpson proceedings and not go to the polls which would result in a low voter turnout.

That request is covered in the Introduction and Chapter 11 (“More Craziness”) of Anatomy of a Trial.

The book is now available in digital format from the publisher, University of Missouri Press, at http://press.umsystem.edu/product/Anatomy-of-a-Trial,1229.aspx, at Amazon.com and at Barnesandnoble.com.


Publisher Features “Anatomy” on its Blog

The University of Missouri Press, which published my book, “Anatomy of a Trial,” featured it on its blog today — interestingly, the 19th anniversary of O.J. Simpson’s white Bronco slow-speed chase. Here’s the link.  http://umissouripress.blogspot.com/2013/06/author-spotlight-jerrieanne-hayslett.html  You can also check out my websites, http://anatomyofatrial.com and http://jerriannehayslett.com.

Check Out My Websites!

As Anatomy of a Trial publisher, University of Missouri Press, prepared to make the book available in e-format, I made arrangements to update my Anatomy website http://anatomyofatrial.com, and have a new site, http://jerriannehayslett.com, created.

If you get a sec, please check them out.

And a huge shout out to my web designer, Keith Watling at Watling Design LLC. Check out other sites he’s designed at http://watlingdesign.com. I highly recommend him.

Digital ‘Anatomy’ Marks Bronco-Chase Anniversary

Whoopee! Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson is now out in digital format. Check it out at publisher University of Missouri Press’s website here:  http://press.umsystem.edu/product/Anatomy-of-a-Trial,1229.aspx.

Roll out on Monday, June 17 — nineteen years to the day after O.J. Simpson’s infamous slow-speed Bronco chase that preceded his arrest on charges that he murdered his ex-wife, Nicole Brown, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

Who could have known back then the outcome of his 1995 trial and the ongoing saga that has encompassed two subsequent high-profile Simpson trials and his eventual imprisonment on a totally unrelated event.

And even from behind bars where he’s serving a sentence of up to 33 years after being convicted of kidnap and robbery in a Las Vegas hotel room in 2007, he continues to make news. Most recently, he’s appeared back in a Las Vegas courtroom trying to get the 2008 conviction overturned on the grounds that his lawyer had a conflict of interest and provided ineffective counsel.


New Life for “Anatomy”?

After the disturbing news that my publisher, University of Missouri Press, is closing, I had an encouraging conversation today with the university’s transitional liaison to the university’s plan for a new publishing operation. They hope all UMP authors will consider making the transition so the university can continue to publish our books.

What she outlined sounded interesting and possible. I told her the two main concerns I had, which is (1) for “Anatomy of a Trial” to be marketed as both an academic and a trade publication, which is what the UMP director and acquisition editor I dealt with when negotiating my contract said would happen — then didn’t after that director retired, and (2) that it be made available in digital form, which UMP either wouldn’t or couldn’t do.

The woman with whom I spoke today sounded very enthusiastic about both of those concerns being met.

I was also encouraged to learn about the aggressive marketing stance she said the new publishing operation would take. I said I understood the time, effort, thought, innovation and work necessary for a marketing plan to be successful and was eager to be a partner in any marketing efforts for “Anatomy” including pursuing the ideas I suggested, unsuccessfully, to UMP.

Stay tuned…

The Launch and First Signing

Anatomy of a Trial is officially launched. University of Missouri Press released the book last week, sent review copies to a couple dozen reviewers, news releases to a few dozen publications and news outlets, and its fall catalog featuring the book to a few thousand universities and colleges.


Today I had my first signing. Ida and Tom Spack graciously offered to host an event at their place, Ida’s Café, on 10th Avenue in South Milwaukee.


About 25 people turned out. Some were neighbors, a few were local business people, some were friends, two were members of my children’s book writers critique group, some were acquaintances of the Spacks and one or two had seen signs posted around town.


Among those who showed up were Kim Hall and her three children, Joey, 13, Maria, 10, and Gabriella, 7. Joey he didn’t think he had enough money to buy the book, but his mom did, so he said he would read her copy. Maria brought me a copy of her book, Alexander Rishoft, consisting of three chapters, which, at my request, she signed for me! Kim has enrolled Maria in a writing class at the Redbird Studio in nearby Bay View and I must say I am impressed! If this book is any indication, this young lady is very talented and has the potential of a very promising career.


So the signing went well. I talked a little about my background and how I came to write the book, read a couple of excerpts, answered questions, then, as I signed books, Ida brought out a large tray laden with fresh-baked pastries and cookies. What a treat!


Next Saturday, I move on to the Mukwonago Community Library=s >Midnight Magic= celebration B although the signing I and several of my fellow authors will be doing is scheduled for the afternoon.


Hopefully I=ll have mastered the art of posting photographs by then.


I’m starting small and building toward my first major tour, which is scheduled for Los Angeles after the first of the year.