Tag Archives: Vanity Fair

The Katz was Out of the Bag

A courtroom talker

That’s against the courtroom rules.

A Katz wife expelled.


Courtroom spectators routinely ignored the court order banning them from talking while court was in session.  One of two women kicked out for talking on this day was the wife of a former Los Angeles judge, Burton Katz.

Of greater interest to me was that Burton Katz was the judge who presided over the trial of the killer of actress Dominique Dunne, who was in the movie Poltergeist and whose father was author, Vanity Fair magazine correspondent and high-profile trial watcher. Dunne developed a vitriolic hatred of Katz after Katz sentenced his daughter’s killer to what Dunne thought was an outrageously light six years. That trial was the catalyst for Dunne to attend and write about high-profile trials. Dunne had a media seat at the Simpson trial, writing about it for Vanity Fair and for a book he said he was writing. I was concerned some kind of a confrontation might break out when Katz showed up at the trial. I needn’t have worried, though, as the two ignored each other.


“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