Friday, September 19, 2008

The O.J. Simpson Trial - Disorder in the Court

by Katherine Scardino

I have been watching CNN's live coverage of the O. J. Simpson trial and I am amazed at a few issues. First of all, this judge is worse than Judge Ito. And she is female, which is more distressing for me, as a woman who relishes seeing and knowing successful women who have made it in a man’s world.

I can only imagine what this jury is thinking about this entire fiasco. . . . Speaking of the jury—it is composed of 9 women and 3 men, all white. During jury selection, the defense objected to the State’s exclusion of all blacks, but the judge ruled that the State had made a racially neutral explanation for such exclusion, and overruled the defense objection.

This judge is not very “judicial.” She is having a hard time controlling Simpson's defense lawyer, Yale Galanter. I have been watching his demeanor with this judge, and he is not letting her intimidate him at all. I like that. There is a fine line between standing your ground and facing the “chief” in the courtroom in situations where you believe you are procedurally correct and putting your tail between your legs and sitting down and “obeying” orders, like a good little pup. That fine line could result in the defense attorney being held in contempt of court and possibly jailed. One of our cohorts in Women in Crime Ink, Vanessa Leggett, is well aware of this possibility after she refused to divulge the source of her information about a case, and consequently spent several months in the Federal Detention Center in Houston, Texas. I admire her for that. Not many people will stand up to a judge.

But, getting back to the subject . . . the State's first witness was Bruce Fromong, the sports memorabilia dealer O. J. is accused of robbing. Fromong testified that money was not an objective of this sordid incident. But then under cross examination, Mr. Galanter and the defense attorney for co-defendant C. J. Stewart, got Fromong to admit that he had threatened to call “First Edition” and had demanded a large sum of money. I could not tell for certain, but I believe that he did receive a sum of cash for a copy of the audiotapes. This witness looks sleazy, unethical and the perfect idiot who could be convinced by the State or by a conniving cop to tape some stupid deal like this one and make it look like O. J. Simpson was committing an aggravated robbery.

Yesterday, the lead detective was on the stand. I watched his testimony for a while and it was obvious to me that when he was being questioned by the defense attorneys, he was slow to respond, did not answer the question asked, and attempted to avoid answering questions. But, when the State’s attorney asked him questions, he sat up in his chair, responded properly, looked at the jury, and was generally a responsive, interesting witness.

This has happened to me on many occasions, and I can tell you, it is very frustrating. Sometimes, I just want to jump up out of my chair and run to the desultory detective or cop and shake him! This detective did not even run a background check on the complainants. If he had, it was apparent from the line of questioning that he would have found criminal backgrounds. Nor did this detective ask for any proof that the property that O. J. Simpson was attempting to get back belonged to these complainants. He did not ask for any receipts or any evidence at all that they, in fact, did “own” this property which obviously belonged to Simpson.

Anyway, it is interesting. I’ll keep watching. . . .

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

It is a circus. In this video, the judge reacts to OJ's cell phone ringing during the trial.
oj cell phone in court

Leah said...

I don't agree that this Judge is worse than Ito. She isn't good, but she is better than him.

According to the demographics, the black population in Las Vegas is about 10%, so he technically is only entitled to one black person and he has one - an alternate. Next time he should do the leg work before he commits a crime, if he wants black jurors.

TxMichelle said...

Okay what I want to know is who the hell in this country doesn't know that he is in court right now. Why would you call him? WTF>

LadySheila said...

Thanks for the laugh txmichelle! And yes, I agree with you counselor. Emotion shouldn't be exibited in the courtroom (especially by someone of that position). Forgive the ineloquence stemming from ignorance of details concerning the legal profession, but also seeming to be omited was a lack of patience, insecurity or lack of wisdom concerning what should be done at given moments that even OJ's body language picked up on as he controlled a smile when she "threatened everyone". In my experience, the rules are told once. You do not have to remind adults of the consequences, therefore, she should not have warned anyone but done what everyone knows will happen if they cross the line. Since she didn't, she will not earn any respect. Great place for this court. Wish I was a gambler. My bet, OJ will get off....

A Voice of Sanity said...

This case stinks like 4 week old herring. Paid off or biased witnesses, fake tapes (and why was there a tape?), biased police - no clean hands here.

You could make a case that OJ arrested these thieves he found in possession of his property - no kidnapping in that case.

Leah said...

He arrested the thieves??? That would mean that he called the police.

Michelle, that was good.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Leah said...
" ... he called the police."

I don't follow your logic. Listening to the tape, it sounds like an arrest, not a kidnapping.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Speaking of the jury —it is composed of 9 women and 3 men, all white. During jury selection, the defense objected to the State’s exclusion of all blacks, but the judge ruled that the State had made a racially neutral explanation for such exclusion, and overruled the defense objection.

There have been many studies showing how racism contaminates the US legal process, and how judges are often part of this problem. See this study (LINK) which is on the death penalty. One would think that here at least the system would try to be fair, esp. after Furman v. Georgia. The truth is that blacks are now treated worse than before, few are complaining about this and efforts to re-balance it have failed. "Racially neutral explanations" fail to convince me - I believe there are courses on how to come up with these.

LadySheila said...

Racism is a yucky topic as you always get confusion as to the definition (I found three in the dictionary I consulted; a belief of superiority, a policy as in government, and a hatred of other races for maybe no apparent reason) and then there are the perspectives of the individuals which complicates matters. Hispanics, asians, whites, men, women, etc., could all say they are being treated worse than before (another relative term), and I speak only what I know about which is my personal experience.

Today, as an ongoing student in all things social, it wouldn't matter to me (and I'm considered one solid race) if I had an all man, woman, black, white, red, yellow or green race of people on my jury. There is just as much racism in every group I have ever found on all sides of the fence. Racism is only one hate-button excuse. Simply put, it boils down to you either have integrity or you don't. A judge, prosecuting and defense attorneys having this professional quality should be able to tell if prospective jurors are the same. As this world is not perfect, there are going to be some bad apples that slip through to be seated at the jury, and on the legal side as well.

Anonymous said...

Race definitely got in the way when he was aquitted of murder. The state isn't obligated to go out and find blacks to be on a jury, just to satisfy someone because they are scared they will be convicted without them. They have random ways of picking people who get the note to appear for jury duty and they don't know the gender or race of these individuals until they show up for duty. When you commit a crime in a city that is 90% white and 10%black, you aren't likely to have many blacks reporting for jury duty. It is just impossible, which is why I mentioned in my first post that OJ should have done his homework before he did the crime. He does have one alternate juror that is black, so maybe before it is all over with, this black person will get to be one of the 12. That he doesn't have more black on his jury isn't anyones fault or problem.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Anonymous said... Race definitely got in the way when he was aquitted of murder.

Nothing could be further from the truth. Black juries convict black defendants every day. What 'got in the way' was stunning incompetence on the part of the LA police and their civilian employees. Simpson had enough money to show them up for what they were. A few hundred dollars spent by the police could have prevented the acquittal - but that would have needed thoughtful police work instead of sloppy, lazy 'business as usual'.

A Voice of Sanity said...

If you think I am wrong about lousy police work, read this (LINK) post by a lawyer, who certainly can judge police performance.

Anonymous said...

The judge worked as a reporter for a couple of radio stations before she began covering crime as a reporter for KTNV-TV, Channel 13.

She later graduated from the University of San Diego Law School and passed the Nevada bar exam before her 1984 graduation.

Jackie Glass is reputed to be one of the toughest judges at the Regional Justice Center when it comes to sentencing.

She has been known to impose harsher sentences than the ones recommended by prosecutors and the Division of Parole and Probation.

Anonymous said...

The other judge who was considered was Judge Lee Gates. The sole black judge in Clark County District Court, 55-year-old Lee Gates, is considered one of the most liberal judges at the courthouse.

As one defense lawyer put it, Gates tends to go with his gut, and "his gut is more defense-oriented."

Gates is known to have a temper and will snap at attorneys only to have his anger dissipate seconds later.

That is what they had to choose from.

Rae said...

A Voice of Sanity said...What 'got in the way' was stunning incompetence on the part of the LA police and their civilian employees.

Nonsense. What got in the way was stunning incompetence on the part of the prosecution and the judge.

A Voice of Sanity said...

Rae said...
Nonsense. What got in the way was stunning incompetence on the part of the prosecution and the judge.

Nope. The police took a sample of Simpson's blood, walked it through the crime scene and delivered it to the lab with some 'missing'. Then the technician spilled it, contaminating the entire lab. And those are just a couple of the many failures.

Had they taken Simpson to a separate lab, taken a sample, run the machine and then destroyed every trace of blood in front of his lawyers he would be in SQ right now as there would be no way to make any claim of mishandled evidence. But as the joke goes, "The LAPD are so incompetent they couldn't even frame a guilty man".

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