UCLA law professor Peter Arenella and Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson offer their take on the Simpson trial. Joining them is Wyoming defense lawyer Gerry Spence, who will rotate with other experts as the case moves forward. Today's topic: Conclusion of Detective Ronald Phillips testimony and introduction of the bloody glove.
PETER ARENELLA (On the prosecution)
"A criminal trial has occasional moments of high drama interspersed between long stretches of tedious testimony. Showing a fine sense of drama, Marcia Clark ended the day by introducing the first physical evidence from the murder scene: the bloody glove and the blue knit cap. But Clark may be wondering why the spectators and press appeared more enthralled by the moment than most of the jurors, whose faces remained impassive and inscrutable."
PETER ARENELLA (On the defense)
"Johnnie Cochran's task was damage control and he did it brilliantly. Phillips' testimony had left the impression that O.J. had not acted like an innocent man when first notified of his ex-wife's death. But that conversation took on a more innocent cast after Cochran's cross-examinination. Cochran emphasized the brevity of the conversation, Simpson's anguish and the fact that he did ask Phillips, 'What do you mean she was killed?' "
LAURIE LEVENSON (On the prosecution)
"The last-minute showing of the bloody glove and the ski cap was more than courtroom drama. It was the prosecution's statement to the jurors to stop focusing on the invisible and the unknown and start focusing on the evidence. Throughout Detective Phillips' testimony, the defense had made the issue whether the police had conducted their invetigation according to the rules. The prosecution wants to refocus the jury on what the investigation actually produced."
Laurie Levenson (On the defense)
"Cochran is very good at what he does. Through his questions, he presents the defense view of why evidence is not as damaging as it first appears. Friday, Cochran tried to defuse the impact of Phillips' testimony that O.J. had not asked how Nicole had died, by pointing out that O.J. had had very little sleep and may have been in a state of shock. Even so, it is going to be up to the jurors to decide whether this is a reasonable explanation."
GERRY SPENCE (On the prosecution)
"With marvelous timing, after three days of endlessly boring examination and cross-examination, we finally got to see the infamous bloody glove, the glove that clutched the killing weapon and the cap that encased the evil head of the killer. The jurors leaned forward and their eyes locked on the horrid objects and then the court declared a recess for the weekend, which was good timing for the prosecutors."
GERRY SPENCE (On the defense)
"I can't give laurels to this kind of cross-examination. You can bloody and dirty every witness that takes the stand. All it proves is you can bloody and dirty the witness. It doesn't prove the witnesses are liars, that there is a conspiracy, that the defendant is not guilty, only that you can bloody the witnesses. To put it another way, what the defense is saying is by being inefficient you only have a mountain of evidence, instead of a whole range of mountain of evidence against me."
Compiled by HENRY WEINSTEIN / Los Angeles Times