UCLA law professor Peter Arenella and Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson offer their take on the Simpson trial. Joining them is former Los Angeles County District Atty. Robert Philibosian, who will rotate with other experts as the case moves forward. Today's topic: Exit Mark Fuhrman.
On the prosecution: With only a few minutes of testimony from Detective Fuhrman and Lt. Frank Spangler, Marcia Clark slammed shut the narrow window of opportunity for Fuhrman to have found and hidden the second bloody glove at the crime scene by pointing out that he was never alone. Clark also ridiculed the idea that Fuhrman would risk his career and his liberty by planting evidence when he didn't know whether O.J. had an alibi or whether there were witnesses to the crime.
On the defense: Potential defense witness Max Cordova may have rehabilitated F. Lee Bailey's credibility by recalling that he had talked to him. But Cordova destroyed his own usefulness to the Simpson defense by his sudden 'dream' recall of an incident with Fuhrman that he had persistently denied in many previous media interviews. The defense can only hope that Kathleen Bell has no similar quirks and that other credible witnesses come forward.
On the prosecution: The prosecutors must be happy to be back in the murder trial of O.J. Simpson and not the trial of Mark Fuhrman. Clark clearly felt that Fuhrman had done well because she chose not to engage in a prolonged redirect examination. Rather, she asked only questions that show why it would have been illogical for Fuhrman to plant the glove. The prosecutors then called witnesses, like Spangler, to corroborate Fuhrman's testimony.
On the defense: You could just hear the wind go out of the defense sails Thursday. Bailey ended his cross-examination with a whimper. The defense team had promoted Fuhrman as a make-or-break witness, but he may have broken them. They never established how or why Fuhrman would risk his career to plant the glove. Now, they must face even tougher evidence against Simpson--the physical blood DNA evidence.
On the prosecution: Clark showed great confidence and smart strategy by asking Fuhrman only seven questions on redirect. She focused the jury's attention on Fuhrman's state of mind, indicating that he did not view Simpson as a suspect and, therefore, would not have planted evidence. She also cut off additional cross-examination by Bailey because the defense is limited on re-cross to only subjects covered in redirect.
On the defense: Bailey wisely decided not to engage in recross-examination of Fuhrman. If he had made any headway at all in trying to convince the jury that Fuhrman was a biased, lying witness he would have lost that momentum by giving Fuhrman the opportunity to clean up any problems with earlier answers. Bailey appeared to have run out of steam and out of ideas. He withdrew from the field and left Detective Philip Vannatter to Robert Shapiro.
Compiled by TIM RUTTEN / Los Angeles Times