UCLA law professor Peter Arenella and Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson offer their take on the Simpson trial. Joining them is Orange County defense lawyer Edi Faal, who will rotate with other experts as the case moves forward. Today's topic: direct examination of LAPD Detective Philip L. Vannatter, one of the lead investigators in the case.
On the prosecution: "The prosecution ended a very good week by presenting evidence supporting their claim that a trail of blood leading from Simpson's locked Bronco to the foyer of his mansion tied Simpson to the murders. If this trail of blood is not enough, prosecutors can point to the matching bloody gloves. Additionally, blood drops found next to a bloody left shoe print at the crime scene could have come from a cut finger on O.J.'s left hand."
On the defense: "This was a nightmarish week for the "Dream Team." It started with F. Lee Bailey's unrealistic prediction that he would assassinate LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman's character on the witness stand. It continued with charges that Bailey had lied to the judge and persisted when his credibility was only restored by a potential defense witness self-immolating. It ended with Bob Shapiro expressing regret that the defense had played the race card."
On the prosecution: "The prosecution got back on track. Vannatter dramatically showed the blood trail going from Simpson's Bronco up his driveway, past his cars and into his front door. He then linked this blood, as well as the blood in Simpson's Bronco and the blood trail at Bundy, to a cut on Simpson's left hand. All the while, Vannatter explained why the police did not rush to arrest Simpson, thereby countering a claim of 'rush to judgment."
On the defense: "The defense lawyers must have a sinking feeling. This trial has changed dramatically for them in the last 24 hours. They are no longer dictating the tone and content of this case. Rather, they must now confront the ocean of blood evidence against their client. We can expect them, therefore, to turn to their 'contamination' theory. They also now have to come up with a credible explanation for why Simpson had that cut on his left hand."
On the prosecution: "The blood trail to the foyer of Simpson's house will enable prosecutors to argue that he was directly connected to this crime. The delay in arresting him will lets them argue that there was no 'rush to judgment.' Christopher Darden's questions revealed to jurors that Simpson gave a statement to the police. It's hard to tell whether prosecutors will try to use the statement because if Simpson does not testify, it could help him if the statement is introduced."
On the defense: "The fact that Vannatter already is denying there was a 'rush to judgment' shows that the prosecution is addressing the defense agenda. If the contention is that O.J. left the Bronco, rushed to the house and left a blood trail, then the defense may argue that the person who allegedly jumped over the fence behind Kato Kaelin's room and dropped a bloody glove was a different person, because no blood was found there or leading from that area to the house."
Compiled by HENRY WEINSTEIN / Los Angeles Times