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THE O.J. SIMPSON MURDER TRIAL

UCLA law professor Peter Arenella and Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson offer their take on the Simpson trial. Joining them is defense attorney Jill Lansing, who will rotate with other experts as the case moves forward. Today’s topic: Damage control and Dershowitz.

PETER ARENELLA

On the prosecution: Never mind! Since the killer’s gloves don’t fit O.J., Darden had to undermine his own demonstration. But rational explanations about glove shrinkage might not dilute the emotional impact of what jurors saw. Ironically, the prosecution created a ‘Perry Mason’ moment that could provide the basis for some jurors’ reasonable doubt.

On the defense: Can this trial get any stranger? The prosecution solved the defense problem of how to get O.J. before the jury without being cross-examined. And Cochran defended the prosecution’s glove demonstration by attacking shrinkage explanations as speculative. One thing is likely: The glove debacle should shorten the defense.

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LAURIE LEVENSON

On the prosecution: Nice recovery. Although prosecutors can never completely erase the stain of the demonstration, now jurors have some idea why the gloves didn’t fit O.J.'s hands. But the prosecutors must do more than play catch-up. In court, the tie goes to the defendant. Prosecutors must remind jurors that the bloody gloves match those bought for O.J.

On the defense: Is Alan Dershowitz amazing or what? He has the chutzpah to argue against a retrial even before this trial is over. Although the defense feels smug after the glove debacle, there’s a lot more of this trial to come. It is unclear whether the defense will have the same good fortune with the shoe evidence as they did with gloves.

JILL LANSING

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On the prosecution: The prosecution spent the morning trying to un-ring the bell from Thursday’s infamous glove demonstration. Detailed explanations regarding shrinkage ran headlong into the old adage that one picture is worth a thousand words. Once again the prosecutors found themselves in a defensive posture.

On the defense: All the defense had to do was hold on to Thursday’s dramatic windfall. Between gloves sold on the East Coast having to survive wet weather and uncertainty that these gloves ever fit Simpson, they held the ground they had gained. The timing sends the jury away for the weekend with the ill-fitting glove image virtually unimpaired.

Compiled by HENRY WEINSTEIN / Los Angeles Times


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