THE SIMPSON LEGACY / LOS ANGELES TIMES SPECIAL REPORT : Trial & Error: FOCUS SHIFTS TO A JUSTICE SYSTEM AND ITS FLAWS : Weighing he Necessity of Change : How One Case May Reshape Criminal Justice in America

The verdicts in O.J. Simpson's double murder trial rang through the halls of American justice like a bell, and the echoes will toll through the system for years to come.

For the Los Angeles Police Department and the county coroner's office, the acquittal sounded a call to join the rest of the 20th Century in its regard for science and efficiency. It also sounded an old tune about honesty and bigotry. How closely either institution is listening is likely to be a subject of controversy all its own.

Many observers believe that the not guilty verdicts intoned a death knell for cameras in the courtroom. And in the district attorney's office, the sound of failure in another high-profile prosecution rang like a political dirge.

To defense attorneys, Simpson's acquittal was a clarion call to an aggressive new era of high-tech trial tactics. Law schools from Georgetown to Los Angeles are already repeating the trial's lessons to their students.

Like the trial, the verdict's message is ambiguous, but it reverberated from the bench to the Bar, from the squad room to the classroom, from the morgue to the chambers where laws are made. None of the institutions charged with administering justice failed to hear its echoes.

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