Venue Change in Simpson Case
All attorneys, or certainly all litigation attorneys, know that the most important part of a case, and the threshold issue, is attempting to obtain a judge or jury who will give you at least a chance of winning the case. In the O.J. Simpson murder trial, there was zero chance for the prosecution to prevail in a Downtown Los Angeles courtroom. The deputies, and in particular Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, did a very good job, but they were dealt a losing hand.
If the case had been tried in Santa Monica, or many other judicial districts, the prosecution would have had an excellent chance of winning. I wonder what Dist. Atty. Gil Garcetti was thinking when he filed the case in Downtown Los Angeles when, in fact, the murders took place in the Santa Monica Judicial District.
MICHAEL L. ABRAMS
* If Garcetti would have been criticized by the black community for trying the case in Santa Monica because the defendant was black, don’t the victims’ families have any rights to see the case tried and adjudicated where the crimes took place?
And once the venue was changed, why were 10 peremptory challenges unexercised, which could have been used to try to get more white, Asians or Latinos on the jury? Was that a Garcetti political decision, too? The prosecution was warned by its own jury consultant that some of the jurors selected seemed hopelessly biased in Simpson’s favor.
Racial politics may have won but justice lost again and so will Garcetti come this March.
* If we are to be judged by “a jury of our peers”:
* Eliminate peremptory challenges, allow only challenges for cause.
* Pay jurors $50 per day so that capable people can afford to serve.
* Let jurors ask questions, so that they can make intelligent decisions.
* Reduce the size of the jury to six, with five votes required for conviction or acquittal.
* Take it for granted that blacks have a rightful distrust of the judicial system. It seems to me that it is long past time to voluntarily partition Los Angeles into smaller cities, each with law enforcement powers--and courts as well. That way, juries would be far more likely to consist of the defendant’s peers. An additional benefit: I very much doubt a jury consisting of O.J.'s Brentwood peers would have failed to convict.
Perhaps this may sound like a form of apartheid, but perhaps in the current climate, the level of distrust is such that we really cannot “just get along” without drastic, but hopefully temporary, measures.