Authors: Robert L Shapiro
Copyright © 1996 by Robert L. Shapiro
All rights reserved.
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First eBook Edition: November 2009
For Line11, Brent, and Grant
. Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Lyle Goldman are stabbed to death, their bodies found in the front courtyard of the former
’s Brentwood condominium on Bundy Drive.
. In Chicago, O.J. Simpson is notified of his former wife ’s death. He returns to Los Angeles from a Hertz business trip,
is temporarily handcuffed, and taken downtown by police for questioning. That evening, Robert Shapiro is contacted on Simpson
’s behalf and asked to become defense counsel.
. The funerals of the victims are held.
. As he ’s about to be arrested for murder, O.J. slips out of Robert Kardashian ’s home and goes on Bronco ride with friend
A.C. Cowlings. When he returns to his home on Rockingham, Simpson is taken into custody.
. Grand jury recused.
. Six-day preliminary hearing results: Judge Kathleen Kennedy-Powell rules there is ample evidence for O.J. Simpson to stand
trial on two counts of first-degree murder.
. O.J. pleads “absolutely 100 percent not guilty” to the charges. Judge Lance A. Ito assigned to hear case.
. Defense counsel files motion to obtain personnel records of Detective Mark Fuhrman.
. District attorney files motion to sequester jury.
. District attorney announces that the People will not seek the death penalty.
. Although Judge Ito finds that detectives acted with a “reckless disregard for the truth,” he upholds the legality of the
search of Simpson ’s home.
. First day of jury selection. Process will ultimately take five weeks.
. Jury panel selected: eight black, one white, one Hispanic, two mixed race; eight women, four men.
. Alternate jury selected.
. Defense waives Kelly-Frye hearing, which would have challenged prosecution ’s DNA evidence.
. The jury is sequestered. Hearing held re defense arguments against admissibility of domestic-abuse evidence.
. Prosecutor Christopher Darden and defense attorney Johnnie Cochran have heated exchange over racist language, specifically
word, regarding the upcoming testimony of Mark Fuhrman.
. First day of trial. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden deliver opening arguments.
. Johnnie Cochran makes opening statement for the defense.
. O.J. Simpson ’s book,
I Want to Tell You,
. Nicole Brown ’s sister Denise testifies to O.J. ’s mistreatment of her sister.
. Jurors, judge, and attorneys for both prosecution and defense take field trip to O.J. ’s home and Bundy Drive crime scene.
. Detective Mark Fuhrman, cross-examined by defense attorney F. Lee Bailey, adamantly denies using the word “nigger” at any
time in previous ten years.
. L.A.P.D. criminalist Dennis Fung testifies. Under cross-examination by defense attorney Barry Scheck, he concedes litany
of procedural errors.
. After three sheriff ’s deputies are reassigned, jurors protest, at first refusing to come to court, later showing up dressed
. Wrongful death suit filed on behalf of Frederick Goldman and Kim Goldman, Ron Goldman ’s father and sister.
. DNA testimony begins with testimony of Dr. Robin Cotton.
. O.J. tries on the bloody gloves in front of the jury. They don ’t fit.
. The prosecution rests its case against O.J. Simpson.
. Arnelle Simpson, O.J. ’s daughter, is first witness called in defense case.
. Controversy over possible conflict of interest re Judge Ito, his wife, L.A.P.D. captain Margaret York, and Mark Fuhrman
tapes. Marcia Clark asks Ito to recuse himself from Simpson trial.
. Clark changes her mind on Ito recusal. In turn, Ito will ask a second judge to rule on relevancy of Captain York ’s testimony.
. Superior court judge John Reid rules that Captain York is not relevant to Simpson trial and need not testify.
. Portions of Fuhrman tapes are played in court, with jury absent.
. Judge Ito rules that jury will hear only two excerpts of controversial tapes. Attorney Robert Tourtelot, who represented
Fuhrman in potential lawsuit against Shapiro, resigns as Fuhrman ’s lawyer.
. The jury hears excerpts from Fuhrman tapes.
. With jury absent, Mark Fuhrman appears on stand, invoking his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination.
. The defense announces that O.J. Simpson won ’t testify on his own behalf and requests that the judge instruct jury as to
reason for Fuhrman ’s further nonappearance. Judge agrees, but prosecution objects. The question goes to appeals court.
. Appeals court rejects Ito ’s jury instruction.
. Defense refuses to rest their case due to the unresolved question
of judge ’s instruction to jury re Fuhrman. In an unprecedented move, Ito orders prosecution to begin its rebuttal.
. Prosecution conditionally rests its case.
. Detective Vannatter is cross-examined by Shapiro on statements he made to mob informants, the Fiato brothers, about why
police went to O.J. ’s residence.
. Ito gives jury the option of finding O.J. guilty of second-degree murder.
. Both defense and prosecution rest their cases. In a statement to judge waiving his right to testify, O.J. says, “I did not,
could not, and would not have committed this crime.” Judge Ito gives jury instructions.
Sept. 2. and 27
. Clark and Darden deliver prosecution ’s closing arguments.
Sept. 2. and 28
. Cochran and Scheck deliver defense ’s closing arguments. Cochran makes controversial statements to the jury comparing Fuhrman
to Hitler, which creates furor both inside the courtroom and out.
. The case goes to the jury.
. After less than four hours, jury announces that it has reached a verdict.
. Jury finds O.J. Simpson not guilty of two counts of murder.
Ethics code 7—19.
An adversary presentation counters the natural human tendency to judge too swiftly in terms of the familiar that which is
not yet fully known; the advocate [for the defense], by his zealous preparation and presentation of facts and law, enables
the tribunal to come to the hearing with an open and neutral mind and to render impartial judgments. The duty of a lawyer
to his client and his duty to the legal system are the same: to represent his client zealously within the bounds of the law
American Bar Association Code of Professional Responsibility
he most frequent question a defense attorney is asked (and this goes double for one involved in high-profile criminal cases)
is “How do you sleep at night?” I heard it myself almost daily during the O.J. Simpson trial, especially when the prosecution
was presenting its case and the evidence against my client was mounting. The second thing I heard, especially from people
who know me well and feel comfortable leaning on me just a little harder, was “In your heart, don ’t you know he did it?”
My answer to the second question is simple: “I wasn ’t there, you weren ’t there. Ultimately, it is a matter to be decided
by the court.”
My answer to the first question—How do I sleep at night?—is a little longer.
We live in a nation founded on the principles of freedom and liberty. We fought dearly for those principles, and we pay a
continuing price. The Constitution—and, in particular, the ten amendments that make up the Bill of Rights—is where that price
is clearly set out, in plain and simple English. Of those first ten amendments, five are specific as to the rights of citizens
who find themselves in an adversarial relationship with the judicial process: the Fourth Amendment protects the people against
unreasonable search and seizure; the Fifth sets out the protections
of due process, including self-incrimination; the Sixth ensures a public trial and the assistance of counsel; the Seventh
guarantees the right of trial by jury; and the Eighth prohibits cruel and unusual punishment. It is the provisions in this
document and nothing else—not good intentions, not patriotism, not capitalism, not orthodoxy—that stand like a sentry between
us and our becoming a police state.
The Bill of Rights and an attorney ’s rules of professional conduct require (they do not
that anyone accused of a crime is entitled to a lawyer, as well as a trial. A defense attorney ’s job is not to “get someone
off” but rather to represent someone ’s interests when the formidable resources of the state are arrayed against that person.
And we aren ’t allowed to adjust our efforts to fit the circumstances, no matter the crime, no matter how morally questionable
the person accused of it may appear to be, no matter our public or private assumptions of that person ’s guilt or innocence.
A surgeon doesn ’t do less than his best when he ’s confronted with a person he detests on the operating table; neither does
a lawyer. They
Their respective professional codes of ethics forbid it. In my home state of California, the Business and Professions Code
Section 6068(h) expressly forbids an attorney “ever to reject, for any consideration personal to himself, the cause of the
defenseless or the oppressed.”