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Prosecutor's Illness Delays Simpson Case

October 14, 1994|ANDREA FORD

Jury selection in the O.J. Simpson case was unexpectedly halted Thursday because one of the lead prosecutors, Deputy Dist. Atty. William Hodgman, was ill with stomach flu.

Judge Lance A. Ito granted a request from Deputy Dist. Atty. Marcia Clark to postpone the selection process until today.

Ito also ordered prosecutors to turn over to the defense numerous investigative reports and other items, including socks taken from Simpson's home that are now undergoing scientific testing at a laboratory in Berkeley. As soon as that testing is done, Ito told Clark, the socks must be turned over to defense forensic experts.

Simpson defense lawyer Robert L. Shapiro told Ito that he had been trying to get the items from the prosecution for weeks.

Before the potential jurors were excused for the day Thursday, Ito apologized to them for any inconvenience the postponement may have caused them.

About 80 people had shown up for the second day of voir dire, or oral questioning.

Shapiro had strongly objected to the postponement and at one point jokingly offered to send home Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., another of Simpson's attorneys, "to even the playing field."

On a more serious note, Shapiro noted that the selection process was getting backed up, an observation with which Ito agreed. On Wednesday, the first day of voir dire, only four potential jurors were questioned instead of the 20 Ito had expected.

Meanwhile, the judge released a general profile of the first batch of potential jurors under consideration. Of the 94 people, whites and blacks were represented in nearly equal proportions--40.4% and 39.4% respectively--trailed next by Latinos with 12%. Asian Americans and Native Americans were represented in equal proportions with 3%. Women outnumbered men 54 to 40.

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