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The O.j. Simpson Murder Trial

Arenella, Levenson & Co: The Legal Pad

March 07, 1995

UCLA law professor Peter Arenella and Loyola University law professor Laurie Levenson offer their takes on the O.J. Simpson trial. Joining them is Los Angeles defense attorney Albert De Blanc Jr., who will rotate with other experts as the case moves forward. Today's topic: Back to the crime scene.

PETER ARENELLA

On the prosecution: "Marcia Clark now has to remind the jury that the crime scene was handled in an appropriate, if imperfect, fashion. She also needs to convince jurors that police need not investigate every plausible alternative theory of who could have committed the crimes when there is ample physical evidence pointing toward Simpson. However, there needs to be an explanation for how Caucasian hairs unrelated to the victims found their way onto the gloves."

On the defense: "Johnnie Cochran again pounded home three defense themes: The police did not handle physical evidence properly, the coroner did not use Ron Goldman's stomach contents to determine time of death, and the police ignored evidence, such as Caucasian hairs found on the gloves that might have led to another suspect. Once again, the possibility that these were drug-related murders was alluded to by raising the specter of Faye Resnick."

LAURIE LEVENSON

On the prosecution: "The prosecutors seemed calmer when Cochran continued to attack the LAPD investigation. When he raised the idea that the killings could have been drug-related, neither Detective Tom Lange nor the prosecutors seemed particularly troubled by the allegation. Judge Ito also seemed less inclined to give Cochran broad leeway in his questioning. Something has happened, the prosecutors have more confidence and Ito has taken more control."

On the defense: "Cochran realized that after the almost two-week hiatus, he needed to remind the jury of the defense theory--the police rushed to judgment and, thereby, made mistakes in their investigation. But the problem with his questioning Monday was that he went back over areas that the jury already had heard days of testimony on. Much more of this sort of repetition and the jurors could get impatient and bored."

ALBERT De BLANC JR.

On the prosecution: "It was a good day for the prosecution. Marcia Clark, in taking Mark Storfer out of order, corroborated testimony of other witnesses regarding the time of the dog's plaintive wail. This is a successful attempt by the prosecution to fix the time of the homicides at Bundy at approximately 10:15 to 10:20. Certainly, it is not the final word on the topic, but the argument is about over concerning what time the dog alerted the neighborhood."

On the defense: "The defense continued to pound away at whether Police Department negligence made it impossible to fix the time of death, and whether police rushed to judgment and failed to follow up in their investigation, which could have led them to other suspects. Overall, however, Cochran has failed to move Detective Lange from the core evidence that pointed him in O.J. Simpson's direction. So far, Cochran has not developed evidence of a police conspiracy."

Compiled by TIM RUTTEN / Los Angeles Times

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