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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 : Looking Ahead for the Lawyers

October 08, 1995|Alan Abrahamson | Times Staff Writer

More than 15 months after it began, the drama is over. O.J. Simpson is a free man. And the lawyers whose lives were so consumed by the case must now move on. But to what? What does the future hold for the players in the case, those lawyers whose lives were consumed by the trial?

Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld

Co-directors of the Innocence Project legal clinic at Yeshiva University's Cardozo School of Law in New York, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld, two former Bronx Legal Aid lawyers, were the Simpson defense team's DNA specialists. The clinic has compiled a remarkable track record--using genetic testing to exonerate at least eight former inmates in cases across the country. Now, according to the Hollywood Reporter, Scheck and Neufeld are developing a drama series, based on the Innocence Project. The two lawyers once told the Washington Post that they used to write screenplays together; one screenplay, about a public defender in the South Bronx (who reportedly would have been played by Farrah Fawcett), "actually came close to being filmed," the newspaper reported. CBS reportedly wants the drama series for its lineup next year.

Marcia Clark

The lead prosecutor in the Trial of the Century has signed with the William Morris Agency and plans to write a book, according to Daily Variety, one of the Hollywood trade papers. Hollywood heavyweight Norman Brokaw, chairman and chief executive officer of the Morris agency, will head "a team" of agents pursuing projects for Clark, the paper said. The agency will represent her in "all areas," the paper said, meaning books, movies and TV--but, Brokaw told Variety, pay-per-view television is not an option. Asked by columnist Army Archerd whether she plans to stay with the District Attorney's office, Clark said: "I am at the crossroads in my life and I've made no decision about my future." Also unresolved, Clark told the columnist, is the custody case involving her two children.

Gloria Allred

Through the trial, Allred, who represents the Brown family, sometimes seemed to be everywhere--popping up in her power suits on nearly every television station, local and national. The trial's over. But Allred still represents the Browns, and still plans to be as visible as ever, on hand for a "new chapter with new problems that may need to be addressed." She declined to say what those "problems" might be, preferring to focus on her relationship with the Browns: "They're clients. But I consider them to be friends as well. I think Denise [Brown] was very kind when she. . .said [on television] that I was a friend. I think of them that way, too. So as a lawyer and a friend, I will continue to assist them wherever i can be of assistance."

Christopher Darden

"I don't know if I ever want to try another case. I don't know if I ever want to practice law again. It has shaken my faith in a system, a system that I never considered perfect, but one that I felt that, at least in the small number of cases that I've handled, was as close to perfect as possible." That was Deputy Dist. Atty. Christopher A. Darden speaking about the Simpson case, and that was in June--four months before the jury returned an acquittal, before Darden broke down in tears at a post-verdict news conference. He spoke then with the knowledge that he had already been named deputy in charge of the district attorney's Inglewood office--a satellite branch that serves a Municipal Court, where the 12 deputy district attorneys file complaints and handle preliminary hearings for felonies that go to trial at the Superior Court in Torrance. The job is still open. Will Darden take it? Top management at the district attorney's office is willing to wait for him, at least for a while--to wait while his hurt heals. "It hurts when you lose," one source said, "especially when you lose on national television." Meanwhile, Darden already has started teaching Criminal Justice 126 to undergraduate students at Cal State Los Angeles, according to school spokesman Dave McNutt.

F. Lee Bailey

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