Did you sometimes feel like you were running a day-care center?
Occasionally a judge would say, "Jerrianne, what are the children up to today?" I didn't feel that way. These are people who had jobs to do under difficult circumstances. I didn't agree with things some of them did. They had marching orders. Trials are slow and kind of plodding, and so they needed something to fill the gap. But trying to keep a handle on it ...
Part of your book's title is "Public Loss." What did the public lose?
Their ability to access the courts through cameras. There have been restrictions placed on public access to proceedings -- gag orders, sealed documents, closed hearings and so forth. I think by having less access, they have less understanding of how our public institutions work. This really disturbs me too: The public felt a loss of confidence in not just the courts but in the news media.
Simpson's was called "the trial of the century" -- but why doesn't it still engage people the way we thought it would?
I think it was the trial last year in Las Vegas. I really think when he was convicted and sentenced [there] everybody dusted their hands and said, "Good riddance, you finally got what you should have gotten 15 years ago; we're done with you."
You went there a couple of times. Did he recognize you?
He did. I never spoke to him in Los Angeles -- it was inappropriate. In Las Vegas, he was coming out of the courtroom one day as I was going in, and we met right in the doorway. He said hi, and I said hi. What do you say after that?
This interview was edited and excerpted from a longer taped transcript.