Any reasonable person who listened to the evidence at the so-called "trial of the century" knows without out a doubt that O. J. Simpson killed his ex-wife Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman, the hapless waiter who was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Anyone who watched the announcement of the verdict and saw the shock and disbelief on O. J. Simpson's own face, as the not guilty verdict was read, would know that even the defendant knew he was guilty.
The prosecution never had much of a chance, because the presiding judge, Lance Ito, was a bumbling idiot who could not control his courtroom and make sound evidentiary rulings. . Instead, Lance Ito allowed his courtroom to become a three-ring circus. As a career prosecutor, I was appalled at the time at what went on in that courtroom, and Lance Ito's courting of the media was reprehensible. It was also clear that he was awed by and enthralled with the celebrity of the defendant appearing before him. One need only look to the civil trial in the matter to see how an effective judge controlled his courtroom. There, Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki made sound rulings on evidentiary matters and remained in control of his courtroom at all times. Consequently, justice was obtained in the civil case.
This tell all, no holds barred book is a well-written, engaging behind-the-scenes account of the "trial of the century". While Ms. Clark does include some personal information about herself, it is in the context of why she became a prosecutor and makes for a more fully fleshed account of how and why she may have acted as she did under the circumstances. She admits to some mistakes, and probably one of the biggest was having been lulled into a false sense of complacency about the competence of the criminalist assigned to the case, rather than going with her gut instinct to get whom she thought would be the best person for the job. Consequently, she was saddled with criminalist Dennis Fung, who for his incompetence in such a high profile case should have been summarily fired thereafter.
As for the defense "Dream Team", having watched their antics on court TV during the course of the trial, it was clear that they were playing to the media for all it was worth, and the media was lapping it up. So much of what the defense did went beyond what was sanctioned by evidentiary rules and the rules of professional conduct that I was both amazed and appalled. That they got away with this kind of behavior was reprehensible. The only one able to call them on it, however, was Judge Lance Ito, and he failed to do so. The blame, therefore, for all the shenanigans that went on during the course of the trial lies squarely on Lance Ito's shoulders. He definitely gets the prize for one of the greatest failures in American jurisprudence.
Still, one cannot forget prosecutor Chris Darden's ill-advised decision in proceeding to have O.J. try on the bloodied, weathered gloves found at the scene and at his home, rather than waiting for an exact duplicate pair to be delivered by the manufacturer. In light of the fact that the manufacturer had advised the prosecution that the original gloves would have shrunk as much as fifteen percent due to repeated exposure to dampness and extremes of heat and cold, it was downright stupid for Chris Darden to proceed to have the defendant try them on. While Ms. Clark had counseled Chris Darden not to proceed with this demonstration, but rather, to wait for the new duplicate pair, he did so anyway with disastrous results. As the lead prosecutor in the case, however, the fault for this debacle lies squarely with her on this issue, rather than Mr. Darden, because when you are the lead prosecutor, the buck stops with you. Ms. Clark need look no further than herself for this major faux pas and for the ensuing creation of Johnnie Cochran's famous, catchy sound bite, "If the glove doesn't fit, then you must acquit". Never mind that the new, duplicate glove fit O. J. to perfection!
Notwithstanding the glove debacle, the forensic evidence against the defendant was overwhelming, despite the bungling of criminalist Dennis Fung. Unfortunately, the painstaking forensics case put together by the prosecution was lost under the smokescreen set off by the defense. The "Dream Team" played the race card to perfection to a sound bite crazed media that helped create a public frenzy, no doubt aided by the celebrity of the defendant. The defense team's cries of police misconduct and the Fuhrmanizing of the trial was a pulp journalist's dream come true. It was also a travesty of justice, as all the hoopla and media distortion masked what the trial was really about, the savage and wanton murders of two innocent human beings. Moreover, while much has been said about this being a crime of passion that the prosecution tried as dispassionately as possible, one must keep in mind that Judge Ito tied the prosecution's hands in large part, while giving the "Dream Team' an unprecedented free rein.
This book will keep courtroom junkies enthralled with its war stories and sneak peak into the "trial of the century". Ms. Clark gives an excellent analysis of what went wrong, and while some of it may be a bit self-serving, she is right on the money for the most part. This is a riveting, page turning account, and she doesn't hold back any punches. Ms. Clark painstakingly goes through the evidence that was presented at the trial, as well as that evidence that Judge Ito, in his infinite wisdom, did not allow the prosecution to present. Anyone who reads this book will be outraged by the obvious miscarriage of justice, as it will be clear as a bell why O. J. Simpson is, without a doubt, guilty of the murders of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman.