Jury Selection, O. J. Simpson Trial

The Run of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson, p. 188

In ordinary circumstances, government lawyers do little to prepare for jury selection in a criminal trial. Prosecutors’ offices almost never have the funds to hire jury consultants …

Simpson’s lead defense lawyer, on the other hand, hired the best jury consultant in Los Angeles.

Here’s what self is wondering: how could a second-tier celebrity like O. J. Simpson afford a team of lawyers as high-powered as these? Shapiro worked with a team of hand-picked lawyers. He also drew up a list of expert witnesses that included the jury specialist, the psychologist etc etc

Self sincerely hopes Toobin includes a section on how much the lawyers were paid. They got Simpson his freedom, self wonders what the price tag was? What exactly is the price tag of a great defensive team?

Self would love to read a book about the Harvey Weinstein trial. Because Weinstein presumably went with the very best lawyers, too. But the outcome for him was so very different from Simpson’s.

Stay tuned.

Sentence of the Day: THE RUN OF HIS LIFE

p. 155:

That night I took the red-eye home to New York (The in-flight movie was Naked Gun 33 1/3, starring, among others, O. J. Simpson)

There is a rich vein of irony running through The Run of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson. Toobin mines this for all it’s worth.

This book: classic with a capital ‘C.’

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Suicide Note, 6/15/94

p. 97, The Run of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson

The suicide note in its entirety, including mis-spellings:

To whom it may concern:

First everyone understand nothing to do with Nicole’s murder. I loved her, always have and always will. If we had a problem it’s because I loved her so much. Recitly we came to the understanding that for now we were’nt right for each other at least for now. Dispite our love we were different and that’s why we mutually agreed to go our spaerate ways.

Code-Two High: The Run of His Life, pp. 51- 52

Officer John Edwards and his partner, a trainee named Patricia Milewski, go to Brentwood to check out a 911 call. Edwards presses a buzzer, a woman indentifying herself as the housekeeper steps out.

She said, “There’s no problem here,” then told the officers to leave.

After a few minutes of this back-and-forth, a blonde woman staggered out from the heavy bushes behind the gate and started yelling to the officers, “He’s going to kill me! He’s going to kill me!” She pounded on the button that opened the gate and then flung herself into Edwards’s arms.

“Who’s going to kill you?” Edwards asked.

“O. J.”

“O. J. who?”

As she got into the squad car, the woman turned and said to Edwards, “You guys never do anything. You never do anything. You come out. You’ve been here eight times. And you never do anything about him.”

Then O. J. walks out of his house, wearing only a bathrobe and screams to the officers, “I don’t want that woman in my bed anymore! I got two other women . . . ”

The officer explains that he is going to have to take O. J. in.

O. J. : “You’ve been out here eight times before and now you’re going to arrest me for this?”

What really kills is that the housekeeper, who witnessed everything, tells the officers to leave. Women who enable abusers are the worst.

Not satisfied with her attempts to keep the police from taking Nicole’s statement, the housekeeper walks over to Nicole, seated in the squad car, and pleads, “Don’t do this, Nicole, come inside.” Then she tries pulling Nicole from the car.

It turned out there were two other women staying in the house, one of whom was having sex with O. J. Neither of these two women tried to help Nicole while O. J. was beating her.

Enablers are bad, but women enablers are the worst. Here’s looking at you, housekeeper! And the two women houseguests. The sounds of the beating must have been heard all over the house. O. J. said it was “a mutual-type wrestling match.”

The police discussed the case with prosecutors. They found O. J.’s explanation credible (That’s like asking a murderer for his version of events and then putting more credence on the murderer’s version than the victim’s because … well, because the victim’s dead. Or might as well be): “If this was just a … drunken brawl after a New Year’s Eve party, a prosecutor” said, “then maybe they should just let it drop.”

The police steer Nicole Simpson towards “mediation” rather than prosecution. That was pretty much the day Nicole Simpson’s fate was sealed. If she had filed charges, she might still have been killed by O. J., but at least he’d be in jail.

Nicole Simpson had called the police eight times. No one thought she should file charges.

Let me put it this way: No woman waits in the bushes for the police to come, with a black eye, and a lump on her forehead, and a cut lip, from “mutual drunken wrestling.” Why they put more credibility on his version than hers is beyond me. Maybe they liked watching USC football too much?

There was one woman police officer who came to the house that night, but she was a trainee. Doubt she would contradict her superiors.

Stay tuned.

The Run of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson

p. 48:

  • Simpson received virtually no education at USC. Even today, he can barely write a grammatical sentence.

The Run Of His Life: The People vs O. J. Simpson, p. 11

Self didn’t think this book would be as fleet as it is. But, props to Jeff Toobin for getting The Big Question out of the way quickly: Yes, O. J. Simpson was guilty. Moving ON!

Because of the overwhelming evidence of Simpson’s guilt, his lawyers could not undertake a defense aimed at proving his innocence — one that sought to establish, say, that some other person had committed the murders. Instead, in an astonishing act of legal bravado, they sought to create for the client — a man they believed to be a killer — the mantle of victimhood. Almost from the day of Simpson’s arrest, his lawyers sought to invent a separate narrative, an alternative reality, for the events of June 12, 1944. This fictional version was both elegant and dramatic. It posited that Simpson was the victim of a wide-ranging conspiracy of racist law enforcement officials who had fabricated and planted evidence in order to frame him for a crime he did not commit. It was also, of course, an obscene parody of an authentic civil rights struggle, for this one pitted a guilty ‘victim’ against innocent ‘perpetrators.’

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

For NOVEMBER ROAD, Memories of a Long-Ago Las Vegas

Lou Berney’s thriller, November Road, is nearing its mournful denoument. The killer’s getting closer and closer.


Before we get there, however, there’s the 1963 Las Vegas Strip, where Frank Guidry discovers his past and Charlotte discovers her future.

Las Vegas was the one place self associates with “family vacation” — the one place we returned to, year after year, for about five years. We’d stay at a hotel — either the Bellagio, the Venetian, the Paris, or the MGM Grand — and loll by the pool and take in a show. We’d grow fat at hotel buffets. Here’s a picture of self and son, taken about 15 years ago, at Hoover Dam. How ironic that this is the ONE picture she has of a particular trip. And it’s not even IN Las Vegas.


With Son at Hoover Dam, Just Outside Las Vegas, a Lifetime Ago

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.

Alita, Robert Rodriguez, November Road

At one point, close to the end of Alita: Battle Angel, self started to see if she could correctly predict the outcome. There was the cute guy (who looks A LOT like one of self’s nephews), the charming father figure (Christoph Waltz) and the Evil Henchman (Ed Skrein). At a certain point, self found herself hoping for a certain outcome, which meant that she was vested. And then she realized she was watching Robert Rodriguez, not Guillermo del Toro. And she suddenly knew the outcome. Which gave her a very satisfying feeling of closure.

Alita: Battle Angel — Five Stars

Now, she is at a point in her current read, November Road, where all characters and all plot lines begin to intersect. And they intersect in what is surely one of America’s most beautiful and most mysterious states: New Mexico. There’s a tiny hamlet called Goodnight that has one sheriff, one deputy, and one jail cell.

Here’s a Wikipedia page about the Goodnight Trail, if anyone’s interested.

The book’s veering into No Country For Old Men territory, with this one crucial difference: the MC, Frank Guidry, is good-looking. AND smart.

Since she’s never read Lou Berney before, she has no idea what authorial quirks are coming into play. She has a feeling, though, that Berney is going to be true to the genre. And that genre is noir.

The writing is of the hard-boiled crime genre category (which is to say, self loves it).

p. 136: Seraphine was fond of Guidry, he knew, but that and a nickel would get him one song on the jukebox.

See what self means?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.



Sweet(er) in Redwood City, California

After years of hectic traveling, it is sweet indeed to be back in Redwood City:



Even sweeter: having The Alienist to look forward to every week.

New episodes air every Monday night on TNT.


Dakota Fanning is just killing it in the role of Sara Howard, secretary to Teddy Roosevelt. In this incarnation, Roosevelt is the New York City Police Commissioner (circa 1896).

It is also grrrreat to see Brian Geraghty in the cast. Self lost track of him after The Hurt Locker. Geraghty plays Roosevelt! (When self watched Geraghty in The Hurt Locker, all those years ago, she never imagined that the next thing she saw him in would be The Alienist, portraying a future American president)

Also great are Daniel Bruhl (who self hasn’t seen on the big screen since Inglorious Basterds) and Luke Evans (who self has seen in the Lord of the Rings movies and in Immortals)

Stay tuned.

Tom Wales, Federal Prosecutor, Murdered 2001, In His Own Home (No Arrests)

Self is doing this because she knew his ex-wife, Elizabeth Wales.

Perhaps because of his line of work, he was cautious. His home was equipped with motion sensors connected to floodlights.

30 days after 9/11, Tom Wales was shot multiple times through a basement window of his home office in Seattle, by a killer who surely had been observing him for a while, who knew that Wales worked late into the night, sitting at his desk, his back to the window.

The weapon was a Makarov 9mm semi-automatic handgun . . .  believed to have been threaded for a silencer (and yet, neighbors, one of whom was the acting District Attorney, heard the shots)

Public FBI reports state that Soviet Bloc countries manufactured the Makarov through approximately 1968 . . .

More in The New Yorker, a piece by Jeffrey Toobin, 6 August 2007, and The Atlantic, a piece by James Fallows, 10 October 2014.

Stay tuned.

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