Finding Simpson jury 'doable,' lawyer says

July 11, 1994|By Pamela Kramer | Pamela Kramer,Knight-Ridder Newspapers

LOS ANGELS — LOS ANGELES -- "Knock knock."

"Who's there?"

"O.J."

"O.J. who?"

"Great -- you're on the jury."

People around the nation -- and within the local jury pool -- have watched on television as prosecutors dropped a blood spatter here, a bloody glove there, a witness who heard mysterious thumps in the night near where the glove was found on O.J. Simpson's estate.

In the one-sided preliminary hearing that ended Friday, much of what viewers saw was damning to Mr. Simpson. He has pleaded not guilty to the stabbing death of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and a friend of hers, Ronald Goldman. They were killed June 12.

The "knock-knock" joke going around the courts reflects the belief that it will be impossible to find a fair jury. But given his goodwill celebrity, Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levenson said, "it's going to be as hard for the prosecution to find a fair jury as the defense. But I think it's doable."

Defense attorneys and prosecutors say that if the trial judge allows them to question potential jurors directly, the case can be tried fairly.

Said District Attorney Gil Garcetti: "I believe we can find fair and objective jurors" if allowed to question potential jurors directly.

"We know that there is sympathy out there, that people do not want to believe this is possible."

And the prosecution has lots of evidence it didn't reveal in the preliminary hearing. There are the blood types of spots found at Simpson's estate compared to those found at the crime scene two miles away, and of the bloodstains on gloves found in both places.

Prosecutors are expected to introduce genetic analysis on that blood. California courts have been divided on whether such evidence can be admitted.

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