Evidence from Simpson home allowed

September 22, 1994|By Los Angeles Daily News

LOS ANGELES -- O.J. Simpson's attorneys were unable to persuade a judge to throw out damaging evidence Los Angeles police officers seized during searches of Mr. Simpson's property -- but gained a minor victory along the way.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lance Ito ruled yesterday that Detective Philip Vannater showed, at the very least, reckless disregard for the truth in an affidavit used to gain a June 13 search warrant for Mr. Simpson's home.

Still, Judge Ito concluded, items including blood stains on Mr. Simpson's driveway and his Ford Bronco provided enough evidence to justify issuance of the search warrant.

The defense had sought to persuade the judge to reject the warrant and thus rule out as evidence items seized in connection with it.

"The prosecution is winning," said Southwestern University Professor Robert Pugsley, "but the defense is drawing some blood."

Among prospective jurors, Professor Pugsley said, the defense is furthering its contentions that investigators engaged in sloppy police work when investigating the killings of Mr. Simpson's former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Mr. Simpson has pleaded not guilty to two counts of murder. His trial is expected to begin Monday with jury selection.

In addition to the ruling regarding the June 13 search warrant, the judge ruled that a June 28 search warrant also was appropriate. Judge Ito rejected defense attorney Gerald Uelman's contentions that the second search of Mr. Simpson's home was merely "a second trip to the well."

Prosecutor Marcia Clark maintained that the second search was based on new, more exact information regarding clothing and other items and thus justified the new warrant. But the defense is using various ways to attack the constitutionality of the searches.

Mr. Simpson's attorneys are arguing that the June 28 search was improper because it exceeded the scope of the search warrant to the point of becoming an illegal "general search."

To determine whether that was the case, Judge Ito allowed Mr. Simpson's attorneys yesterday to begin questioning police about the search. So far, though, he has stopped short of allowing the attorneys to call prosecutors to the stand merely because they may have witnessed the search.

Attorneys Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran questioned detectives Vannater and Fred Lang about the search, insinuating that the officers went through Mr. Simpson's things without supervision and showed no concern for what was stated in the search warrant.

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