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William Bill Pavelic

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Another defeat for Simpson team / Speedy trial tactic may have backfired
by William Bill Pavelic   
Rated "G" by the Author.
Last edited: Thursday, January 17, 2008
Posted: Thursday, January 17, 2008

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O.J. Simpsonís defense team sustained another string of courtroom defeats Wednesday, the most critical a failed attempt to challenge the initial police search of the defendantís estate.


October 6, 1994, Thursday, FINAL EDITION

BYLINE: Gale Holland; Richard Price



O.J. Simpsonís defense team sustained another string of courtroom defeats Wednesday, the most critical a failed attempt to challenge the initial police search of the defendantís estate.

But some analysts suggested his lawyers had only themselves to blame - that in their push for a speedy trial, they may have moved too hastily.
ďThey shot themselves in the foot,Ē said UCLA law professor Peter Arenella. Added ex-prosecutor Roger Cossack, on CNN, ďThose who chase speedy justice some-times catch it.Ē

Their point is that the lawyers chose the unusual path of challenging the search in July during the preliminary hearing, at a stage when they lacked enough information for a full fight.
Arguing that police lied when they said they vaulted the estate wall to save lives, the lawyers said detectives saw Simpson as a suspect from the start. But they lost that challenge - and they can reopen the issue only if they offer new evidence not available at the time of the original ruling.

The defense did offer new evidence Wednesday: a letter from detective Mark Fuhrman establishing he had past knowledge of domestic violence between Simpson and his ex-wife; and phone records suggesting police may have vaulted the estate wall before they tried phoning the home instead of after, as they testified.

But Judge Lance Ito accepted the prosecutionís argument that the defense could have acquired the same evidence back at the preliminary hearing.
Example: When Fuhrman originally testified, he mentioned having been at Simp-sonís estate in 1985 - a reference to prior knowledge of trouble there.

Ito ruled defense lawyers could have pressed the matter then but didnít.
The judgeís ruling did carry several asterisks, however.
Still to be determined is whether the defense could have known earlier about Fuhrmanís racist remarks in a 1980s lawsuit and about allegations he planted evidence in another case - significant to Simpson because it was Fuhrman who says he found a bloody glove at Simpsonís estate.

The prosecution says a Simpson team investigator, Bill Pavelic, knew about those issues from a previous case. The defense denies it.
Also, the defense is waiting for copies of police transmissions from the night of the murder. If fresh evidence emerges from those, the defense can chal-lenge the search again.

Despite the setback, some saw the defense effort Wednesday as a victory in questioning police honesty. ďThe jury poolís been told to avoid publicity, but theyíre out there listening,Ē said civil rights lawyer Leo Terrell.
Simpson, 47, has pleaded innocent to the June 12 murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.

Court resumes at 9 a.m. PT today with more battling over whether to toss out evidence seized from Simpsonís Bronco after it was impounded.

A police towing lot owner testified to an employee burglary of the Bronco, important because it could have compromised evidence but also because it led to the loss of a gasoline sales receipt showing Nicole drove the Bronco shortly be-fore her death.

Thatís critical because preliminary DNA tests matched a bloody footprint on the Broncoís carpeting to Nicoleís blood type, according to news leaks.

Also Wednesday, the defense filed a 107-page motion to exclude DNA evidence. Reasons: sloppy police handling of blood, lab errors and invalid statistics used to match minority blood types.

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