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

Toobin, Jeffrey

Random House, 2015

pp. 196-98

Jury selection for the notorious O. J. Simpson trial was remarkable. Judge Ito had warned prospective jurors that the jury would have to be sequestered and that the trial would likely be a number of months long. This prompted many educated and well-employed prospective jurors to request “hardship” exemptions. Judge Ito granted them left and right, often with no questions asked. This left a pool of much less educated and underemployed jurors, many of whom seemed awfully eager to serve. They seemed at times almost to be auditioning for the jury, and were mighty irritated if excused. Were they not looking into the face of an opportunity they could talk about for the rest of their lives? Many seemed to lie. In a pre-trial telephone survey about 60% of respondents claimed they had already made up their minds as to whether O. J. was innocent or guilty. But in the remaining jury pool (after excusing the hardship cases), only 23% claimed to have made up their minds. When the jury was seated, Johnny Cochrane, O. J.’s celebrity African American attorney, was much satisfied with the jury and predicted that they would acquit, almost no matter what. They did.