clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

IS PROSECUTION TRYING TO RESHAPE O.J. JURY?

Ready for life away from the world's pressures, O.J. Simpson's jurors wound up in a glass bubble instead, their lives scrutinized and their motives questioned.

The ouster of six jurors has led to defense claims that someone on the prosecution side is trying to reshape the panel by investigating jurors and bringing complaints to the court."We do not investigate jurors," countered Deputy District Attorney Christopher Darden in his first comment since the latest jury flap last week.

"The issues of alleged juror misconduct are for the court to investigate, and the court is conducting these investigations by using its own resources and using people with no vested interest in the outcome of the case," Darden told The Associated Press on Friday.

The district attorney's office said it did not initiate the investigation of juror Jeanette Harris, who was dismissed Wednesday because of domestic violence in her past.

The defense claims Harris was marked for removal because she was sympathetic to Simpson.

"It seems as though certain jurors have been targeted from the very beginning," Simpson lawyer Johnnie L. Cochran Jr. said Friday. "They've been watched; they've been scrutinized, and I think it's absolutely frightening."

Jo-Ellan Dimitrius, the consultant who helped the defense pick jurors, thinks prosecutors are unsatisfied with the predominantly black jury and want to remove those they perceive as sympathetic, such as Harris, who is black.

"It's as if these people are on trial," Dimitrius said.

Darden said prosecutors were not targeting anybody.

"All we want is a chance to present our evidence to jurors who will hear it all with an open mind," he said.

He noted that both sides selected 12 jurors and 12 alternates with the knowledge that any of them might wind up judging the case.

"What difference should it make which 12 it is?" Darden asked.

Simpson is charged with the June 12 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. Trial is set to resume Tuesday.