O.J. mistrial motion rejected Reworked jury today continues its
Jonathan T. Lovitt ; Richard Price
SANTA MONICA, Calif. -- Judge Hiroshi Fujisaki refused to grant O.J.
Simpson a mistrial in his civil suit Monday, and a reconstituted jury completed
its ninth hour of deliberations.
Jurors asked for a read-back of unspecified testimony when they resume work
today at 8:30 a.m. PT.
Simpson lawyer Robert Baker argued for the mistrial primarily on grounds of
jury misconduct. He cited ``a direct, deliberate attempt to mislead.''
He was referring to Rosemary Caraway, 62, the juror dismissed Friday for failing
to disclose that her daughter is a legal secretary with the Los Angeles County
district attorney's office.
Her daughter worked for prosecutors involved in Simpson's criminal case, former
prosecutor Christopher Darden said Monday on NBC's Today. Authorities in the
district attorney's office alerted Fujisaki but would not discuss how or when they
discovered the conflict.
Caraway was replaced by an alternate. The jury, already 14 hours into
deliberations at the time, was ordered to start over.
The jury is deciding whether Simpson is liable for the murders June 12, 1994, of
Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Goldman's parents and the estates
of both victims are plaintiffs.
Lawyer Daniel Petrocelli, who represents Goldman's father, Fred, rejected
Baker's motion as an act of desperation. ``They're doing anything to get a
mistrial,'' he said.
Courts do not routinely conduct background checks of jurors. With hundreds of
thousands of citizens ordered to jury service each year, judges don't have the
resources to investigate every one.
And even if they did, judges don't want to treat jurors as if they're on trial,
analysts say. ``Otherwise we'd turn into a society where 12 jurors and their
lawyers will serve jury duty,'' jury consultant Robert Hirschhorn says. ``Jury duty
is onerous enough.''
Lawyers and jury consultants sometimes run public records checks on jurors'
voting and legal histories. But pulling a private record, such as a credit history or
a police rap sheet or interviewing employers and neighbors, could amount to
invasion of privacy or jury tampering, Hirschhorn says.
In Baker's written motion, he also lost a second argument for a mistrial. He cited
last week's suspension of four FBI lab workers during a U.S. Justice Department
investigation into sloppy crime lab techniques and accusations of bias in favor of
One of those suspended was FBI agent Roger Martz, who testified for
prosecutors at Simpson's criminal trial and was an expert for the plaintiffs in the
Without elaborating, Baker argued that both the probe into the FBI and the
suspension of Martz were ``intentionally withheld until following the close of the
defense's case.'' But the issue was not raised in open court, and Fujisaki rejected
it without discussion.
Contributing: Gale Holland
PHOTO, B/W, Bob Riha Jr., USA TODAY