Lessons from the Trial: The People vs. O. J. Simpson

Overview

Law professor Gerald Uelmen was preparing for sabbatical on June 16, 1994, three days after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, when he got a call from Robert Shapiro, asking him to join in O.J. Simpson's defense. From that day until the reading of the verdict more than a year later, Professor Uelmen was at the epicenter of the trial of the century. His position on Simpson's legal "Dream Team" was unique: He was not only an advocate for his client, but also a teacher and a scholar. Lessons ...
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Overview

Law professor Gerald Uelmen was preparing for sabbatical on June 16, 1994, three days after the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, when he got a call from Robert Shapiro, asking him to join in O.J. Simpson's defense. From that day until the reading of the verdict more than a year later, Professor Uelmen was at the epicenter of the trial of the century. His position on Simpson's legal "Dream Team" was unique: He was not only an advocate for his client, but also a teacher and a scholar. Lessons from the Trial is Professor Uelmen's account of what the Simpson case can teach all of us. He addresses hotly debated legal strategies - from jury selection to Johnnie Cochran's closing arguments - as well as the broader social issues, such as race relations and spousal abuse, that were thrust into the public's consciousness. For the countless millions who became engrossed by the case. Lessons from the Trial is the perfect book to help gain a fuller understanding of what really happened in the courtroom, and what it all means - for Simpson, for the justice system, and for the country as a whole. Professor Uelmen's legal insight and his insider status allow him to speak with authority where pundits and journalists can only speculate. And his thoughtful, evenhanded approach gives Lessons from the Trial an objective tone that will be difficult to match in books from the other principal players in the case.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Uelman, former dean at Santa Clara University School of Law in California, was one of the quieter members of O.J. Simpson's "Dream Team," and this sober, dry retrospective aims more to illuminate than to settle scores. Most interesting is Uelman's account of the notorious knife bought by Simpson. He reveals that he himself found the knife, apparently brand-new, in Simpson's home; though its presence in the sealed envelope rebutted some prosecutorial efforts, Judge Ito never allowed the envelope to be opened. Uelman criticizes judges and police alike for permitting police perjury, praises Simpson as "a highly intelligent strategist," criticizes F. Lee Bailey for his "treacherous" efforts to undercut Robert Shapiro and laments the role of tabloid journalism in the case. Uelman scores Ito for limiting testimony about Mark Fuhrman's racism, criticizes police mishandling of DNA evidence and suggests that the case was won in the final arguments, when Johnnie Cochran and Barry Scheck spoke to the jurors' hearts and minds. The author does not believe in banning television cameras for trials, but recommends greater discretion in their use. While the book's tone suggests confidence in his client, Uelman does not explicitly assert Simpson's innocence; indeed, he notes that a trial can never determine ultimate truth. (June)
Library Journal
The continuing cornucopia of commentary on the "Trial of the Century" has produced two more books, each shedding illuminating rays of insight onto the Simpson case, albeit from different perspectives. Abramson is a professor of political science and former prosecutor who brings together a collection of essays written by a wide spectrum of contributors, including law professors, prosecutors, historians, political scientists, philosophers, journalists, a former police chief, and a theologian. The essays address the broad social significance of the trial and together form a testimonial to the state of justice and democracy at the national level and their interrelationship in a city struggling to overcome racial division. Perceived shortcomings in the criminal justice system are discussed, as are proposals for reform. The editor fairly presents both sides of controversial issues, such as the role of race, the possibility of jury nullification, the influence of domestic violence, the need for jury reform, and the significance of legal strategies and ethics. Uelmen, on the other hand, speaks with a slantthough not surprisingly since he was a member of Simpson's defense team. In this context, his book is similar to Robert Shapiro's Search for Justice (Warner, 1996), except that Uelmen, a law professor, is able to tap his academic background to provide a more scholarly discussion of the activities of both the defense attorneys and the prosecutors, why they did what they did, and how they perhaps could have done better. Uelmen draws examples from the annals of legal history that a practicing attorney, such as Shapiro, might overlook. Both books are well written, but Abramson gives a more balanced view of events.Philip Y. Blue, State Supreme Court Criminal Branch Law Lib., New York
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780836216622
  • Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
  • Publication date: 4/1/1996
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 6.31 (w) x 9.35 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
1 Looking for Lessons 1
2 The Disappearing Knife 9
3 The Grand Jury 18
4 Taking the Fourth 29
5 The Dream Team 47
6 Leaks and Gags 66
7 Picking a Jury 80
8 Cameras in Court 92
9 Domestic Discord 102
10 The Mountain of Evidence 115
11 The Fuhrman Tapes 128
12 The Sound of Silence 155
13 If It Doesn't Fit 166
14 Walking Away 178
15 Searching for the Truth 193
16 A Trial of the Century 204
Endnotes: Lessons from the Trial 213
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