Picks and Pans Review: Madam Foreman: a Rush to Judgment?
Three of the jurors who made it to the end of the O.J. Simpson trial—including forewoman Armanda Cooley—reveal how and why the 12-member panel so quickly acquitted the onetime gridiron great of double murder. Their decision, they write, was based not on racial solidarity or inherent distrust of the police, but on what they saw as the defense team's effective chiseling away at the mountain of evidence against Simpson.
Lawyer Barry Scheck, the defense's DNA point man, appears to have been the most persuasive attorney on either side. His relentless grilling of the police and criminalists on the handling of the blood collected at the scene convinced many on the jury that the most damning evidence could not be trusted. Prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden lost points for getting rattled by the Dream Team. Observing such nervous signals as Darden's "doing his jingle thing with his keys" and hearing in Clark's frustrated sighs "a sign of weakness," jurors asked themselves: If the state's case was so strong, why did its advocates become frustrated and emotional?
These authors come across as well-intentioned but naive. They interpret "reasonable doubt" as any doubt whatsoever, and their reasoning is pocked with logical inconsistencies. This book should be marked Exhibit A in the argument that those who deserve most credit for springing Simpson were his jury consultants. (Dove, $19.95)