In an apparent effort to set the record straight on the reasons for juror dismissals, Superior Court Judge Lance Ito agreed Friday to release hundreds of pages of transcripts and other evidence dealing with his decisions to remove 10 jurors from the O.J. Simpson murder case.
Ito made the decision after lawyers for Simpson, the media, and the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the public had been saturated with speculation and rumor about the dismissals and had a right to know the truth.
When prosecutor Cheri Lewis protested that jurors were entitled to privacy, Ito shot back, “I have got jurors out there writing books about this. That’s hardly a privacy interest worth protecting, wouldn’t you say? We have jurors running around in limousines to talk shows. Hardly a privacy interest any longer.”
Ito continued: “Don’t you think the public’s entitled to know the unusual currents that are swirling amongst the jury panel? Wouldn’t you agree this is an atypical case regarding the voir dire process and who’s willing to serve on this case? … Weren’t you surprised when you asked people to be sequestered for six to eight months, and we had people volunteering? Didn’t that mildly surprise you?”
Among those at the hearing Friday afternoon was dismissed juror Francine Florio-Bunten, who was removed May 26 for allegedly writing a book.
Florio-Bunten has denied that and told reporters she hoped to be vindicated by the transcripts.