Post Office Box 156 | South Milwaukee WI 53172-0156
Reviewed by Barbara Kate Repa
Do not read this book if what draws you to all things related to O.J. Simpson's first criminal trial is the usual intrigues: the fallen football hero, testimony from the bumbling and beautiful, prosecutor Marcia Clark's ever-changing hairstyle. For example, Kato Kaelin, Simpson houseguest-turned-hostile-witness, gets only a passing mention. Ditto the low-speed Bronco chase, that too-small blood glove, even O.J. himself.
Instead, Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson begins with the conclusion that Simpson was a train wreck of a case, from jury selection through to its lasting legacy. Complete Review
American Judicature Society
March-April 2009 Vol. 92 No. 5
by S. L. Alexander
Coordinator of Communication Law in the School of Mass Communication at Loyola University, New Orleans; author of Covering the Courts: a handbook for journalists, Roman & Littlefield Publishers Inc.
More than 13 years have passed since THE Trial of the Century, the criminal case of athlete, sportscaster, and actor O.J. Simpson, acquitted on charges of the 1994 murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. ... So why did Hayslett write Anatomy of a Trial, and why should anyone read it?
Discussion of the lasting effects of the trial on use of gag orders, sealed records, closed proceedings, and courtroom cameras remains relevant. Complete Review
by Dan Boyle
Author of Huddle and Housekeeping, The Haworth Press, Inc.
"Anatomy of a Trial by Jerrianne Hayslett explores the backrooms and judge's chambers of the trial that captured and changed an entire country's vision of their legal system. Hayslett, whose job was to mediate between the court and the media during the People vs. O.J. Simpson, experienced the trial and the impact it had on the legal system in a unique and frequently surprising way. From her detailed journals, the book introduces us to a cast of characters and a story we may have thought we knew, but perhaps hardly knew at all. The journey is a breathless one that leaves us questioning what impact the media has on perception."
March 9, 2009
'Anatomy' dissects misdeeds of lawyers, media during O.J. Simpson's murder trial
A search of “O.J. Simpson” at Amazon.com in the books department yielded 11,209 results. Clearly, the public’s fascination with the former football star has waned little since his 1995 acquittal of murder charges for the deaths of his wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ronald Goldman. Fourteen years later, books are still being written.
Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson
The People vs. O.J. Simpson ranks indisputably as the trial of the century. It featured a double murder, a celebrity defendant, a perjuring witness, and a glove that didn’t fit. The trial also shaped the judicial system, the media and the public’s access to the courts. Jerrianne Hayslett was an insider at the O.J. Simpson trial, and reveals in her book the untold story of the most widely followed trial in American history and the indelible impact it has had on the judiciary, the media and the public.
Dane County Lifestyles
Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson
Even if you've had your fill of the ongoing O.J. Simpson saga, you may find this behind-the-scenes account of his 1995 trial fascinating reading. Author Jerrianne Hayslett, a consultant in Milwaukee, served as the Los Angeles Superior Court's media liaison and met with Judge Lance Ito daily. She found herself working in the frenzy created by media, celebrities, lawyers, the public and the court. Keeping a daily journal, she has an insider's perspective like no other. Her stories, anecdotes and observations reveal a Fellini-esque cast of characters who were a lot stranger up close than they appeared in the nightly news.
Filled with juicy bits and details, the book more importantly shows how the trial has had a lasting impact on judicial system issues like cameras in the courtroom, jury selection, admonishment from the bench and fair-trial/free-press tensions. Those who work in or around the courts, media, government or the entertainment industry will find it a good read.
Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson
"Anatomy of a Trial" by a fellow heathcare and election-finance reform advocate Jerrianne Hayslett received honorable mention in the non-fiction book category of the 2009 Council of Wisconsin Writers contest. "Anatomy of a Trial tracks the media's coverage of and conduct in the 1995 Simpson murder trial and shows the long-term effect on public perception and confidence in the court system and on judges' decisions in permitting public access to court proceedings and case information. Hayslett, a long-time journalist, served as court information officer in Los Angeles in the 1990s and early 2000s. In both capacities and as a court-media consultant since 2002, she has worked to improve court transparency and better court-media interaction, and for greater public understanding of and access to the courts. She has worked with court officials in Belgrade, Serbia, on the creation of the war crimes and organized crime departments, on projects in Indonesia, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia, and with courts in the United States. She also is on faculty at the National Center for Courts and Media at the University of Nevada, Reno.
More information about her book is at www.anatomyofatrial.com.
Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson by Jerrianne Hayslett
The first NFL running back to rush for more than 2000 yards in a single season and an actor with a number of movies and television shows to his credit, O.J. Simpson is best known as the individual who redefined the limits and soiled the reputation of our criminal justice system. Mention O.J. to nearly anyone, and the reaction is immediate disgust. There are many reasons for the strong public distaste for this sordid chapter.
One is the thriving post O.J. industry. The lawyers and others who were involved with the trial who wrote books or who landed television gigs as "experts" are too numerous to count. The latest to enter the fray is Jerianne Hayslett, the former media officer for Los Angeles Superior Court, who has written Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
Ms. Hayslett is late to the table -- nearly 13 years after Simpson's acquittal in the double-murder case -- but that is OK because her work differs from other O.J. books in several ways. First, she had access to Judge Lance Ito, who rightly or wrongly, has been the punching bag for everything wrong with celebrity trials and the media excess that so often descends upon them. Second, she is not particularly interested in Mr. Simpson, but instead focuses on the relationship between the court and the media throughout the Simpson murder trial. This is not just another sensationalized treatment of the case.
The book moves quickly. It is less than 220 pages long, including 15 pages of photos.
Ms. Hayslett and others question whether history might have treated Judge Ito differently if Mr. Simpson had been convicted of the double murders. A fair question to raise. On one hand, Ms. Hayslett tries to rehabilitate Judge Ito's image by detailing how he attempted to balance press access, cagey counsel, a handful of bizarre jurors, and other courthouse challenges the public knew little about until now. On the other hand, she acknowledges that he miscalculated the level of public interest, the belligerence of the press, and made a very bad decision by granting a television interview that was supposed to be about his Japanese American heritage, but spun out of control.
The longest chapter is about cameras in court. "Cameras, probably as much as Ito, were demonized for what was perceived to be a trial run amok...," Ms. Hayslett wrote. This chapter chronicles the constant squabbling between the media and Judge Ito over broadcast and still cameras, demonstrating that the judge did not simply give them carte blanche, but instead fined the media several times and more than once threatened to expel cameras from the courtroom. "If I were to do it over," Judge Ito says in the book, "I would still allow cameras in Simpson, but with a fixed focus that I controlled."
Anatomy of a Trial is a tad heavy on anecdotes, such as the one about a well-liked Philadelphia Inquirer reporter who was killed in a tragic car accident during the trial -- that may be interesting, but offered little if any insight in a book that contains the title "lessons learned." Nevertheless, the book has much to offer.
Ms. Hayslett kept a diary of sorts during the Simpson trial, and interviewed Judge Ito and dozens of others since then. The book contains several hundred footnotes. But even without the meticulous research, Ms. Hayslett is knowledgeable in these areas. She has lectured to judiciaries overseas on media relations and periodically serves on the faculty of the Reynolds National Center for Courts and the Media at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Ms. Hayslett offers an intriguing behind the scenes glimpse, though parts are somewhat dated. One chapter promises a blueprint for future high profile trials, when the truth is the Simpson trial was an anomaly that occurred more than a decade ago. The technology available to courts and the media has changed so dramatically since the Simpson trial, that the lessons form this book may be more about human relationships and effective communications, than about court management of high-profile trials.
Court managers will want to read this book, if for no other reason than to appreciate the value of a professional public information officer like Ms. Hayslett and to wake up to the realization that they should have started planning for a high profile trial yesterday.
January 7, 2009
Book Title: Anatomy of a Trial
Author: Jerrianne Hayslett
Publisher: University of Missouri Press
The summer of 1994 was a turning point in the way news gathering and reporting was once perceived. Journalism and celebrity paparazzi merged uneasily to cover what was the beginning of the "Trial of the Century."
All American hero fav, NFL great, car rental and orange juice commercial icon, B-list actor and celebrity, O.J. Simpson was arrested and charged in June of 1994 for the brutal murders of former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. The murders committed in front of the doorstep at Nicole Brown Simpson's condo in the late evening hours of summer, had all of the makings of a murder mystery with an astounding cast of characters and one prime suspect. Simpson.
The ensuing trial was broadcast around the world and made household names out of the prosecuting and defense attorneys, L.A. Superior Court Judge Ito, rouge cop Mark Fuhrman, extended Simpson house guest Kato Kaelin; and catch phrases such as "if it doesn't fit, you must acquit." The international viewing audience also gained extensive DNA knowledge thanks to tiny blood droplets on a pair of socks.
But the trial itself, ground breaking in historical legal aspects and proportions, was the first trial of its kind that set media precedence incomparable to any before it. Jerrianne Hayslett, former L.A. Superior Court media liaison to Judge Ito, was right in the thick of a movement that changed the way the public and the media interacted with a full-blown celebrity murder trial. Hayslett helped mediate and disseminate court information and documents to media outlets that dissected the Simpson trial day by day to the public.
Fraught, oftentimes, with a dissatisfied media and the hunger for news of anything Simpson, Jerrianne Hayslett details from an insider's vantage point, the Simpson trial's overwhelming coloration and revision of the traditional concept of journalism.
"Anatomy of a Trial" is a great read for those interested in a fresh perspective on the Trial of the Century."
Go to The African American Literary Review on Blog Talk Radio achieves for an in-depth discussion of "Anatomy of a Trial" with Jerrianne Hayslett:
California Judges Association
by Judge Gregory C. O'Brien, Los Angeles Superior Court (Ret.)
It was the perfect storm. At its center was a courageous captain. In the end, he was blamed for the rain, the wind, the waves and the wreck. He alone went down with the ship. He was Lance Ito.
(For complete review, follow this link: The Bench)
"Feedback" April 15, 2009
Thank you for reviewing my book, Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson (Book Review, LJ 1/09, p. 111). I'm concerned that the reviewer so badly missed the mark. While not being an apologist for or defender of Simpson trial judge Lance Ito, nowhere in the book did I indicate that he behaved unprofessionally or that he was a celebrity aspirant. Neither did I criticize him for being too deferential to the demands of Simpson's attorneys. Rather, I showed via my behind-the-scenes view how the media portrayed him as a celebrity wannabe and how the media criticized him for being deferential to not just the defense attorneys but the prosecutors as well. The book recounts the numerous sanctions, admonishments, and fines Ito imposed on both sides.
I do appreciate the reviewer mentioning the blueprint included in the book, which can help prevent such spectacles in future high-profile trials and result in the media and the courts working more cooperatively to serve the public better....
—Jerrianne Hayslett, www.anatomyofatrial.com, South Milwaukee
The fall harvest from small presses featuring Wisconsin writers has yielded works of history, travel, fiction and an inside account of the O.J. Simpson trial.
In "Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson," South Milwaukee resident Jerrianne Hayslett, a courts media consultant, explores how the 1995 Simpson trial and the media circus surrounding the case affected various sectors and people, including presiding Judge Lance Ito, a rising star in the Los Angeles legal community whose courtroom was besieged during the lengthy trial. Hayslett recorded anecdotes, commentary and other excerpts in a personal journal, which helps round out this eye-opening book published by the University of Missouri Press.
Nov. 17, 2008
Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs.O.J. Simpson Jerrianne Hayslett. Univ. of Missouri, $29.95 (296p) ISBN 978-0-8262-1822-3
Los Angeles Superior Court media adviser Hayslett explores the ramifications of the much publicized 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial in this unique account focused on Judge Lance Ito’s role and the media circus inside and outside the courtroom. Ito had once been a rising star in the L.A. legal community and suffered more than other judges presiding over equally high profile trials, argues Hayslett. Though he continues to sit on the bench, Ito has never pursued appointment to a higher court. With excerpts and anecdotes from her personal journal, Hayslett details the difficulties of dealing with the media and the near-impossible task of sequestering a jury for nine months. Interestingly, only two of the original jurors remained at the end of the proceedings. Some may find it ironic that, by publishing yet another account of the highly publicized trial, Hayslett is doing exactly what she condemned in jury members and other trial participants. But insight that comes from her insider status is valuable and may leave readers wishing for her backstage access from the latest chapter in Simpson’s ongoing legal battles. (Jan.)
Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from The People vs. O.J. Simpson by Jerrianne Hayslett. Univ. of Missouri, $29.95. Southern California; Seattle; Las Vegas, Nev.; Denver; Chicago; and New York author tour.
The media have written on all aspects of the O.J. Simpson trial, except their own responsibility to the public. The author should know - she's the Los Angeles Superior Court's media liaison and had the cooperation of Judge Ito in writing this book. Court TV managing editor Fred Graham calls this "a thorough and thoughtful account of how the O.J. Simpson murder trial went awry, and its continuing negative impact on the judicial system."
“Mention O. J. Simpson and judges cringe. Anatomy of a Trial shows why. This book, like no other, flings the doors open to the court’s back halls and inner chambers to reveal the effect of the public’s obsession with the Simpson murder case, the all-consuming media coverage of it, and the impossible task that befell the trial judge. Hayslett, in this unflinching account, masterfully lays out how the witches’ brew that bubbled up from those toxic ingredients continues to this day to permeate the American consciousness. A riveting read!”
Host of “Power, Privilege, and Justice”, truTV (formerly Court TV)
“This book absolutely redefines the meaning of the phrase ‘Inside Story.’ For all the people who watched the O. J. Simpson trial from the sidelines, the book presents a fascinating, up-close-and-personal history. I was a judge on the Los Angeles Superior Court at the time of the Simpson trial, and thought of myself as an insider, but I had no idea what went on behind the scenes, until now. In addition, the book provides an invaluable analysis of the nationwide impact of unprecedented media attention on the criminal justice system.”
Judge, United States District Court
Central District of California
“A thorough and thoughtful account of how the O. J. Simpson murder trial went awry, and its continuing negative impact on the judicial system.”
Senior Editor, truTV (formerly Court TV)
Bravo, Jerrianne! You have written a fascinating and important book. So well done on all levels.
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge (Ret.)
It's wonderful! I am overwhelmed by the level of scholarship involved -- footnoting everything and that amazing Index. I'm going to keep on reading, but my initial feeling is that I'm learning something I didn't know in every chapter.
The Simpson trial is history and your take on it is so instructive for covering future trials.
Legal Affairs Reporter
covered Simpson trial
Still consuming your book Jerrianne - loving the behind-scene-feel to it all (the life of a journalist is NOT an easy one). The descriptions of individuals are sooooo very good!
-- Vernon Clay
Friends, Lovers, and Roses
Despite a lot of armchair quarterbacking, most judges and court staff have no real idea what they are facing when a court case draws relentless attention from the worldwide media. Nor in fact do most of the lawyers and many of the journalists involved. This book is a road map of the pitfalls that await anyone in a courtroom caught in the unwavering gaze of the 24-hour-a-day news cycle. The book convincingly makes the case that Judge Lance Ito has been unfairly pilloried, chiefly because of well intentioned acts that were grossly distorted by others through deadline pressure, greed, and the lure of instant fame. Most importantly, the book also examines the visceral overreaction that followed the Simpson case when judges across the nation pulled cameras from their courts. As this book shows, the problem is not the cameras. It is how they are managed.
Immediate Past-President of the Florida Court Public Information Officers, Inc.
Your book arrived and I’m enjoying it. It really shows the impact that the O.J. trial had on courts in the U.S., and also has a lot of details about grandstanding by the attorneys, jurors, etc. during the trial. The public has never really heard from Judge Ito, so it’s
interesting to see why he made various decisionssp; --Holly Kurtz Librarian,
Jerrianne, I found (Anatomy of a Trial) fascinating reading and you did a fine job of presenting the insider's point of view on behalf of Judge Ito, the courts' viewpoints of how the media went about providing coverage and the impact it had on the various people involved. Since the OJ trial prodded me toward the beginning of the end of my anchoring career, I was in agreement with the great majority of your observations.
I'm sure the book has already motivated some high level discussion, debate and soul-searching about the various court/media issues and I'm confident it will continue to do so - and lead to enlightenment on all sides.
I hope the book does well and I wish you the best.
--- Ed Sardella,
Host "Let's Talk"
Denver Community Cable KUSA Channel 9
News anchor (retired),
The book was great, well-written. You have a page-turning style and it progresses very naturally through the points you want to make.
--- Jayne Dye, M.D.
I think it is very well written and exceedingly thorough in its sourcing.
Certainly we all have a more complete picture of Lance Ito after reading
this. I suspect he is pleased you wrote the book. ...Hopefully
it will help those who work with and interact with the courts appreciate
the challenges the judiciary faces in trying to balance the First and
--- Federal Court Administrator and Information Officer
I can't thank you enough for writing Anatomy of a Trial. I am about to re-readn it. For one thing, your effort has gotten me off my butt and I have been back at work putting together a book that has been percolating in my head for darn near 30 years. Your insights into the nightmare of communications between the [government] entities and the media and what can best serve the public have been most helpful in re-ifying my thoughts and the truths of my experiences. I plan to renew my memberships in SPJ and The Public Relations Society of America. All of the many pieces of disaster management, recovery, mitigation and on and on, are bubbling up now in a way in which I believe I can make it work-that is, I can just about state a thesis and know how to present it and solve it.
--- Former FEMA Information Officer
Thank goodness someone finally wrote about the issues Judge Ito faced behind the camera. This book gives a balanced look at the problems the Judge had to contend with on a daily basis. I think the information you provide is invaluable for any reader wanting to get the big picture of the "Trial of the Century". Further, it would be useful for anyone involved with juries and jury trials to read from an academic standpoint. Amazing job!
--- Michelle Carswell Prichard, Esq.
Simpson trial intern
This book provides stories most have never heard before. I laughed out loud when reading about Lisa Rose and her stilt shoes.
The conclusions you came to throughout were very interesting and insightful. Familiarity does indeed breed contempt, and it was valuable for you to explain the cultural forces at work when describing the Japanese background of Judge Ito. The media took advantage of his openness and then bashed him so they could maintain their status in the ranks of the cynical.
Contempt was also bred with TV viewers in the general public. They subconsciously blame Judge Ito as a way of dealing with their guilt over tuning in day after day.
David Dow mentioned some great reasons why the trial became what it did, but I just wanted to toss the Bronco chase into the mix. Would the case have been so high-profile if that drama hadn’t played out for such a long time on national TV? The feeling of being “brought together” during that chase was akin to all of us tuning in during 9/11 or after the Challenger exploded, which is scary considering the difference in importance between the events. ...
I agree that even with no cameras allowed, the trial would have been a circus. Although cameras in the courtroom was only one of the many issues you wrote about, it is what I took away most from the book. The bottom line is that restricting cameras is a short-term relief. The long-term result is an erosion of public trust and confidence. TV access can clearly change people’s misperceptions. There is no better way to educate than TV, if it’s used ethically and responsibly.
Media and courts are both public servants, and they need to work together to present news, not entertainment (no narration! no punditry! no speculation!) It is critical to involve the media in planning for high-profile cases, as you mentioned when writing about the Simpson civil trial. If only we could install court cameras in every courtroom to prevent media drama.
A disadvantage to courtrooms without cameras is that reporters have to rely on themselves and they try to explain things they don’t understand. They must know the basics when it comes to court proceedings, but I see this as less and less their fault. They are short-staffed and given directives by corporate owners who don’t care about the news, let alone journalism. They are abusing the powerful tool that TV is. Cameras should work only for public benefit.
As far as judges are concerned, cameras will force them to behave and perform better, which makes most of them nervous and even resentful. But let’s face it- some judges need to be scrutinized given the importance of their work. ...
Rather than getting the snippets the traditional media are able to present with their own spin, people have been able to watch gavel to gavel without narration and understand for themselves.
Minnesota Judicial Branch
Los Angeles Times columnist Patt Morrison's PATT MORRISON ASKS
Oct. 3, 2009
Jerrianne Hayslett: The courts and the media
October 3, 2009
Fourteen years ago today -- shock and awe. After 16 tawdry months of the Simpson case wallpapering the public square, a Los Angeles criminal court jury found O.J. Simpson not guilty of the hideous murders of his ex-wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goldman.
The trial made a lot of people famous, but one of its insiders is someone you've probably never heard of: Jerrianne Hayslett. As the information officer for the Los Angeles Superior Courts, she danced a daily minuet between the media and the courts, and every reporter, photographer and news technician among the hundreds who buzzed around the trial wanted her ear and her help. A onetime city editor of the Pasadena Star-News, she took the court job in 1991 and retired in 2002. Every night during the Simpson trial, she dictated an audio journal on her hourlong drive home. It was a way to spare her husband from having to hear her vent about it -- and eventually it was the basis of a book, "Anatomy of a Trial: Public Loss, Lessons Learned from the People vs. O.J. Simpson." These days, she advises courts in countries such as Slovenia, Indonesia and Serbia about dealing with the media in their own trials. But there'll never be another Simpson trial. Will there?
What was the verdict day like for you?
Shock... Read more...