Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bloody Glove Enters Lapd's Forensic Attic It Joins Other Famous Evidence

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Bloody Glove Enters Lapd's Forensic Attic It Joins Other Famous Evidence

Article excerpt

Now, and perhaps for years to come, one bloodstained glove - brown leather, right hand, found on the grounds of the O.J. Simpson estate early in June - takes its place in a vigilantly tended collection of objects that fall under the plain, broad heading of "evidence."

The glove with the ribbed back is likely to be trundled in and out of court, photographed, tested, labeled, numbered, signed in and signed out of custody for as long as it takes the law to run its course in the case of the former football star who faces two counts of murder.

It joins more than a million items in Los Angeles' forensic attic: in secured courthouse evidence rooms, in police warehouses, freezers, vaults and specialized labs.

Through LA courtrooms and legal storehouses have come exhibits that have horrified and titillated:

The gun that shot Robert F. Kennedy.

An entire hotel-room wall, with a peephole through which detectives said they had witnessed a long-ago mayor having sex in front of a minor.

Gory items from the Charles Manson trial.

An experimental three-wheeled car called the Dale, from a fraud case.

The constitutional questions absorbed the week's legal debate; there were cheers at Los Angeles' police headquarters on Thursday when officers watching the preliminary hearing heard the judge rule in favor of the detectives who had entered Simpson's estate without a warrant and found the glove and blood spots.

Before it can be stored by the rules, it has to be collected by the rules. Getting the photos of the blood spots and the glove from Simpson's estate to the courtroom involved what every movie and mystery fan knows as "the chain of evidence," the steps police are supposed to take to certify that the shoe or pistol or cocaine collected in the field is the same that shows up in court.

"Experience of the incidents where police aren't careful teaches the importance" of this continuity, says University of Southern California constitutional law professor Erwin Chemerinsky. …

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