Judge Admits 911 Call, Evidence of Domestic Violence in Simpson Trial
Compiled From News Services, St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)
The jury in the O.J. Simpson trial will be allowed to hear evidence that he abused Nicole Brown Simpson, including details of a 911 call she made as he broke down her door, the judge ruled Wednesday in a major victory for the prosecution.
Most of the evidence of abuse that prosecutors had sought to introduce can be presented to prove "motive, intent, plan and identity," Superior Judge Lance Ito ruled.
In all, Ito admitted 29 pieces of evidence of domestic violence and barred 12.
Ito also rescheduled opening statements in the trial - initially set for today - for Monday to give attorneys time last-minute rulings and to become familiar with a computer system in the courtroom.
The evidence Ito allowed includes a wide range of allegations that Simpson beat, slapped and stalked Nicole Simpson, including using a baseball bat in 1984 or 1985 to attack her car and a New Year's Day fight in 1989 that landed her in the hospital. Simpson pleaded no contest to wife-beating in the 1989 incident.
The only evidence that Ito barred were Nicole Simpson's statements expressing fear of Simpson, including a call five days before she was slain to a hot line at a battered women's shelter to complain that her ex-husband was stalking her.
Ito said California law prevented him from allowing prosecutors to use Nicole Simpson's own secretly written diary entries, "even though it seems only just and right that a crime victim's own words be heard."
The decision was a major victory for prosecutors. They hope to use evidence of domestic violence during Simpson's relationship with Nicole Simpson to support their contention that her slaying was the culmination of 17 years of abuse and degradation.
District Attorney Gil Garcetti called the decision "the most critical ruling this court will make. …