Copyright (c) 1996 University of Colorado Law Review, Inc.
University of Colorado Law Review
ARTICLE: REFORM: THE POLICE: TESTILYING: POLICE PERJURY AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT
67 U. Colo. L. Rev. 1037
Christopher Slobogin *
O.J. Simpson's trial for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman provided the nation with at least two pristine examples of police perjury. First, there was the exposure of Detective Marc Fuhrman as a liar. While under oath at trial the detective firmly asserted, in response to F. Lee Bailey's questions, that he had not used the word "nigger" in the past decade. The McKinny tapes and assorted other witnesses made clear this statement was an untruth. That proof of perjury, together with the defense's innuendo that Fuhrman had planted a glove smeared with Nicole's blood on Simpson's property, severely damaged the prosecution's case. 1
Second, and less well known, is Judge Lance Ito's finding that Detective Philip Vannatter had demonstrated a "reckless disregard for the truth" in the warrant application for the search of Simpson's house. Among other misrepresentations, 2 Vannatter insinuated that Simpson had suddenly taken flight to Chicago when in fact police knew the trip had been planned for months, and unequivocally asserted that the substance found on Simpson's Bronco was blood when in fact it had not yet been tested. 3
A third possible series of perjurious incidents occurred at the suppression hearing, when both Fuhrman and Vannatter stated that police investigating Simpson's compound had not considered O.J. a suspect, but rather had entered the premises solely out of concern for the athlete's welfare (and therefore had not needed probable cause or a warrant). Although both Judge Ito and Magistrate Kathleen ...
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