Mock Jury in the O.J. Simpson Case Is Disbanded Because of Fighting
Feb. 22, 1995
DALLAS (AP) _ A mock jury assembled by a newspaper to hear the O.J. Simpson trial has been disbanded because of personality conflicts so severe that two members nearly came to blows.
``I heard many insensitive things said by some,'' said Jim Witt, the editor of the Arlington edition of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram who organized the jury. ``It's unfortunate that we didn't make it through to the end of the trial, but I think we learned some things about what is wrong with our society today.''
The paper had chosen 10 people to watch the trial on television each day and offer their opinions about the day's events for the Star-Telegram's readers.
The jury was mostly white and mostly male; the real, 12-member Simpson jury is mostly black and mostly female.
Reporter John Austin said there were problems from the start.
``I think our stories reflected that there were tensions that came from a number of sources, including gender and generational differences,'' he said.
Racial divisions heightened the stress in the room, juror Cliff Nord said.
The decision to disband came last Thursday, after a three-way argument that erupted when one juror did not move out of the way for another, said a member of the panel, Dennis Bralow. One juror had to be held back, Bralow said.
``I think it was just that our personalities differed so much,'' juror Andrea Davis said. ``If it wasn't one thing, it was another. I was just so happy to leave in the afternoon.''
Robert Gordon, a Dallas psychologist and lawyer who has helped picked more than 1,000 juries, said the real O.J. Simpson jury may be having similar difficulties.
``I consider the Fort Worth experience to be a parallel universe to the O.J. Simpson trial,'' Gordon, who was unconnected to the project.