Mark Fuhrman (born February 5, 1952) is an author and conservative talk radio host who, as a former detective in the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD), worked at the scene of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. In the hours after the crime he visited O. J. Simpson's home and discovered a bloody glove in the yard, which matched a glove found at the crime scene.
In 1970, after dropping out of Peninsula High School in Gig Harbor, Washington, Fuhrman enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps at the age of eighteen. He was honorably discharged in 1975, having attained the rank of sergeant. Later that year, he joined the LAPD as a police officer and became a police detective. He served on the force for twenty years, earning more than fifty-five commendations; he is now receiving an LAPD pension. However, he is best known for his plea of no contest to perjury committed during testimony in Simpson's murder trial. To date, he is the only person who was convicted of criminal charges related to the Simpson case.
Shortly after the preliminary hearing in O.J. Simpson's murder trial, Simpson's defense team alleged that Detective Fuhrman planted the glove found at Simpson's Brentwood estate as part of a racially motivated effort to frame Simpson for the murders.
As part of their defense, Simpson's attorneys questioned Fuhrman about his alleged prior use of racist terms. The prosecution tried to stop the defense from pursuing this line of questioning by arguing that it was too inflammatory and could prejudice the predominantly black jury against them. The California Evidence Code gives the Trial Judge the discretion to exclude evidence if its prejudical effect substantially outweighs its probative value. Judge Lance Ito initially ruled that there had to be some evidence that Fuhrman planted the glove before the defense could question Fuhrman on prior use of racial slurs, but eventually, Judge Ito changed his prior ruling and allowed the defense to cross-examine Fuhrman on the issue of his alleged racial animosity.
During cross-examination, Fuhrman, when asked by defense attorney F. Lee Bailey whether he had used the word "nigger," said he hadn't used the word in ten years. The defense produced four witnesses to establish that Fuhrman had used the word "nigger" nine and one half years previously; as well as an audiotape contradicting his testimony. This testimony eventually resulted in a perjury conviction. In one 1985 recording, Fuhrman gave a taped interview to Laura Hart McKinny, a writer working on a screenplay about female police officers. In another interview, Fuhrman talked about gang members and was quoted as saying, "Yeah we work with niggers and gangs. You can take one of these niggers, drag 'em into the alley and beat the shit out of them and kick them. You can see them twitch. It really relieves your tension. He went on to say "we had them begging that they'd never be gang members again, begging us". He said that he would tell them, "You do what you're told, understand, nigger?
Only limited excerpts of the tapes were admitted as evidence in the Simpson trial, but the content of the admitted portions were strong enough to cast doubts on Fuhrman's motives and credibility with the jury.
With the jury absent on September 6, 1995, the defense asked Fuhrman whether or not he had ever falsified police reports or if he had planted or manufactured evidence in the Simpson case. He invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.
After the trial, there was widespread pressure on Los Angeles County district attorney Gil Garcetti to bring perjury charges against Fuhrman. Garcetti initially refused, saying that the "nigger" quote was "not material to the case" a key element of proving perjury. However, many members of Garcetti's office took public stances on the issue, and Garcetti, citing the high level of emotionalism in his office about the Simpson case, opted to turn the decision to prosecute over to Attorney General Dan Lungren to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.
On July 5 1996, Lungren announced that he would file perjury charges against Fuhrman and shortly thereafter offered Fuhrman a plea bargain. On October 2, Fuhrman accepted the deal and plead "no contest" to the charges. He was sentenced to three years' probation and fined $200. As a result, Fuhrman is a convicted felon. Although he retired from the LAPD well before the plea, he is technically barred from serving as a police officer in most states again.
Although the defense was never able to prove anyone fabricated evidence in the case, as of 2008 Fuhrman has never been exonerated.
In the book, Fuhrman apologized for making the remarks, calling them "immature, irresponsible ramblings" made out of a desire to make money. He also believes that Lungren brought the charges in order to garner black support for his planned campaign for governor of California in 1998. Despite being assured by several of his friends that Lungren's case was "flimsy at best," Fuhrman said he pleaded no contest because the odds were so heavily stacked against him that it wasn't worth having his family being constantly hassled by the press. Fuhrman claimed he could not afford to mount an effective defense; he already owed thousands of dollars in legal bills, and the area's Police Protective League would not help him pay them. He also claimed he could not afford living expenses for a trial that would take several months (or years, in case of an appeal). He also did not think that he could get a fair trial in the racially charged climate of the time, and thought that an acquittal would cause a riot similar to the events of 1992.
Fuhrman believes that the LAPD could have arrested Simpson on the afternoon of June 13, based on the blood evidence and his apparently contradictory statements during questioning. However, he believes that senior LAPD officials didn't want to take a chance on being wrong about Simpson, and wanted to wait until the preliminary genetic evidence came in.
Fuhrman argues that several errors made by his LAPD colleagues opened the door for the defense to allege that there was suspicious police conduct at Nicole Brown Simpson's house. For instance, Fuhrman claims that the initial search warrant submitted by one of the detectives on the case, Phillip Vanatter, was too short and didn't include enough details of the probable cause and evidence on hand at the time. He also argues that key pieces of evidence were mishandled. Fuhrman believes that his colleagues didn't realize that their every move would be scrutinized in court due to the high-profile nature of the case.
Fuhrman also argues that the police and the prosecution made other errors that reduced the chances of a guilty verdict. For example, Fuhrman and his partner, Brad Roberts, found a bloody fingerprint on the north walkway gate of Nicole Brown Simpson's house. According to Fuhrman, at least some of it belonged to the suspect, as there was enough blood at the scene to suggest the suspect was bleeding. This was potentially critical evidence; Simpson claimed that he'd cut himself on the night of the murders, but hadn't been to his ex-wife's house in a week. If the fingerprint could have been tied to Simpson in any fashion (i.e., if it had been Simpson's fingerprint in his blood or his fingerprint in Nicole Brown Simpson's blood) it would have been a crippling--and possibly fatal--blow to his defense. It also could have contradicted the defense's allegations that Fuhrman planted the glove, since he did not know or have reason to know that it was Simpson's blood.
However, the fingerprint was destroyed at some point, and was only mentioned superficially at trial. In fact, Fuhrman later found out Vanatter and his partner, Tom Lange, didn't even know the fingerprint was there because they never read Fuhrman's notes. Roberts could have offered testimony to corroborate that the fingerprint was there, but was never called to testify something that rankled Fuhrman almost as much as the fact that Vanatter and Lange never read his notes. Fuhrman also claimed that Roberts could have corroborated many of his other observations, but Marcia Clark didn't call him to avoid embarrassing Vanatter on the stand.
Fuhrman feels the prosecution abandoned him once the tapes were made public. He said that he pleaded the Fifth after he couldn't get the prosecution to call him to the stand for a redirect prior to the tapes being played for the jury. Once the tapes came out, Fuhrman said, he would have been nearly beyond rehabilitation.
Like many critics of the prosecution, Fuhrman felt that Ito allowed the defense to control the trial. For instance, like Bugliosi, he insists that relevant case law demanded that Ito foreclose the defense from asking him about racial slurs because of the possibility of prejudice to the prosecution's case. However, Fuhrman goes as far to say that Ito should have never been put on the case in the first place. Ito was married to Margaret York, an LAPD captain who had worked with Fuhrman in the past, and Fuhrman felt that Ito should have been challenged by the prosecution or voluntarily recused himself from the case on that basis.
In his own book on the case, Outrage, Bugliosi argued that in order to prove Fuhrman had planted the glove, the defense would have had to prove that there was a far-reaching conspiracy between Fuhrman and other officers. However, no evidence of such a conspiracy was ever introduced. Bugliosi also said that Clark should have blasted this assertion in her closing argument. Bugliosi also pointed out that if there was such a conspiracy, anyone involved would be risking both their careers and their lives. At the time, California law held that anyone who fabricated evidence in a death penalty case could be sentenced to death themselves.
For his next book, Murder in Greenwich, he investigated the then-unsolved 1975 murder of Martha Moxley and presented his theory that the murderer was Michael Skakel, nephew of Ethel Kennedy, the widow of Senator Robert Kennedy, which helped to re-open the case. Skakel was subsequently convicted of murder in June 2002. The book was made into a TV movie in 2002, starring Christopher Meloni (Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Oz) as Fuhrman.
Fuhrman has written a book on the subjects of capital punishment. He wrote a book on the medical treatment and death of Terri Schiavo, focusing on gaps in the medical and legal records that might allow for the possibility that Schiavo was murdered.
Fuhrman has written a book on the John F. Kennedy assassination. In it he advances a theory debunking the Single Bullet Theory while still maintaining that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone. He claims that the Warren Commission was forced to adopt the Single Bullet Theory for political reasons. However, he says that a dent in the presidential limousine used that day in the chrome above the windshield vindicates the story told by John Connally that a first shot at President John Kennedy did not hit him.
Fuhrman is a frequent guest of conservative commentator Sean Hannity for FOX News. He was also the host of the popular "Mark Fuhrman Show" on KGA in Spokane between the hours of 8am-11am Pacific. The show covers local and national topics and includes many guest callers and listeners. Fuhrman was fired from KGA in November 2007, no explanation was given.
In response to the proposed book If I Did It written by O.J. Simpson to be published by ReganBooks (an imprint of HarperCollins), Fuhrman stated that he would drop HarperCollins as the publisher of his own books in the future. However, the Simpson book deal was later cancelled.
MO: episiotomy sutures break-infection results: cour error held not prejudical & not reversile.(Medical Law Cases of Note)(Egan v. Duello, No. WD64857)
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