Remembering Johnnie Cochran

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Tuesday night, Harvard's Alan Dershowitz (search) was on our show to talk about Johnnie Cochran (search). Johnnie had a unique quality — he would walk into a room and make everyone in the room feel important —even his adversaries. Marcia Clark was quoted last night as saying that he was, in essence, always nice, no rancor. Some lawyers are openly hostile and nasty — not Johnnie Cochran.

I asked Alan Dershowitz when he first met Johnnie and he related the story. As I asked the question, I thought back to the first time I met Alan. It was in the late 80s or early 90's. We both had defendants (appellants) in a federal appeals court. The indictment for which our clients had been convicted at trial included a murder conspiracy conviction and had many other counts. The federal appeals court, in their briefing order to the lawyers, said that the appellants could have 100 pages to make their legal arguments. The court did not divide the pages. Alan "informed" me — the first time we talked — that he would be taking 70 of those pages. Needless to say, I was not happy and was not about to give in — and did not. My client had important legal issues and needed as many pages as possible — it seemed right to split it evenly. There was actually another appellant in this and we had to make room for that person, too. Believe it or not, Alan and I got into quite a battle over pages. If my recollection serves me correctly, the court or the court clerk had to referee the dispute. We had a mini battle before we even got filed the appeal and argued the case. At the end it all worked out and Alan and I both won our cases, but it was an "odd" way to forge a friendship. Incidentally, if ever I got into trouble, Alan Dershowitz would be my first call. He is an extremely smart lawyer.

The Terri Schiavo (search) matter continues. I sure wish there were a good answer or good ending to this, but there is not. Here are your e-mails, randomly grabbed:

E-mail No. 1

I recently lost my 83-year-old aunt. We watched her wither away to nothing over a three-week period because she would not eat. She was physically able, but just did not want any food. Guess what? No one was standing outside her window protesting, or calling us killers. Hundreds of people die a day in this fashion. She cannot feel pain according to the doctors, that part of her brain is dead. If this is the case, than she is not suffering. Also, where was everyone over the past 15 years? How many of these people sent cards, flowers, visited or even cared she was dead or alive? Before we start casting rocks we should move out of our glass houses.

E-mail No. 2

Both of my parents died in Florida. Both were cremated. There were no autopsies required. Unless there is a new law, my parents died in 1997 and 1998, it is not true that an autopsy will be done just because of cremation.
Darlene Elliott
Hartford, CT

E-mail No. 3

I am an R.N. and am appalled at the obvious lack of Terri's right to die with dignity. What is this about three policemen in her room? I worked with cancer patients and as she is probably extremely close to the end, this is a time when she needs her family with her holding her hand and talking. Not this circus. Let the woman die in peace! Let her family begin the grieving process. The shame of this whole situation is that the entire family cannot come together on any decision involving her. The husband seems to go to great lengths to maintain an iron control over the rest of the family to the point of cruelty. When I think of what she is going through without basic oral care, no peace or quiet, comforting words or presence of family at all times — the thought of strangers in her room makes me sick. This is the outrage. People should see her legacy: take care of their directives so no other family has to live this nightmare.
Keep up the good work!
Cynthia Detmore

E-mail No. 4

Well, what do you say of the despicable act of selling tapes by the Schindler family for a $100 donation on the Internet? They have certainly shown their true colors, and they are playing this story to the hilt. They show no respect for the rest of the dying patients in the hospice. FOX News is adding to this circus.

E-mail No. 5

Women are really taking charge and advancing! They are learning to screw people over better than men. That's what I call, "take charge!" They can really screw people over well.
Blair Frank

E-mail No. 6 — below is the daily e-mail from Laura. Yesterday, I noted that Jim Hammer does not send them because he is too "lazy." He saw the comment — which I was hoping — and wrote me about my teasing. He laughed, but did not get "un-lazy." I still don't have an e-mail from him about the trial!

Subject: Laura note

Seventy people showed up at the public lottery today. That's more than usual ... maybe the fans wanted to show Michael Jackson (search) some love after the judge ruled to allow the previous child molestation accusations against him in as evidence. The judge also ruled third party witnesses will be able to testify. Yesterday, after court was over I waited in the crowd of fans as they watched Jackson leave. One woman who came from Columbus, Ohio said the idea that Jackson would do something inappropriate to children with someone else watching was ridiculous. That's a secluded private thing. What kind of child molester would let anybody know what they are doing? Nobody is that crazy ... he ain't crazy!
The comedy club owner that hooked up the "King of Pop" with his accuser is on the stand today in Santa Maria. Jamie Masada owns and operates The Laugh Factory in L.A. and N.Y., and has told jurors how he met the accuser in this case. Masada comes off as warm, sincere and sweet. In a heavy accent (says he's lived in Iran and Israel) he talked about running comedy camps for kids. He has been cracking the jury up with some of his answers ... defense objects to something and in broken English he turns to judge and says, "What I do? I sorry!" Jury smiles and laughs as judge explains it's not his fault, he has rules for the lawyers. The light mood inside the courtroom has turned dark as he describes being around accuser's dad. Says he hit him up for money all the time. One time when the dad and accuser were in Masada's office, he said he thinks the dad hit his son while he was accusing comedian George Lopez of stealing money from his son. He said that when he went to go visit the accuser in the hospital, he was so skinny, and his stomach was all yellow. He said, God! Please don't make me remember that. When asked if mother ever asked him for anything, he said yes. Prayers. Not money as the defense has alleged.
Also, at the morning break, an unusual sight: Jury is seated before Jackson comes into court. That never happens. Usually Jackson has to be seated first. He came in with a big old smile on his face with a confident stride. Seemed strange to me. Almost reminded me how Scott Peterson used to walk in to court at his trial. Jackson was walking in back of his dad as they came in. Jackson gave his dad a quick pat on the shoulder as Joe Jackson took his seat. I asked a court employee why the jury was seated before Jackson. He said because Jackson was late back from break ... judge wasn't going to make jury wait.

E-mail No. 7 — I have to post this next e-mail. I usually talk "doom and gloom" — that's news — so when we get some good news, I like to include it. This e-mail was sent all around FOX News Channel today and relates to Laura Ingle:

From our friends at KFI, L.A.'s FOX Radio affiliate (and E-mail No. 1 talk station):

Laura has won an Edward R. Murrow award for her five-part series "Unfaithful and Accused, the Case Against Scott Peterson." This is a big win. This was a big project. The Murrow Awards honor outstanding achievements in electronic journalism and are radio's version of the Academy Awards. Drive on up to Santa Maria, where Laura's covering a certain trial, and give her a high Jackson 5.

ANSWER: A couple quick notes: I called Laura to congratulate her — this award is a big deal and she is deserves it. She has a remarkable ability to report a story without video (that's radio) and tell it in such a fair and descriptive manner that you feel like you were there and saw it firsthand yourself.


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