Who Is Peggy York On 'The People V. O.J. Simpson'? She Was Crucial To The Trial
The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story has brought a lot of relatively minor figures in the case back to the forefront thanks to its detailed take on all of the courtroom goings-on. The show has done a great job of showing how each piece of the puzzle came together and resulted in the case's outcome. The judge presiding over the case, Lance Ito, was obviously an important figure, but his wife, Captain Margaret "Peggy" York, proved to be just as relevant. So, who exactly is Peggy York?
York was the highest ranking female officer in the LAPD at the time of the trial, and her connection to the case ran deeper than being married to the judge. York worked with Mark Fuhrman, the detective who found the incriminating bloody glove on Simpson's property that was alleged to match the bloody glove found at the scene of the murders. She was his supervising commander.
This information became important when tapes were discovered that featured Fuhrman saying a slew of racial slurs. It damaged his testimony in the case, but it also very nearly led to a mistrial because Fuhrman mentioned York on tape. Ito might have had to recuse himself from the case entirely due to her involvement with a key witness. York denied the statements made by Fuhrman on tape (and he was allegedly not a man known for his honesty). Prosecutor Marcia Clark went on to describe the incidents in her book, Without a Doubt:
“Mark had described two run-ins with [York], including one during which she upbraided the squad for writing ‘KKK’ on the calendar entry for Martin Luther King [Jr.] Day. Mark had snickered, and when she called him on it in private, he claimed, he belittled her to her face. In another dustup, he refused an assignment from her, supposedly saying, ‘I don’t talk to anybody that [sic] isn’t a policeman, and you’re as far from a policeman as I’ve seen—and as far as that goes, you’re about as far from a woman as I’ve seen.’ ”
There was a hearing to determine if the tapes could be admissible, which had to be presided over by another judge because of the conflict of interest. Some people felt that should have prevented Ito from taking the case in the first place. In an article for Newsweek from 1995, a lawyer named Harland Braun wondered, "How can a judge married to the highest-ranking female LAPD officer preside over a case where the defense is that the police lied and fabricated evidence?"
It was determined that Ito could remain on the case, with Fuhrman's taped statements about York deemed inadmissible. Ito and York, by all accounts, have a solid and devoted partnership and are still together. Neither has been involved in something quite as high profile as the Simpson case since, but they're probably glad about that.