||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (May 2013)|
|Los Angeles County Superior Court|
August 2, 1950 |
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Margaret Ann York|
Lance Allan Ito (born August 2, 1950) is an American Los Angeles County Superior Court judge, best known for his presiding decision during the O. J. Simpson murder trial. He currently hears felony criminal cases at the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center in downtown Los Angeles. Los Angeles County announced on April 17, 2012 that Ito's courtroom, along with 55 others, will be closed due to budget cuts. Ito will serve as a fill-in judge.
Early life and career 
Ito was born to Jim and Toshi Ito. As children, both had been kept in Japanese American internment camps with their families during World War II. Ito attended John Marshall High School, where he was student body president and received the Scholar Athlete award in 1968. He earned his Bachelors Degree with honors from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1972, and his J.D. degree from the University of California, Berkeley's Boalt Hall in 1975. He then joined the Los Angeles district attorney's office in 1977, working in the hardcore gang unit and the organized crime and terror unit, among others.
In 1981, he married Margaret Ann York, the first woman to attain the rank of Deputy Chief in the Los Angeles Police Department and that department's highest ranking woman officer when she retired in 2002.[when?] The two met while at an Eagle Rock murder scene. York was also the Chief of the Los Angeles County Police.[when?]
Charles H. Keating Jr.'s trial 
In 1992, he presided over Charles H. Keating Jr.'s trial in the savings and loan scandal; Keating's 10-year sentence was later overturned on appeal because Ito had neglected to instruct the jury to determine whether Keating intended to defraud investors. It was the prosecution's position that Keating was liable as a matter of strict liability.
O.J. Simpson's murder trial 
Among others[who?], crime author Jay Robert Nash disliked Ito's handling of the Simpson case because they felt Ito had allowed his courtroom to be turned into part of the media circus surrounding the case, to the point where Ito would invite attorneys and courtroom staff into his chambers to watch the previous night's Jay Leno footage. However, Ito and others present in the courtroom[who?] dispute this characterization, challenging critics to identify a proceeding that was not under control. Because the jury was sequestered, an attorney gag order would not have been supported by any appellate court, leading to often chaotic scenes outside the courthouse.[clarification needed] Another criticism was Ito's allowing a jury field trip through O.J. Simpson's home after it had been stage dressed by the defense team, in one case replacing an artistic nude painting of Simpson's girlfriend with a reproduction of Norman Rockwell's painting of Ruby Bridges being escorted to school in the New Orleans desegregation struggle.
Ito was also criticized for the way that the jury was handled, bowing to defense team pressure to dismiss juror Francine Florio-Bunten late in the trial. Outrage: Five Reasons Why O.J. Simpson Got Away With Murder by Vincent Bugliosi illustrates numerous instances of judicial incompetence attributed to Ito.
Current career 
Ito continues to hold office as a Los Angeles Superior Court Judge. Although not himself fluent in any foreign language, Ito is regarded as an expert in the area of the use of spoken-language interpreters in courtroom proceedings and regularly teaches at the Judicial College of California and Chapman University School of Law.
Ito declines to give interviews regarding the O.J. Simpson murder trial because the Canons of Ethics that guide the conduct of California trial-court judges forbid commenting upon pending matters or matters likely to come before the courts. Ito has considered writing a book about the Simpson trial, but doing so would require resigning from his judicial seat; Judge Ito believed that resigning from his position would be a dishonor to his family. He has noted his disbelief that public interest in the trial extended through the "turgid" DNA section of the trial. He has used his status to work on issues of judicial reform, such as increasing the number of translators and enforcing rules for foreign national defendants in the court.
- Tharp, Mike. "Ito's Fairness Doctrine". Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Adams, Kathleen; Catoggio, Nick; Lofaro, Lina; Rubin, Jeffery C.; Toufexis, Anastasia; Urquhart, Sidney (28 August 1995). "THE WEEK: AUGUST 13-19". Time. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Zagorin, Adam (3 February 1997). "CHARLIE'S AN ANGEL?". Time Magazine. Retrieved 22 November 2011.
- Ray, Don. (March 6, 2009). "Lance A. Ito Judicial Profile". Los Angeles Daily Journal.