Lance Ito once worked as a Los Angeles district attorney and, at the time of the Simpson trial, was married to one of the LAPD's top officials. Ito's background provoked speculation as to whether he could impartially evaluate the internal actions of the LAPD.
A bit irreverant in his teenage years, Lance Ito used to decorate his room with Playboy centerfolds and drove a hot Boss 302 Ford Mustang with an air intake and chrome magnum wheels. The young Japanese-American was also known to humorously celebrate Pearl Harbor Day by wearing an aviator's helmet and cape and running through the campus hall's shouting "Banzai".
Appointed by California's governor to the bench in 1989, Ito was seen as a wise political choice, inpart because of his Asian heriatge. Later, however, Ito was widely criticized as a poor courtroom manager, allowing far too many side-bars, stalls and delay tactics to exist in his court.
Ito seemed to enjoy press attention. Ito often invited celebrities into his chambers for a visit, and even once privately told Larry King, of CNN's Larry King Live, how he was going to rule on the his decision regarding the admissibility of Simpson's prior domestice violence evidence. Fortunately, King kept the disclosure to himself at the time. At the request of a friend, Ito even gave a controversial interview during the trial.
Often willing to let in as much of the facts as possible, Ito did not often exclude evidence. This was in part his reasoning behind his allowal of the controversial taped interviews of Mark Fuhrman, as evidence of bias.
Ito continues to hold office as a judge in Los Angeles.