The only reaction that I find even remotely appropriate to the news that O.J. Simpson has been arrested in connection with armed robberies in Las Vegas is, in internet parlance, to LMAO. Simpson, as you will recall acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron
Goldman, though found civilly liable for them by a different jury, is already in the news these days because of his "hypothetical" tell-all book ("If I did it" to which the Goldman family has acceded by judgment of a bankruptcy judge and to which they have called it "If I did it: Confessions of the killer")... a book whose manuscript has fallen into the hands of his creditors, the Goldman and Brown families.
It's been over ten years since O.J. proved that getting the best justice you can buy isn't just for White men... but now it seems that there might be limits to this (or not), particularly as Simpson's personal fortune is... less than it once was.
In some sense, Simpson benefited from a lot of things... the Rodney King riots that rocked LA not too long before his trial... not to mention from being famous, from having great defense counsel and lousy prosecution counsel and a judge who left a good deal to be desired, and a distinctly racially unbalanced jury (in his favor). Although... rich guys seem to always get breaks like this. Compare and contrast the fortunes of the now convicted felon former North Carolina prosecutor Mike Nifong in the Duke Lacrosse case (who was, though convicted, sentenced to one day in jail, which he served... a day longer than Scooter). Nifong made the fatal mistake of bringing an erroneous prosecution against affluent and well-connected White boys, at the urging of a Black complainant.
All I'm saying is that even if O.J. is found to be utterly devoid of culpability here-- indeed, initial accounts make him seem more the vic than the perp-- there will be no sort of backlash against the prosecutor or the police, now will there?
Well, while O.J. still, by and large, lives a life of affluence few of us can dream of, taking full advantage of bankruptcy exemptions other affluent people use such as the Florida homestead unlimited exemption and the exemption for all federally qualified pensions (in his case, from the National Football league)... his means are presumably a tad more modest than they once were. I doubt O.J. could afford another legal dream team... perhaps now he'll need to buy his reasonable doubt for a more reasonable fee?
"WTF" Update: It seems the Juice is facing around six robbery and assault counts; stay tuned for more news on that. And in an arguably related story (well, not really; it's related only in the sense that both are affluent African American males), Alan Keyes will be seeking the Republican Presidential nomination, including participation in debates.
You can't make this stuff up, sometimes.
Other than that I seem to be one of the few white people who doesn't hate OJ, I don't have much to say about him.
What I find interesting about his case though is the fact that none of the talking heads on tv seem to have the guts to question Fred Goldman's motive for publishing OJ's book. In fact, I was watching Fox "News" channel today, and the anchor assured her viewers that the Goldmans "aren't doing it for the money", because... well... "the book would have to sell 2 million copies for them to even make $170,000."
Boy, I sure am glad she explained that to me, because now that the book is number one at Amazon, I might have thought ol' Fred was out to make some money.
But now I'm really confused because Goldman told Larry King he only wanted the book rights (paraphrasing) "so OJ can't make any money off the death of my son, and the only way we can punish him is to take away his money." So why in the hell is he publishing the book now?
Don't get me wrong, it must be terrible to have one of your children murdered, but Ron Goldman was a grown man who died THIRTEEN years ago. And I think his father's sniveling is wearing just a bit thin now.
Posted by rummy at September 17, 2007 5:39 AM
Come on, Rummy... Fred feels that O.J. literally got away with murder. (Many people feel that way about a certain SecDef too, come to think of it.) A tell-all book specifically about the murder you got away with is peculiarly galling... I don't blame Fred one bit... and if he makes a fortune to boot (and makes sure O.J. doesn't), well, good for him.
There's been no chance for closure: had O.J. been dead (or at least even QUIET) for years, and Goldman was still harping about it, then you might have a point. Instead, the mother-f***er is not only still in everybody's face (apparently, with a gun no less!), but he seems to be doing a Gastineau-sack-dance about it (since the original publisher was going to be Judith Regan, maybe a sack-dance takes on even more meaning.)
There ain't no statute of limitations on murder-- or on the pain from something like this-- especially when a guy is hellbent on getting in his victims' families' faces.
Don't know if O.J. will get time for what he is now accused of (interestingly, he served quite a while in County last time before his trial), though (1) it will still be longer than Scooter and (2) hey, we got Capone for tax evasion, if you know what I mean.
Posted by the talking dog at September 17, 2007 7:37 AM
Com on, Dog... OJ's doing a "Gastinau sack-dance"?
If OJ had gotten off scott free and was still universally loved and aclaimed, you might have a point. But that's not really what happened, now is it?
First, there was the civil trial - under California law, the Brown and Goldman families really only had grounds to sue for loss of "love, companionship, moral support, etc. And they were awarded $33 million? That's more money than OJ has, or ever did have - and the fact that that judgement was allowed to stand can only really be explained by either corruption or racism, or both. Then we have the fact that most americans hate OJ because... well... he "got away with murder" and that jury brought in the "wrong verdict".
As someone who believes in constitutional principles, you've got to admit that the framers never contemplated using civil court to remedy an injustice commited in criminal court and that Goldman's wrongful death suit set a bad precedent... right?
I really enjoy site and agree with most of your views, but sorry, Dog, I'm not with ya on this one.
Posted by rummy at September 17, 2007 1:57 PM
All verdicts are appealable except criminal acquittals; if there was an egregious error of law in OJ's civil case, he should have appealed it then and there. Wrongful death for two youngish upscale people in high cost LA, $33 million? Not insanely high, frankly. And OJ's assets are not the issue (as indeed, the defendant's assets are never properly an issue in any liability matter except punitive damages, and this was not a punitive damage award, IIRC).
Come now... we should accept juries for cases that send people away forever or even to the deathhouse... but the courts aren't qualified for the sacred divvying of money? You have it exactly backwards.
Silliness. Different standards: criminal required "beyond a reasonable doubt"... if you want to accept it was established on the evidence presented, fine. Civil cases require "preponderance of the evidence", an easier standard, because we are supposed to believe (even if you clearly don't) that liberty interests up to imprisonment and the death penalty are MORE important than divvying of money.
Take the easy answer and run: neither jury committed an egregious miscarriage of justice-- it was more likely than not that OJ killed Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson, but it could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.
OJ's "sack dance" is writing a book about how he killed two people. The analogy fits.
Posted by the talking dog at September 17, 2007 4:28 PM
I'm not an attorney, so I'm sure you'll kick my a$$ on the legalities every time - but that won't stop me from trying to make my points anyway.
Which are that:
A. $33 million for loss of intagibles like love and fellowship was WAY over the top - if I'm wrong about that, then cite some other cases where parents/siblings of an ADULT person won comparable amounts, and financial support by the decedant was NOT an issue. (If Ron and Nicole had died in an airline crash or been wrongfully killed by the police, would any judge have let the $33 million award stand? I think not. And BTW, you know OJ would've been wasting his time and money trying to appeal - everybody that matters already KNEW he was guilty, and therefor, his chances of prevailing in California were exactly zero. So why bother?)
B. While the damages were not OFFICIALLY punitive, we all know perfectly well that was jury's intent.
C. The wrongful death suit against OJ set a bad precedant - now anyone lucky enough win aquital in a murder trial faces the prospect of being dragged into civil court and having whatever's left of their life completely destroyed by vengeful family members who just KNOW they "got away with murder."
Unless you actually believe that every single person charged with murder is absolutely guilty, you've got to admit there's a problem here.
Posted by rummy at September 17, 2007 5:25 PM
Problem? What problem?
Posted by Ed Meese at September 17, 2007 5:46 PM
Duhhhh... how about that anyone unfortunate enough to be accused of murdering a member of a prominant famly, can be permanently and completey destroyed in civil court, no matter what the outcome of their criminal trial.
This isn't just about OJ. In fact, I agree that he most likely was the killer of Ron and Nicole - the probem I have is the hundreds or thousands of people charged with murder, but who are actually innocent.
And before posting a snarky comeback, check out the Innocence Project and see how many people have been freed after being convicted by juries who KNEW they were guilty.
Posted by rummy at September 17, 2007 6:05 PM