If some black kid happens to be standing on the corner with his friends in South L.A. during a police sweep of the neighborhood, gets nervous and walks against the "Don't Walk Sign" and gets pulled in for jaywalking, it is not society's fault or the fault of the police that this kid who has never been in trouble before now has an arrest record.
And, if a man is on trial for a double homicide that he clearly committed and the defense attorneys are able to throw reasonable doubt against each of the key points made by the prosecution, it is not the jury's fault that the killer, though clearly guilty, walks free.
You know by now that Simpson (OJ, not Homer) was just convicted of a litany of nasty crimes stemming from his recent arrest in Las Vegas.
OJ Simpson has been found guilty on 12 charges of armed robbery, conspiracy to kidnap and assault with a deadly weapon by a court in the US city of Las Vegas.
The former US football star and actor was accused of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers a year ago.
The armed robbery charges carry a mandatory jail sentence, and kidnapping carries a possible life term.
Of all the people that I actually know (not just know of, not just heard of, but know like a friend or a relative) there are exactly two who saw most of the OJ Simpson trial. One is my friend Nancy, the other is me. The circumstances that led each of us to have managed this dubious accomplishment need not be discussed at this time. Suffice it to say that while I respect your opinion, since you did not see the entire trial, well, um, well, I value my opinion on this issue a bit more than yours by default. (If you DID watch the entire trial, then I'm sure you will agree with my analysis. If not, do let me know. Oh, and watching the news about the trial every day does NOT count.)
I feel that I totally understand why OJ Simpson was acquitted, and I do not hold animosity, as most other white people (Nancy and I are both white) do, towards the mostly black jury. Or at least, I have two overlapping hypotheses about why they acquitted OJ Simpson, and both are quite understandable.
One of the reasons has to do with the Los Angeles Police Department, the other has to do with Barry Scheck. The first reason is a reason that I don't like too much but I respect, and would have considered going along with if I was on that jury. The second reason has to do with the fact that the OJ Simpson trial happen to occur at a particular moment in the history of science in the courtroom.
The first reason is because the L.A.P.D. had spent the previous twenty years shaking down black people (and others) mainly in South LA, ensuring that every single male African American in the area would have a reasonably long arrest record by the time he reached the ripe old age of 22, occasionally putting these men into jail for the rest of their lives, and doing this with falsified evidence on a routine basis.
The acquittal of OJ Simpson was a sharp, stinging slap in the face to the system, from people who were tired of it. The fact that this rich OC called OJ had offed a couple of other highfalutin rich white people was a shame, but not the end of the world. And with his fame, his face, his rep, OJ Simpson was not any more likely to kill in the future than anyone else wandering around in Brentwood California. So the opportunity to slap "the man" up side the head was taken, with due consideration.
The second reason was this: In truth, the best evidence in this case was the blood evidence, which included splatters linked via DNA analysis to the deceased (which was not too hard since their bodies were laying right there) and both OJ and the Diseased to the scene of the crime and to OJ's truck and various other items. None of the other evidence was too important. The DNA evidence was not only damning, but it linked the other physical evidence to the activities of the evening and to the various players.
Now, had the prosecution used blood type evidence, which is a tried and true but less certain (because so many people share the same blood type) it may have been possible to actually make the same case. By adding in the DNA ... at that time, in that year, in California, with that defendant, and with those lawyers ... the prosecution brought complex science and things like statistics, probability, uncertainty, laboratory methods, contamination issues, and so on (I'm sure you remember) into play, where these issues were interwoven with a sense of police conspiracy to bring reasonable doubt against the best evidence brought to bear in the case.
What you have to understand is that the idea that the Police would plant evidence, or in other cases, simply screw up the chain of evidence out of lack of caring or out of incompetence, was not something that the defense had to convince this jury of. That these things could happen was not even the issue. No. This jury made the reasonable assumption that nefarious acts, indifference, and stupidity by the L.A.P.D. would be routine, and would certainly permeate a case as complicated as this no matter what. White suburban middle class America does not get this, of course. And thus the class and race divide that occurred over this trial and especially over the acquittal.
I also find it interesting that OJ Simpson has been found guilty of kidnapping. That is the charge that is likely to put him in prison forever. Kidnapping in the US carries a life sentence. But he didn't kidnap anyone. Well, sure, he held people at gunpoint and didn't let them leave the room and shit, but I guarantee that this sort of ugly, aggressive behavior happened that same night in at least a dozen other motel rooms in Las Vegas over some issue or another, and a hundred times that night elsewhere in the US. And if ten percent of those people were nabbed by the police, none were charged with kidnapping, and if anyone was charged with kidnapping, that was just to get the plea bargain, and the kidnapping charges were dropped.
Nobody gets charged with kidnapping, and certainly not convicted of it, unless they actually kidnap someone. But in the case of OJ, the system is working beyond its normal boundaries. Since everybody nows OK really did kill Nicole and Ron, and got away with it, then it makes sense to keep the kidnapping charge alive, convict him of it, and sentence him for it, in lieu of a proper conviction and sentencing for the double murder in 1995.
I expect that conviction to be thrown out, as a consequence of the particular circumstances that pertain. The de facto conviction of a person for a crime that is not the subject of the trial violates OJ's fifth amendment rights.
You seem to have covered everything fairly. The routine harassment. The equally routine falsification of evidence. The decade long vendetta. The "kidnapping".
And yet you still seem to think simpson is guilty of anything other than being black in a built up area.
And you wonder why so many citizens think sarah palin would make a great veep.
"The de facto conviction of a person for a crime that is not the subject of the trial violates OJ's fifth amendment rights. "
They still have to prove that in a court of law. As it is, the prosecution will be bending over backwards to make sure due procedure is followed.
eddie: I watched the trial. He did it. (Referring here to the 1995 double homicide).
Romeo: Yes, assuming that they are fairly competent. Sill, I think ... no, I know ... that a lot of 'justice' is determined by what charges are made and what charges are kept up during the process. They can get a perfectly clean conviction for kidnapping and as you say, if they do it right, it will stick. But perhaps in a higher court, the fact that no one in the history of kindapping laws has ever been charged with kidnapping in this kind of situation (or whatever) could matter.
Well, sure, he held people at gunpoint
Excuse me, no evidence was presented showing that Simpson was armed at any time during the altercation in Las Vegas.
Now as to everybody knowing that Simpson committed a double homicide at 865 N. Bundy Dr. on June 12, 1994, I don't know any such thing. Like Dr. Laden, I watched the entire trial and have read most of the books that have been written about it. It is my considered opinion that Ron Goldman was killed before Simpson arrived at the scene and that he subsequently killed his ex-wife after she accused him of the assault on the former, using the knife left behind by Goldmans' killer.
Now Dr. Laden will wonder how I came to such a conclusion. The answer is that a significant case can be made that the glove found behind Simpsons' house at 300 Rockingham Dr. was planted there by Goldmans' killer and there is evidence of the presence of a 4th party, in addition to Simpson, Brown, and Goldman at the crime scene.
As Simpson defense attorney F. Lee Bailey stated on the Larry King show, somebody put the right handed, extra large, Aris Light glove there. Either Simpson put it there, Mark Fuhrman put it there, or some third party, Mr. X, put it there.
The fact is that a strong case can be made that Simpson didn't put it there. Further, a strong case can be made that Mark Fuhrman didn't put it there, which leaves only Mr. X by process of elimination.
Let us first consider the hypothesis that Simpson put the glove there. There are two independent pieces of evidence that point away from this hypothesis.
1. The first is that the trail of blood found at the Rockingham location leads from the Bronco to the front door of Simpsons' house. It doesn't lead to the place where the glove was found behind the house, and in fact, no blood was found on the pathway leading to the gloves' resting place.
2. The second is that the time line suggests that Simpson was at the corner of Bundy and San Vincente 5 minutes after the glove was apparently deposited at the Rockingham location, based on the time that Brian Kailen says he heard thumps on he wall outside his room and the time that his telephone conversant, Rachael Ferrera, heard him mention it.
The difficulty with the Mark Fuhrman planting theory is that it doesn't explain the thumps on the wall which suggest the glove was deposited long before he arrived at the Rockingham location.
There is further evidence of Mr. Xs' presence at the Bundy location during the time frame of the attack. A parallel line imprint in blood was found on Goldmans' pants leg. Dr. Henry Lee testified that it was consistent with a shoe imprint and was totally at variance with the Bruno Magli shoe imprints in blood on the walkway leading away from the crime scene, which the prosecution claimed were worn by Simpson. An FBI hair and fiber expert, Douglas Deedrick testified that the imprint was consistent with being an imprint caused by clothing. Unfortunately for Mr. Deedricks' hypothesis, the prosecution presented no evidence that Simpson was wearing clothing that could have made such an imprint. In fact, Simpson was probably wearing a warmup suit that, according to books written by assistant prosecutor Henry Goldberg and detective Mark Fuhrman, was found in his washing machine and was not collected by the investigators, a mistake of monumental proportions. A warmup suit would not leave a parallel line imprint such as was found on Goldmans' pants leg.
Further, 6 identifiable but unidentified finger prints were found on the railing near where Goldmans' body was found. Simpson, Brown, Goldman, and all members of Brown's family were eliminated as matching any of the fingerprints. To this day, the identity of the person or persons to whom they belong is unknown.
The glove could have been put there by Martians. It is of no consequence. The blood in the car ... explain that!
Re Greg Laden
The answer to Dr. Ladens' query about the blood in the Bronco is very simple. Simpson was at the crime scene and killed his wife. That explains the blood in the Bronco. Anything else?
As for the glove being planted by Martians, I will treat that snark with the scorn to which it is entitled.
I'm serious about the glove. Not the Martians, but the glove. I don't think the glove is important, never was. Except that it contributed to the acquittal and probably got Mark Forman his radio talk show job.
Re Greg Laden
I would partially agree with Dr. Laden relative to the Rockingham glove. As Simpson defense attorney Alan Dershowitz has opined, the prosecution would have been much better off not to have introduced any evidence from the Rockingham location at all. There was plenty of evidence in the Bronco and at the Bundy location to have convicted Simpson. However, the prosecution made the stupid mistake of thinking that more was better. The trouble is that the more evidence that is produced, the more opportunities there are for the other side to poke holes in it. Actually, the defenses' argument that Mark Fuhrman planted the glove has a huge hole in it. In no way, shape, form, or regard does that hypothesis exculpate Simpson. In fact, quite the opposite. It provides an explanation for the appearance of the glove that is 100% consistent with Simpsons' guilt and that also explains away the problems with the blood trail at Rockingham and the time line. The failure of the prosecution to point this out to the jury in closing argument is yet more evidence of their incompetence.
However, I will have to respectfully disagree with Dr. Laden as to the relevance of the glove if it was put there by someone other then Simpson or Fuhrman. In that case, it strongly suggests the presence of a 4th party at the crime scene and becomes very relevant indeed.
By the way, I would also point out that both Henry Lee and Michael Baden are convinced that these murders were committed by more then one person.
I didn't watch the trial (for the 1995 murders). I didn't watch more than a minute of TV news on the trial. I have read much of the trial documents that were made public. I read an awful lot of news articles about the trial. (Some of which were blatantly ignorant, but that's par for the course.)
I'm about 90% confident OJ Simpson was guilty (but perhaps not alone).
But I'm about 90% confident some of the police tried to frame him. (Sadly, it's not all that unusual for cops to try to add 'evidence' to make a conviction a sure thing.)
I'm also about 100% confident some evidence was mishandled accidentally, independent of the framing effort.
The legal mechanism for establishing guilt is a fair trial. A right to which everyone has. Without a fair trial - there is no legal mechanism to establish guilt. When the cops set out to frame OJ, they eliminated the chance of a fair trial - and due to their behavior, we have no legal mechanism to establish his guilt - even though I am 90% confident he's guilty. Guilty or not, everyone deserves the right to a fair trial. When cops try to frame someone - guilty or not - they've taken away the right to a free trial, and there's no legal mechanism to establish the guilt of the accused. Thus the accused can only be acquitted.
llewelly : pretty much my feelings exactly, though I may be a bit more certain that he did it (alone or otherwise).
I am afraid that I am going to have to disagree with Mr. llewelly relative to te issue as to whether the police planted evidence in the Simpson case. It is my conclusion that they, in fact, did not. They did, however, mishandle evidence, lie on the witness stand, ignore evidence that failed to support their theory of the crime, and generally conducted a totally incompetent investigation and prosecution. I discuss a couple of the issues relative to the socks found on Simpsons' bed on a thread on Ed Braytons' blog which I link to below. IMHO, their most egregious blunder was the failure to confiscate a warmup suit from Simpsons' washing machine, as is pointed out in books by assistant prosecutor Henry Goldberg and detective Mark Fuhrman. This despite the fact that they were informed that Simpson was wearing a warmup suit when he and Brian Kaelin went out to dinner the night of the crime.
As for the prosecution one could write entire books on the mistakes airhead Marsha the moron made and attorneys Vince Bugliosi and Gerry Spence have done just that.