OJ verdict proves justice isn’t blind

by Jim Longworth

OJ verdict proves justice isn’t blind

Fourteen years ago, NFL Hall of Famer OJ Simpson was accused, then acquitted of murdering his ex wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. The trial held our nation spellbound and the verdict divided us along racial lines. TV news crews captured images of blacks celebrating and whites looking typically judgemental. Say what you will about Simpson, but a jury of his peers believed that bungling CSIs, corrupt police and incompetent prosecutors failed to make their case. I may be the only white guy in this hemisphere who thinks the jury got it right. Remember the bloody glove that was supposed to nail Simspon? It couldn’t even fit half way onto OJ’s severely arthritic hand. And speaking of his hands, I always found it hard to believe that a man with such gnarled hands could have wielded a knife with such force as to nearly decapitate one of his victims. As such, I believe that at least one if not two other men were involved, and that OJ might or might not have known their identity. He might have solicited their help in frightening Nicole into giving up her fight to deny him custody of his children. Or, as some reports indicated, Nicole might have been in debt to drug dealers who decided to make an example of her. But regardless of those and other theories, OJ was found not guilty under the law, and that means he entered this year’s Las Vegas ordeal with no prior criminal record. Yet, last week, following a lengthy trial in which OJ was charged with attempting to steal his own memorabilia, Judge Jackie Glass sentenced Simpson to 33 years in prison and treated him as though he was some sort of repeat offender. And then there was the Nevada jury, who was anything but a jury of his peers. All 12 jurors were white and nine were women. That’s why the trial was biased and unfair, and why those white-bread idiots found OJ guilty on all 12 counts, including a ridiculous charge of kidnapping. Moreover, the entire case was a set-up job designed to pay Simspon back for “getting away with murder.” Las Vegas police were in cahoots with a sleazy felon, a memorabilia dealer who tape-recorded the interaction between OJ and two of the men who illegally obtained Simpson’s mementos. Immediately following the sting, the dealer netted over $200,000 from media outlets that broadcast the hidden camera hotel hijinks. By the way, police were overheard on that tape saying that if LA couldn’t get him, they would. And so here’s a former sports hero being charged with trying to retrieve his own property which had been stolen from him. He never carried a gun. He never told anyone else to bring a gun. He just wanted his stuff back. Following the sting, Simpson innocently asked police if they had arrested the thieves who stole his possessions. It was a logical question. Little did he know that the cops were working with the bad guys to punish a man who they thought should have been punished long ago. That’s not criminal justice, that’s just plain criminal. But let’s get back to the all white jury, and to the female judge who sentenced OJ. Prior to the start of the Vegas trial, Judge Glass allowed prosecutors to issue a lengthy questionnaire to all 500 prospective jurors. Of the 12 finalists, five said they thought OJ was guilty of the 1994 murders. That’s not only having prior knowledge of the defendant’s behavior, that’s blatant prejudice against him. How tainted can a trial be? In all fairness to Judge Glass, she didn’t authorize a sleazy sting involving sleazy felons cooperating with police. And she didn’t tell OJ to go storming into someone else’s hotel room. She didn’t pick the jury, nor did she create the sentencing guidelines for the crimes with which Simpson was charged. On the other hand, Judge Glass could have reviewed the jury questionnaires and declared a mistrial from the get-go. She also could have set aside the all-white jury’s verdict, and ordered OJ to do 10 years of community service. For God’s sakes, the man only tried to regain possession of his own property from thieves of ill repute. The problem is that, despite Glass’s disclaimer, her sentencing and the trial itself was, in fact, payback for Simpson having once been acquitted in a high-profile murder trial. Anyone else who was a first-time offender would have been treated differently, especially anyone else who is Caucasian. Simpson can now appeal the tainted verdict, but he’ll have to do so from his jail cell. Judge Glass denied him bail. Why? Because she took into consideration his prior behavior in appearing to flee from Los Angeles police following the Brown/ Goldman murders. But wait a minute. He was acquitted of those crimes, so how could a judge take into consideration something an innocent man did in an unrelated case in another state?

Continued on page 21