O.J. Simpson Sentencing

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22 Responses

  1. bd says:

    He’s a murderer who is lucky he’s not on death row, or already executed. His acquittal was not a triumph for black, but a failure of the criminal justice system and a glaring reminder that sometimes wealth can buy the justice system, while innocent poor shnooks of all races without OJ’s bucks sometimes get railroaded. The whole initial trial was a farce. Did you read about how Judge Ito let the defense attorneys take down all of OJ’s pictures with white celebrities and replace them with black heroes before the jury was allowed to visit his house? He discovered his blackness just in time to get away with murder.

  2. bd says:

    He’s a murderer who is lucky he’s not on death row, or already executed. His acquittal was not a triumph for black, but a failure of the criminal justice system and a glaring reminder that sometimes wealth can buy the justice system, while innocent poor shnooks of all races without OJ’s bucks sometimes get railroaded. The whole initial trial was a farce. Did you read about how Judge Ito let the defense attorneys take down all of OJ’s pictures with white celebrities and replace them with black heroes before the jury was allowed to visit his house? He discovered his blackness just in time to get away with murder.

    Night riders? You’ve go to be kidding me.

  3. BD says:

    He’s a murderer who is lucky he’s not on death row, or already executed. His acquittal was not a triumph for black, but a failure of the criminal justice system and a glaring reminder that sometimes wealth can buy the justice system, while innocent poor shnooks of all races without OJ’s bucks sometimes get railroaded. The whole initial trial was a farce. Did you read about how Judge Ito let the defense attorneys take down all of OJ’s pictures with white celebrities and replace them with black heroes before the jury was allowed to visit his house? He discovered his blackness just in time to get away with murder.

    Night riders? You’ve go to be kidding me. He was found by another jury to be guilty more probably than not of murder in the civil case, and that can be taken into account in sentencing.

  4. TJ says:

    Wait a minute. In what perverse world is getting away with murder a vindication of the rule of law? By your post, it seems that the more clearly guilty of murder that OJ is, the more African-Americans will celebrate our legal system and the fact that he is not getting punished. I pray to all that is holy that the sentiment you are expressing is not widely shared.

  5. CMH says:

    I agree with the other posters, “you got to be kidding me.”

    I love this blog, but this post is crap.

  6. KRS says:

    In what perverse world is getting away with murder a vindication of the rule of law?

    Most of the major criminal procedure cases involve guilty people getting away with things. By “rule of law,” we mean taking seriously “laws” like “reasonable doubt.” As Prof. Butler explained, Some of the jurors believed that Simpson was “probably” guilty, but correctly understood that “probably” does not reach the “beyond reasonable doubt” threshold required for a criminal conviction.

    The point, of course, is not the guilty people should regularly get away with things, but rather that sometimes letting guilty people go is the necessary cost of protecting “the rule of law” and the rights of the innocent.

    If “reasonable doubt” and “trial by jury” were secondary to the overriding goal of punishing the guilty, perhaps we’d just save some money and lynch people in OJ’s situation. The fact that this didn’t happen and that the state failed in its efforts to prove its case and was forced to respect the jury’s verdict is indeed a “vindication of the rule of law.”

  7. TJ says:

    KRS, I agree with you that recognizing the “beyond reasonable doubt” is a virtue. But that is not what the rest of Prof. Butler’s post implies. In the next paragraph, he states that African-American celebration is based on the fact that “[n]ot only didn’t O.J. get lynched for a notorious crime against a white woman, he actually got away with it.” I think there is no other way to take this sentence than for the proposition that the more clearly guilty OJ is (e.g. beyond all doubt, like the lynch mobs of yesteryear), the more that African-Americans would celebrate him joining this “club” of injustice.

  8. TJ says:

    Moreover, I should add, recognizing the beyond reasonable doubt standard is a virtue because it protects the innocent, not because it allows guilty people to get off. The fact that some guilty people get off because of the procedural protections of criminal law is an unfortunate byproduct, not a “vindication” of the rule of law by any ordinary understanding of the term. It is the actually innocent person who gets acquitted despite bad appearances that is a “vindication” of the rule of law.

  9. “If he is punished too much, it will feel to some African-Americans like the night riders, better late than never, came for him after all.”

    I don’t see a whole lot of support for this conclusion in a non-trivial sense. Sure, someone, somewhere, might think it. But I’d argue the overwhelming majority of observers, white and black, would view it as rough justice.

    Legal question (I’m not a lawyer) – is the loss at the civil trial acceptable “character” evidence for sentencing?

  10. Quidpro says:

    What is all this blather of Simpson being guilty of murder? In this country a criminal defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As Professor Butler correctly states, the jury determined that the prosecution failed to meet its burden of proof.

    One may believe that the evidence required any reasonable jury to find he was guilty. One may even believe that Simpson was the beneficiary of jury nullification. It does not matter. He was tried before a jury that was instructed as to the applicable law and acquitted.

    Simpson’s sentence for armed robbery should be based on the circumstances of that act, not a charge for which he was acquitted.

  11. Brett Bellmore says:

    In this country, a criminal defendent is entitled to be treated, BY THE GOVERNMENT, as though they were innocent, unless convicted. Nobody else is required to go along with the pretense.

    The man is a murderer, and would have been convicted easily based on the evidence presented, had he not had a jury determined to acquit for racist reasons.

  12. Quidpro says:

    Wrong, Mr Bellmore. It is the impanelled jury, not THE GOVERNMENT (can we be more specific?), which is required to treat a criminal defendant as innocent. This is because the defendant is innocent. Unless and until the prosecution produces evidence of guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    Given the fact that the jury heard uncontroverted testimony that the LA police sometimes planted incriminating evidence, can you really claim that there was no rational basis for the verdict of acquittal?

  13. tiredofracialbiasedsupport says:

    I am so tired of these Simpson defenders. If the man wasn’t black, would these racially biased remarks of injustice STILL be said? All we have to do is listen to the tapes in evidence in this case to find him guilty–OF THIS CRIME. Yeah, he killed two people AND GOT AWAY WITH IT; sorry that his future crimes have to remind us all of that! So, what, he should get a free pass the rest of his criminal life?

    Finally, justice: this stupid and arrogant man (famous for throwing a football and running fast of all things…) is FINALLY IN PRISON. How many crimes has he gotten away with already? Assault (“Domestic Abuse”),assault involving his own daughter, eluding police (he had a gun then too), road rage, the theft of cable services (now,that’s just cheap), years of lying to evade civil liability for the murder of two people, only having golf to play everyday– because he ruined his career; all while thumbing his nose at his debt to the Goldman family. Yet he still couldn’t stop; AGAIN, showing THE THUG THAT HE IS guilty of 12 counts for armed robbery, he gets to stay behind bars for a good many years. That stupid plea; attempting to fool the judge or anyone else with that fake–oh, I didn’t mean it (boo hoo)…

    What a poor example of a human being who had been GIVEN so much and just couldn’t step out of his arrogant, stupid and petty mind. Did he ever even consider his responsibility to raise his own children? Kim Goldman said it right: he just thinks he can take what he thinks is his. He stole two lives because his ex had the nerve to have a life–and he came prepared to take more lives in this crime. He is indeed right where he belongs: PRISON. Rot there, Simpson.

  14. Orin Kerr says:

    Paul,

    As best I can tell, your post focuses on what “some” African Americans think, without either judging that opinion or stating your own view. To the extent you are willing to say, what’s your own take on this?

  15. Brett Bellmore says: The man is a murderer, and would have been convicted easily based on the evidence presented, had he not had a jury determined to acquit for racist reasons.

    Nonsense. That is a complete falsehood. Simpson had enough money to put up a genuine defense instead of the sham defense the state allows poor defendants. As a result, one after another of the prosecution witnesses were proven to be lying, or at least incompetent. In the end there was no evidence against Simpson which was reliable and, given the notorious corruption of the LAPD, a conviction could not have been safe.

    His recent conviction does nothing to rehabilitate the reputation of the US system for shoddy justice. One merely notes that the people who actually had the guns walked free as payment for their ‘testimony’ while those who did not were convicted. This is justice?

  16. A.W. says:

    KRS (one?)

    > As Prof. Butler explained, Some of the jurors believed that Simpson was “probably” guilty, but correctly understood that “probably” does not reach the “beyond reasonable doubt” threshold required for a criminal conviction.

    Um, excuse me a second, while I recognize that the jury was in the zone where rational minds disagree, they were wrong. There was no reasonable doubt. And as much as some like to celebrate that African Americans took a step forward, supposedly, lets not forget that women took a step backwards with all of this. Nicole tried her best to tell the world “if I end up dead, my husband is probably the murderer” but her murderer walked.

    Sorry, but if that jury took wife-beating as seriously as it should, OJ wouldn’t have been free to commit his latest crime.

    Quidpro

    > What is all this blather of Simpson being guilty of murder? In this country a criminal defendant is innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. As Professor Butler correctly states, the jury determined that the prosecution failed to meet its burden of proof.

    You are confusing the evidence needed to prove the truth of a matter under libel law, v. the level of evidence needed to prove it for purposes of criminal law. Forgetting the very low standards set when celebrities are involved. Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman were murdered. They didn’t accidentally fall on a pile of knives. They were stabbed to death. Nicole’s killed damn near took her head off. And as a matter of law, OJ was responsible for their deaths. Therefore he actually murdered them. Acquitted, but actually a murderer.

    A Voice of Sanity

    Mmm, another insane rambling from you…

    > That is a complete falsehood. Simpson had enough money to put up a genuine defense instead of the sham defense the state allows poor defendants.

    I won’t call the jury racist, but they were wrong. And they held the LAPD to an impossible standard. Is that better?

    > As a result, one after another of the prosecution witnesses were proven to be lying, or at least incompetent.

    BS on that.

    > In the end there was no evidence against Simpson which was reliable

    Ah, you mean besides the fact that he was lying to his limo driver, had cuts on his hands, dripped blood back and forth between the houses, and so on. If there was no evidence, why did the civil jury find against him? Oh, I guess they are the stupid ones, right?

    > One merely notes that the people who actually had the guns walked free as payment for their ‘testimony’ while those who did not were convicted. This is justice?

    Well, its not justice until OJ drops the soap. ;-)

    No but seriously, let’s not worry about the repeat offender who got away with murdering two people and didn’t quit while he was ahead. OJ was a threat walking down the street and needed to be neutralized.

    Oh, and one more thing. to all the people claiming this is payback, why then convict his buddy, too? BECAUSE THE JURY REALLY THOUGHT THEY DID THE CRIME. Sheesh.

  17. Brett Bellmore says:

    “Simpson had enough money to put up a genuine defense instead of the sham defense the state allows poor defendants.”

    I think you’re confusing an “effective” defense, and a “genuine” defense. The latter needs to be based on actual facts which demonstrate the defendant to be likely innocent. The former just needs to give a jury that wants to acquit an excuse to do so.

    To give an example: Simpson left blood at the scene of the crime, which is damned conclusive evidence. His defense was that there was citrate found in the blood, supposedly because it was planted by the police from collected blood specimins; Citrate is used to keep collected blood from clotting.

    But the citrate was present at levels consistent with having drank soda, which contains citrate as a preservative, not at the enormously higher concentration which would result from having been in a collection tube.

    So it wasn’t a genuine defense. Just an excuse.

    The case was full of stuff like this, Simpson’s lawyers were skilled, but they were skilled sophists, making a phony case for his innocence.

  18. You have your ‘evidence’ wrong. After deciding his socks had no blood on them mysteriously blood was ‘found’ on them, however the pattern of the stains was wrong and the blood found contained EDTA both of which raised he reasonable suspicion that the police had once more planted evidence.

    I have found no one who can argue against this point: If the police had taken Simpson to a separate DNA lab with his lawyers in attendance, withdrawn a sample, run it through the analyzer, destroyed every trace remaining of his blood sample and THEN proved the various matches they claimed then he would be in San Quentin right now. For the sake of a little trouble and expense they blew a multi million dollar prosecution they could have won. The only people to blame for the failure are the LAPD. The jury made an honest and reasonable decision, unlike far too many others in the USA who think they are voting someone off the island.

  19. A.W. says:

    A voice of insanity…

    I agree the jury was reasonably wrong.

    But to pretend there was no evidence against him is, well… insane.

    If there was NO evidence against him, then the civil case would have ended in a summary judgment against the browns and goldmans.

    oh, and here is a small piece of evidence about the crime: HE BEAT HER. i can tell you, most of the time when a man beats a woman and later she turns up dead, he killed her.

    And chris darden’s closing correctly pointed out that even if you exclude everything that mark furhman might have touched there is still a mountain of blood-soaked evidence.

    I’m not saying the jury was crazy or stupid or racially motivated, just that they were wrong. And your arguments, far from being a voice of reason, is the classic paranoid fantasies of a person who thinks that all successful black men are being framed.

  20. CiarandDenlane says:

    I think most of the commenters here are misinterpreting Professor Butler’s post, which I thought was making a modest point. I’m a fairly conservative white who would have voted for acquittal at the time, though I’ll grant you that may be because I simply wasn’t following the trial closely enough to be sure beyond a reasonable doubt. I read the post as acknowledging that the evidence showed that Simpson was “probably” guilty, and that the sense of victory felt by some blacks was that, notwithstanding that probable guilt of killing a white woman, a properly rendered verdict of not guilty was allowed to stand notwithstanding the views then and now of many that it was wrong. It does seem to me that that is an advance for the rule of law over the lynch mob, and i can understand why blacks would view that as a win. Heck, I see it the same way, and I’m not even black.

  21. Brett Bellmore says:

    “and the blood found contained EDTA both of which raised he reasonable suspicion that the police had once more planted evidence.”

    EDTA is a freaking food preservative. It’s found in most people’s blood, but not nearly at the CONCENTRATION it would be found in blood from a collection vial. That’s why I say that was an excuse to acquit, not a reason.

  22. He'sPrisonBoundAtLast says:

    Remember when he did the “slow chase” (eluding the police when they went to get him for the two murders) with the gun? I say, give him the Bronco and a gun and let him go for a ride again, and let him finish what he started then! We could have been finished with this criminal way back then–and saved so much money on this retard.