O.J. Simpson Verdict Reaction Deplorable

O.J. Booked in Las Vegas

O.J. Simpson, in a Las Vegas police booking photo
O.J. Simpson, in a Las Vegas police booking photo

'If It Doesn't Fit You Must Acquit'

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For a while, I didn't think anyone could top the "Trial of the Century," but that didn't last long.

I no sooner heard the news than I became embroiled in a dispute with a fellow golfer over the O.J. Simpson acquittal. It soon became clear that the issue of racism that arose in the trial was merely a symptom of the racism that fouls the entire nation.

The trial itself, although clearly unlike any other trial in history, reveals an urgent need for reform of the American judicial system -- something I've been urging for some time. But the aftermath of the trial, the subtle and sometimes blatant racism of many of those who do not care to accept the judgment of the jury, tells an even sadder story.

Judgments Based on Hearsay

I would like to think that those who refuse to accept the jury's judgment would be just as adamant if the accused were a white man, but that is difficult to believe because the only judgment they can make is by "evidence" they've been fed through radio, television, magazines and newspapers.

Even those who proudly proclaimed, "I've followed the case very closely" must know that their judgment is biased on the fact that they have seen, not mountains of evidence but, rather, volumes of hearsay, misinformation and lies that no self-respecting judge would ever allow into a courtroom as evidence.

This goes for the prosecution team as well, and even, sadly, for Fred Goldman, whose frustration and anger is understandable, but misdirected. It's the prosecution's job to seek justice, not retribution.

Racism Documented

Those people who are angry about the "not guilty" verdict should search their souls. Many, if not most of them, decided that O.J. was guilty even before the trial began. And most cheered the prosecution on throughout the long trial, so convinced that Simpson was guilty that they resented any defense the "Dream Team" offered. Some even made apologies for Detective Mark Fuhrman, whose racism was documented.

And, after the verdict was read in court, those people who have no doubt that the jury's judgment doesn't measure up to their own immediately accused the jury of making an "emotional" decision. Of course, their prejudgment of the case was not based on emotion; obviously, it was based on fact, as revealed by Court TV.

It must be pointed out that "not guilty" in the courtroom does not mean "innocent." The jurors are charged, not with deciding whether someone is innocent, but, rather, whether the accused is "guilty" or "not guilty" of the charges. The O.J. jurors' "not guilty" verdict simply means that the charges were not proven beyond a reasonable doubt, not that O.J. is "innocent."

Guilt Not 'Proven'

While many white faces shown on television reacting to the verdict were glum, some other whites and many blacks cheered the verdict. The cheers were not "for a murderer," as some blurted out, but rather for a man who clearly was not proven guilty of the murders in a court of law.

The "not guilty" verdict meant, to many blacks, and at least some whites, that a black man wasn't unjustly convicted of a crime merely because he was a black man. It may be hard for some to believe, but it has been done before.

The Rodney King case proved that the Los Angles Police Department and America have a long way to go toward ending racial conflict. The O.J. Simpson case makes it clear that we had better start working on the problem now.

I wrote this column as a "My View" for The Hour newspaper of Norwalk, Conn., on Oct. 7, 1995. I now write my views on a wide variety of topics on HubPages. To view my HubPages Profile Click Here

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Comments 42 comments

jormins profile image

jormins 8 years ago from Chicago, IL

I think the general public forgets the "beyond reasonable doubt" part many times. Something which I think seperates us in a good way from other countries where a fair trial is rare.

I sometimes wonder if OJ's conscience is getting in the way for him possibly leading to his most recent dumb act in Vegas.

Great hub, I always have to stop multi-tasking for your hubs which is a great thing.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

OJ's character leaves a lot to be desired, but our justice system, with all its many flaws, must be safeguarded -- at least until we can properly make improvements. I appreciate your kind words.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

William, your guilty as charged of writing great articles as always!!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Compu-smart, you are too kind. Frankly I thought my OJ columns would attract more critics.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Hmm , i don't know!!

Do you know what is happening to the latest OJ incident!!? Is he going to go on trial for that casino problem?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I haven't been following OJ's latest exploits closely, but I see he's set for trial on April 7 on a dozen serious charges. He doesn't have a "dream team" this time, but prosecutors already are making mistakes -- aiming too high by taking a shotgun approach. Juries are reluctant to convict anyone, especially a "celebrity," if they think the prosecution is overreaching.


compu-smart profile image

compu-smart 8 years ago from London UK

Thanks for the update...I shall look forward to April 7th..It will be very interesting!!


Hoodala profile image

Hoodala 8 years ago from Mesa

Yes, another great hub. Better to let one thousand guilty men go free than to imprison one innocent man. The system isn't perfect but it is the best the world has seen to date.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thank you, Hoodala. I agree. But it would help if we had a president who appointed more qualified Supreme Court justices.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

For the record, compu-smart, OJ's trial on the new charges of armed robbery and kidnapping have been postponed until Sept. 8. Clark County District Judge Jackie Glass refused to separate Simpson's trial from his co-defendants Charles Ehrlich and Clarence "C.J." Stewart.


JOhn 8 years ago

You are total moron. OJ's DNA was at the crime scene, you freggin idiot. The jury deserved to be jailed for their part. Justice prevailed with his latest sentence.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 8 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

John, your reasoned, moderate opinion on the OJ case shows you've given this question a lot of serious thought. O.J. Simpson's conviction on kidnapping and robbery charges on Dec. 5, 2008, however, was not -- and should not -- be punishment for a crime for which he was found "not guilty." The severity of his sentence (anywhere from 9 to 33 years) would seem to indicate that his history was not forgotten, contrary to the remarks of Judge Jackie Glass in Las Vegas. It's important for Americans to put aside their emotions long enough to remember that what the justice system can do to one it can do to all. The scales of justice must always remain balanced.


Rose Ella Morton profile image

Rose Ella Morton 7 years ago from Beverly Hills, Michigan

There are some very large holes in the first case where he was not guilty.

1. Ron was a young strong bus- boy lifting heavy trays of dishes

2.Ron had no knife womb in his back( fight or flight first instint)

3. How was O.J able to keep him in one spot ( with only one free hand) Ron body should have had slashes not deep knife stabs

It just doesn't add up. there had to be someone else with him.

4.You can take off one glove without leaving a finger print. but the second glove would have expose finger tips touching the glove. That why only one glove was found

5. O.J is not that smart ( proven when his fake friends set him up)


Rose Ella Morton profile image

Rose Ella Morton 7 years ago from Beverly Hills, Michigan

Just watching the video brought back memories of how the verdict tore black and white apart. Many blacks wanted to believe he didn't do it, Many whites said who else could have done it. I'm still confused. but one thing I do believed. It he didn't do it he knows who did.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

There were many unanswered, or poorly answered, questions in the O.J. Simpson criminal trial, Rose, but the bottom line is that the prosecution clearly failed to prove that he was guilty. Only the jury heard all the evidence. The rest of us heard innuendo, gossip, news reports, lies, exaggerations and tainted "evidence." In addition, the prosecution did a very unprofessional job. They acted more like angry relatives of the victims rather than presenting their case in a competent, unemotional way. All of us have an interest in the judicial system and the importance of justice. If a legally constituted court finds a defendant not guilty, we must accept that decision. Based on what has happened since Simpson's criminal and civil trials, I believe many have not done so. Thank you for your welcome comments.


Rose Ella Morton profile image

Rose Ella Morton 7 years ago from Beverly Hills, Michigan

The sad part was, there was no-way O.J could get an ounce of a fair trail  the second time around. This was about getting even. Why was the Goldman's there. Why would the Judge bring up his old case. Why would one of his friends bring a tape recorder. Why would someone holler on the tape "yea he has a gun" When no one had a gun. How does the old saying goes. "Just because your paranoid and think that everybody is out to get you, doesn't mean that it not true.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Prosecutors, judges, and a defendent's attorney are all officers of the court and are pledged to seek justice in a trial. So are the jurors. If our system of justice is to survive, we must accept their final judgment after all appeals are exhausted. Nevertheless, it is my personal opinion that in O.J.'s last case many of the principals allowed their prejudices to affect their judgments. In the long run this does significant damage to our judicial system. I appreciate your comment, Rose.


glasshasnoclass 7 years ago

OJ's "robbery" conviction is a complete joke, and his sentence is disproportionate. The judge's conduct throughout his trial was deplorable. Jackie Glass is nothing but an attention whore and OJ should go free.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

O.J. Simpson's attorneys have appealed his conviction on armed robbery and kidnapping charges to Nevada's highest court. They allege the judge's behavior was improper, the predominantly white jury lacked diversity and that the trial was unfair. They urge reversal of the verdict. While I agree that his sentence was disproportionate to his offense, justice will be served, I believe, if the court considers all the facts fairly and makes an honest judgment.


opinion duck 7 years ago

While I think that the legal system in this country has fallen below the useful level, I agree with some of your comments.

The jury system needs to be changed, in the last fifty years it no longer is a jury of your peers. Juries need to be paid just like everyone else in the trial. Currently, only the defendant and the jury are not paid and of course the witnesses. Like Arbitration, a professional does a better job of understanding the process and hopefully justice.

Circumstantial evidence is evidence but it is used to make a story for the prosecutor that may or may not be factual. The jury is the trier of fact but circumstantial evidence provides a psuedo fact for them to distill the truth from. Beyond a reasonable doubt is the bar for the jury to find in the trial but using only circumstantial evidence to clear that bar is a paradox. The law cannot afford to have a trial with a paradox.

What would be wrong with have a jury that understands the law? In a trial by judge, the judge understands the law and is also the trier of fact. Having a jury composed of twelve jurors with legal credentials would be like having twelve judges hear the case. That is three more than the Supreme Court.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I am strongly opposed to paid, professional jurors. The whole idea of a jury of one's peers is that a defendant is entitled to the judgment of common ordinary citizens with common sense. If juries are paid, too many people will put the monetary rewards above the need to give defendants a fair trial. Money is always a corrupting influence. What's wrong with having a jury that understands the law is simply that it excludes the ordinary citizen with ordinary common sense. It's not much different from having 12 judges decide the case. I'll take a jury of my peers anytime (if I am ever a defendant), but I'd like them to be ordinary people chosen by lot.


fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

I remember when this Verdict came down.  I was going to NCCU in Durham and working at Lone Star.  It was luch time and the restaurant became suddenly crowded for people wanted to watch the  verdict.  I guess Lone Star was closer than home because when the vierdict was read, the restaurant completely emptied.  People were so upset, they left. I agree with opinio duck, in a case of this magnitude the jury should be more of grand jury not tom dick or harry who believes that OJ could do no wrong because he was a gifted athelete. If OJ didn't do it, who did? He did not act alone.

dori


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I'll take Tom, Dick and Harry on my jury anytime. Tom never believed that O.J. could do no wrong; neither did Dick or Harry. They just didn't want to convict a defendant who was not proven to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. I don't think it's a good idea to convict any defendant simply because you can't figure out who actually committed the crime. I'm am strongly in favor of convicting only those who are proven to be guilty. How many innocent defendants have we convicted in this country only to find out through DNA evidence that they were innocent. That, to me, is unforgivable.


fortunerep profile image

fortunerep 7 years ago from North Carolina

Killing people and getting away with it is "unforgivable"


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Should we just skip the trial, and hang the accused anyway?


Opinion Duck 7 years ago

William

The current jury system is not doing the job and both of your answers fall short.

This 2009 and the scientific evidence presented in many criminal cases is very complex. Relying on the attorneys to simplify this evidence results in opinions rather than facts to be presented to the jurors.

In 1776, the complexity of life was survival and simplicity compared to today and yet you want to use the same system for selecting jurors. The current legal system targets jurors for selection using profilers to pick the weakest jurors that can be bended to their side. These methods were not available when this laws of this country were formed.

As for paying a jury, it is not fair nor reasonable to pick at random jury pools and disrupt peoples lives and not compensate them. The current system doesn't even compensate the jurors for their expenses.

As for pair jurors, I was referring to professional jury pools instead of picking people off the streets as is the current method. Your argument about paid jurors has no reference and it is only your opinion.

As far as common sense for the jurors, I don't see that in today's jurors. Jurors today are more like sheep, herded by the media. it is from the media that people today form their opinions, I feel that many if not most people want to be on the popular side. So they use the media opinion as the popular opinion. This is not common sense.

It appears that your position on the jury system is one of Status Quo and if that is true you must believe that the jury system is doing its job. I don't share that opinion, as I think that the jury system has failed and it is just limping along.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

The current judicial system definitely needs an overhaul, Opinion Duck, as I've detailed in three different hubs. While some technical evidence can be very complicated, I wouldn't trade off the common sense of the average citizen for the technical expertise of professional jurors. Apparently I have far greater confidence in the judgment of the "common man" than you do. I'm not opposed to allowing some remuneration for jurors, which already exists in some judicial districts, but I would oppose payments that might encourage undesirables to seek out jury duty as a source of income. I appreciate your expression of opinion on this subject.


T_Augustus profile image

T_Augustus 7 years ago from Detroit, MI

Fantastic hub William! I have been feeling this way for years, and thought I lived on an island. Nice to know I'm not the only one that felt the "not guilty" verdict was the correct verdict for the case as it played out in court...not meaning he was innocent, but Marsha Clark did not win that case. He's doing time now for stealing his own stuff, not really, he was convicted of stealing his own stuff - but he's doing time for the crime he was acquitted of. I'll always believe that...but it's his own fault.

The race issue you address in this hub is flawlessly presented. I'm instantly thrusts into fandom!


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 7 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Thanks for your kind comments, T_Augustus. Marcia Clark did a highly unprofessional job. She acted more like a distraught family relative than an attorney. I agree that Simpson's recent criminal conviction was based largely on what happened earlier. Thanks, again.


Pamela 6 years ago

If even 100 black men were acquitted of killing a white person, it would not balance the scale in the favor of blacks. White people have been killing black men for years and getting away with it. Now they know how it feels. Pretty bad huh?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Killing is never right, Pamela. There's no such thing as balancing the scale when it comes to injustice. Two wrongs truly will never make a right.


pl123 6 years ago

We're racist because we think a guy's guilty when there was a mountain of evidence showing he was guilty? And let's not forget that OJ also wrote a book called "If I Did It" where he all but confessed to killing those people. And for another thing, juries aren't always objective. Both the defense and the prosecution get to turn down a certain number of jurors precisely for that reason. OJ's jury was all black, and OJ was a black hero for a long time. Don't suppose you'd be willing to admit that race and OJ's status in the black community might have influenced an all black jury?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

What "mountain of evidence?" Either you believe in the U.S. Constitution and the jury system or you don't, pl123. Only the jurors -- no one else, including the judge and the attorneys on both sides -- hear only the unbiased evidence. The judge, attorneys and everyone else hears "evidence" and hearsay that the jury does not, and should not, hear. "If I Did It," was a book of fiction. Do you really think a book of fiction is a better way to judge a defendant than a trial by jury? Under our system of government voir dire is used to insure the trial is fair. It appears you have little regard for both the Constitution or the trial by jury. Would you prefer to convict defendants without a trial? Anyone who watch the trial on TV has to be aware that the prosecution did a horrendous job, but under our system we don't convict defendants by deciding that there would have been a conviction if the prosecutors did a better job. People who followed the trial and still maintained that O.J. Simpson should have been convicted could only have based that decision on racism. I think it is racist to assume that an all black jury would have been influenced to acquit him simply because he is black. Would you say an all white jury would acquit a white man simply because he is white?


pl123 6 years ago

"What "mountain of evidence?""

Blood matching OJ's DNA at the crime scene. Blood from Nicole Brown on a sock at OJ's home. Blood on OJ's Bronco that matched the blood of Brown and Goldman. A left glove at the murder scene with OJ's, Brown's, and Goldman's blood. Bloody footprints made by a rare shoe that OJ owned which also matched his size. I'd call that a mountain of evidence. What would you call it?

"Either you believe in the U.S. Constitution and the jury system or you don't, pl123."

That, or I can acknowledge that the jury system has its flaws, along with ever other system devised and run by mankind. Just because it's the least flawed doesn't make it flawless.

"Do you really think a book of fiction is a better way to judge a defendant than a trial by jury?"

Do you really think a book WRITTEN BY A SUSPECTED MURDERER ABOUT THE MURDER HE IS SUSPECTED TO HAVE COMMITTED AS A CONFESSION has no relevance to the likelihood that the guy's guilty? It's not enough to convict, of course, but your article isn't about the acquittal, it's about the reaction to the acquittal. People don't tend to react well when a murderer gets off on a technicality, whether the murderer was black, white, red, or purple.

"It appears you have little regard for both the Constitution or the trial by jury. "

Can the straw man. You're not doing yourself any favors. I never said the verdict was incorrect, or that the jury system isn't the best way to obtain justice. You just don't seem to get that the system still has flaws. People upset when a man who almost certainly committed murder walks free aren't racist. They're human beings reacting to the occasional flaw in our justice system.

"People who followed the trial and still maintained that O.J. Simpson should have been convicted could only have based that decision on racism."

Yeah, that, or they heard about the DNA evidence that got tossed on a technicality and aren't happy a murderer's walking around free.

"I think it is racist to assume that an all black jury would have been influenced to acquit him simply because he is black."

How easy of a time do you think an all black jury would have convicting Rosa Parks? Martin Luther King, Jr.? If you don't think people aren't going to have a harder time convicting their heroes of a crime, you deny human nature. And by the way, considering you made this statement:

"They allege the judge's behavior was improper, the predominantly white jury lacked diversity and that the trial was unfair... I believe, if the court considers all the facts fairly and makes an honest judgment."

So, you clearly think whites can be biased against a black man, but you don't think race bias can exist in favor of the defendant? You might want to come back to reality.

"Would you say an all white jury would acquit a white man simply because he is white?"

Are you really going to say that all white juries in the past haven't acquitted a white man simply because he is white? Prominent white men get acquitted all the time by other whites that don't want to believe that a someone they know and look up to could be guilty of such a horrible act. You really think that doesn't happen?


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 6 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Your "mountain of evidence" was all debunked at the trial, pl123. There's no point in retrying the case. I agree that there are flaws in the jury system, which I've discussed in another hub: http://hubpages.com/politics/Jury-System-in-the-US...


pl123 6 years ago

"Your "mountain of evidence" was all debunked at the trial, pl123. "

Their "debunking" involved saying the DNA testing lab had made two mistakes a decade ago and that a lab tech had held on to the blood for a day. The defense also neglected to do their own testing when they were offered the opportunity by the prosecution. I'd hardly call that debunked.


James Jammers 5 years ago

Looks like pl123 was right. http://www.footballnewsnow.com/2011/report-o-j-sim...

OJ is going to confess, and claim self defense.

Face it, the blacks who celebrated the verdict were every bit as racist as any whites who thought he was guilty based on the color of his skin.

Life isn't a game. Just because somebody looks like you doesn't mean they're on your team, and it doesn't mean they can do no wrong. Black got so caught up in their guy getting the verdict they wanted, they lost sight of the fact that he's a murderer.

Well, they win. A violent criminal can continue to walk the streets. what a sad world.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 5 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

If you don't accept the judgment of a duly authorized jury, how would determine whether or not he's "guilty as charged?" Maybe the court should be abolished and the justice system could just ask pl123 or you, James Jammers?

Why bother with a trial?


CJ 3 years ago

What are your thoughts now on the George Zimmerman verdict? There is a lot of negative reaction with public demonstrations.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 3 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

I think we have to accept the judgment of the jury, CJ, but we don't have to accept the bad laws that resulted in their decision. We need to put an end to the blatant racism that still exists in this country. Zimmerman was wrong to profile Martin, he was wrong to follow his in his car, he was wrong to get out of his car (which intentionally or not resulted in a confrontation with Martin) and he was wrong to use deadly force (obviously in any fight if only one participant has a concealed weapon and is willing to use it that person has a huge advantage.) It's obvious to me that Zimmerman (because of the gun) had the upper hand at all times. I don't blame the jury -- or the lawyers -- but overall I think the incident was a miscarriage of justice. I think the demonstrations, as long as they are nonviolent, are needed to put the issue of racism squarely before the American people -- and, hopefully, will result in a greater awareness of the problem and better laws on every level of government.


Mitch Rafferty profile image

Mitch Rafferty 2 years ago from Cicero, New York

The Zimmerman case! Yes, we must respect that verdict as well as the jury came to that decision. One of my friends who is a person of color (I am white) told me that the reason blacks cheered for O.J. was not because they believed him to be innocent - many believed him to be very guilty. All that mattered to them was that he be freed. If a reaction is deplorable, it would be that one. This is saying "Yes, I think he slaughtered two people and left them in their own blood, but he got some expensive lawyers and he is a celebrity, so he got off. Yay O.J." Who screams and cheers after anything like the viciousness of those murders occurs? My God, the woman's head was almost off. You want to point racism, but that's where you're wrong in the O.J. case. We wanted justice, period. After all, many believed Casey Anthony was guilty and THAT was a miscarriage of justice, including me. Ron Fuhrman was an unfortunate part of that trial, and yes, his tapes, etc could open a window of reasonable doubt if someone were to believe that he would plant the evidence to convict O.J. Of course, now we know through the books of many of O.J.'s closest friends and confidantes that he is guilty. Big surprise. Hard as it may be for you to believe, knowing he had a history of domestic violence, listening to prior 911 calls, pointed to it. He didn't have to be black, yellow, chartreuse or rainbow for physical abuse to point to his guilt or at least put a negative slant on his innocence. His and his victims' blood was on his socks, at the scene, and in the car. No, the alarming thing here is that two people died horrifically - and you are waving off the reaction of one race as though it were justified. He has also proved himself since with all of his criminal activity. I disapprove of racism on all fronts, and I can tell you, just because many people who happened to be white disagreed with that verdict did not do so because the man happens to be black. There is no pride in that verdict. No glory. No justice.


William F. Torpey profile image

William F. Torpey 2 years ago from South Valley Stream, N.Y. Author

Our justice system is far from perfect, Mitch, but the bottom line is that O.J. certainly was not proven guilty by evidence presented at trial (where it counts.) We don't convict citizens in America based on what friends say or what anyone writes in books. We believe, rightly, that no citizen should be subjected to double jeopardy. You may be convinced that O.J. is/was guilty of the charges against him, but I believe most Americans would rather see a guilty defendant go free than to convict an innocent defendant when evidence presented at trial did not prove his guilt. In recent years DNA evidence has proven that too many defendants were wrongly convicted. That is absolutely unacceptable.

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