Saturday, November 19, 2005

OJ - Hang Up the Phone 

OJ Simpson got on the phone to do at least one interview after a jury found actor Robert Blake responsible for Blake's wife's murder and awarded her children $30 million in a civil trial. Enraged by a justice system that would allow both him and Blake to be found not guilty in a criminal trial but then responsible in a civil trial, Simpson is mad as hell and he's not going to take it any more. Well, actually he is going to take it since he's under court order, but he's not going to be quiet about it. And he's not going to improve his image much by his statements or by the company he's choosing to keep.

Early on in the article, he poses this question regarding civil v. criminal trials:
"I still don't get how anyone can be found not guilty of a murder and then be found responsible for it in any way shape or form," Simpson said in a phone interview from his Florida home. "... If you're found not guilty, how can you be found responsible? I'd love to hear how that's not double jeopardy."

Later he answers his own question, quite eloquently:
Simpson said Blake was subjected to an unfair system in which a civil jury can essentially reverse a criminal jury's finding by using a lesser standard of proof in which jurors need be convinced only by "a preponderance of the evidence," meaning at least 51 percent.

"If that was the standard in criminal trials, only 51 percent, then so many people would be convicted that we'd have to build more jails," Simpson said. "The standard is the difference."

Yes, OJ, the standard is the difference. And the jail time. And the action. And the parties to the action. Criminal trial: beyond a reasonable doubt, liberty interest, criminal code and the state. Civil trial: preponderance of the evidence, monetary & social interest, civil code and other citizens.

Not content to voice his discontent with the justice system, he also expressed his alarm that the awards levied against him and Blake were both around $30 million (Simpson's was $33.5 million): "It was too coincidental," he said.

Where do I even go with that one? I'll leave it to the other conspiracy theorists.

He holds on to the hope that someday a brave acquitted-but-held-responsible-for-the-death individual will be able to present the civil-criminal dilemma to the Supreme Court. Alas, poor OJ, I fear you won't be happy with the outcome. Better hang on to the phone.

Simpson also had some words of damnation for his and Blake's attorneys. He found it disturbing to watch the lawyers "grandstanding" in court in the hopes of TV and book deals. He's certain that Blake's attorneys will have a book deal in short order, as Simpson's did. Guess what OJ? These criminal attorneys are the ones that kept your ass out of jail and able to complain about the system that has allowed you to continue living on your untouchable pension in sunny Florida ($25,000/month).

Now, if you feel bad for OJ since he seems to be harbouring such bitterness for his lot in life, don't worry. He has words of comfort for his fans: "Trust me," Simpson said. "I'm happy with my life. I'm not complaining." Seems his pension is off-limits to civil recovery, so he's well-financed down in Florida. And he has his friends and family. He sends Robert Blake advice that as long as he has friends and family, he'll be fine. This is the same advice he gave Michael Jackson.

Hey OJ? If you're trying to sway public opinion, you might try to find a different set of people with whom you wish to be associated. Take some lessons from other celebs who overcame their misdeeds, innocent or guilty, responsible or not. Maybe you could use some of your monthly $25K to set up a scholarship fund for unemployed law students, in the hopes of inspiring changes in the legal system? I know someone who could use a little tuition infusion right about now!

And I think that actually, you are complaining.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:27 AM