Friday, March 4, 2016

OJ Simpson and the latest debacle

It truly is hard to figure out which is worse. The hypocrisy, misguided vengeance, or flat-out stupidity of some folks that should know better.

Enter Orenthal James Simpson -- again. Or at least his long over murder trial. Now it appears a knife has been turned over to the authorities for inspection and forensics, by a cop who had it in his possession all along, no less. Said knife was supposedly discovered buried on OJ's long since demolished estate many years ago. Could it have been the murder weapon the authorities never found way back in 1995? Of course that's assuming the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman were indeed homicides. Granted, if otherwise, said scenario would have likely been the worst case of double suicide in the history of America, so for the sake of argument let's assume the coroner at least got that part right.

Nevertheless, recent developments not only raise some interesting questions, but call into play the very foundation of the American jurisprudence system. What the hell is going on?

An LAPD police captain held a press conference and stated the OJ murder case, like all other violent crimes, remains "open" until and unless a conviction is secured. Translation? The cops will keep investigating.

Question. What's the point? It doesn't matter if OJ himself confesses to the crime -- good luck with that -- or if this mysterious knife turns out to be the murder weapon. And good luck with forensics and establishing a chain of custody that goes back to Simpson himself after over 20 years.

No doubt, most Americans still think OJ did the crime. It is their right to believe whatever they wish. But most Americans weren't on the jury either. Cops investigate and gather evidence. Sometimes they lie and hide things, especially when it comes to one of their own. The evidence is turned over to the prosecuting authorities. They can bring charges -- or not. In OJ's case, it was a no-brainer. Of COURSE there was going to be charges and a trial.

But it doesn't matter what most Americans think now, or even thought then. They weren't on the jury and the opinion of the jury is the bottom line in ANY trial. In the end, they said "not guilty". It should have been case closed.

So what part of "case closed" doesn't this LAPD captain understand? There can be no re-trial. Our Founding Fathers specifically forbade "double jeopardy" in the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution for the same crime. To waste time and resources (see taxpayer money) trying to determine whether this knife was involved in the crime is totally stupid.

Which raises another point that has long gone unnoticed in criminal trials. Whatever happened to "innocent"? A basic tenet of the American jurisprudence system is one is presumed innocent until proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Yet once accused, one is never innocent again. They may be acquitted or found "not guilty" for a crime they didn't commit in the first place -- but somewhere along the line "innocent" got lost in the Big Brother propaganda shuffle. It doesn't matter if a defendant can prove they were 100 miles away when the crime happened -- they will never be "innocent" again. They have a "not guilty" on their record -- forever. And that's just wrong. On that note, the system has been so bastardized over the years in favor of the prosecution, that the burden of proof seems to now lie with the defendant to show they DIDN'T do it, rather than the prosecution proving they DID. It's bass-ackwards. Further yet, name the crime and legions of arm-chair prosecutors at home, along with being goaded on by the media, automatically assume someone is guilty. They know nothing about the actual evidence or lack thereof. Some guy/gal got accused of whatever? Must be guilty. The prosecutors and cops love how this has evolved over the years. But it's a travesty of justice. more often than not resulting in tainted jury pools. When the "court of public opinion" has already issued its verdict -- guilty -- good luck getting 12 unbiased and objective people to sit in the box.

And what about the cop that finally "surrendered" the knife to his superiors two decades after the incident and after he'd retired? He knew damn good and well where that blade came from way back in the day, but kept it as a souvenir. How corrupt was HE all along? But nothing will happen to him. The above mentioned Captain finds himself in a bind. Any normal citizen would be getting raked over the coals for obstructing justice. But this is one of the LAPD's own. They'll close ranks like they always do and the cop will ride merrily off into the sunset to collect his hefty pension. Just more hypocrisy and double standards.

If one harkens back, they will recall OJ Simpson was found "not-guilty" of murdering Nicole and Ron, by a jury of his peers. Whether or not I, you, or anybody else agreed or disagreed with that verdict is irrelevant. The jury spoke. Period. Again, it should have been case closed.

But no. As we know, a civil trial followed. Incredibly, that jury found OJ liable for a crime he officially didn't commit. So they tried to take all his money and possessions away, and basically did, though his NFL pension was off-limits. And somewhere, our Founding Fathers twitched. Though many thought of this as a small measure of retribution, it still flew in the face of the basic principles of the Fifth Amendment.

Yet we see the end runs all the time. If the folks at the state level can't make a violent crime charge stick and the jury comes back with an acquittal, the feds will jump in full force saying the "innocent" party violated the "victim's" civil rights. And another trial will happen, this time with a more favorable jury for the prosecution. It's not right and again flies in the face of double jeopardy.

True, OJ himself turned out to be his own worst enemy. After being acquitted on the murder thing, and even the results of the double standard civil case notwithstanding, Simpson still pretty much had it made. All he had to do was stay in Florida. Nobody could touch him there. He was home free in a warm climate state and could golf every day year round on beautiful courses. Having narrowly escaped a murder conviction, most people would think they died and went to heaven to wind up in such utopian circumstances. What could go wrong?

Turned out, it was OJ's own stupidity. It wasn't good enough to live the life of ease in the Sunshine State. No, he just had to go back to Vegas chasing some memorabilia he thought rightfully belonged to him. So a hotel incident occurred, a gun was supposedly involved (though nobody got shot), and the Nevada authorities quickly scooped him up.

Any John or Jane Doe that was involved in a similar incident would have been treated far differently than OJ Simpson. It was a border-line felony and Mr./Ms. Doe likely would have been fined, perhaps served a little jail time, and put on probation for a year or two.

But Orenthal James Simpson was not your average John Doe. The authorities had been lying in wait just hoping for a chance to nail him on something -- ANYTHING -- and he gave it to them. The so-called wheels of justice came crashing down on his head. OJ got over 30 years in the pen, basically a life sentence, for what amounted to a minor crime in the whole scheme of things. People rejoiced, but taken objectively -- this was also a travesty of justice. It's no big secret that this was vengeance for the Brown/Goldman incident -- that he was originally found not culpable of.

Whether true justice was done in the end is a matter of speculation. People are free to believe whatever they wish.

But there can be little doubt the "system", as it has become over the years, is not only flawed, but is driven and controlled by forces that make a mockery out of honesty, integrity, remaining impartial, and violate the basic principles of fairness. In short, it's not about who's truly innocent or guilty any more, it's about which side can win in the end. And no dirty trick is off-limits.

I dare say this is not what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

Yet for now, all this re-hashed OJ nonsense is just that. He's still in the penitentiary outside of Vegas and not getting out any time soon.

So what, exactly, is the big deal about some knife showing up 20 years later? While it may give a nitwit LAPD police captain an excuse to call another lame press conference, and provide fodder for the talking heads, -- it changes absolutely nothing.

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