Saturday, May 25, 2024

OJ in Jail, Johnnie Cochran Dead… Happy Now?

October 8, 2008 by  
Filed under Entertainment, News, Weekly Columns

( Are you happy now? Can you finally let this ish go? For thirteen years “some people” have been up in arms about the “travesty” that was the 1995 O.J. Simpson verdict.

“Some people” were highly upset that this double-murder went unpunished in a criminal liability sense. “Some people” were offended at how the “stupid jurors” (of a certain color) didn’t manage to convict O.J. Simpson, but had nothing to say about the “stupid jurors” (of a different certain color) who acquitted Robert Blake.

Agreed, O.J. Simpson is an ass and habitually engaged in behavior that only increased the hatred thrown his way since the original verdict. You’ll find no disagreement from me in that respect. But, you won’t find me arguing in any way that justice has “finally” been served either.

Two different conversations.

O.J. being an ass and deserving of going to jail for robbery is separate and distinct from the argument that justice is finally “served” for a double-murder.

That type of conversation not only outrages me, it highlights the hypocrisy of it all.

I will also concede that NOBODY should be able to be beat TWO life-in-prison raps in one lifetime. You are obviously living foul if your life hangs in the judicial balance not once, but twice. That’s not “wrong place wrong time” that’s “small jail cell, life time.”

You (e.g. O.J. ) probably deserve to be in jail on that point alone.

One would think that O.J. would have the sense to at least stay away from anything that even could remotely be misconstrued as criminal in nature. This latest trial could reasonably only have one end result, irrespective of the details. If you thought that O.J. was going to survive a second bite at the apple, you’re a fool. Conversely, if you thought that the 1995 verdict played no role in the minds of jurors in this case, you are also a fool.

The 1995 verdict was a major event in the history of this country, all hyperbole aside. It forever changed law, television and the intersection of both. If you can tell someone where you were when the slow-speed chase down the 405 freeway took place, or when the verdict was read; it means the trial was a poignant moment in your life. Such recall is a tell-tale sign of impact and importance of events.

We remember where we were when President Reagan was shot, the Challenger exploded and on that fateful morning of 9/11. Of course, the Simpson verdict is not to be “compared” in importance to any of those events on a surface level, but in terms of its lasting social impact…save 9/11, none of the other aforementioned events even comes close.

To then argue (as jurors have) that such an event and its continued social impact in the intervening 13 years did not influence their verdict is laughable…and a lie. It may not have been a “deciding” factor, but it was decidedly a factor.

It’s not reasonable to believe that 5 of the 12 jurors who thought of O.J. as a double-murderer who beat the system equals an impartial jury.

“Yes, your honor…although I (and four others) think O.J. is a double-murderer and should’ve been 13 years deep in his ‘rotting in hell’ sentence…that will not impact our ability to apply justice fairly in this case.”

Oh…ok, if you say so. And there’s some beachfront property in Nebraska I’d like to sell you too.

Yes, O.J. is guilty in this instance. But don’t insult my intelligence in the process. I didn’t insult yours like those other jurors in 1995. So don’t insult my intelligence in 2008.

No, sorry, it’s simply not reasonable or rational. With the exception of murderers themselves, human nature makes it impossible to emotionally separate ourselves from the negative images and preconceptions that accompany the act of murder. So unless you’re psychotic…you just can’t do it.

If Osama Bin Laden were to show up and fight even so much as a parking ticket, it’s fair to say he’s not getting any sort of an impartial jury (and well he shouldn’t.)

O.J. was already a deviant criminal in the eyes of some jurors. A guilty verdict, although likely justified given the facts in the case, is by no means a large leap to be made.

Did O.J. get a raw deal?

Maybe…maybe not. And honestly, I don’t care if he did, truth be told. Any complaint from him or his lawyers about “injustice” will fall on deaf and unsympathetic ears, mine included.

The issue today is hypocrisy.

I’m talking about the underlying and enduring contempt for O.J. that’s never been shown for Robert Blake.


There were no protests or open questioning of the intelligence of the Blake jury. I’m talking about the same underlying contempt that was never shown for Phil Spector or the deadlocked jurors leading to a mistrial. The perceptions of the guilt of Simpson, Blake and Spector are the same.

The contempt? Not so much.

And since all of the murders involve the constant of a White woman, the disparity is even more telling.

Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman is a convicted murderer and that bit of minutia never slowed down his TV career. Only a taped conversation AFTER he became a star put his career in jeopardy.

Chapman was convicted of murder…not manslaughter (like actor Charles Dutton).


This month, the trial begins for actor Lillo Brancato Jr. of The Sopranos and A Bronx Tale fame. Brancato is up on murder charges for killing an off-duty police officer in 2005. If you’re not familiar with the case, that’s ok, neither are most people. It has hardly generated the excitement or vitriol that O.J. Simpson did. In fact, Brancato has continued to work professionally (albeit sparingly) since the murder.

It seems that killing cops isn’t as “outrageous” as Black men killing White women either. It is what it is…

It’s realistic that with the recent guilty verdicts on all 12 counts against Simpson, he will spend the rest of his life in jail. Appeals may take years, years that Simpson may or may not have. For many, Simpson used his fame and fortune to thumb his nose at the judicial system or give it the finger… whichever visual you prefer to use is up to you.

But linking this trial in any way back to the verdict of 1995 in a “justice” sense only proves my point.

In the final analysis, one could argue that it’s “neither here nor there.” Johnnie Cochran is dead and O.J. is “finally” in jail for the rest of his natural life. But the question is are you happy now? Are you satisfied? Can we please focus our collective yet selective “outrage” on Blake, Spector and Brancato now since race was “only” an issue (allegedly) because Cochran brought it up?

Since race wasn’t and isn’t an “issue“…should I assume then that the “outrage police” will hop right on it?

Written By Morris O’Kelly

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