It was over 20 years ago that we, the citizens of the United States, had to endure the most farcical travesty of judicial injustice in the history of the American legal system…The People of the State of California vs. Orenthal James Simpson. For those of us who were alive at the time of this trial, we now have the opportunity to relive it again except we have all the added interpretation, extrapolation, distorted spin and absurd fiction that drug-addled Hollywood screenwriters can concoct for the dubious “dramatic effect”. The FX Network has rehashed the event in a television series called American Crime Story: The People vs. O. J. Simpson. You would think they might try to get the name of the court case correct at least in the title. But this will just give you an indication of the mythical storyline this show will assuredly follow to keep viewers on the edge of their seats and to bolster the much relished weekly rating’s number.
Even back then, the whole affair was a cartoonish charade masquerading as a legal proceeding. Of course, the national news giants had to turn it into a media feeding frenzy trying to out do each other for the latest scoop and most tawdry tidbit of irrelevant information like putrid vultures circling an imminent battlefield. It was the first in a long line of following celebrity trials. Foolishly, for the first time cameras were actually allowed to roll into a courtroom to see the daily unfolding of motions, testimonies, arguments and the continual side-bar parleys. All the players strutting around trying their best to appear clever. And what a show it was!
Days turned into weeks which turned into months. And after a short while, you just got plain sick and tired of hearing about it!
Simpson had gathered what was called a Dream Team of big-name, high-dollar defense counsels consisting of the most infamous legal shysters, judicial flim-flam artists and courtroom divas that money could buy. They were able to seat a mostly uneducated jury consisting of 9 blacks, 2 whites and 1 hispanic member, so you know Simpson had an unbalanced racial advantage at the onset. And the Dream Team hammered them constantly with complicated scientific evidence and verbal masturbation that only another lawyer could understand. The presiding Judge was weak. The Prosecution was inept. The cops might as well have been Keystone.
It became a daily water-cooler discussion topic across America, and the world, with supporters and opponents quickly dividing into two separate camps of guilt and innocence. And because he was a black man accused of killing two white people, the race issue surely raised it’s ugly head further polarizing the populace even more. Then it went to the next level of sensational. But still, it was a ludicrous trial and an even more ridiculous media driven display of how our judicial system can be easily manipulated by enterprising attorneys. It was wrong on so many levels.
In the end, there were two distinct camps: the Not Guilty advocates vs. the Guilty proponents, and tensions were very high in the verbal sparring between the two groups. All for nothing. It should have been irrelevant to everyone concerned except Simpson himself, and the families of the victims. But for years afterwards, feelings still ran deep over the trial and verdicts. It was close to becoming just a footnote of judicial history.
But now we get to relive it all over again. Hopefully, the latest FX rendition of the whole sordid affair will not make us all revisit the fiery emotions and fanatical positions of the witnesses of the original event. Or is that their intent? And hopefully, people who will now watch this fictional television show based loosely on sometime fact, will not perceive this as actual historical events. Or is that their intent as well? Surely we hate being used and manipulated like that. Surely we as a society are smarter than that. Surely.
It is not my intention to regurgitate the proceedings of the trial in this article. There is plenty of material out there for review if you have any kind of sincere interest in it. It was litigated, it is over and O.J. Simpson walked out of the courtroom literally getting away with murder…twice. It sadly reminds me of the last four words of our once stolid Pledge of Allegiance: “and justice for all”. In America at that exact point in our history, justice officially became a perception instead of a right. And it has now become doctrine instead of farce.
I do note they will not revisit their own perversions and scandals with such fervor.