Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Squeezing the Juice

Simon and Garfunkle once asked "Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio?"

A profound question, even by the standards of that day. A time when an athlete so swift of foot and sure of swing was held up on a pedestal, lauded like the gods of Olympus. They wrote songs about men like Joltin' Joe DiMaggio, a man of mythic proportions.

Fast forward half a century, and one Orenthal James Simpson, a hall of fame football player, who made us all know that Hertz was "the superstar in rent a car," sits in a courtroom facing double murder charges while a nation watches, transfixed, hanging on every word of testimony.

What a difference 50 years makes.

OJ Simpson, once the darling of pro football, is now a media pariah. The poster boy for how bad things really can get. Even though he was found not guilty of the murders of his ex wife and a friend of hers, the stigma still remains. No one wants to touch the man most Americans feel killed two people.

Perhaps its simple human nature~if they accuse you of something, then there must be some sort of merit to the accusations or they wouldn't have charged you in the first place, right? Or maybe he was acquitted because, while guilty, the prosecution was unable to piece together a coherent case for the jury. In any event, the fact that remains: he got off.

In the 14 years that have followed, OJ has been in and out of the news, losing a civil judgment to the father of the young man he was accused of killing and for some sort of assault in Florida.

And now, he is once again in trouble, and everyone who was involved in the murder case seems to be weighing in on the cable news channels, joining in chorus with show hosts, chirping about how maybe this time justice will finally be done.

But...wasn't justice done already? The man was found not guilty by a jury of his peers. THAT is what our justice system is about. Inasmuch as we may believe that someone committed a crime, when push comes to shove, it is up to that jury to weigh the evidence presented by both the prosecution and the defense and determine which side is telling the truth. Whether we like it or not, the jury found that the evidence presented to it did NOT prove beyond a reasonable doubt that OJ Simpson murdered two people in cold blood on that warm June night so many years ago. And whether we like it or not, that acquittal cannot be "corrected" in any way with this new trial that he will be facing for robbery charges. This is a new case, with new circumstances, new evidence, and perhaps most importantly, a new prosecution team and new jurors. He should not be found guilty because he "got away with murder that time." He should be found guilty because the evidence presented proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he committed the crime, and for no other reason than that.

1 comment:

Sarah said...'re slacking!