Tag Archives: Ron Goldman

O.J. out of prison … what now?

Orenthal James Simpson no longer is locked up in a Nevada prison, but he’s hardly what you’d call a “free man.”

The former college and pro football star served a nine-year prison sentence on an array of charges stemming from an altercation he had with some guys over possession of some football memorabilia.

But … then there’s that other crime with which he’ll be associated until the end of time. His former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman were stabbed to death in 1994. Simpson was the prime suspect. Police arrested him and charged him with double murder.

What ensued next was the most overexposed, overcovered and overhyped trial of the 20th century. Jurors heard months of testimony and after four hours of deliberation, they acquitted Simpson of killing the two victims.

Oh, it doesn’t end there.

Nicole and Ron’s families — the Browns and Goldmans — filed a civil suit. Another jury ruled that Simpson was “liable” for their deaths. They awarded them $33.5 million in damages.

Then came the scrape that put The Juice behind bars.

The Browns and Goldmans have been unable to collect anything from Simpson during his time in prison. His NFL pension is protected. The Hall of Famer couldn’t work, quite obviously, while he was locked up.

O.J. gets parole

Well, now he’s out. He’s free to earn some outside income apart from his pension if he’s so inclined. The question now becomes: Will the Goldmans and the Browns renew their quest for some semblance of the cash that the jury awarded them when they found Simpson liable for the gruesome deaths?

Don’t expect them to collect all of it. And at this point, I wouldn’t even bet on them getting any of it, given Simpson’s proclivity for hiring top-drawer legal advice. I mean, his criminal defense team got him acquitted of the murders despite overwhelming circumstantial and physical evidence that he committed that hideous crime.

My own wish is that O.J. Simpson vanishes from the public stage. It’s not likely to happen, given the ubiquitous nature of social media and this guy’s lust for attention.

Another wish would be for Simpson to make good on his post-acquittal promise to search for as long as it takes to find Nicole and Ron’s killer.

Oh … wait!

Waiting for O.J.’s parole decision

Orenthal James Simpson was acquitted of a gruesome double murder.

Then he was found “civilly liable” for the deaths of his former wife and her friend.

And then he decided to take back some memorabilia and was convicted of robbery and assault. He’s been in prison for several years and is now on the verge of getting paroled for that crime.

An amazing debate is taking place: Does he deserve parole or should he be kept locked up because of the acquittal of that previous crime? Give me a break! O.J. Simpson’s parole status should be determined solely on the basis of the time he has served for the crime for which he was convicted. Period. End of argument.

Do not misunderstand me. I don’t give a damn about Simpson. I don’t care if he is denied parole or is granted his freedom after serving a substantial portion of the sentence he was given for the crime.

I also happen to be one of millions of Americans who believes he got away with murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994. The law, though, saw it differently. After months of testimony and televised drama, that Los Angeles County jury decided in hours that he didn’t do the crime.

The system functioned as the law intended for it to function. Did it produce the desired outcome? Not in my view. But that’s just me.

That case is done. The other one for which he has spent time in the Nevada prison is still playing out — and that’s the case upon which the parole board should determine whether he walks out or stays locked up in The Joint.

Look at it this way, too. If he is released, he can resume his search for Ron and Nicole’s “real killers.” Oh, wait … 

Lance Ito: circus ringmaster

Twenty years ago this week, a horrible crime occurred in front of a Los Angeles-area condo. Two people were stabbed to death. One of them was the former wife of a football legend; the other was her friend.

The football legend, O.J. Simpson, went on trial for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman and was acquitted after an eight-month circus presided over by LA County Superior Court Judge Lance Ito.

Ito made a fateful decision early on: He allowed TV cameras to record the event. I guess it’s OK to allow the public in on these kinds of proceedings, but only if the judge sets some rules for the conduct of the lawyers who’ll take the stage.

http://www.cnn.com/2014/06/13/justice/o-j-simpson-where-are-they-now/index.html?hpt=hp_c2

Ito apparently didn’t do that. The trial went on for eight months. The 12 jurors were sequestered, kept away from their families and friends and left to talk only among themselves.

The trial dragged on and on and on.

I bring this up to relay a point made to me during the trial by the then-chief justice of the Texas Supreme Court, who came by for a visit at the newspaper where I worked at the time. Chief Justice Tom Phillips — a former trial court judge in Houston — and I talked for a bit about the Simpson trial and he told me something fascinating.

He said Ito had the power to limit the time the lawyers needed to make their case. He said Texas trial law gives judges here that kind of power and he said he was quite certain California law had similar provisions that gave the presiding judge the power to keep the lawyers on a tight leash.

Ito gave the so-called Simpson “Dream Team” of lawyers and the prosecution’s Team of Nincompoops all the time they requested to prance, preen and pontificate in front of the jurors — and, of course, millions of the rest of America watching on television.

As one who generally favors televised court proceedings, I prefer instead to watch a more tightly controlled event than what we got two decades ago with the Trial of the Century.

Lance Ito is going to retire from the bench next January. I’d love to read a memoir, should he write one, that explains the “logic” behind letting those lawyers run wild in a public courtroom.