Just after the OJ Simpson criminal trial, thoughts about justice in America.
| Some Thoughts on American Justice
It’s finally over. After months of speculation, endless hours of TV and radio coverage, the O.J. Simpson trial – the so called “Trial of the Century” – has come to its inevitable conclusion. And so the analysis begins.
There are those who are convinced that race was indeed the central issue of the case. A black man accused of killing a white woman and her friend was acquitted by a mostly black jury. And, despite their protestations to the contrary, the Simpson defense team used Mark Furhman’s personal biases to cast doubt on the evidence – valuable or not – he had uncovered. Throughout the trial, the attorneys fed on the basest, foulest and most divisive aspects of our society – playing to old hatreds and racially charged feelings that many had hoped were buried with the past that spawned them.
Others argue that this trial raises some of the most critical legal issues of our time. Should cameras be allowed in the courtroom? Perhaps judges should not be appointed but elected. Can a jury of one’s peers be found in highly celebrated cases? Can we, as human beings, set aside our emotions, our revulsion, our own personal demons, to focus solely on the evidence when deliberating exceptionally brutal crimes?
But perhaps the most crucial, the most troubling, and the most difficult to address, are the glaring inequities of American system raised by this trial. If we ever doubted it before, this trial showed, without question, that there are most definitely two different systems for meting out justice in this country.
One system works for the elite, the celebrated, the financially secure – those who can afford to hire well-known attorneys, jury consultants and the most noted experts. These resources can then be used to twist the truth, to cast doubt on even the most damning evidence.
And then there’s the other system – the one the rest of us use. Our brand of justice grinds to its inexorable conclusion without the glare of the cameras or the notice of the press. Here there are no high priced attorneys, no clever consultants, no famed experts. For us, justice truly is blind.
In the end, whatever your feelings about the verdict and the issues it raises, there is one inevitable truth. Two people – people with hopes and dreams, and plans for the future – were brutally murdered. Two families must deal, each and every day, with the loss of a son, the death of a young mother.
And when all is said and done, the issues debated, the cameras turned off and the media feeding frenzy moved on to the next calamity, the fact remains – there has been no justice for Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman.
And, most likely, there never will be.