Tags: O.J. | Simpson

O.J. Simpson in Court Again

Monday, 17 Sep 2007 04:15 PM

By James Hirsen

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A poetic turn toward justice seems to have taken place in the strange saga of O.J. Simpson.

The former athlete, actor and murder defendant was recently arrested on multiple felony counts. The charges involve serious felonies — robbery with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, and burglary with a firearm.

The Las Vegas police followed textbook criminal procedure, carefully arresting, charging and questioning the accomplice and obtaining two firearms and other evidence before going after O.J.

The accomplice, Walter Alexander, was arrested on two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, conspiracy to commit robbery, and burglary with a deadly weapon, enough charges to induce a deal with prosecutors.

Simpson seems to have a strange strain of narcissism that makes him think he is immune to the workings of the justice system. “I'm not walking around feeling sad or anything. I've done nothing wrong,” he told the Los Angeles Times.

Ironically, O.J.’s arrest comes as his book, “If I Did It,” a hypothetical account of his ex-wife's murder, hits the bookstores.

In 1997 a civil jury found O.J. responsible for the deaths of wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman and ordered him to pay the families of the victims $33 million. Goldman’s sister Kim said she is not surprised by the robbery allegations because Simpson “thinks he can do no wrong.”

If the current case goes to trial, any actions taken by O.J. in avoidance of payment of the judgment would become relevant. If he had been involved in autographing memorabilia and secretly selling it to avoid paying the judgment, additional criminal charges could ensue.

David Cook, a Goldman family lawyer, said he plans to go to court to make sure the mementos were not sold but instead turned over to the family to be used to help settle the civil judgment.

Even though it is in the early stages, this O.J. trial may drastically differ from the “Trial of the Century.” O.J. will probably be unable to afford a “dream team” of lawyers; Nevada prosecutors will likely be more proficient and the judge less star struck than counterparts in the murder trial; a DA will be less inclined to permit a change of venue to another jurisdiction; and, with any luck, cameras in the courtroom will be disallowed.

O.J. has already admitted to some of the crimes of which he is accused. He said that he entered a man's room with a group of friends, one of whom was posing as a potential buyer, after being tipped off that some of his personal items were for sale there. He also said his friends helped him carry the items from the room, although he claims no guns were involved.

When all is said and done, Orenthal James Simpson may go to prison for a long stretch this time around, a punishment that would fit — like a glove.

James Hirsen is a professor of law at Trinity Law School.

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