Patterico's Pontifications

8/3/2007

Continuing Cognitive Dissonance on O.J. Simpson

Filed under: Crime,Media Bias,Scum — Justin Levine @ 3:36 pm

 [posted by Justin Levine]

I maintain that the difference between this kind of thinking and Holocaust denial is merely one of scale – not moral substance.  Astonishing.

Here is the podcast archive of “unbiased” reporting. (I don’t know if the site will keep it up permanantly, so try and watch it soon if you can stomach it.)

[posted by Justin Levine]

80 Responses to “Continuing Cognitive Dissonance on O.J. Simpson”

  1. Far be it for me to defend O.J. Simpson, a man I personally believe to be a callous psychopath and murderer, but one distinct difference between the two is the amount of evidence for the holocaust — cases, bodies, and/or survivors in the hundreds thousands with millions missing — is incontrovertible, whereas O.J. was acquitted so there is at least some room for reasonable doubt.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  2. Quite batty Christoph. The fact that O.J. was “acquitted” by a jury does not mean that there is “room for reasonable doubt in that case”. Anyone who honestly believes otherwise must simply be ignorant of the entire mountain of evidence against him. This goes directly to the question why people believe the things they do. If you can doubt OJ’s guilt, then you can also doubt the fact of the Holocaust, Islamic terrorists being responsible for 9/11, the moon landing and a host of other historical events. I wasn’t a first hand eye-witness to any of those events as they unfolded – but it doesn’t affect how I know them to be true.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  3. People ignore victims whenever it suits their financial or political needs.

    Raise your hand if you automatically dismissed the Lancet’s study of Iraqi civilian deaths.

    Then ask yourself why you did so.

    alphie (015011)

  4. Quite batty Christoph. The fact that O.J. was “acquitted” by a jury does not mean that there is “room for reasonable doubt in that case”. Anyone who honestly believes otherwise must simply be ignorant of the entire mountain of evidence against him.”

    And therein you’ve put your finger on it.

    I am not ignorant of the mountain of evidence as I’ve read several books on the subject and have poured through reams of material over the years (even this was hardly a rigorous analysis á la trial). So have you. So has Patterico and many people here.

    However, for most people, they simply follow what the court system does. The average man, including reporter, is not required to do thousands of hours of research regarding people they meet/interview/work with unless they wish to. (And if they do such research and conclude the duly appointed criminal jury may have had a point, it’s their call.)

    It is entirely proper, much as I disagree with the conclusion Mr. Simpson is anything but a murderer, for a person to trust the system and give a man the benefit of the doubt.

    Or why have trials at all if guilty after acquitted is the ONLY possible reasonable interpretation?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  5. alphie – I questioned it. Why? Because it was sheer and utter BS.

    JD (868cea)

  6. Christoph –

    “Why have trials at all if guilty after acquitted is the ONLY possible reasonable interpretation?”

    Because trials are merely a process – not an arbiter of objective reality.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  7. Christoph -

    “Why have trials at all if guilty after acquitted is the ONLY possible reasonable interpretation?”

    Because trials are merely a process – not an arbiter of objective reality.

    You’re not stating why everyone in the world should have done the same amount of research you have over a man who has been acquitted, reached the same conclusions, and why reporters shouldn’t interview newsworthy subjects.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  8. Christoph –

    Rather than respond further, I’m content just let people read your comments and draw their own conclusions.

    Justin Levine (20f2b5)

  9. Absolutely.

    Questions like, “Why have trials at all if guilty after acquitted is the ONLY possible reasonable interpretation?” get answers like, “Because trials are merely a process – not an arbiter of objective reality,” which certainly explains the reason behind trials.

    People can reach their own conclusions.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  10. Raise your hand if you automatically dismissed the Lancet’s study of Iraqi civilian deaths.
    Then ask yourself why you did so.

    Because they were ridiculous on their face?

    Taltos (c99804)

  11. I followed the O.J. Simpson case closely and predicted that he would be acquitted. If I had been on the jury then, I would have voted for acquittal. The State did not prove its case 1) because of incompetence, 2) because of a bad judge and 3) because it was outlawyered. O.J.’s guilt was proven in the civil trial.

    nk (173e2a)

  12. I followed the O.J. Simpson case closely and predicted that he would be acquitted. If I had been on the jury then, I would have voted for acquittal. The State did not prove its case 1) because of incompetence, 2) because of a bad judge and 3) because it was outlawyered. O.J.’s guilt was proven in the civil trial.

    I agree completely.

    I would have acquitted to and with the speed the jury did that, it wasn’t even close.

    Which is a shame the prosecution was so incompetent (and the other factors you mention each of which I agree with) because I’m quite convinced O.J. is guilty.

    But you’re a lawyer, Justin is a lawyer, Patterico is a lawyer… all of whom have followed this case.

    It’s unreasonable, as I make the point above, to expect everyone to do the research necessary to conclude an acquitted man is, in fact, guilty.

    I agree with the civil judgment, but again, without extensive research the divergence of these two verdicts leaves room for the average man to not reach Justin’s (and mine and your) conclusion.

    Finally, reporters interview people. It’s what they do.

    I don’t expect them to be the world’s social snobs/legal researchers.

    For Justine to equate this reporter with a holocaust denier, specifically saying he has the same moral substance as a holocaust denier, is a bit much.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  13. * Justin

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  14. Spot on, Christoph.

    One could perhaps say that IF one takes the time to examine the mountain of evidence against OJ and then one STILL denies his actual guilt, THEN one may be faulted for being as divorced from reality as a holocaust denier. OJ’s murders are simply not actually important enough to society as a whole to justify very many people looking that closely to the evidence.

    Beyond that, Justin, I’m afraid your comparison infringes upon Godwin’s law. The Holocaust was far too serious to be trivialized by using it to criticize ordinary, everyday morons.

    PatHMV (0e077d)

  15. Oh, I didn’t discount the Lancet study automatically… I doubted it, sure. It was so far beyond any contemporary study on the same subject that the Lancet study was almost the textbook definition of “extraordinary claims” which required extraordinary proof. I waited until the study was published (a good four weeks after their press release, IIRC) and then read it.

    THEN I discounted it. That study was crap.

    Darkmage (a8ad78)

  16. Oh, I didn’t discount the Lancet study automatically… I doubted it, sure. It was so far beyond any contemporary study on the same subject that the Lancet study was almost the textbook definition of “extraordinary claims” which required extraordinary proof. I waited until the study was published (a good four weeks after their press release, IIRC) and then read it.

    THEN I discounted it. That study was crap.

    That was pretty much my process too with an exception. In addition, I want from believing it was more likely true (being Lancet and all) to, upon reflection, believing the evidence showed it was not.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  17. As much as I hate to intellectualize about the law: The standard of proof for conviction in a criminal case is “beyond a reasonable doubt”. The obverse of “doubt” is “belief” not “knowledge”. So you get the trier of fact to believe the defendant guilty although objectively there may not be sufficient “knowledge” of his guilt (and vice versa).

    nk (173e2a)

  18. You lost me a bit, nk. I think I get where you might be going, but am not sure.

    In fact, I have reasonable doubt about my own understanding! :-p

    Can you rephrase?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  19. I meant that the law requires us to believe in guilt or innocence, not to know. Can belief be called “cognitive dissonance”?

    nk (173e2a)

  20. Ah, I get your point now.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  21. It’s something I have been thinking about a lot lately (to my distress because I don’t like to think.) That so much of our life is based on belief and not on knowledge. A commenter in an earlier thread here gave a very good explanation: That it is a survival trait to act on insufficient information, dating back to our caveman days.

    nk (173e2a)

  22. nk -
    I have no problem intellectualizing about the law and I’ll do you one better. In the realm of epistemology, only that which is believed, justified in belief, and true is knowledge. If a juror can be swayed in their belief of a particular piece of evidence, or have the justification for such a belief swayed, then the juror no longer knows that piece of evidence. Of course, proving the falsehood of a piece of evidence works just as well as a doubt-creator, but when the truth value of a particular bit of evidence cannot be reasonably assailed, either because the information is known to be true or because sufficient resources are not existent to prove it false, it’s easier to go for the belief or justification of belief.

    For example, if a juror finds him or herself thinking “I can understand why this could be damning, and they’ve demonstrated that it is true, but I don’t believe it’s relevant” – perhaps the juror doubts that the defendant’s presence at a crime scene after the face is an indication of guilt – you’ve brought reasonable doubt. On the other hand, if that same juror is thinking “Well, I have a gut feeling that it’s true, but they never proved it so I can’t really go on it” – perhaps a claim during summation, unsupported by expert testimony, that the defendant is capable of the physical force required to commit the crime – then you’ve shot down justification for belief and again introduced reasonable doubt.

    Shorter: If you can make them not believe in it, it’s not knowledge.

    Rick Wilcox (0c08e1)

  23. To nk at #11 I will just add my personal story of the OJ Simpson coverage:

    I was in college at the time of the OJ Simpson trial and happened to be home sick. I watched one full day of the prosecution’s closing arguments (which took three days).

    Under the influence of nothing stronger than sudafed, I could not follow the argument from sentence to sentence, much less paragraph to paragraph. How long could it possibly take to summarise the main points of the case? How long could it possibly take to lay out a timepline of what they knew about where OJ was at certain times, and how he could have gotten from here to there to do the deed? And yet it was never done.

    luagha (99e19c)

  24. “Raise your hand if you automatically dismissed the Lancet’s study of Iraqi civilian deaths.”

    The use of the word “automatically” adds nothing to the above sentence. Except it signals that the author is working with the premise that everyone who dismissed the Lancet study was merely acting on impulsive or irrational belief, and on the premise that US action could not have such negative consequences.

    Based on an unfounded premise of a false premise, the sentence is an excellent example of unintentional irony, showing that the author is projecting.

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  25. I agree that giving OJ a platform is shameful. However, such is not really analogous to giving a platform to Holocaust deniers or defendants, and couldn’t be so unless the Nuremberg Trial resulted in acquittals.

    DWPittelli (2e1b8e)

  26. Rick #22, you put me to shame. Excellent explanation.

    What has been pre-occupying my few remaining gray cells, though, is unjustified belief. Not just because it’s based on insufficient facts. The role illusion plays. And even illusion aside — a need to believe or (to believe to know). Do people convince themselves of things because “I do not know” or “I am not certain” are too uncomfortable?

    nk (173e2a)

  27. I always thought the OJ case showed a LOT of problems at the LAPD.

    No one listened at the time. Then we had the Rampart scandal (your police are murdering scum) and still people couldn’t see the connection.

    1. OJ’s lawyers took advantage of the known dysfunction of the LAPD.

    2. The people on the jury knew of the LAPDs dysfunction even if most of the rest of America did not.

    As to putting up OJ’s “version”? Why not? I still like to read the Austrian Corporal’s version of history. It has its uses.

    The really short version: In so many ways Drug Prohibition has corrupted our police. It has made them sloppy. It has made them enforcers rather than peace keepers.

    This has been made all the more obvious in the Duke case. I don’t think any of the things done in the Duke case were unusual. What was unusual was to string so many together against people who had the will, the ability, and the facts so they could resist.

    We have to give up the idea of cheap victories and focus on at least the mechanics of justice.

    I suppose it wouldn’t hurt to have a “principle before interest” detector when hiring people for positions of trust. Second best is a better system of checks and balances.

    The system is in the condition it is in in large part due to overload. Would you believe alcohol prohibition caused similar problems?

    M. Simon (1fb58c)

  28. Ah, for a return to simpler times…
    Which of the Henry’s did Shakespeare give the line: Won’t anyone rid me of this meddlesome priest?
    How much better things would be if, during the infamous slow-speed chase, the good Mr. Simpson had just simply offed himself as he threatened to do.
    Now, like Fidel, we’re stuck with him for what only seems like eternity.

    Another Drew (8018ee)

  29. M. Simon, I’ll DEFINITELY agree with you here:

    The system is in the condition it is in in large part due to overload. Would you believe alcohol prohibition caused similar problems?

    The police can’t solve all of societies problems through force.

    The police should be responsible for enforcing very carefully chosen laws.

    Not all human actions should be criminalized, even those we disagree with. Many should not be.

    Drugs, prostitution… among others… jump to mind.

    While I engage in neither believing them to be destructive, so are many other activities that are legal.

    Consenting adults have the right to destroy themselves/screw whom they will.

    They’re not immune from consequences… indeed, it is the NATURAL consequences of these poor decisions that keep most people from engaging in them. But overwhelming police with investigating and enforcing laws against free consensual activity in a supposedly free country is corrupting, and it is overtaxing.

    What do I care if some 60-year old codger who has a hundred dollars to spare and hasn’t had a lay in 8-years decides he’d really like one and is willing to pay?

    I don’t. I’m actually sympathetic. While I don’t face that particular challenge, I certainly don’t believe it should be criminal. The other person involved can freely choose. I’d urge her to find a new profession, but she may tell me to go to hell and she doesn’t want to flip burgers.

    Her right.

    They should lose their freedom? What a warped and twisted way to look at “liberty”!

    And yes, things of this nature corrupt the police. Let them stop murder and rape and theft and fraud — crimes with direct victims who had no say in the matter.

    But not someone doing a drug you can’t stop anyway and most people will never do the drug because they understand it’s destructive. I don’t need laws to prevent me from buying drugs I could buy after a 5-minute car ride. I just don’t want to do the drugs.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  30. I really wish that the attention whore, OJ would stop doing dumb things to get himself discussed in the media. I’ve had about enough of him now.

    Lynn (d22c2c)

  31. Explain to me the mindset that says “I would have acquitted OJ even though I believe he is guilty.” (A paraphrase but a fair one.)

    What are the main reasons you believe OJ was guilty? ONLY things that WEREN’T presented at trial??

    The DNA evidence, that didn’t do it for you. But something not presented at the trial put you over the top???

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  32. I’m irritated when people toss around words like “suspicious” and don’t say what they mean.

    This is the same mindset that says “I would have acquitted OJ even though I believe he is guilty.”

    But let’s take that one to the OJ thread.

    Comment by Patterico — 8/4/2007 @ 12:04 pm

    NOW I believe he is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. At the time, (from the jury’s perspective) due to the judge and how it was handled, and the prosecution and how that was mishandled, I had some doubts about whether he was guilty.

    I still leaned toward guilty, but my understanding is the sequestered jury didn’t see everything I saw by watching the media and I wouldn’t use the media take to convict a man.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  33. What are the main reasons you believe OJ was guilty? ONLY things that WEREN’T presented at trial??

    The DNA evidence, that didn’t do it for you. But something not presented at the trial put you over the top???

    The glove was a mistake, an example of prosecutorial incompetence and is often sited, but in my case, it came down to not trusting the police.

    They were shown to be racist and at the time, I didn’t trust the chain of evidence to be intact.

    I believe that was largely the jury’s reasoning too.

    Later, Gerry Spence explained the case and where the prosecution went wrong. I can’t recall the details now, but he explained a frogman show of some kind that Simpson was doing where the parallels between his character and how the murders were carried out were incredibly close.

    This, plus the DNA evidence, with a GOOD lawyer presenting the evidence, put me over the top.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  34. Whereas Marcia Clark thought it would be a good soapbox for advocating against domestic violence and wife beaters. She didn’t try it like an open and shut murder trial, at least not until it was too late. Gerry Spence makes this point too.

    Getting people to agree Simpson was an a-hole was easy. But her job was to prove he committed a murder.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  35. The DNA didn’t do it for you, but the Frogman show put you over the top?

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  36. The DNA with the police’s malfeasance and the prosecution’s lack of focus and fuzzy explanations didn’t do it for me, but the Frogman show showing precognisance of the exact actions required to commit the murder plus the DNA evidence previously presented at trial in this context and a clear, focussed explanation of the murder case without advocating peripheral issues did it for me.

    Yep.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  37. Let this be a learning experience for you in how to convince a jury of skeptics (and it’s their job to be skeptics)… I hope you’re a much better lawyer than Marcia Clark was in this case and I know Gerry Spence is a better lawyer.

    The quality of the lawyers (plus police conduct) matter in some cases, don’t you agree?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  38. Point of fact, they needed Vincent Bugliosi to prosecute this case. He would have sent OJ to the electric chair for sure.

    otcconan (1837a4)

  39. Jurors ought to judge trials based on the evidence and not the lawyers.

    Sometimes they don’t do what they ought. But I look to strike jurors like that. I would strike you from a jury, Christoph.

    Patterico (dbc187)

  40. Well, easier for me.

    I can look beyond the lawyers. I’ve concluded he’s guilty.

    What you seem to be asking, however, is that juries look beyond the crappy job the lawyers and police do, the evidence the judge allows them to see, and reach your conclusions beyond a reasonable doubt.

    12-people, none of whom were me, had no difficulty in quickly acquitting.

    A civil jury later found for the plaintiffs. Not the substance of who the lawyers are, but the quality of the job they did, made much of the difference. A point nk makes plain above.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  41. O. J.’s innocence, and the Hoaxacaust, have about the same credibility.

    RJN (e12f22)

  42. References above to police dysfunction and malfeasance are irritating because in the OJ trial, all of the “malfeasance” presented by the defense were fantasies that Ito should never have allowed in as they were without any evidence at all.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  43. References above to police dysfunction and malfeasance are irritating because in the OJ trial, all of the “malfeasance” presented by the defense were fantasies that Ito should never have allowed in as they were without any evidence at all.

    Maybe. But he did allow them in and that’s what the jury saw.

    I remember at the time thinking O.J. was guilty, but when I heard the jurors explain forthrightly immediately after the trial why they made their decision, it made perfect sense to me from their viewpoint.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  44. It has become very appearant that the only people in the court (CA v OJS) who knew what they were doing were the defense team. Their job was to get OJ acquitted, and they did. Marsha was trying to make a statement when she should have been getting a conviction. Ito, as was demonstrated in previous trials he oversaw, was just incompetent.
    Overall, just a tragedy only exceeded by the reasons for the trial itself.

    Another Drew (758608)

  45. Well Pat, trouble is, alot of the evidence is from the police. And when one gets caught flat out lying, everything he said or touched becomes suspect.

    Add sequestored jurors and bore them shitless with days of highly technical evidence, and what would you expect.

    Gerald A (f93827)

  46. Lots of people talking shit about the case but did anyone watch the 4 part interview on mn1.com

    Didnt think so

    same ol rush to judgement.

    Andrew Coffey
    Market News First
    mn1.com

    Andrew Coffey (680cdf)

  47. No, Andrew, I didn’t. I have this thing about ghouls.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  48. OJ was found to be ‘not guilty’; not innocent. It was jury nullification. People have received capital punishment for a fraction of the evidence that OJ had against him. He’s a cold-blooded murderer.

    Remember, OJ spent about a year in jail. If OJ was really innocent, he would have sued the city and state for a billion dollars for defamation, wrongful imprisonment and racism, to boot.

    Ken (fcd61d)

  49. For me, the prosecution lost a lot of respect as lawyers when they subjected the jury to that eighteen-hour aerobics video just to bring in OJ’s joke about throwing out your arms and hitting your wife with the excuse that it was just the excercise. They lost a lot of credibility when they brought in the evidence of the barking dog. Hell, even a [n-word] should not be convicted on the hearsay testimony of a dog.

    nk (173e2a)

  50. If I had been on that jury, I would have sat through about half an hour of that video and then gotten up and walked out of the courtroom. I would have shouted out “Even a black man should not be convicted on the hearsay testimony of a dog” about five minutes into the examination of the car-washer. But then, I would not have shown up for jury duty after a week of sequestration.

    The O.J. Simpson case was a failure of the State — both the judge and the DA.

    As for the defense, Cochran and Bailey looked good only in taking advantage of the openings given to them by the prosecutors and the judge. Shapiro and Sheck were independently exceptional.

    nk (173e2a)

  51. What I find puzzling is that so many lawyers are overlooking the fact that it is the duty of the state to prove their case “BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT.” While I think very likely that OJ is guilty, there were enough points scored by the defense that suddenly that “BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT,” bit reared its head. There was of course the glove, and then the racial remarks by the policeman Mark Fuhrman (who as I recall found the glove), and the problems with the L.A. Crime Lab and its chain of evidence among others, so suddenly there were enough items to plant reasonable doubt in the mind of the jurors. Any one of those points likely would not have resulted in a not guilty verdict, but when added together they did. The jury never said he was innocent with their verdict, but instead said that the state had not proven his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt in their minds.

    I’ve been called to jury duty four times and have been on six juries during those periods. When suddenly you are on a jury, it looks a lot different than from the outside. In half of those trials I was convinced beyond a reasonable doubt that the state had proven their charges and I had no qualms about voting for convictions, but on the other half the state failed to prove their case sufficiently to rise to that level of proof. Actually in two of the cases I have no idea why the cases were brought as there wasn’t even enough evidence to rise to preponderance of the evidence as would be required in a civil trial, but the third left the jury all agreeing that most likely the defendant was guilty of part of the charges, but the state had failed to prove it sufficiently for a conviction.

    Getting back to the OJ trial, add in that most people who closely followed the trial and are commenting on it saw not only what was presented to the jury, but things the jury never saw while they were out of the room and the attorneys were arguing points of law. Also add in that Clark, in my opinion, did a less than stellar job.

    In the end I truly do not know how I would have voted had I been on that jury, but I saw enough to where I am not going to question the results. I may very well have decided that the state failed to prove its case sufficiently for a conviction even though I think him very likely guilty. I would add that I think there was more than enough evidence presented to convict for a civil trial, but the bar is much higher in criminal trials.

    One more thing. Patterico, you stated that you would strike Christoph from a jury, but I would ask what questions you would ask him that would allow you to know enough to strike him? Are you going to strike him because he says there is a difference between what he thinks might be true and what the state proves is true? There is certainly a difference in what people believe to be true and proven facts, and if the prosecution failed to prove their case beyond that reasonable doubt, perhaps you should take a better look at the errors made by the prosecution. Remember, the jury can only make their decision based on the evidence presented, not all the things they didn’t see or know about. I would submit that when you are questioning jurors, you are faced with the same problem and might find it far more difficult to strike Christoph than simply saying you would do so. Certainly you can use a preemptive challenge, but you only have so many of those and you might need them for jurors you think less likely to do a good job, and you would have to show cause to have him stricken without using a preemptive challenge.

    As for Mr. Lavine’s point(if I understand it correctly)that anyone who would not convict OJ is equal to a Holocaust denier, I find that ludicrous and very sloppy reasoning. There are mountains of evidence that the Holocaust took place, complete with films of the camps. I even knew one gentleman who took part in liberating one of the concentration camps and he told me what he saw with his own eyes. While Mr. Levine can talk about all the evidence in the OJ case, once again remember that the jury can only go on what is presented and if the defense manages to cast enough doubt on what is presented, there will be no conviction. In the case of OJ we are not talking thousand upon thousands of witnesses and millions of bodies. Had there been even one tenth of one percent as much evidence against OJ as there is for the Holocaust, most like the jury would have hung OJ with their own hands. Well perhaps they wouldn’t have hung him, but they would certainly have convicted him.

    Frtiz (33bf1e)

  52. Well, I guess you gotta strike another one, Patterico.

    Question:
    Once you’ve struck all of us law and order conservatives, how you gonna reach a conviction with the bleeding heart liberals?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  53. As for Mr. Lavine’s point(if I understand it correctly) that anyone who would not convict OJ is equal to a Holocaust denier, I find that ludicrous and very sloppy reasoning.

    His point is actually that a reporter who interviews O.J. is equal to a Holocaust denier.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  54. Christoph, the problem with your analysis is that all of the supposed “problems” that the OJ team presented were fantasies, they had no actual evidence that supported any of their claims about the actual evidence against OJ. There was nothing but elaborate fantasy tales to undermine the actual physical evidence at question. Reasonable doubt w/o any evidence? Not there.

    What was clear about the jury based on their interviews was that they did not pay any attention to evidence and gave credence to defense fairy tales w/o any evidence.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  55. The problem with your analysis, Robin, is it’s the prosecutor’s job to convince 12 average people of a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    They didn’t and the rest is all bullshit. They gave the relevant weight to each piece of evidence, as it was presented to them, they felt appropriate.

    Not that the prosecutor felt was appropriate or that Patterico felt was appropriate or that you felt was appropriate.

    They had B.S. cops, crappy chain of evidence, an unfocused prosecutor with laser-focus on the defense side. Your:

    “There was nothing but elaborate fantasy tales to undermine the actual physical evidence at question. Reasonable doubt w/o any evidence? Not there.”

    … opinion is just that. Your opinion.

    One, you were not in their position. If you were, you may have seen things differently.

    Two, even if you wouldn’t have (and somehow survived the defense’s preemptive challenge), there were still 11 other people on the jury, none of whom were convinced.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  56. Channeling Christoph:

    It is historians’ job to convince Holocaust deniers that the Holocaust happened. If they can’t, it’s the historians’ fault.

    Solution to Holocaust denial: better historians.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  57. Here’s the deal. This is from some guy’s website and I’ll leave it up to you to research whether he’s the real deal or not. I don’t think you’ll disagree with what he says anyway.

    On the jury:

    (1) None regularly read a newspaper, but eight regularly watch tabloid TV shows, (2) five thought it was sometimes appropriate to use force on a family member, (3) all were Democrats, (4) five reported that they or another family member had had a negative experience with the police, (5) nine thought that Simpson was less likely to be a murderer because he was a professional athlete.

    I read the newspaper and equivalent sources of information frequently. I had a pleasant visit with my mom this afternoon and it never occurred to me to hit her. I’m a supporter — to the point of donating and campaining for them — of the Conservative Party of Canada. While, yes, I admit I’ve had some negative experiences with police, the vast majority of them have been positive and I am a huge supporter of the police generally… and policing. I think athletes, particularly NFL athletes, to the small degree it matters, are more likely to be violent because they are physically fit/strong enough to do so and in some cases use steroids which can affect mood.

    Yet Patterico just blew one of his preemptive challenges getting rid of me. With the jury pool he has to draw upon.

    Well… maybe… the prosecution should think long and hard before it makes these decisions if it wants to win cases!

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  58. Channeling Christoph:

    It is historians’ job to convince Holocaust deniers that the Holocaust happened. If they can’t, it’s the historians’ fault.

    Solution to Holocaust denial: better historians.

    Comment by Patterico — 8/5/2007 @ 6:21 pm

    I never said that at all. Explain your reasoning.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  59. Christoph, when a jury credits a fantasy story presented with no evidence to back it up, that is the prosecutors’ fault only to the extent that they did not do a good job of explaining why it didn’t make sense to credit the story.

    But a jury that tells interviewers after the trial a description of what they heard as evidence that makes it clear that they affirmatively ignored prosecution evidence – not didn’t find it credible, but outright ignored it – is not doing their job. I had that impression at the time, and will continue to hold that impression regardless of your misunderstanding of what reasonable doubt is.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  60. Four hours of deliberations after a nine-month trial?!!! I’ve seen civil juries on fender-benders take longer than that.

    The OJ jury didn’t given a damn about the evidence. It’s obvious they didn’t even take the time to discuss it. They were too anxious to get themselves booked on Oprah.

    And what kind of moron doesn’t read a newspaper regularly?

    lc (1401be)

  61. Yet Patterico just blew one of his preemptive challenges getting rid of me. With the jury pool he has to draw upon.

    If a judge allowed me to ask a jury: “Who here thinks the OJ jury got it right — even from their perspective?” . . . I would kick every last person who raised their hand.

    Every one.

    That’s why Christoph would be gone — if I knew about him what I have learned here.

    Now, another commenter asks if I would be able to identify Christoph’s views well enough to kick him. I don’t know. I’d hope so, but there’s never any guarantee.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  62. Patterico, food for thought while consider whether to reply to my request that you explain your reasoning on how you “channeled” me.

    I’m not saying I liked the reporter, Kate Delaney, or Bob Leonard, the man who wrote the blog post, but they aren’t Holocaust deniers. It’s a question of degree. Frtiz used the term “ludricous” and I have no quarrel with it. Considering the seriousness of the moral charge Justin levied, a stronger one could have been used.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  63. I never said that at all. Explain your reasoning.

    OK.

    You said:

    The problem with your analysis, Robin, is it’s the prosecutor’s job to convince 12 average people of a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    They didn’t and the rest is all bullshit.

    Why couldn’t I say, applying the same logic:

    The problem with your analysis is it’s the historian’s job to convince Holocaust deniers of the truth of the Holocaust.

    They haven’t and the rest is all bullshit.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  64. “Now, another commenter asks if I would be able to identify Christoph’s views well enough to kick him. I don’t know. I’d hope so, but there’s never any guarantee.”

    I believe people are innocent until proven guilty and perpetrator’s should hang. Or go to jail, be put on probation, or fined as the case may be. I also have all the other beliefs I outlined in my 6:26 pm comment.

    Well, hopefully you’d be able to adequately identify those views well enough to get someone of the jury.

    Just sayin’.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  65. You said:

    The problem with your analysis, Robin, is it’s the prosecutor’s job to convince 12 average people of a defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

    They didn’t and the rest is all bullshit.

    Why couldn’t I say, applying the same logic:

    The problem with your analysis is it’s the historian’s job to convince Holocaust deniers of the truth of the Holocaust.

    They haven’t and the rest is all bullshit.

    You’re equating the O.J. Simpson jury with Holocaust deniers? No responsibility for the judge, prosecution, or police for inadequacies at all?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  66. I think one of the classic examples of the nonsense the OJ defense team spun was when a collating error in a notebook was spun into a fantasy about altered forensic reports.

    Based on a page of a report given to the defense team being a photocopy instead of the original, they wasted a day of the court’s time and spun an elaborate tale of altered report.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  67. Comment by Robin Roberts — 8/5/2007 @ 6:52 pm

    So like many people have made the point before, you’re criticizing the judge for letting this happen?

    Does it not occur to you the jurors had a different and limited perspective with which to see this and different experiences to draw upon?

    Like it or not — the prosecution had to convince them and couldn’t convince even one of them.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  68. Christoph, it is obvious that you do not understand what reasonable doubt is.

    Robin Roberts (6c18fd)

  69. You’re equating the O.J. Simpson jury with Holocaust deniers?

    Ah, the old “analogy is an equation” fallacy. How I love it.

    No. I’m riffing off the theme of the post and using an analogy to show what you’re doing with your argument: blaming the system for some idiots’ unreasonable beliefs.

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  70. Well, thanks for clarifying that. And I never accused you, I asked you, note the difference.

    Patterico, in your opinion, the prosecution did a good enough job and the defense’s case was such that they did not establish reasonable doubt.

    And I respect that. You may have decided that way.

    But you impugn the motives and/or intelligence, it seems (your last comment proves it), of those who wouldn’t have made that call based on what many believe to be sloppy police work, racist statements, questionable chain of evidence, an ill-advised prosecution strategy. Oh — and a judge that let the defense get out of hand.

    I have never ONCE said I wouldn’t convict based on a bad prosecutor and good defense lawyer… I try to overlook the personalities involved and find the core issue.* I have said if a prosecutor does a bad job such that I’m not convinced and a defense lawyer does a good job such that I have reasonable doubt… then I’m honor bound to vote my conscience.

    If, and it’s a big if, the above assumption held true, you would be too.
     

    * Whether I like someone or not, I look beyond that when an important issue is at stake. It’s rather an operating principal of mine. You have a year’s worth of my thoughts on your threads. Find me an example of where that isn’t true.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  71. This thread is as long and stupid as the OJ trial. It jumped the shark about 40 posts ago.

    Ken (fcd61d)

  72. Oh, and here’s that some guy’s website (same page), Patterico, quoting your esteemed Vincent Bugliosi:

    The racial composition of the jury was strongly influenced by the decision of the prosecution to file the Simpson case in downtown Los Angeles rather than–as is usually the case– in the judicial district where the crime occurred– in this case, Santa Monica. Had the case be filed in Santa Monica, the Simpson jury would have been mostly white instead of, as was the case, mostly African-American. With poll data showing that most whites believed Simpson to be guilty and most blacks believing him to be not guilty, the decision to file the case in Santa Monica may have been the biggest mistake the prosecution made. Vincent Bugliosi, the celebrated prosecutor in the Charles Manson case, said the mistake “dwarfed anything the defense did.”

    Can we not at least agree that the prosecution was as dumb as a bag of hammers?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  73. For the conspiracy-minded, one could look at Johnnie Cochran’s influence in LA Democratic Party politics in judging Garcetti’s and Ito’s decisions.

    nk (173e2a)

  74. From a subsequent thread:

    How can you tell a smart lawyer from a dumb one?

    Simple, alphie, you find a white male conservative who believes O.J. Simpson most likely committed murder, has a good opinion of law enforcement, and is strong on law and order and you do your best to strike that person from a jury of an African American celebrity with a potential jury pool drawn up from a largely poor black neighborhood.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  75. Patterico, the mistake you make in this analogy:

    Why couldn’t I say, applying the same logic:

    The problem with your analysis is it’s the historian’s job to convince Holocaust deniers of the truth of the Holocaust.

    They haven’t and the rest is all bullshit.

    is that the historian’s job in this case is to convince the general public (the jury-equivalent in this analogy) that the advocates for the contrary view (the deniers) are wrong. Your analogy would have the prosecution’s job being to convince the defense attorney to admit the defendant’s guilt.

    Simon Oliver Lockwood (2d5b2b)

  76. The criticism of the DNA evidence on the basis of contamination from an open something across the room was a defense tactic predicated, correctly, on the jurors having an Iron Age scientific perspective. Fuhrman having uttered, not at all routinely, the ‘n word’ indicating that he needed to be tried and not the evidence or the defendant suggested a tribal perspective that put a real trial in jeopardy. Similarly, alternative possibilities for some death from disease, i.e typhus explaining death attributed to the Holocaust is an analogous minimization. To pursue the criteria of MLK, that a man should be judged on the strength of his character and how he acts, the jurors in the OJ criminal case were a profound failure.

    michael (90909d)

  77. And the prosecution sucked too. They insisted on trying there, didn’t they?

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  78. …the historian’s job in this case is to convince the general public (the jury-equivalent in this analogy) that the advocates for the contrary view (the deniers) are wrong. Your analogy would have the prosecution’s job being to convince the defense attorney to admit the defendant’s guilt.

    Very well put, Simon, I never thought of it that way.

    It took a moment because it’s subtle, but you nailed it.

    Christoph (92b8f7)

  79. No, he didn’t nail it at all. He’s putting all members of the general public who deny the Holocaust in the position of paid advocates.

    My point is simply this: if a member of the general public is convinced by the deniers rather than the good historians, the failing is that of the idiot member of the general public — not the historians. They have presented plenty of evidence, but at some point there is responsibility on the part of those to whom the evidence is presented, to understand it and process it rationally.

    If you excuse them all by placing them in the same category as people who are *paid* to advocate a position, you remove that responsibility from them.

    It neatly fits your desire to say the OJ verdict made sense, Christoph. But it isn’t logical.

    Btw, don’t take it personally that I would kick you from a jury. As the years go by, I increasingly become more motivated to kick jurors. In the past, I assumed everyone was thoughtful and possessed of common sense. You had to convince me you were a bad juror before I’d kick you. Now any slight hint of a problem and you’re gone. GONE!

    Patterico (2a65a5)

  80. I think the OJ verdict was 100% wrong. If I knew a pittance of what I know now I’d convict.

    But damn. That jury wasn’t presented everything I know and I’m not just talking about Gerry Spence.

    Hell. I am an independent thinker and not a group thinker. If I was on the jury, really there seeing what they saw, it may have been 11-1 or I may have persuaded jurors.

    And about him not nailing it, you’re right. The analogy would have been the prosecutor convincing the defendant he should go to prison — almost impossible: Convincing the evil they should take responsibility. For the average Holocaust denier is committed to evil.

    I don’t take it “personally”. I think you’re far too professional to jeopardize a case and let a murderer free to get back at someone who occasionally disagrees with your arguments, if not your goals, on a blog.

    I HIGHLY question your strategy though if you had THAT jury pool to draw upon for booting me.

    If you could have your ideal jury of yourself, Bugliosi, Rush Limbaugh, Solomon, etc., I’d say go for it.

    Under the circumstances, it would have been a huge error.

    Anyway, you may have not followed this case and you may not want to. But there’s an interesting debate between Captain Ed and three quarters of his commentators including yours truly.

    If you can grab a few minutes, read the post over and decide if you’re interested in following it or not.

    Christoph (92b8f7)


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