. . . O.J. Simpson brutally murdered two people.
I wrote a series of posts about the case in 2006 — eight years ago! — and now is as good a time as any to revisit them. Long-time readers, enjoy the nostalgia. New readers, sample some moldy old Patterico posts.
I come at this with a perspective: I think O.J. Simpson is guilty of the murders of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. I think he got away with murder. Part of the object of these posts is to explore why.
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[D]espite the fact that I think Clark and Darden screwed up the case, I still think they proved it beyond a reasonable doubt. Tomorrow I’ll explain why I don’t think it made a difference to the jurors.
A colleague I worked with downtown was a law clerk at the time of the O.J. trial. He was one of the first people to sound the alarm within the office, and he did it based on watching a few days of jury selection. He went to a couple of fairly high-level DAs that he was working for in the office, and told them: “We’re going down on this case.” They replied; “You’re kidding. We’ve got more evidence against this guy than we’ve ever had in a murder case. There’s no way we can lose.” My colleague replied: “I don’t care. You need to take a look at that group of jurors.”
I heard a story from Mrs. P. that directly reinforces this point. [You’ll have to click the link to read the story! — P]
Stop. Before you go any further . . . tell me how long it takes to drive from the site of Nicole Simpson’s Bundy condo to the site of O.J.’s Rockingham mansion.
I’m talking especially to those of you who believe O.J. didn’t do it. And I’m talking especially to those of you who watched large parts (or all) of the trial.
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Not many people realize this, but the drive from Nicole’s condo (the crime scene) to O.J.’s house took only five minutes. I’ve done it many times, and it always took five minutes, give or take 30 seconds or so.
I admit to a strong bias in favor of Hodgman. He’s a guy who is always thinking about strategy and has a solid understanding of people and what drives their decisionmaking. He is a quality person — a hardworking, talented, and dedicated D.A., a man with a firm sense of ethics, and a heck of a nice guy.
Hodgman periodically gives a presentation to the Sex Crimes Unit on the O.J. Simpson case. He tells stories about the case, goes through the evidence, and does a slideshow presentation at the end, essentially giving a short version of what would have been his closing argument at trial, if he had remained in a primary courtroom role on the case (he had to give up a larger role in the case due to heart trouble). The stated reason for the presentation is to instruct deputies how to handle big, high-profile media cases, but it also gives people a chance to satisfy their curiosity about the O.J. case. One year he gave the presentation when my wife was a Deputy in the Sex Crimes Unit, and I asked Bill if it would be okay for me to attend. He graciously allowed me to do so.
I have sometimes heard the pro-O.J. crowd claim that Fred Goldman hammed it up for the cameras. Well, I can tell you this: at the civil trial, I sat two rows behind him and his daughter. When the lawyers displayed exhibits of Ron Goldman, they hugged each other, and you could see Fred Goldman shaking a little bit, apparently crying. But you couldn’t hear it. It wasn’t melodramatic, at all — and I saw no evidence that anyone else noticed (though I’m sure some did). It seemed genuine. And you know what? There were no cameras anywhere in sight.
Without meaning to take anything away from Petrocelli, he had a heck of a lot more going for him than his ability, which I agree seemed to be at a high level.
The biggest thing he had going for him, of course, was the jury pool. Trying a case like this in Santa Monica, where the criminal trial should have been held, is a far cry from trying it in downtown L.A.
Second, he had a lot of evidence that the criminal jurors didn’t have — like the photo of those “ugly-ass” Bruno Magli shoes.
But one of the biggest things he had going for him was O.J. himself. See, in the civil trial, the plaintiffs were allowed to call O.J. You can’t do that in a criminal trial.
I have a theory: put anything in life under an intense microscope — anything — and you can find questions. Especially if you want to find them, and you proceed off of incomplete information and jump to conclusions.
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I call it the Microscope Effect. If you put anything under a microscope, you can come out with the wildest theories.
The O.J. case, in my opinion, suffers from a huge case of the Microscope Effect.
I hope you click through to some of the old posts. In particular, Mrs. P’s story about the jury selection is absolutely true, and very revealing.
UPDATE: The L.A. Times today is hilarious:
Veteran prosecutors said they don’t think the jury’s racial makeup made a difference.