OJ Simpson had been convictedby Gary Solis / November 20, 1995 / Leave a comment
Published in November 1995 issue of Prospect Magazine
Actually, except to Simpson himself, it would not have made much difference at all. The defence lawyers would still have postured for oleaginous talk show hosts. Prosecution lawyers-and, alas, the judge-would have pursued book and movie deals as they contemplated moves to more lucrative private practice. Commentators such as myself would have continued pontificating. Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) morale would still have plummeted to dangerously low levels, and Chief Willie Williams would have weakly defended his department even as he packed his bags. The inept LAPD forensics lab, poorly led and under-manned, would still have become the easy target in every future trial where scientific evidence figures. Legislators would have initiated ill-considered laws reforming jury selection and voting, lawyers’ out-of-court statements, and in-court cameras.
Most significantly, the breathtakingly wide chasm between black and white America’s view of the judicial system still would have been starkly revealed-not only to shocked whites, but to the watching world. It is apparently no surprise to black Americans.
Not that America’s criminal justice woes are unique. I remind British friends who condescendingly offer legal sympathy that the Guildford Four, the Maguire family, and the Birmingham Six were also miscarriages of justice involving flawed forensics and dicey police.