June 08, 2005
Regarding Johnnie Cochran's life and career (Mar. 30): My job at the time allowed me to watch most of the fiasco that was the OJ trial. Although Cochran did an adequate job defending OJ, and a very good job arguing the case at the end, the real credit for the verdict goes to the two main prosecutors. Through their bungling and murky case presentation, they made a not guilty verdict possible. Much abuse has been heaped on the head of the jury, but in my mind, the verdict was justified due to the ineptitude of the prosecution.
I also found it most interesting to watch the court proceedings and then watch the news coverage of the same. Sometimes it felt like we were watching different trials. Nothing points up the ineptitude of the press more that watching them report on something about which you are familiar.
The OJ trial was fun to watch, but I'm sure glad I don't have to do it ever again. -- Les Weil, Rio Rico, Ariz.
Posted by Walter Olson at June 8, 2005 09:57 PM
I have to agree. Personally I think "The Juice" is guilty as hell but did the prosecution prove it beyond a reasonable doubt? Not a chance. Had I been on the jury I would have voted to acquit.
I would not trust "Judge" Ito to run a parking ticket court without scewing it up. Clark's decision to slander her own witness instead of rehabing him by determining the circumstances around his "N" word use must have been purchased.
There is plenty of blame to go around.
The judge made some horrendously stupid calls.
The prosecution was overconfident and inept at the same time.
The jury was apparently dumber than a box rocks, racist, or both.
The worst thing I can say about the defense is that they played the system - doing some things that should be unethical/illegal, but apparently aren't.
The three posters above must have been watching a different trial than I was. Given the news media bias against OJ at the time--almost no-one thought that the defense could get not-guilty; even I thought that the best the defense could come back was a 6-6 hung jury on the counts, based on the media coverage at the time.
Anyway--I remember sitting down on the night the prosecution rested its case (and after the father of one of the victims made a pompous fool of himself, declaring OJ guilty before the defense started!) and took the position of a member of the jury. I asked myself what problems, questions, etc. did I have with the prosecution case and came up with twenty-eight (28!) problems with the prosecution case.
These questions were based ONLY on the media "coverage" of the event, and covered everything--the timeline (too tight),the bloody gloves (sitting outside on a dry day for 12 hours, yet still wet?), what was in the manila envelope passed to the pre-trial judge (what WAS in that envelope), how a struggle on a public sidewalk could not be heard nor seen through open windows by neighbors, even how did OJ find out his ex-wife was coming home at a certain time (no phone calls to the resturant, and no one said she told him).
The race card never needed to be played; this case was difficult to win to start with and became impossible for any number of factors.
P.S. I'm curious to ask the three posters above if the judge and prosecution in the Michael Jackson trial was competent or not . . .