Tag Archive | "OJ Simpson"


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The media hype trailing the infamous court trial of Casey Anthony has left many of us almost as outraged as we were with the actual verdict.  Suspected of murdering her innocent two-year-old daughter, and judged by a jury of her peers, Ms. Anthony was awarded an acquittal. While we were indeed angered by this sentence, we did have ample warning.  For as the statue in Washington, DC proclaims, “What is past, is prologue.”   In this instance, “past” is defined as the O.J. Simpson trial, in which Mr. Simpson was acquitted of the charges of brutally murdering his former wife and her friend.

We can examine and find flaws within our legal system, flaws that led to Anthony’s and Simpson’s acquittal. We can therein lay blame for these and other heinous crimes that go unpunished.  But how do we start to fix this imperfect system, which also happens to be the fairest (most just) legal system in the world? I may just have the solution.  But first, let us have a look at those flaws.

Under U.S. law, a person suspected of a crime is presumed innocent until proven guilty.  The onus, therefore, rests with the prosecution to craft, from empirical evidence and the sworn statements of eyewitnesses, an airtight case.  Conversely, the sole responsibility of the defense attorney is to create reasonable doubt in the minds of the jurors.  If reasonable doubt can be shown, the accused walks away free.

Add to this the fact that U.S. has no blanket, Federal sentence for the crime of murder.  In some States, homicide is punishable by death.  In other States, the guilty parties live out their sentences behind bars, enjoying three squares a day, learning new trades, and “getting religion,” the latter of which often equates to a shorter sentence, contingent upon the inmate’s demonstration of good behavior (as if a murderer is capable of good behavior).  And, those States that still employ the death sentence have no guarantee that it will remain in place: with changes in the composition of state legislatures, legislators can vote “for” or “against” that death penalty.

In the instances of Casey Anthony and O.J. Simpson, the defense won because the prosecution essentially handed them those cases on silver platters.  Both trials were conducted before all the facts were considered, thus creating that reasonable doubt leading to the acquittals.

The other problem, however, is the selection of an impartial jury.  How is it possible to select a jury that is impartial when the media is a.) given or secures access to key  information well in advance of the actual trial, and then b.) makes public that very information, in an effort to drum up ratings or readership?  Rampant, pre-trial media coverage is basically akin to jury tampering, a crime that carries a stiff sentence.  But, by flying under the flag of journalism (the right to free speech and freedom of the press), that crime is rendered null.  And, so is the justice of our justice system!

It has been rumored that broadcast media and newspapers have offered large sums of money to accused parties and their families in exchange for being the first news agency to air the sordid details.  If this is true, we have the accused feeding information that should never be leaked, to a media that, in all civic responsibility, should not leak it!   So, unless potential jurors avoid newspapers, radio, TV, the Internet, and no doubt, cell phones, there can be no fair, impartial jurors!  For as Ben Franklin once stated, “Neither a maidenhead nor a fortress will hold once they begin to parley.”

So, what is the solution?  How do we punish the Casey Anthony’s, the O.J. Simpson’s, and all those who are bound to follow in their footsteps, given the legal loopholes and precedents illustrated above?

The solution may lie, not so ironically, with a simpler and gentler society.  This society is found in the rolling hills of Pennsylvania; they are called The Pennsylvania Dutch (the Amish).  These deeply religious, self-sufficient people live off the land in a self-governing society.  That society lives by the Golden Rule of loving your neighbor as you would yourself.

When an individual in the Amish society breaks the rules, that person is tried fairly.  If found guilty, the individual is shunned by the group; basically, the person is ignored as if he or she has ceased to exist.  In the very elegant and non-violent solution of the wise Amish lies the answer of how to deal with Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson, and their ilk.

Shunning would end the constant media barrage, for without viewers or readers, the case would carry no interest.  With no interest in the case, broadcast media and tabloids would withdraw their lucrative offers, denying accused criminals the benefit of becoming millionaires.  As Father Guido Sarducci would say, “It would make it difficult to pay for her sins.”

The aftermath of the Casey Anthony case has stirred up a hornet’s nest of hostility.  Despite stern warnings from high-ranking officials, the death threats to both Casey’s family and the jurors continue.  It is time for cooler heads to prevail.  It is time to turn to the logical, non-violent ways of the Amish as a means of dealing with criminals who slip through the legal cracks.

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Beyond the Casey Anthony Case

Beyond the Casey Anthony Case

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During World War II, there was a cliché used by servicemen wishing to resolve problems or disputes.  That phrase was, “Tell it to the Chaplain.”  In other words, get it off your chest and then move on with your life.  As a result, the Chaplain became the confidential keeper of secrets who would, according to God’s laws, advise the confessor as to the proper course of action.

This, however, is America.  And as per Constitutional Law, we “render unto Caesar what is Caesar’s.”  In so doing, we have crafted a legal system considered to be the finest (read: most just) in all the world.  Its basic tenets are:

1.       Presumption of innocence until proven guilty

2.       The right for an accused to be judged by a jury of his or her peers

3.       The right to appeal a sentence

4.       Executive Order (a.k.a., a Presidential Pardon)

Despite the simplicity and apparent clarity of these tenets, our legal system is actually quite complex as well as expensive.  It costs to hire an attorney skilled in plying legal jargon, if not actual evidence, to prove innocence or guilt. (In this particular case, money does buy happiness and God help the poor!)  Rich or poor, during the past decade, America has witnessed crimes committed by notable and soon-to-be notable individuals: perpetrators who have received variable judgments, based upon the nature of their crimes, in an effort to protect our society against such persons.

I remember the Watergate trial, astounded not only as to how it was unfolding, but how it was unfolding before my very eyes: live, through the magic of television!  I suppose that Watergate set the precedent for mass media to be invited into our courtrooms as a means of keeping the public informed.  Thus, we the people had remote, live access to the O.J. Simpson trial and other notorious trials.  More and more, however, the media continued its carefully plotted intrusion into these cases.

Before mass media had intervened in such a manner, court cases were tried within the confines of a courtroom, in the jurisdiction of the locale in which the alleged crime was committed.  But, thanks to technology, the Court of Public Opinion has adulterated our legal system.  Complete with all the trappings of a media sideshow (is anyone else disturbed by the antics of Nancy Grace and Jane Velez-Mitchell?), it  includes public panel discussions in which the pros and cons of as yet unresolved legal cases are bandied about. Personal opinions of the newscasters and their guests are tossed in to liven things up and increase viewership or readership of the media vehicles.  In the old days, these types of proceedings would have been known as “lynch mobs.”

Extensive media coverage of an ongoing trial does nothing to determine the innocence or guilt of the accused  party.   But that is not its purpose.  Its true intent is to improve media ratings and line the pockets of the media moguls and their investors.  Whether we’re watching or listening to the media, reading newspapers, Twittering opinions, or surfing the Internet for coverage, it all comes down to money.

If you doubt this, consider this all too prevalent scenario.  Have you ever watched or listened to a Presidential speech, a sporting event, or even a natural disaster unfolding on the news?  If so, did you notice that there was always a follow-up panel, sometimes on a separate, yet dovetailed program, to explain to you what you just witnessed — as if you’d lacked the common sense to interpret the information presented to you?  And if you have tuned in to these programs, what did you see and hear?  Answer: you saw and heard the news tainted by the personal opinions of the media and their guest speakers.

In days of old, when knights were bold, as the old saying goes, news reporters were constrained to report local and national events via specific criteria, which were:

1.       Where?

2.       Why?

3.       Who?

4.       When?

5.       What?

Reporters were not to stray from the bonds of these standards.  Reporters were told to keep their personal opinions to themselves; they were charged with a now-antiquated concept called “objective reporting.”

With this in mind, aside from the rich and the poor, there are, in my estimation, three classes of people:

1.       The religious

2.       The non-religious

3.       The hypocrites

Religious people tend to believe in and follow the commandants of God.  Non-religious people tend to adhere to manmade legal systems (civil and criminal legislation).  And hypocrites tend to bend both God’s Law and manmade laws to suit their own purposes.

Pressing ever forward into this new millennium, it’s strange how manmade laws are swiftly replacing God’s laws — even though our currency still bears the motto, “In God We Trust.”  However, when we are visited by war and strife, man turns to God for assistance, even if he does not truly believe in a being greater than himself.

Another World War II cliché was, “There are no atheists in foxholes.”  This more or less says it all about the media injecting its own personal views into evolving legal cases, for the sole intent of stirring up controversy and pumping up their profits.  “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”, but “Cold hard cash is mine,” says an irresponsible and anything but objective media.

The moral of this story is, before you pass judgment on any person, a judgment based solely upon the media’s slanted coverage, consider these words found in the Bible:

“Let ye who are without sin, cast the first stone.”  And then move on with your life. 

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