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O.J. Simpson: Here we go again

Attorney Joe Richardson comments on potential new evidence in the murder case, and why there should be no legal ramifications to O.J. Simpson.

Perhaps it’s time to let the O.J. Simpson murder trial be – once and for all

The Los Angeles Police Department is now testing a knife given to them by a retired police officer. This knife apparently came from a construction worker who helped tear down Simpson’s mansion for the new property owners almost 20 years ago. There has been constant reporting on this development, complete with reflections from detectives on the case as well as commentary from forensics and DNA experts.

ComptonHerald.com | Joe Richardson

“Legal Learning” is commentary by Joe Richardson, Esq. The column does not constitute legal advice, as individual cases turn on their particular facts.

Once again, O.J. Simpson is in the news, which coincides with “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” a series dramatization of the criminal trial based on a book written in 1996.

It is important to note that there should be no legal ramifications to this testing whatsoever. Simpson cannot be retried for the murder of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. To the chagrin of many, Simpson was found not guilty by a jury of his peers many years ago. He was later found liable in the civil trial, but he was acquitted in criminal court.

This is not the first time there has been investigation about a murder years following a criminal trial, and this could be justifiable for many noble reasons. However, one cannot help but think that, for some, the drive to show that Simpson was (is) guilty continues.

As a law school student during the trial, I remember the high emotions on all sides of the issue. Ironically, I was in a Criminal Procedure class when the verdict came down. Even as people of different races sat in the same class, our opinions about Simpson’s guilt went along racial lines. Because we sensed the tension, African-American students picked a place off-site to watch the verdict.

Today, Simpson is serving a 33-year sentence for robbery and kidnapping. He could be paroled next year; some believe that his poor health makes that more likely. The severity of the sentence, many believe, is “payback” for him getting off for the murder. Everyone else involved in that incident has been home for years. One commentator suggested that Simpson’s parole could be more likely denied if a DNA match actually comes from the newly found knife.

As an attorney, the idea of O.J. Simpson spending more time in jail than he would anyway because of a knife found 20 years after the fact is interesting at best and unsettling at worst. However one feels about him, he is, after all, in jail for robbery, and not murder. This is not meant to be insensitive to the Brown and Goldman families; personally, I know what it is to lose a family member to (unsolved) murder.

Frankly, the fact that the murder of Brown and Goldman was shocking and unexpected (i.e. Whites in Brentwood), along with the sensationalism of Simpson’s supposed involvement, keeps society talking about this case, and perhaps in a way still “seeking justice” 20 years after the fact.

In the final analysis, we must remember that both the criminal and civil trial achieved their results. The system may not have worked the way many wanted, but it worked. Whether it was due to stupidity or karma, those that believed Simpson was guilty and belonged in jail have gotten their wish. I submit that perhaps it’s time to let the O.J. murder case be—once and for all.

Joe Richardson, Esq. is a native son of South-Central Los Angeles, and an attorney practicing tort, contract, and labor, and employment law in Southern California for more than 15 years. He also teaches and speaks on legal issues.

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