For seven years, my stepsister was Ron Goldman’s stepmother. You know, the Ron Goldman whose murder O.J. Simpson was acquitted of in 1994?
I’ll give you a minute to process the relationship.
For those of you too young to have paid much attention to O.J.’s eight-month-long trial, it was the most watched, most talked about example of pre-reality show television. Everyone was talking about it. Walking through a restaurant, one caught snippets of conversations at the various tables about what had happened that day in the courtroom. Around dinner tables at home, many were scratching their heads wondering what this DNA stuff was all about.
In addition to my, albeit complicated, family connection, shortly after O.J.’s acquittal, I hosted F. Lee Bailey for dinner in my home. Surprisingly, he stated that every lawyer (himself included, being a member of O.J.’s Dream Team of lawyers) could have been disbarred and the judge should have been removed from the bench. Polls indicated that the majority of Americans felt O.J. to be guilty. A “travesty of justice” was much heard around the water coolers in work places. It was my first cognition of what has since grown into our national (at the very least) distrust of our legal system.
Last week O.J., once again, found himself a major focus of media attention and at the mercy of the courts. Having been convicted of an armed robbery stemming from a convoluted attempt to retrieve personal memorabilia, O.J. came up for parole with the cameras rolling and cable news networks broadcasting the hearing live.
I have written in the past about what I have coined “the powerful man syndrome.” We see it time and time again; athletes, politicians, financiers, celebrities, etc., who think they are above the law. I think that O.J. suffers from this syndrome. Looking at the man and his two legal cases, I find an encapsulation of some of the controversies of today.
We are now facing important questions in Washington D.C. about power and the judiciary.
Our President has forced a never-before-seen look at our judicial system and the power of the President. His tweets, his interviews and leeks have raised many questions. Among them are; does the Attorney General owe allegiance to the President or to the legal system of our country and does the President have the power to pardon himself?
Questions prompted by O.J. and his interactions with the law include: do talent, success, and fame give one the right to be above the law? And, what can be done to “shore-up” our judicial system to make it serve justice and justice alone?
In case you missed the news, O.J. did receive parole, but I couldn’t miss the troubling questions raised by this process and his previous trial, which I think serve to highlight many of the troubling questions swirling around D.C. today. Also, I have trouble looking past the problems that still exist, illuminated and exacerbated by O.J.’s crimes and his use of privilege.