Monday, September 8, 2008

Camp O.J.: The Sequel

And so it starts:

Nearly a year after O.J. Simpson walked into a casino hotel room intent on reclaiming some sports memorobilia, lawyers in his robbery-kidnapping trial are finally set to begin picking a jury.

What figures to be a lengthy jury selection is scheduled to start Monday morning in a Nevada court for the fallen NFL star, actor and advertising pitchman, and his remaining co-defendant, Clarence "C.J" Stewart, a 54-year-old golfing buddy from North Las Vegas.

Both men have pleaded not guilty to 12 charges stemming from a heated encounter last September with two sports collectibles dealers peddling Simpson memorabilia at a Las Vegas hotel-casino.

Simpson said last fall that he put his faith in the jury system and was confident of an acquittal — a conviction could put him away for life.

"If I have any disappointment it's that I wish a jury was here," Simpson said in November, after a contentious four-day preliminary hearing in which prosecution witnesses were cast as opportunists, pimps, con artists and crooks out to make a buck off him.

"As always, I rely on the jury system," he said.

Just this week in Criminology we watched the Frontline documentary "The O.J. Verdict" which explored the role of the media in shaping public opinion about crime, and the impact of the verdict on racial attitudes in this country, from the perspective of ten years later.

As I wrote last month, it's doubtful this trial in Vegas will have any of the "trial of the century" feel from 13 years ago, but it will still raise interesting questions about crime, race and justice, and whether or not, in our so-called "post-racial world," we've become any more enlightened on these topics since then.

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