Suffice it to say that most white observers of the Simpson trial have more faith in police testimony and give more credit to prosecution experts than black Americans do. For example, few whites would find the theory of a police conspiracy credible, at least initially. Even though Furhman committed perjury, he may have been telling the truth about finding the glove. And even if the police made some procedural mistakes, this is no reason to let a killer go free.
Reasons to believe in O.J.’s guilt begin with O.J.’s escape from his Rockingham estate and the appearance of a getaway attempt. Why else would he have his passport and a few thousand dollars in cash? The “window of opportunity” for Simpson to have committed the murders was sufficient, given the fact that Rockingham and Bundy were only several minutes apart; there would have been plenty of time to wash and dispose of his bloody clothing. And there was the incriminating drops of blood in the Bronco, on the sock in the bedroom, and the glove in the walkway. Many accept the imprints of the shoes at the murder scene were O.J.’s. Simpson’s record of earlier assaults on Nicole demonstrate that he was a batterer; and most women who are murdered by men close to them have been previously abused. So there remain real doubts about O.J.’s innocence. Most whites did not agree with the jury’s virdict, and were shocked by the fact that the jury deliberated such a short time.
Other questions raised about the verdict has to do with the fact that nine of the twelve jurors were African American. Could they be truly objective in a trial such as this? In other words, was this, as Johnnie Cochran suggested, “time to send a message?”
The Simpson trial has sent several messages to the people of America. Perhaps one or the most significant is that juries will continue to judge cases on evidence. Police must be responsible to police themselves so that the Mark Furhmans are not allowed to continue to make a mockery of the criminal justice system. Police testimony must be credible. Evidence brought against a suspect must be gathered lawfully. The Simpson trial “put our criminal court system on public display,” as Alan Dershowitz said in his book, “warts and all.” Though battered and in need of reform, the jury system still works, and is an “important safeguard of democracy, an insurance policy against government overreacting
As with all insurance policies, we may bemoan the premiums we have to pay, but they are worth it.” (Dershowitz, page 201)
Was the Simpson case the “trial of the century” Perhaps. But long after the endless debates over the verdict are over, our tradition and belief as a nation of laws will continue to endure.