Today, O.J. Simpson was granted parole, although the soonest the ex-football star and suspected murderer can get out is October 1st, 2017.
This comes as no surprise: Simpson was a model prisoner, has family support including his eldest daughter who testified at the hearing on his behalf and participated in programs that would help him transition back to life outside of prison.
The Hidden (yet public) Issue
One of Simpson’s lawyers, Yale Galanter, stated that the charges and the sentence for them were exaggerated by the jury in his 2008 trial. His fear? Those jurors were looking at the not-guilty verdict Simpson received relating to the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994.
His felony convictions came 13 years to the day after he was found not guilty of the murders, an odd coincidence. But in 1997 in a civil trial, a jury found Simpson responsible for the deaths of Nicole Brown and Ronald and ordered that he pay their families $33.5 million of which he has only paid a fraction.
The district attorney in Clark County at the time stated he and his staff charged Simpson like they would have anyone else, and his sentence had nothing to do with his past, only with his actions in a Las Vegas hotel room.
As with the murders he was charged with, in this case, Simpson told a much different story than his accusers. He postulated that all the materials he took from the hotel room were his in the first place, and that. He never brandished a weapon. He went so far as to say that he didn’t know the men with him were brandishing weapons.
Of course, there is no glove in this case, or a magic door he could escape through, so both his conviction and his sentence stood.
The fact that the robberies took place on the exact same day Simpson released his book If I did It: Confessions of the Killer came out. In the book, he “theorizes” about how he could have gotten away with the murder if he had committed the crime.
It was another confession of sorts. Never has O.J. simply said “I did it. I am sorry.” His daughter says he is truly remorseful for his actions in this case, but that is something difficult to see.
What’s next for OJ? Well, according to the Nevada parole board, the standard parole conditions will apply. He’d need to get permission before moving, take regular drug and alcohol tests (so refrain from drinking of any kind), seek and maintain employment, and not carry a weapon of any kind.
So what will Simpson, aged 70, do for work? No one knows yet, and it will be at least October before we even get a glimpse of an idea. He’ll probably stay with his daughter at first, and try to start a normal life, whatever that looks like for someone of his public reputation.
Eventually, the cameras will go away, the reporters will stop calling, and O.J. will have to be O.J. as a normal, everyday person.
It’s been slow justice, similar in speed to the famous chase that took place on Los Angeles freeways way back when. Some may say it isn’t enough. But for most, he will be out of sight and out of mind.
Perhaps that obscurity and loneliness are the greatest justice of all.
Also published on Medium.