Today’s Oprah was a repeat. Everything I am about to say is about old, old news and I am stirring up an old, old debate.
Mark Fuhrman was on a repeat of Oprah today. Remember him? He says his obit in newspapers will read “the disgraced detective from the O.J. Simpson trial died today.” That’s probably pretty accurate. And true, despite what he thinks
I missed the first 20 minutes or so, as I was watching “Bolt.” What a nail biter. Kid’s movies these days are more and more adult in nature. Spoiler alert: at the end, the dog and his girl almost die in a fire. That’s as bad as in Toy Story 3 where the toys are almost incinerated.
Anyway. Mark Fuhrman. I cannot, for the life of me, understand why Oprah chose to have him, of all folks, on her show. Except for he was the only one who would show up. He proved himself, 15 years ago, to be a liar and a crooked cop. Yet he, unlike many of the other people she has revisited for her last season, has not changed.
He spent the entire hour talking about how he, and his partner, were the only people in the entire case who “did nothing wrong.” Excuse me? You, who lied on the stand, and took the 5th to avoid self-incrimination when asked point-blank whether you fabricated evidence, did nothing wrong? He explained that his wrong had “nothing to do with the murder case” itself. Humph.
He blames the (predominantly black) jury, calling them “socially and morally corrupt” who “ignored the evidence.” He tells us, the audience, however, that he has some compassion for the jury. When they moved the trial to downtown L.A., from Brentwood, in order to get access to a more racially diverse jury pool, Fuhrman argues that we “have to understand the jury.” Apparently, when juries decide, they decide not only on the evidence, according to Marky-Mark, they also decide based on “their community… heroes… their family.” He’s been in neighborhoods where they “call the cops because someone’s selling crack and then there’s a drive-by the next day.”
What? What does one thing have to do with the other? Let me give Fuhrman my second-year law student hint: juries have to be unanimous. The white people agreed too. And lying on the stand kills a witnesses credibility. Especially if you are a cop that claimed to have found key evidence. It kind of kills the credibility of the entire police department. And it’s not the job of the defense to prove innocence. It’s the job of the prosecution to prove guilt. And even you, Marky-Mark, admit that they, you, did an awful job of doing that.
The show would of been bad enough had not Oprah added her (value-less) two cents. I know, I was just singing Oprah’s praises the other day. But I also said that what I admire in her is her ability to build empires, not her opinions. Most of the time, I could care less what Oprah thinks. Her book choices suck, and I don’t think her commentary on social and political matters is very sophisticated. So I suppose I should not have been surprised when she says:
“Gayle says is the O.J. case is a standard for dating. If you go on a date with a man who says O.J. was innocent, it’s like, “Check please!”
Even before I was a law student, I understood the difference between “innocent” and “not guilty.” One is a positive and the other is the negation. In a court of criminal law, whether or not you are innocent is worthless. The fact is you are “not guilty” until the party with the burden of proof – i.e., the state, the prosecution, proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you are guilty. O.J. was not proven guilty, beyond a reasonable doubt. He was represented by a brilliant lawyer, the great Johnny Cochran, who sowed doubt in the minds of the jurors so that they could not say, all 12 of them, in an unanimous voice, that O.J. was guilty without reasonable doubt.
Furhman was the ONLY person convicted of a crime in connection with this case. Perjury. Take that.
(I find that the more I know, the more non-lawyers annoy me. it’s not really their fault, it’s all mine. This is (one of the reasons) why non-lawyers hate lawyers. Such know-it-alls. I know.)
P.S. Today I am grateful to be taking two law classes by two black professors. I don’t think I’ve ever had an academic quarter/semester to have two black professors. In one case, I know this actually makes a difference in the way the class is taught and the content of the course. I know this professor, and I understand his politics. In the other case, I don’t know if it will affect how the class is taught or the content, but that’s a good challenge for me. Just because you are _________(insert race/gender/sexuality/age here) doesn’t mean you have to insert that into your work at all times. I tend to think you should, but I want to challenge myself in that assumption. So I’m grateful to have that opportunity this quarter.