By Richard Ray:
Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson has been granted parole from the state of Nevada after serving nearly nine years from a conviction of armed robbery. His original sentence was 9-33 years and he will have served the minimum once he is released on October 1, 2017.
I have two takes from OJ’s parole hearing that was televised; OJ is still doing way too much and White people are still way too mad at his acquittal in the double homicide trials of Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman.
If any of you actually saw the televised parole hearing, you understand what I mean by OJ is still doing too much. I am no penal system expert, but I have a pretty good idea of what goes on in parole hearings. For all intent and purposes the Commissioners have their minds made up prior to a person coming before the parole board. Parole hearings are certainly not a place where you are expected to re-litigate your case and they are definitely not a setting to reiterate your claims of innocence.
Parole Boards are only interested in your contrition. They do not want to hear that you “did not do it”. They want to hear how sorry you are and that you have learned your lesson, and can assure them it will never happen again. They want to see humility and even sense that the prison system has scared and broken you so much you will do anything and everything possible to ensure that you never commit another crime to return.
I am of course generalizing and oversimplifying the process, yet it is still probably a fair assessment of what parole boards expect you to say in their presence. OJ had a prior parole hearing in 2013, that was granted for many of his charges. It was not nationally televised, but he should have been familiar with the process. On this last hearing OJ eventually said sorry and that he regretted the incident. Yet, these words of contrition, were surrounded by a man that clearly still does not get it. He still does not understand that the parole board was ready to release him, all he had to do was appear sorry and quiet. Instead, with a national television audience he felt the need to let everyone know he was a good guy that had stayed out of trouble in prison and hadn’t been in trouble prior to his conviction. His testimony was cringe worthy for how tone death it was to both what he needed to do to be released as well as to opening himself up to more scrutiny by in many ways insinuating that he was somehow a victim of circumstances and other’s bad acts, by continually telling the parole board to check the court records to verify his innocence.
In spite of his self serving, and potentially damaging, testimony, OJ’s prison record was spotless and under the Nevada guidelines he was granted Parole. OJ just recently turned 70. It is highly doubtful he will be involved in crime, but violating parole is easy to do. Despite his age, he still comes across as a man who is trying to control narratives about his character that he has long ago lost control of. Only time will tell if he lays low and out of the limelight, but his parole hearing indicates he may just not possess the ability to stay on script. Only time will of course tell.
What time has not lessened for some (Aka/ White People) is the emotional reactions that many still have toward OJ and their feelings that he unjustly got away with murdering two people. In 1995 his acquittal on the murder charges were probably universally viewed along racial lines. White people all thought he did it, Black people were less convinced at the time, and even if they accepted he may have committed the crimes, his acquittal was somehow justification for the Rodney King verdict and the systemic perceived racism, brutality and corruption by the LAPD.
Twenty plus years later, Blacks are nearly as likely as Whites to believe and accept that OJ committed the 1994 murders. However, by in large Blacks have emotionally moved on from OJ. He no longer represents much to Blacks other than a cautionary tale that “White Justice” is largely vindictive and unforgiving. A nine-thirty three year sentence for a first time conviction of armed robbery, under those circumstances in Las Vegas in 2007 was legal, but more indicative of OJ being punished for the acquittal than it was for the stupid actions he was actually accused of committing.
So as a large segment of people remained indignant at how justice is still not served regarding OJ and he should have been denied probation based on his past, I tell you once and for all, get over it. Yet, they won’t, and the fact that a geriatric OJ will still have a target on his back, waiting for him to slip up again to allow for some continued re-do of justice unsatisfied, appears lost on only one person: OJ.