Will white folk forgive the craven racial-sexual tragedy that was O.J. Simpson, a man deified, deracialized and built up, but then reviled and hated, exposing the racial rift in this country that always was?
Be clear: Folks built their careers off of O.J.: Greta Van Susteren. Harvey Levin and TMZ. The nascent Kardashian brand. Just to name a few. And these same folks sneer at him now, now that he is exposed as the same black beast he always was in the collective imagination.
Simpson, who has been behind bars in a Nevada prison for almost nine years, is eligible for parole Thursday. We have bets in the office about whether or not this dude is getting out. I, the eternal optimist, and believer in the good in humanity (who usually winds up getting my teeth knocked in), think he’s getting out. Others, who know racist-ass Nevada’s history and what Simpson represents, have $10 on it saying it ain’t happening. Of course, his ex-lawyer is saying he’s leaving the clink.
“He’s going to get parole,” said former Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter, according to USA Today. Galanter represented Simpson during the 2008 trial when he got hit for nine years minimum and 33 years maximum for a dubious but dumb-AF kidnapping charge. “Parole in the state of Nevada is really based on how you behave in prison, and by all accounts he’s been a model prisoner,” he said.
Interestingly, Galanter also said, “There are no absolutes anytime you’re dealing with administrative boards, but this is as close to a nonpersonal decision as you can get.’’
But given the notoriety of the Simpson trial and O.J. Simpson, a black man who went unpunished for killing a white woman, can the decision be “nonpersonal”? How will it be justified if Simpson stays? Is justice blind? (More like deaf, dumb and blind).
USA Today reports:
Four members from the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners will consider parole for Simpson at the board offices in Carson City, Nev., with the proceedings set to begin Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.
Parole is largely determined by a point system, and how the commissioners feel about Simpson—or his acquittal in the murder of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman—can have no impact on parole, according to Galanter.
“It really is based on points,’’ he said. “How long have you served, what your disciplinary record is, what the likelihood of committing another crime is, their age, the facts and the circumstances of the case.’’
Simpson is currently locked up because he broke into a Las Vegas hotel room on Sept. 13, 2007, and stole at gunpoint sports memorabilia he claimed was his. More than a year later, on Oct. 8, 2008, he was found guilty by a jury on all 12 charges.
He was granted parole in 2013 on the armed robbery convictions.
The parole board has said it will issue a decision Thursday so as to minimize the media circus that will surely follow its decree.
If Simpson is paroled, I get one Alexander Hamilton, and Simpson walks out of prison on Oct. 1 at the age of 70 … a life eons longer than those of other black men accused of far less. If not, I give my colleague Yesha Callahan 1,000 pennies and pick my teeth up once again.
Read more at USA Today.