Re: OJ Simpson and the Question of Blaming...

Douglass Drozdow-St.Christian (stchri@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Thu, 7 Jul 1994 08:48:00 -0400

A minor whooops is order here since i mentioned simpson and the question
of blaming....

i was not asking about the merits of the focus on the process of
accusation rather than on the evaluation of evidence in determining
culpability...what has struck me is that the current hearing is not about
whether simpson did anything, whether anyone has evidence that he or
anyone else did anything...instead the hearing is about how he came to be
accused, arguing that the act of accusing simpson was illegitimate in
itself...i find this focus on how the decision to blame is arrived at [
and especially the arguments over formal procedures like whether the
police used proper forms] to be fascinating precisely because the issue
of who killed mr. goldman and ms. simpson is irelelevant to the argument
about to be decided on by the judge....

let me ask another, slightly different the focus on how
simpson was blamed, and especially the claim that he was blamed

a] evidence of the sophistication of American justice, which
takes into account all stages in the process of discovering a crime,
ascertaining evidence of the crime, and ascribing blame as means testable
or rebuttable stages

b] evidence that Americans are terrified by the prospect of
government malfeasance and abuse

c] simply an extension of victimology to the effect that the act
of accusation, if shown to be somehow technically in error, transforms
the accused into a victim as well...

i ask these questions, the list of which is hardly complete, in a kind of
vacuum because in watching the several high profile trials on television
recently [ bobbitt and bobbitt, the amy fisher debacle, the reginald
denny trial and the rodney king trial and the menendez brother trials]
what strikes this northern exposure is that victimization has become a
cornerstone of defense strategy, even extending to the question of how
the decision to blame is arrived at...this is not a criticism but a
query...what does this tell us about how blame is defined, at least in
the legal system, in the US....