So OJ’s sentencing was today – did you forget? Basically he got 15 years, to serve at least 6 or 7.5 years before he can be considered for parole, depending on how you calculate the consecutives. Yes, Christmas came a little early for Fred Goldman and his long suffering daughter – who were present in the courtroom to remind the judge that even though OJ was convicted of robbery and kidnapping, this sentencing was REALLY about retribution for the murders that took place in another state, long ago. Just in case Judge Glass was confused about that at all.
Up for grabs was a smorgasbord of charges and minimums and concurrents and consecutives and enhancements that the judge could choose from. In fact, OJ and that other guy were both convicted of 11 felonies and one misdemeanor, the mandatory sentences for which could range anywhere from 6 years to life in prison. And 6 years doesn’t mean 6 years then you pack your prison issued Bible and go home, no 6 years means you serve 6 years then the parole board gets to decide if you’ve rehabilitated yourself. And since, of course, we are talking about OJ Simpson here, rehabilitation isn’t really in the cards. This guy has been getting free passes from the legal system for decades. Six years isn’t going to convince him that he isn’t above the law. I’m quite sure that while he’s in prison he’ll be figuring out ways to get free cable in his cell.
I have to tell you, though, it was quite satisfying to see OJ being seated at the defendants table in his prison blues. It made such a stark contrast to Yale Galanter’s high dollar suit. I mean, nothing says “Dude, I’m so screwed” like a nice prison uniform.
So, first up today in court the judge denied all the motions and briefs that were brought by the defense, including bail while the appeals are going through the courts. Yeah, as if that was going to happen. Glass flat out called them “Flight Risks”. She also denied Bryson’s motion to sever his client’s sentencing and trial (yet again), this time on the basis that the Goldman’s were sitting in the gallery, proving once again, since Stewart didn’t kill their relative, that he was getting unfair spillover from OJ. But she did hand them a small victory by throwing out the coercion counts. So now there’s only 10 felonies.
Finally the state got up and told the judge concerning sentencing “Throw the book at them! Only don’t throw the book so hard at CJ, poor bastard, we don’t know if he even knew what the fuck was going on.” Of course, the judge sentenced him to the exact same sentence as OJ, so she didn’t show any mercy on the poor bastard, in the end.
Then Grasso got up for OJ and told some story about the Civil War (no, I shit you not, he really did.) Something about Lincoln and Grant and Sherman and Lincoln saying “Let em up easy” and that’s why Southern troops got to keep their horses after the Civil War. Which I guess would be relevant if OJ and Stewart were charged with cattle rustling, but not so much since they were stealing trophies.
Yale Gallanter then got up and kissed the judge’s ass, telling her what a pleasure it was to practice law in front of her, and that, as always, he’s concerned that this whole thing is about payback, even thought he judge says it isn’t, it is, and that in this case, OJ was stupid. Just stupid. Not criminal, just stupid. Oh, and Fromong and Beardsley aren’t even pissed. And even people that hate OJ say “Right outcome, wrong crime”. And OJ wasn’t stealthful. But he was emotional. And it was his stuff – and how many robberies does the judge get before her where the stolen property has the defendant’s name on it? That’s gotta mean something, right?
Then OJ testifies. He tells the court he stands before her “Sorry and Confused”. He explains to the court that he *really* thought this was his stuff, that he didn’t know what he was doing was wrong and that he wanted to give his daughter her mother’s wedding ring, but it was stolen and he wanted to give his son the picture in the oval office, but it was stolen. And he went round and round trying to recover this stuff, but he could never find the people who had it, and this was his chance. That he didn’t mean to rob nobody, or hurt nobody, but he told everyone he just wanted to get the stuff back for his kids. He didn’t go to Vegas to recover the stuff, that was just a bonus. He was there for a wedding, not a robbery. Thank you very much judge.
Then Bryson gets up and tells the judge that his client was just helping a friend. He’s a good guy. Has 4 sons. Be gentle, judge. And since the prosecution even said Stewart was less culpable, then surely he is.
Then CJ Stewart gets up and gives what can only be characterized as an Oscar acceptance speech. He thanks his attorneys, the other attorneys, the judge, the media (?) and his family. He event tried to pick up the table mic, perhaps thinking it was this year’s award for “Most Unfortunate Co-Defendant”.
Then Glass confers her sentence, prefacing the pronouncement with some comments addressed to OJ. She tells him “At the beginning of this trial, at the bail hearing, I said that I didn’t know if you were arrogant, ignorant, or both. Now, after going through this trial, I realize it’s both.” She says that the way she sees it, OJ came to Vegas to do what he couldn’t do anywhere else – recover his property. She also notes that although both OJ and Galanter *says* the stuff was OJ’s, that this is still in dispute, and that although OJ claims the property as his, he is heard to say on the tapes that he wants to keep the stuff away from “The Gold Diggers”, which is his pet name for the Goldman’s. The judge says that this was done with violence and force. Not something that can be tolerated in Vegas, that the guns could have gone off, injuring not only the people in that tiny room, but some poor innocent tourist wandering the halls.
Glass also tells OJ that unlike the vast majority of cases she hears, this one was completely caught on tape, and that it was OJ’s own words on those tapes that brought him to her court room. His own words not of walking into the room and saying “Hey, guys give me my stuff back”, but his words of “Don’t let no one leave” and “:Bag that shit up”. And his words after the crime of trying to convince people that there were no guns involved, once the cold realization hit that “Shit, I might be in trouble here!” And the laughing and joking at the Little Buddha – saying crap like “Did you see his face? HAHHAHAHAHA”
She also comments on his statement, expressing surprise that he spoke, and how he is still not taking any responsibility – saying “I didn’t intend to do anything wrong, therefore I must not have done anything wrong, and therefore there must be no criminality.” Glass says this doesn’t matter. He went into the room, he took guns with him, guns were drawn, you used force, you took property and in Nevada that amounts to robbery with use of a deadly weapon.
She then reassures everyone that no, she isn’t going to impose sentence on the stuff that happened in California, just a sentence for this case. NO, really, it’s only for this case.
Then she sentences CJ to a minimum of 15 years for the Kidnapping with a gun, with an enhancement to run consecutively of 12- 72 months and all the rest of the charges are something under that running concurrently.
Then OJ gets the same. With credit for 64 days time served.
Then there are the inevitable press conferences – from the Goldman’s (“We’re happy”) the attorneys for Stewart (“We’re Surprised”), a statement from the Brown’s “(We’re torn, we hate him but love his kids”) and the inevitable promises from OJ’s attorney’s that there will be an appeal.
And another story from Grasso about the Civil War. Because really, that’s relevant.