December 9, 2008
O.J. Simpson was sentenced last Friday to at least 16 years to life for armed robbery in a Las Vegas hotel back in 2007.
In O.J. Simpson's prior murder trial of his wife Nicole and her friend Ron Goldman, he was found not guilty in criminal court but was found liable for both their deaths in a civil suit some years later. He later had the obscene audacity to publish a book entitled "If I did it" where he basically described his crime.
Fred Goldman, the father of Ron, said: "If our efforts for all these years of pushing him drove him to commit armed robbery in Vegas, great! This monster is where he belongs -- behind bars."
Many believe that O.J.'s recent sentence is justice finally served.
In an ideal justice system, only the guilty are convicted and only the innocent are found "not guilty." In reality, we know that it is not always the case. In our legal system one is presumed innocent until proven guilty and it is the responsibility of the prosecution to prove the guilt. Defending the rights of the accused is fundamental in any democratic society even if some, with money, are able to "beat the system" and "get away with murder."
The alternative to our system of justice is horrific. It is practiced by totalitarian regimes that imprison, maim and execute without "due process."
Most people in our society would rather see someone guilty be let go than to see an innocent condemned.
It is maybe a consolation to known that being found "not guilty" does not remove guilt in the conscience of those that did commit the crime.
Someone defined ethics as doing the right thing (or not doing the wrong thing) when no one is watching. In reality there is always someone watching.
Our conscience is watching!
As Winston Churchill once said:
"The only guide to man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fates may play, we march always in the ranks of honor."