Where were you 13 years ago? Until I saw on the news last night that OJ Simpson has just been convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping, I hadn't realized that yesterday was 13 years to the day since Simpson was acquitted of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. Isn't it bizarrely coincidental that this new jury verdict should come in on that anniversary?
13 years ago, I was newly married, practicing law in Concord, New Hampshire, and teaching in the legal writing program for first year students at the Franklin Pierce Law Center. Of course, the Simpson trial was capturing the attention of everyone around the country, but the trial created special interest among lawyers and at the law school. The first year students -- so recently admitted to the world of legal jargon, procedural rules, and constitutional concepts -- talked and argued about it all the time. When the verdict came in, pretty much everyone at the law school clumped together in the school's big lobby to watch. Even after the broadcast ended, I remember, law students stood around debating and questioning. The moment the jury returned that acquittal was one of those defining moments of the 1990's, I think. If you ask folks where they were when the Simpson verdict came down, they know.
Last night's verdict is such an odd end to this tale. Or maybe it's not the end. (I would be surprised if Simpson's lawyers are NOT drafting appeal papers based on the strange and potentially prejudicial matter of a jury being asked to render judgment against Simpson on the exact anniversary of the very controversial acquittal.) It's hard not to view the episodes -- the Brown/Goldman deaths and the more recent effort of Simpson to "get his stuff back" by hiring thugs and waving guns around -- as reflecting something pretty fundamental about his personality.
During and after the murder trial, there was so much press and speculation about Simpson's kids ... I find myself worrying about them now.
If you read this all in a novel, you'd think the coincidence is just too tidy to be believable. Real life truly is stranger than fiction, you know?