O.J. Simpson walked out of jail on Wednesday after posting bail in Las Vegas, where he was arrested on armed robbery and kidnapping charges. Simpson allegedly recruited four men—two of them armed—and burst into a hotel room to demand that two collectors return personal photos and football mementos Simpson, 60, said had been stolen from him.
The case has taken several curious turns since Simpson’s arrest on Sunday. One of the collectors had a heart attack and was hospitalized in critical condition. The other said he didn’t want to press charges. Mobs of reporters awaited as Simpson left the courthouse, and helicopters followed his car back to his hotel.
The “smirk” was missing from Simpson’s face as he left jail, said David Gardner in the London Daily Mail. “Gone was the bravado of his court appearance more than a decade ago when he declared he was ‘100 per cent not guilty’ of murdering his wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.” Simpson was acquitted of the 1994 double-slaying, but he may have just started “a new legal odyssey that could finally put him behind bars for life.”
“Any legal proceeding involving a celebrity these days quickly becomes a tabloid spectacle,” said William Booth in The Washington Post (free registration), “and the return of Simpson is especially fertile fodder.” As O.J. left the courthouse, free on bail, a man in a chicken suit waved sign reading, “See OJ Run," and helicopters circled overhead.
It’s too bad O.J. didn’t stick “with his post-acquittal vow of finding his wife's "real killers," said John Ridley on The Huffington Post. But it’s hard to believe Simpson will actually do time for this crime, after he was found not guilty of the 1994 murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman. You see, O.J. has already taught us that fame is the ultimate “Get Out of Jail Free card,“ and that “the American legal system is screwed top to bottom.”
Let’s all try not to take this clown too seriously as we gear up for another Simpson circus, said Power Line blog. After the “rank injustice” of Simpson’s acquittal at his murder trial, many people expected “the celebration of Simpson's acquittal in the black community” to “have a larger impact than it did.” But after all these years it seems clear that “outside the world of tabloid television it had no impact whatsoever.”
In this case the prosecution has an audiotape of the whole incident, said the Los Angeles Times (free registration) in an editorial, but it probably won't matter. “Last time around, there was blood from the victims in Simpson's car, blood on his socks and blood on a glove found in his yard, but lawyers still convinced a jury that the evidence had been planted. Even after Simpson's ‘hypothetical’ confession, If I Did It, has become a runaway bestseller, many still believe that the sports hero was framed by racist cops.”
“Like broken-field running and hurdling through airports, getting away with it" is one of O.J.'s specialties, said Eugene Robinson in The Washington Post (free registration required).
O.J. better have the names of some of his “Dream Team lawyers on his speed dial,” said Louisiana State University law professor Stuart Green in The Boston Globe (free registration). The law frowns on threatening people with guns. Although it's true that O.J.'s claim that he was taking back his own property could be a valid defense. So pull up a chair. O.J.’s in “hot water” again, and that means America is about to be treated to “another lesson in criminal law.”