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justice in america

so, with the recent spate of criminal judgments against rich and famous people, i’ve sensed a pattern and can conclusively say that guilt or innocence in the american justice system comes down to one thing.


and if you think about it, there are apparently hard and fast rules to govern your fate in this system. i’ve thought and thought, and i think these formulas work pretty well. what do you think?

primarily perceived as rich? guilty: think about all the enron people, key lay and crew, and the worldcom guys, bernie ebbers. and so on. god help you if eliot spitzer gets you in his crosshairs, because he has figured this rule out. regular joes on a jury subconsciously want to stick it to the wealthy and powerful. which means that you can include politicians in this category. name one politician who went to trial for anything and was found innocent. gary condit had better be glad he never went to trial, because he’d be sitting in the pokey now anyway, regardless of whether or not he offed the talkative intern he was sticking it to, and dominick dunne would be a richer man than he is today, having not paid him all that settlement money.

primarily perceived as famous? not guilty: oj. robert blake. soon to be phil spector. historically? lana turner’s daughter. jurors think fame is cool, that these people probably pulled themselves up by their bootstraps from the slimy gutter, and they are blinded by that light of fame, even if it’s the barely longer than 15 minute kind. they don’t want to hang and play golf with oj, but they still give fame a pass. an exception? maybe robert downey jr. but give me a break. how many times did he go scot-free before they finally treated him like they would have treated you or me in the first place?

rich and famous, but primarily seen as rich? guilty: see above. example–martha stewart. she may be famous, but she’s a famous businesswoman, and is therefore guilty, regardless of whether or not she actually is. which she probably is. who knows–that’s not the point.

famous as a result of your crime? guilty: yesterday–scott peterson. the texas cheerleader mom. the woman in texas who killed all her kids but her husband still loves her. (what’s up with texas?) the woman who drove her car full of kids into the lake. the freaky dude who kidnapped elizabeth smart. there’s always the crime du jour that becomes the crime du année, and everybody reads all about you on the cover of the tabloids. and god help you if that’s you, because again guilt or innocence doesn’t matter. you are toast.

so who gets the best deal out of the criminal justice system? people who are wealthy enough to be able to hire a great attorney, smart enough to not appear too privileged to jurors, and lucky enough to keep their legal problems under the radar and out of the press. your either going to get a not guilty verdict, or if you’re found guilty, you’re gonna get light sentencing.

and michael jackson? again, regardless of actual guilt or innocence, he’ll be judged not guilty. primarily famous and not seen primarily as rich.

but always remember–there’s a vast difference between not guilty and innocent.

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