Postmortem: The O.J. Simpson Case

Jeffrey Abramson, Author
Jeffrey Abramson, Author Basic Books $13 (239p) ISBN 978-0-465-03319-5
Reviewed on: 04/01/1996
Release date: 04/01/1996
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Abramson (We the Jury) collects 25 brief, thought-provoking commentaries on the O.J. Simpson case, several of which are reprinted from publications like Newsweek and the New Republic. Michael Eric Dyson wisely advises that the ""goal should not be to transcend race, but to transcend the biased meanings associated with race."" Elizabeth Schneider and Deborah Rohde pointedly remind readers how domestic violence was trivialized in this case. While Lorraine Adams and Serge F. Kovaleski lay out how Simpson's ""Dream Team"" of defense attorneys used its vast resources to shape a winning strategy (especially through use of a jury consultant), Rohde observes that many poor black defendants face unjust convictions. Some contributors suggest reform of the jury system; others say it should be scrapped. Joseph McNamara warns against the Los Angeles ""military model"" of policing, while ex-prosecutor Scott Turow takes prosecutors to task for regularly putting dishonest cops on the stand. As for the final analysis: Harvey Cox sees the case as evidence of American balkanization, while Stanley Crouch finds seeds of national maturity in racial matters. This is, as the subtitle suggests, a collection that addresses the meta-issues of the case: there is no exhaustive analysis of the prosecution's failures or of the recent spate of books by the trial's participants.(June)
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