Casey Anthony = OJ?
Before we get started, the answer is “no.”
Now that we got that out of the way, I recently had a pretty interesting conversation with my fellow intern. You know, the one that walked in on me eating chicken and dancing that one time. Yeah, that one. We spent most of the day in meetings together, and aside from an attempt to “black it up” for me by texting me that she was waiting for me “chillin in da lobby,” and multiple glances in my direction whenever minorities were mentioned, we were off to a pretty race-neutral day. But it all changed when we walked by a TV playing coverage from some bullshit about Casey Anthony. I think they were hacking records to find her whereabouts or some bullshit that beige folks love doing to create news when there is clearly more important stuff going on:
I walked by, barely even paying attention to it. I honestly don’t care about the case anymore. She won. Legally, she’s not guilty and can’t be found guilty of the crime again. As such, legally we are all obligated to afford her the rights generally given to non-murderers and such. That’s life, deal with it folks. I mean at least that’s what all of the folks say when people like Johannes Mehserle walk free. But then after I walked by I say the other intern look up from the screen and I could sense that she was about to make a grave error. She looked at me and said “well you guys got OJ, so I guess it’s even.”
Although I am legally barred as a black man from admitting that OJ did actually do it in front of white people, I can understand that the circumstances of the cases were similar. Both prosecutions seemed to have an easy case based on common sense, but lost because of no clear-cut evidence and proof that either were guilty. But the deeper implications were not similar at all.
As much as the public was outraged by both cases, it appears that neither could actually muster concrete proof that either defendent actually, you know, committed the crime in question. While it seems pretty common sensical that they did, the courts are built to protect people who may be innocent from extraordinary circumstances that do defy common sense and may take their freedom away unjustly. In theory the courts tend toward Type II error, where in gray areas, defendents should be more likely to be falsely classified as not guilty than guilty. That’s due process. And that’s exactly what Casey got. It’s also exactly what white people get and black people are denied every single damn day.
OJ wasn’t a landmark case just because we are all still kind of convinced he did it. It was a landmark because it was maybe the first time that a black man got away with the kind of bullshit white folks have been getting away with for centuries. You could get the death penalty just for being black in the wrong place for most of our history. You could get the death penalty for looking at people the wrong way. OJ’s case was significant for us because it was the first time we had ever seen a case of a Black man held to the same scrutiny and standards as most white folks. Revolutionary. Casey Anthony…not so much. She just got the treatment that most people expect when they enter the justice system. So sorry, this is not the one case that “makes it even,” stop comparing. And that’s that. Namaste