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EDITORIAL JUSTICE SERVED BLAKE TRIAL, LIKE O.J., RAISES QUESTIONS OF INEQUALITY.

``JUST like O.J.'' read the headline of Saturday's Daily News about the outcome of the civil lawsuit against actor Robert Blake brought by the family of his slain wife, Bonny Lee Bakley.

Indeed, the criminal and civil trials of Blake are eerily similar to those of O.J. Simpson, who was tried a decade earlier on charges of killing his wife Nicole and her acquaintance Ronald Goldman.

Both Blake and Simpson were acquitted by juries that found that prosecutors failed to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that they committed murder. But then other juries operating on the lower standard of proof of civil trials found them responsible for the deaths. In other words, they killed the people they were acquitted of murdering.

Both were celebrities with strong legal representation. Both will probably never pay but a fraction of the multimillions ($30 million in Blake's case; $33.5 million for Simpson) awarded by a civil jury to pay to the families of the people they weren't convicted of killing. Why? Because both claim to be broke.

Some might claim that it's not fair for a person to face a civil trial after being acquitted of criminal charges. Others think the system allows some measure of justice.

Was justice served in these two cases? Probably not, since both men are widely believed to have committed terrible crimes, been held liable for people's deaths and are still walking the streets and going about their lives more or less normally while the families of the victims carry the burden of their loss.

The broader concern is the appearance that jurors are so moved by celebrity and wealth that they applied a different standard in these cases than they would if the defendants were ordinary people.
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Title Annotation:Editorial
Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Nov 22, 2005
Words:292
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