July 21, 1996

“Outrage: Five Reasons Why OJ Simpson Got Away with Murder” by Vincent Bugliosi

Reviewed by Mark Lindquist
New York Times Book Review

Most prosecutors in the United States believe they could have done a better job of trying the O. J. Simpson case than Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden. Vincent Bugliosi is sure of it.

A former prosecutor with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office who won a conviction against Charles Manson (and the author of a book about the case, “Helter Skelter”), Mr. Bugliosi declares that he has “put people on death row — and this is not an exaggeration — where the circumstantial evidence was one hundred times less powerful than in this case.”

In “Outrage,” he characterizes his former office’s handling of the Simpson case as “the most incompetent criminal prosecution I have ever seen. By far.” Mr. Bugliosi criticizes virtually everyone involved in the trial at every stage of the proceedings, even into the aftermath.

Personal responsibility is a favorite theme of prosecutors, who routinely insist that people should be held accountable for their actions, but one of the many ironies of the Simpson trial is that the prosecutors — District Attorney Gil Garcetti, Ms. Clark and Mr. Darden — have shifted responsibility for Mr. Simpson’s acquittal to the jury, the news media, Judge Lance Ito or the defense lawyers.

Mr. Bugliosi puts the blame where it belongs, and explains how the case should have been prosecuted. His well-informed analysis is in welcome contrast to much of the insipid or pointless commentary about the Simpson trial.


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