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December 5, 2008
An account of the failure to do a proper accounting of the OJ sentence
This new blog post, fittingly titled "O.J. prison bids open at six, climb to 33," provides an effective account of the mess that the media is making in the reporting of OJ Simpson's sentencing today in Nevada. Here is how the great post starts and ends:
Today's sentencing of O.J. Simpson in his Las Vegas robbery case produced utter confusion over his sentence and parole eligibility. With multiple counts, consecutive and concurrent terms, deadly-weapon enhancements, and parole factors, reporters were all over the place in trying to pin it down....
This is embarrassing. It's not clear yet whose fault it is, or who's right. I'm guessing that the judge did little to explain the sentencing realities in English, and reporters rushing to distill the details made a mash of them. Let's hope the reports clarify in the coming hours and days.
As of this writing (5:45pm), I can find these diverse headlines describing the OJ sentencing outcome:
- From the Associated Press, "OJ sentenced to as many as 33 years for robbery"
- From McClatchy News Bureau, "OJ Simpson gets 18 years"
- From the New York Daily News, "Canned juice: OJ Simpson headed to prison for up to 21 years"
- From the New York Times, "Simpson Sentenced to at Least 9 Years in Prison"
- From the Washington Post, "OJ Simpson Sentenced to 15 Years"
Got it, sports fans?
December 5, 2008 at 05:27 PM | Permalink
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Isn't this the case with most legal reporting? The reporting on proposition 8 in California was absolutely terrible. Add in complicated sentencing laws that even attorneys have difficulty with and you have a recipe for disaster.
Posted by: Alec | Dec 5, 2008 9:00:01 PM
This is an almost perfect example of a poorly conducted sentencing proceeding. I am not talking about the end result, but the process of getting there. Who knows how and why the judge made here decisions. You law school professors should get a recording from CNN and use it in your classes.
Posted by: Tom McGee | Dec 6, 2008 7:30:47 AM
I put "15-plus," just to be safe.
It's hard out there for a blawgger.
Posted by: Anne | Dec 7, 2008 6:41:46 AM