Monday, April 10, 2006

Brief, unimpressive brushes with the important and well-known...

I once rode in an elevator with Barry Scheck. You might remember him as the guy who got O.J. off. Back when I lived in New York, he and I worked in the same building. This was when I had to get to my job real early in the morning, and I remember shuffling past the security guards, picking up the 8000 or so newspapers my boss subscribed to, and then standing and wobbling in front of the elevator doors in a pre-caffeinated stupor. After a minute or so of just staring at my weird reflection in the shiny metal, a man came up and pressed the “UP” button. He said something like, “Quite a handful,” and when I nodded at him I almost spilled my papers. As I fought to hold them all, I noticed that this guy beside me wasn’t just anyone, he was Barry Scheck, lawyer extraordinaire, worldwide DNA authority, and famed O.J. getter-offer.

The elevator came, the doors opened, and we got on. He punched his floor and, since my arms were laden with every major daily newspaper published between Jerusalem and Chicago, he asked me which one I wanted. I told him the number, but–even in my sleepy state–what I really wanted to tell him was that, while I respect his work exonerating the wrongfully convicted, it seems to me virtually all the known evidence pointed to O.J. Simpson as the murderer of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman, and that his work on that defense team only added an imprimatur of scientific legitimacy to the dishonest, pandering strategy of Johnnie Cochran and Robert Shapiro. Had I time, I might also have told him that O.J. clearly had the motive, the means, and the opportunity to kill the two victims and that it was unfortunate that he, Barry Scheck, was willing to lend his considerable talents to such a shameful circus, a farce that would, I feared, only cast doubt on the legitimacy of his crusade to use DNA to free the unjustly imprisoned.

But, alas, without caffeine, I’m only capable of rudimentary brainstem functions. It’s really a pity, because I’m sure Barry Scheck is always eager to hear what some guy in an elevator thinks about the O.J. Simpson case. I know I would be if I were him.