on May 24, 2004
In the first week of October 1995, only one person on the planet was angrier than I was - and that person was none other than Vincent Bugliosi - star prosecutor of the Manson gang. Thus, I was drawn to his account of the debacle known as the O.J. trial as if it contained the secrets of Tutankhamen. There are many attributes to this seething indictment of our legal system, the brain-dead jury who rendered the laughable verdict, and the bunglings of the prosecutors (and the eunuch-like judge) involved in this case. However......
Bugliosi gives an "F" grade to Marcia Clark, Chris Darden, et. al. A failing grade? Really now, Mr. Bugliosi. The same evidence that convinced you, me and millions of other non-retarded individuals was presented by the very prosecutors you excoriate in this book. Yes, they were clumsy. Yes, they made critical errors. But let's face some salient facts here. Forrest Gump could have presented the overwhelming (and irrefutable) evidence in this case - merely by calling in the DNA experts, who proved beyond ANY doubt that Simpson's blood was dropped at the crime scene. Virginia Woolf, in the midst of a lithium overdose, could have been convinced of the disgraced NFL star's guilt.
Mr. Bugliosi states, with the supreme confidence of someone supremely confident, that "he could have convinced the O.J. juty to convict O.J." Come again? Let's be reasonable here. The genius prosecutor of Manson and his trogledyte terrorists did not have a jury inflamed by Rodney King, nor were Manson and his co-defendants sports icons. The Manson jurors were reasonable, compassionate people who listened to the evidence, maintained a healthy respect for justice, and saw through the sophomoric antics of the defense team. (Anyone remember Irving Kanarek? If you don't, count your lucky stars.)
"Outrage" marked the first and only time I've ever been somewhat annoyed with Vince Bugliosi. He can't expect every prosecutor, especially someone with a mountain-sized chip on their shoulder (C. Darden) to perform to his standards. Lightning doesn't strike twice - and neither will Bugliosi's genius of the early seventies.
Bugliosi is absolutely correct in disdaining the woeful verdict that exonerated O.J. for his despicable behavior. His meticulous examination of the mistakes that pervaded the trial is beyond reproach. However, I believe he fails to recognize another irrefutable fact: His own staggering brilliance would not have swayed O.J.'s jury; rather, it would have worked against him. It's fairly obvious that this jury would not have convicted the wife-battering O.J. - not even if they had witnessed the crime first-hand. (Two words: "Brenda" and "Moran" come to mind. As Dominick Dunne so succinctly said, "Never underestimate the power of stupidity.")
Yes, there was plenty of blame to go around in one of the bleakest events in the history of American justice. Bugliosi is justifiably bitter; I too shall be saddened until the day I leave this earth. Like Bugliosi, I cannot regard the lives of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman as any less sacred than those of Emmett Till or Medgar Evers. I regret that I was not old enough to vote on those juries so many years ago, because I despise the mockery of justice and virulent racism that pervaded those proceedings. Like O.J.'s jury, those panels were populated by ignorant persons possessed of personal animus, limited intelligence and misdirected rage.
"We've got to protect our own," Carrie Bess allegedly belched to one her fellow jurors. Let's put the blame where it belongs, Mr. Bugliosi: on a defense attorney whose insipid blatherings shouldn't have scared a two-year-old; on a jury who refused to see the truth - and who deliberated for an appallingly short time - and a flaccidly foolish judge who couldn't control his own courtroom. It is Bugliosi's heavy-handed condemnation of the prosecution that detracts from an otherwise excellent presentation. Yet, I shall always admire and respect Mr. Bugliosi for his years of dedication to the cause of justice, and my loyalty is unwavering - now and for always.
on October 22, 2003
Vincent Bugliosi has written one of the most insightful books on not only on the OJ Simpson case, but the issue of the rule of law, our court system, what constitutes effective and competent counsel, outrageous conduct on the part of the defense.
Bugliosi first outlines the basic facts of the case: first, OJ is obviously guilty. His blood is found at the crime scene, in his Bronco, and at his estate. Nicole and Ron Goldman's blood are also found in all three locations. OJ created a suicide note, got a mask, and ran away from the cops. He told the police he "didn't know" why he was bleeding at the night of the murders -- at the exact same time the crime was being committed. He told Nicole he would kill her one day. The murder was not a burglary -- because nothing was taken. And the crime was definitely one of passion -- notice the knife. All the signs point to Simpson.
This book is an extremely useful one for myself because I do intend to be an attorney one day. Bugliosi provided many very simple tips on how best to argue one's case and to destroy one's opponents arguments. This is certainly a book I would recommend. There is no nonsense or hodgepodge in this book. A+!
-- Michael Gordon
on June 29, 2003
This month marks nine years since the murders of Ron and Nicole by Simpson. As such, I feel that it is appropriate to send this review during this month. I regret that I can only give the book five stars.
As someone who does not watch television and does not own one, I was impartial on the subject of Simpson's guilt or non-guilt when I first spotted Outrage on an O'Hare airport bookshelf shortly after the trial was over. Having avoided all information about the case while the trial was in progress, I was no doubt viewed as quite dull during water cooler debates on the case, bashfully indicating that I was waiting to become informed until Vincent Bugliosi (the guy who wrote Helter Skelter, I would explain) wrote a book about it. I was quite satisfied with my prediction and my purchase as I boarded the plane to Boston.
As I started reading the book, I was somewhat taken aback by the ferocity of Bugliosi's tone. I was startled when he recommended that I put the book down if I had even the slightest doubt that Mr. Simpson had committed the double murder. Even though I surely fell into that category, having formed no opinion yet, I read on. As the plane began its descent into Boston in what seemed to be only seconds later, I was so deeply engrossed in the narrative that I felt annoyed by the disruption my arrival in Boston caused my reading.
I finished the book that night (the next morning). My emotions which at first were just simmering were now boiling. I was unable to sleep, having made Bugliosi's outrage my own. The tone I once thought ferocious now seemed singularly temperate. There is no doubt as to what happened in this case. The outrage comes not because the crime was extraordinary (double murders are tragically all too common), but partly because of Simpson's behavior before, during and after the trial and primarily because of the unfathomable incompetence of the prosecution team.
I was also intrigued by several general observations Bugliosi makes in this book. He briefly discusses the following: 1) The sad fact that incompetence is the norm, not the exception; 2) The lack of evidence supporting the existence of God; 3) Misleading legal terms such as 'beyond a reasonable doubt' and 'presumed innocent until proven guilty'; 4) Elements of our culture that make a fiasco such as the Simpson trial not only possible but probable; 5) Simple legal analogies like that of circumstantial evidence to a rope (and not a chain); 6) The plight of the black man and why it is nearly impossible for most white men to understand this plight.
After reading this book, I began a two-year after-the-fact obsession with the case. I last counted fifteen books relating to the case on my bookshelves, all well worn. I also purchased the video based on this book in which Bugliosi himself narrates and offers his summation to a mock jury. Each time I read the book or view the video (via my computer, not a TV), I glean more insight into the prosecution's shocking incompetence.
At the risk of sounding obsequious, I aver that I remain in awe of Vincent Bugliosi. It might be useful to use Bugliosi's reputation as a litmus test before retaining any attorney; ask the prospective lawyer for his or her opinions on the works of Bugliosi and gauge accordingly. My personal opinion is that this book should be required reading not only for law students, but also for all people (within reason). Furthermore, the requirement should retroactive (again, within reason).
If someone were to read only one book about the Simpson case, Outrage should be that book.
on August 29, 2003
Anybody that has even the tiniest microgram of doubt as to whether Orenthal James Simpson is guilty of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman in 1994 will have that doubt irrevocably washed from his or her mind forever after reading this incredibly-forthright volume, penned by Vincent T. Bugliosi.
Employing his unparalleled brand of logic and common sense, along with wit, humor, and an almost savage fury which has coursed through his veins since the disastrous outcome of the Simpson trial in October 1995, Bugliosi takes no prisoners, as he systematically hammers unrelentingly at the "mind-boggling incompetence" of the prosecution's case.
As Mr. B. so aptly points out to we who were previously blind to it, it really is hard to imagine how the prosecution's case could possibly have been worse. Particularly, I think, Christopher Darden's seemingly-endless string of abominations he uttered to the jury during closing arguments. These were statements that had to be some of the very LAST things a prosecutor should say to a jury when he is trying to convict a man for murders he so obviously was guilty of. Such gems like .... "I'm glad I'm not in your shoes" ... "You've got a tough job here." ... "We don't want to do anything to this man; I don't" (almost apologetic toward Simpson!) ... "The decision is yours, and I'm glad it's not mine." When thinking back to when I watched these proceedings live on national TV in September 1995, I can't believe, now, after having it "spoon-fed" to me (as Vince is wont to say) by Mr. Bugliosi that I wasn't screaming at my TV set at the top of my lungs due to the sheer idiotic nature of such Darden statements in closing arguments! But, as Vincent points out multiple times in this book, it's amazing how something obvious only becomes obvious once it's pointed out by someone else.
This has got to be one of the very best "Why Didn't I Think Of That?" books ever published. I watched the majority of this long trial, and not once did I have the overwhelming opinion that the prosecutors were performing in such a dreadful manner. But, then too, I'm no lawyer. But Mr. Bugliosi is. He seems to have a built-in radar of some kind that enables him to see the most obvious of things. Things that every person, even non-attorneys, probably should be able to detect, but most do not.
The amount of evidence that irresistibly points towards Simpson's guilt that the prosecutors, for one flimsy reason or another, decided NOT to introduce at the trial is staggering! The two most important items being Simpson's very incriminating 32-minute interview with the police the day after the murders...and the infamous "slow-speed Bronco chase" of June 17, 1994. I had always thought, while watching the trial on TV, that there simply MUST be some legal reason for excluding such valuable evidence of guilt. But there was NO such legal basis. Unbelievable!
You'll truly believe, as I sincerely now do, that if Mr. Bugliosi had been the lead prosecutor in the Simpson case, Mr. Simpson would NOT be on the streets or on a fairway right now! He'd be where he belongs...behind bars!
Detective Mark Fuhrman is not the "devil incarnate" the defense made him out to be. Far from it. Vince tells us why.
BOTH sides' opening & closing remarks to the jury were pitifully lacking. Find out the details here.
And find out what Vince is convinced is the #1 Key reason for the jury having acquitted Simpson.
A very nice 21-page bonus in the book is the inclusion of the entire verbatim transcript of Simpson's interview with the police the day after the murders where he admits to dripping blood the previous night, an interview that points without question to a guilty state of mind, as Simpson gives several hesitant, convoluted answers. A passage from this interview I found extremely telling and interesting was when Simpson tells the detectives after being asked if he's had any recent "problems" with Nicole: "I always have problems with her. ... Our relationship has been a problem relationship."
There's an additional snippet from this interview I found quite humorous (although it wasn't meant to be), and somewhat revealing of Simpson's willingness to tell a lie. Simpson tells the detectives, in a very round-about way after stammering for the right words for half a minute or so, that after Nicole returned two pieces of jewelry to O.J. that she had previously received from Simpson as gifts, Simpson turned around, just days later, and presented one of these two gifts to his then-current girlfriend, Paula Barbieri! "I told her [Paula] I bought it for her. ... What am I going to do with it?", Simpson told the police detectives. I now wonder just what Miss Barbieri thinks about getting this "used" gift from Mr. Simpson, and what does she now think of this lie she was told about the gift being purchased for her.
"Outrage" is a fascinatingly-absorbing true-crime tale, which will have you wondering (as I did) how it was possible for the lawyers for the State of California to have been this inept.
on July 9, 2003
Having read all of the reviews of this book, I am not convinced that even had Vince Bugliosi prosecuted Simpson, he could have secured a guilty verdict.
I seems that despite having read Bugliosi's irrefutable - not just persuasive, but irrefutable - arguments, a small minority of readers still believe Simpson to be innocent of the murder of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. No, I don't mean "not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt" (thanks to the bumbling and incompetent - Bugliosi's word - prosecution team), but actually innocent! Why do they think this? I really have no idea. Why do people believe in alien abductions, paranormal phenomena, or the tooth fairy? People have actually written books arguing Simpson's innocence, but then again, people have written books claiming that alien abductions and ghosts are real.
Was it a case of a predominantly black jury seeking revenge on "White America" for hundreds of years of injustice? As if freeing Simpson - a white man in black skin - of the murder of two innocent people could ever do that! Was it simply that the prosecution was so unbelievably bad that it made it seem that Simpson must truly be innocent? (Having read Darden's words to the jury - which virtually said "there is real doubt about this man's guilt, so free him" - I can't understand why he was not disbarred.) Was it because Fuhrman had made racist remarks 10 years ago, remarks that had nothing to do with the case, and which he was too embarrassed to admit to? It seems that a reformed racist (who had none-the-less gone out of his way at one time to prove the innocence of a black suspect, and got on well with black officers) could never be believed but a wife-beater could. Was it because one juror couldn't distinguish DNA from the racing guide, or Madam Foreman didn't think that the suspect's blood at the murder scene was significant to the case? Could an entire police force hatch an elaborate conspiracy literally at the drop of a hat? Anyway, read the book if you want to know more.
There are some valid criticisms of this book - it is somewhat repetitive and it does seem that Bugliosi is indulging his ego at times. However, in his defence, I would say that he is writing as if he were spoon-feeding a jury - ie. say it over and over again, say it in different ways, leave no room for doubt. Also, he can't avoid telling the reader how he would have argued certain points - that isn't "Monday morning quarterbacking", it's just showing how simple and obvious it really was. Don't forget that had he been the prosecutor he would have actually had a lot more time (and access to evidence, and witnesses and co-prosecutors and assistance of many other forms) to prepare his case than he did in the writing of the book.
Read it. If you don't believe in the tooth fairy then you will be as outraged as Mr Bugliosi!
on June 19, 2003
3 1/2 stars
This book is the work of a brilliant, vital, insightful mind, who nonetheless shied away from at least one crucial, unavoidable conclusion of the facts he presented. Vincent Bugliosi, the celebrated, former L.A. prosecutor who put away the Charles Manson cult of serial killers (and wrote about it in Helter Skelter) surveys the mountain of evidence that showed that O.J. Simpson was guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt (i.e., beyond the legal requirement of "reasonable doubt") of having murdered his estranged wife, Nicole, and her friend, Ron Goodman, and draws the inevitable conclusion, that Simpson was in fact guilty.
Unfortunately, in Bugliosi's romantic wish to maintain positive race relations with black Los Angelenos, he blames the jury's innocent verdict on prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden. Clark and Darden did their jobs competently. The jury's verdict had nothing to do with any flaws in the prosecutors' presentation of the case. (O.J. could have been caught in the act, drenched in blood, and they still would have voted to acquit him!) Rather, it was the result of the sort of hardcore, obscene racism on the black jurors' part that once led a white southern jury to acquit the men who had murdered young Emmit Till. In both cases, jurors voted to acquit NOT because they were convinced that the defendant/s had not committed the crime in question, but because they were convinced that he/they HAD. (By the way, contrary to the fantasies and fabrications of a previous reviewer, the victims' estimated time of death was 10-11 p.m. (when O.J. had no alibi), and O.J. did have cuts on his fingers, not to mention blood on his sock, on the door of his SUV, its steering wheel, dashboard, etc., etc., ad infinitem, ad nauseam).
And yet, Bugliosi's is such a rich sensibility that it is worth it to buy his book, even if one does not agree with all of his positions. Having written a stack of articles on philosophy of religion, I can also safely say that the former Catholic school student even considers theological issues in a much more compelling and original fashion than do contemporary philosophers.
on August 16, 2002
Acclaimed American criminal trial lawyer Vincent Bugliosi offers up a highly informative, thought-provoking account of the O.J Simpson trial and looks in detail at the cases of both the prosecution and defence.
Bugliosi is a man who pulls no punches and is absolutely unafraid to speak his mind. It is this which manages to make his sometimes quite complicated legal jargon accessible to the reader so that they understand his analysis of the trial.
It is clear that the prosecution, however hard they surely must have worked on the trial, were responsible for a catalogue of omissions and foul-ups in their presentation of the evidence, most notably the error concerning the infamous glove.
He also damns the DA for trying the case in downtown Los Angeles and selecting a mostly black jury, who would surely have been influenced in Simpson's favour by the racial tension between blacks and police officers that was existing in Los Angeles at the time.
Bugliosi further goes on to criticise the media's reporting of the case and how the sensationalist coverage of the case, as well as the nonsense-spouting "talking heads" on television both blew the whole trial clean out of proportion but undoubtedly put added pressure on the prosecution, who became far too conscious of the fact they were trying a celebrity.
Bugliosi is also fond of making asides that deal with the nature of the media (his arguments have a whiff of Neil Postman about them then) but also on human incompetence and society's perception of the complex legal world in which he works.
There are times when Bugliosi seems just a little bit TOO superior. I could be wrong, but I seriously doubt there are as many "incompetent" lawyers in America as he claims there is. There are no doubt many other lawyers who work the many hundreds of hours that he insists he does on a case. And defense lawyer Johnny Cochrane, however unethically he may have behaved in his presenting of his case, was simply doing his job. Therefore Bugliosi's vociferous and persistent criticism of the man is a little overdone.
However, he does show clear sympathy with the families of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman and does a great deal to humanize rogue cop Mark Fuhrmann, making him seem a far cry from the evil racist he was frequently percieved as.
I do not claim to be a legal expert and this is the only book of Vincent Bugliosi's that I have read. But the man's passion for his work and his profession and his anger at the sheer injustice of the verdict in this case carry it through and make it worth reading.
on September 13, 2001
It's truly a shame that Mr. Bugliosi wasn't still the prosecuter when these senseless murderers were committed. However, in my opinion, even HE couldn't have gotten a conviction with this particular jury. I believe every member of that jury is just as guilty of murder as O.J. Simpson because they let him get away with it. How they sleep at night is beyond me.
While it's true the prosecuters did a shoddy job of presenting the evidence, I believe it's equally true that this jury wouldn't have convicted Simpson if they had viewed a crystal-clear video tape of the actual act! How ignorant can one be? Bugliosi does a great job of presenting the case as it SHOULD have been presented, but there are portions of the book that are rather boring. Especially the part where he debates over whether there is a god or not. Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but Bugliosi seems to try and convice the reader that he's stupid if he really believes in god. This had nothing whatsoever to do with the subject of the book and should have been left out completely.
Overall, it was a page-turner, and I do recommend it, but I think Bugliosi slipped a little on this one. Two of his other books, "Helter Skelter" and "And The Sea Will Tell" were much better written and give the added benefit of not leaving the reader believing an attempt was made to brainwash. Stick to the law, Vince, and leave religion alone--you don't know what you're talking about!
on June 1, 2001
Having just read Mr. Bugliosi's wonderful book, "And The Sea Will Tell", I was eager to get his take on the O.J. Simpson trial. He scathingly proved what was, even from my layman's perspective, clear to me from watching the opening arguments on TV -- that this inept prosecution team could not have convicted O.J. with this jury and Johnnie Cochran even if O.J. stood up and confessed. However, no matter how much he might have tried to spread the blame around to the so-called "Dream Team" and the jury, Bugliosi rightly laid the bulk of this travesty of justice at the feet of Clark and Darden. In addition to their own mountain of mistakes and plain poor preparation and presentation, it is they, along with the media-absorbed and quite mediocre Lance Ito, who allowed the defense the type of freedom they had in proffering their ridiculous "frame-up" nonsense to the jury.
I was disappointed that much of what he wrote that fell outside of the specifics of the O.J. trial was lifted straight out of "And The Sea Will Tell". In only one small passage did he acknowledge this fact. I guess it's O.K. to plagiarize your own works, but it shouldn't be offered up as "new" material. It gave a large part of the book a "recycled" feel, which was disappointing.
What really took me aback was Bugliosi's eight-page diatribe against God, after spending the first 340 pages proving beyond any reasonable doubt that the prosecution was completely and unbelievably incompetent and, of course, O.J. did it. This non sequitur into theology was totally out of place. I wish that I could cross-examine Mr. Bugliosi on this one -- I think I could beat him at his own game! He should at least try reading St. Thomas Aquinas' commentary on the Book of Job before asking where God was in all of this.
Vince, you're the best -- but stick with the law and leave the theology to the Church.
on February 13, 2001
Only a star prosecutor like Bugliosi could write a book like this one! If only he had been the one trying the Simpson case, the verdict would definitely have been different. Bugliosi methodically goes through the errors and incompetance that riddled the Simpson trial and let OJ get away with murder. He goes through everything from the blood evidence to the lawyer's arguments to show how the trial could and should have been different. A few of the things he shows are:
1) The incompetance of the prosecutors in the way they handled witnesses, evidence, defensive arguments and their closing arguments.
2) The damning evidence against Simpson that the defense didn't even bring into the trial, or Judge Ito (wrongly) didn't allow in.
3) The illogical arguments of the defense that could have been destroyed if the prosecution had done their job right.
4) The fact that the blood evidence was solid and not planted or contaminated.
5) Logical and irrefutable step by step arguments to show how all the evidence (from blood to Simpson's behavior and statements), without a shadow of a doubt, points to Simpson.
I had a few questions about the case that concerned me when I read other books, like the bloody socks possibly being planted and the time differences. Bugliosi puts all these doubts to rest and makes you look at all the evidence and say, "Good grief, how could I have thought he was innocent?"
A great and necessary book for all those interested in OJ SImpson's murder case!