Final jury decision brings satisfaction, anger, relief
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ Satisfaction. Anger. Relief.
So ran the gamut of emotions Monday as word of the $25 million punitive damage award against O.J. Simpson spread from the Santa Monica courthouse.
Combined with the $8.5 million in compensatory damages awarded last week, the verdict socked Simpson to the tune of $33.5 million.
To Fred Goldman, father of victim Ronald Goldman, money was not the issue.
``I look at the dollars as an irrelevant issue except that if I were to think in terms of each dollar as one day in prison I think the jury expected him to spend 33 1/2 million days in prison _ perhaps not enough,″ Goldman said.
``It’s something we wanted to hear for 2 1/2 years,″ Juditha Brown, mother of Nicole Brown Simpson, said as she fought back tears.
Simpson’s relatives left court escorted by a grim-faced Leo Terrell, a lawyer and fiery advocate for Simpson.
``They’re angry,″ he said. ``This is against the law. You can’t award more money than the man is worth.″
In Brentwood, where Simpson lives and Ms. Simpson and Goldman were slain, the neighborhood was quiet.
Cynthia Molteno, 55, an insurance company lawyer, said she was afraid the huge judgment would punish Simpson’s children more than Simpson. ``I don’t really see that it’s collectible, anyway,″ she added.
Neil Reizman, a 32-year-old attorney, said, ``While I’m glad that they awarded the plaintiffs a verdict, I just kind of wish it would go away.″
At the Blvd. Cafe in the predominantly black Crenshaw district, patrons greeted the judgment with mixed reactions.
``If that’s what they found after hearing the evidence, I respect it,″ said Ray Grier, 56, a black physician. ``I’m glad it’s over,″ he added.
Several others at the cafe where Simpson went after he was acquitted of murder charges felt the civil trial outcome was unjust because Simpson was found innocent at his criminal trial.
``The justice system is trying to do a tit for tat, trying to satisfy everyone,″ said Sean Mitchell, a 30-year-old black utility worker.
Tim Lester, executive director of the L.A. African-American Chamber of Commerce, expects the award will be reduced at the appellate level.
``I’m glad a decision has been made and the healing process can begin and people can get on with their lives because O.J. is not the issue in our community,″ Lester said. ``The issue is fairness in the justice system.″