Justice Served, Better Late Than Never

The booking photo of O.J. Simpson. Police arrested O.J. Simpson on Sunday, Sept. 16, 2007, saying he was part of an armed group who burst into a Las Vegas hotel room and snatched memorabilia that documented his own sports career, long ago eclipsed by scandal.
AP/Las Vegas Metropolitan P.D.
This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.

You're standing in a courtroom with your family.

Your son has been savagely murdered. All signs point to the guilt of the man on trial.

When the verdict comes, and he is found not guilty, your soul collapses. How can this be? Is this justice?

At the civil trial for wrongful death, the defendant is found guilty. There is no jail time, of course, but the court wants him to pay more than $30 million. It's still not justice, but this man who you know has stolen a life from you will at least have to pay for it -- until he runs to a state where the laws protect him, and in ten years time, you never see a single dime.

You never forget this man. His freedom and arrogance are in easy emotional reach. You will never not believe he got away with murder. And word comes that this man who has haunted you is a suspect, then arrested for another crime. He could go to a prison for a long time. And to that, the man said, "how wonderful."

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on many CBS Radio News affiliates across the country.