Blawgletter reminisced today about an odd-sounding tort that we vaguely recall as commercial in nature — trespass to chattels. You know, exercising dominion over movable property to which somebody else has a superior possessory right.
What brought the memory rushing back? Why, O.J. Simpson’s arrest in Las Vegas yesterday, of course.
O.J. now resides in the Clark County Detention Center because, according to the charges, he committed "two counts of robbery with a deadly weapon, two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, and one count each of conspiracy to commit burglary and burglary with a firearm." Mr. Simpson has said that taking stuff from a memorabilia dealer’s room in a casino hotel amounted to getting back things that really belonged to him.
O.J. does know about how the civil justice system supplements the remedies available on the criminal side. He beat a murder rap in 1995 only to suffer a $33.5 million civil judgment in a wrongful death case two years later. The jury found that he’d taken two lives that, uh, didn’t belong to him either.
Happily, we somehow doubt that resort to commercial law will prove necessary in this case. Prison time will do just fine.