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How Simpson Verdict Plays in Cyberspace

WITH the verdict of the O.J. Simpson murder trial still ringing in their ears, many Americans fired up their computers to complain - about the system, about the power of money, and most of all about race.

''I am appalled and disgusted by the verdict which was rendered in Los Angeles,'' wrote James, a user of CompuServe's on-line service, hours after the jury's decision. ''This verdict virtually tells us that if you are white, and feel like killing a black, just make sure you have a white jury judging you, and the same formula applies for blacks or other racial groups.''

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Often, emotions boiled over into an undisguised racism.

''I really hate my thoughts right now,'' wrote one Internet user. ''I try not to hate people, but right now I have a hard time... Right now I hope that those three non-blacks [on the jury] who did not even deliberate are forever ostracized by their community.''

The majority of Americans who went on-line - a largely white and more-affluent-than-average audience - seemed convinced Mr. Simpson was guilty. Less than eight hours after the verdict, nearly 25,000 people had logged their responses to Prodigy's poll on the case: 77 percent disagreed.

Some on-line writers upheld Simpson's innocence. ''The silver lining in this long farce is that mainstream America is forced to look at police corruption, prosecutor dishonesty, and justice-systemic corruption,'' wrote one Internet user. ''We have BIG problems with our justice institutions. Wake up, America.''

Bill, a subscriber to Delphi Internet Services, said: ''I do believe that it is better to acquit a guilty man rather than convict an innocent man, and it seems that is what happened in this case.... Like it or not, agree or disagree, the system has produced a verdict and, based on our judicial system, O.J. Simpson is Not Guilty.''

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