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The OJ Simpson case was one of the most publicized cases of all time. People know of the case and the verdict, but many people do not know the elements of the crime or if there was even enough evidence to prove he was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. The legal defenses used were questionable but the defense ultimately built their case around it. The jury came to a decision based on the evidence provided and ultimately decided to exonerate the defendant.
OJ Simpson was supposed to turn himself into the LAPD on June 17th, 1994 but he did not show up after saying he would. A brief police chase happened later in that day resulting in Simpson peacefully surrendering while being taken into custody. The case started on November 2nd, 1994 by the jury swearing in, to opening statements on January 24th, 1995. The former football star was tried on two counts of murder for the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in June of 1994 (Linder, 2000). On June 20th, Simpson was arraigned and pleaded not guilty to both murders (Linder, 2000). A probable cause hearing was held to determine whether or not to bring Simpson to trial and on July 7th it was decided there was enough evidence to send Simpson’s case to trial for the murders (Linder, 2000). Over the next 99 days of trial, the prosecution brought forward 72 witnesses. After a long trial the verdict came on October 3, 1995, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty. Soon after the not guilty verdict, Simpson was then a part of a civil trial where it was determined that he had wrongfully caused the death of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Simpson. The jury ordered Simpson to pay millions (Ayres, 1997). This case shed light on some many things from racial attitudes on issues such as law enforcement that still exist in our country today, to shedding light on domestic violence, and lessons in how not to run a criminal trial.
In the O. J. Simpson trial, Mr. Orenthal James Simpson was charged for two counts of murder. It was believed that Mr. Simpson murdered Ms. Nicole Brown Simpson and Mr. Ronald Lyle Goldman in June of 1994. Mr. Simpson’s trial began on November 2, 1994 and a verdict was reached on October 3, 1995, in which Mr. Simpson was found not guilty on all charges. There were several different elements of the crime. The timeline was found to be very interesting as initially Mr. Kato Kaelin testified that he saw Mr. Simpson wearing a dark sweat suit on the property prior to the occurring of these murders. A neighbor testified that he did not see Mr. Simpson’s Bronco on the premises of the Rockingham residence as Mr. Simpson reported to the police that he was at his home at the time of the murder. (The murder was said to have occurred between 10:15 p.m. and the 10:40 p.m.) During this time, Mr. Simpson was scheduled to be taken to the airport however, he was not at home.
Mr. Simpson had a motive as he and Ms. Nicole Brown Simpson were still married and she was involved in a relationship with Mr. Ronald Goldman. There was DNA evidence belonging to Mr. Simpson found on Mr. Goldman and also at the scene of the crime. There were socks found in the home of Mr. Simpson that contained Ms. Brown-Simpson’s blood. There were several pieces of evidence which suggested that Mr. Simpson was guilty of the murders of Mr. Ronald Goldman and Ms. Nicole Brown Simpson. However, the prosecution placed a large amount of emphasis regarding the bloody glove found at the crime scene as they suggested the glove would fit the hand of the accused. The glove did not fit the hand of Mr. Simpson, therefore the prosecutions argument failed.
In this case there was substantial evidence that suggest that Mr. Orenthal James Simpson was guilty of two counts of murder beyond a reasonable doubt. There was sloppy police work and discredited witnesses that concluded that Mr. Simpson was not guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.
The defense used many tactics in attempt to prove OJ Simpson could not have committed the crime. OJ Simpson in fact hired two attorneys who specialized in DNA evidence to try to prove the police were careless with evidence and caused cross contamination of evidence. They claimed internal police procedures are what caused DNA evidence to be contaminated. They also claimed there were more than one set of footprints at the crime scene and attempted to utilize a racial defense. Attorney Johnnie Cochran goaded the prosecution in to having OJ Simpson try on a pair of gloves that were evidence to prove they do not fit him (Linder, 2000). The defense attempted to use a scenario that two hit men were hired by drug dealers. They tried to say Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman were murdered because a friend, Faye Resnick, did not pay her drug dealer to for drugs she received. The judge did not accept the claim and said the defense did not provide enough evidence that the scenario was even possible. The defense stuck with the DNA evidence as their defense and attempted to explain the fact that OJ Simpson was crippled with arthritis and could not have committed the crime. OJ Simpson’s defense was legitimately viable. The process of DNA was not perfect at the time and the collection of evidence was questionable which helped the defense build and prove their case.
In the initial trial OJ Simpson was found not guilty of all charges due to the defense utilizing racial defense, the fact that it was more than one set of footprints at the crime scene, and the fact that OJ could not fit the glove worn during the crime. However, during a civil trial that was filed by the family of Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman deemed OJ to be liable for their wrongful deaths. During this civil trial OJ was called to the stand to testify and his story seemed to be contradictory, and more evidence surfaced since the criminal trial. The defense could have filed a motion to exonerate the charges based on the previous verdict of not guilty in previous trial. Also the new evidence presented could be circumstantial. The shoes that were worn after the trial does not support that he wore them before. Lastly the defense could have preventing him testifying for his best interest. Once the realized the case was leading to a guilty outcome, he could have discussed a plea bargain to prevent having to pay so much in punishable fees to the family. The amounts order by the courts was a bit extreme as OJ was not even worth what he was order to pay. OJ Simpson at that time was worth $15 million and ordered to pay about $25 million in damages (D.A, 1997); that is almost double his worth. Therefore entering a plea could have given OJ the ability to request a lower fee within his means.
The criminal trial of OJ Simpson attracted a lot of media attention. OJ Simpson was charged with two counts of murder of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Due to the discredited witnesses, sloppy police work, and the defenses tactics in the case he was exonerated of all the charges.
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