O. J. SIMPSON CASE 1
O.J. Simpson Case
People of the State of California v. Orenthal James Simpsonwas a criminal case labeled as the “trial of the century” (TheWeek, 2016). O. J. Simpson was a former actor and National FootballLeague veteran (Toobin, 2016). The victims in the murder case werehis former wife, Nicole Brown-Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, arestaurant worker (Toobin, 2016).
The victims were found several hours after they were stabbed to deathoutside Brown’s condominium in Brentwood, Los Angeles (Toobin,2016). Nicole and Goldman suffered multiple knife wounds that spilledpints of blood. Brown’s ex-husband was listed as a person ofinterest in both murders (The Week, 2016). Although an arrest warrantwas issued for Simpson, he failed to turn himself in. Consequently, apolice chase ensued where the accused was apprehended five days afterthe murders (Toobin, 2016). The intense media spotlight around thecase was highlighted by the interruption of the live coverage of the1994 NBA finals (The Week, 2016). In fact, the initial jury in thecase was dismissed due to fears that the media interest wouldcompromise their neutrality and hence jeopardize the trial.Subsequently, the final jurors composed of eight blacks, one white,one American Indian, and two Hispanics. Four were men while the restwere women (The Week, 2016). The defense reasoned that such a groupwould acquit their client while the prosecution felt that the womenwould sympathize with the slain domestic violence victim.
The representing lawyers were Christopher Darden and DistrictAttorney Marcia Clark while opposing counsel consisted of BarryScheck and Robert Kardashian. Other members of the defense teamincluded Robert Shapiro, Johnnie Cochran, Peter Neufeld, GeraldUemen, Shawn Holley, and Carl Douglas (Toobin, 2016). The presidingjudge, Lance Ito, allowed cameras into the courtroom to capture thelive judicial proceedings (The Week, 2016). The prosecution presentedevidence of a frantic 911 call made by Brown in 1989 (Toobin, 2016).During the call, she expressed fear that her then husband would causeher physical harm. Besides, numerous expert witnesses on shoeprint,blood, and DNA analysis were presented to place the accused at thecrime scene (The Week, 2016). Furthermore, Brown’s older sisterportrayed Nicole as an abused wife, who was subjected to innumerablecounts of violence. However, the murder weapon was never obtainedduring the trial (The Week, 2016). Some other witnesses were notcalled to provide testimony since they had reaped financial rewardsfrom tabloid magazines (The Week, 2016).
The defense team accused Mark Fuhrman, a Los Angeles policedetective, of planting a bloody glove at the crime scene to implicateSimpson. A crucial development in the case occurred when thedefendant was asked to wear the glove in court. Hence, the opposingcounsel argued for their client to be released when the glove failedto fit Simpson`s hand. The jury deliberated for a few hours beforedeciding to acquit the defendant on October 3, 1995 (Toobin, 2016).Despite his acquittal, the victim’s family filed and won a civilcourt case that forced Simpson to pay damages worth $33.5m (The Week,2016). The jury in the latter case found him responsible for thewrongful deaths of Brown and Goldman.
The case was held at the Los Angeles County Superior Court (Toobin,2016). Hence, the trial may have been quite different if it was heldin an alternate court system. In this regard, a Federal case wouldhave a more representative jury. In particular, there would have beenan equal number of male and female jurors. Besides, the jury poolwould have selected more whites than blacks according to the racialclassification of the country’s population. Consequently, Simpsonwould have been convicted of the double homicide.
As mentioned, the court case garnered plenty of media attention.Notably, Simpson had previously worked as a sports reporter after hisretirement from football. Newspapers such as the Los Angeles Timescovered the trial for many months. Television networks and shows suchas The Tonight Show with Jay Leno featured various skits onthe case (Toobin, 2016). The public interest in the trial wasprecipitated by the judge’s decision to sanction video coverage. Inthe course of three years, the case was covered in over 2,000 newssegments (Toobin, 2016). Inevitably, the participants in the trialwere greatly influenced by the substantial media presence.
As the defense lawyer in the case, I would have advised my client toavoid making any public statements concerning the victims. Moreover,I would have persuaded Simpson to turn himself in without delay.Resisting arrest or provoking a police chase could only serve toenhance the presumption of guilt. Nevertheless, I would convinceSimpson not to answer any police questions without my presence. At myclient’s arraignment, I would argue for his release on bail. Inmaking such a plea, I would point to his willingness to submit toarrest and subsequent questioning. I would also portray Simpson as apeaceful and law-abiding individual. Although the court couldconfiscate his passport, he should be allowed to regain limitedfreedom. At the trial, I would identify flaws in the evidencepresented by the prosecution to weaken their arguments. Furthermore,I would pressure the judge to issue a mistrial based on the slightesthints of jury tampering. I would also seek an injunction to preventthe media from covering the case and hence ensure that Simpsonreceives a fair trial. Additionally, I would encourage the court toinstruct my client to try on the undersized gloves. Consequently, Iwill establish reasonable doubt and convince the jury to render anot-guilty verdict.
Dear, W. C. (2014). O.J. is innocent and I can prove it: Theshocking truth about the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and RonGoldman. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing.
The Week (2016, April 18). OJ Simpson case: The real-life storybehind the hit show. Retrieved fromhttp://www.theweek.co.uk/69913/oj-simpson-case-the-real-life-story-behind-the-hit-show
Toobin, J. (2016). The people v. O.J. Simpson. London, UK:Arrow Books.