My secret obsession is the O.J Simpson case, and, needless to say, this statement surprises a lot of people. I know every fact about the case, every person involved, and have spent a shameful amount of time watching, then rewatching, The People vs. O.J Simpson on Netflix. I learned a great deal about the case during the forensics unit in my senior year biology class and since then, I've been completely captivated. If you're reading this, then you're probably asking yourself, why is this girl so interested in something that happened before she was even born? In my opinion, a guilty man was wrongfully deemed innocent. The outcome of this case is something that many people, including myself, question even today and it's hard to believe that perhaps our judicial system failed to serve justice. This article includes all of the important facts about the O.J Simpson case, who was involved, and the controversial verdict of 1995 that will perhaps leave you wondering whether or not a guilty man walked.
A Little Background...
O.J Simpson was popularly known for his football career. Simpson won the Heisman Trophy in 1968 then went on to play in the NFL, first for the Buffalo Bills and then for the San Francisco 49ers until 1979. After ending his football career, he branched out into acting and sports broadcasting where he became even more of a beloved public figure. In 1985, Simpson married Nicole Brown and later they had two children within their seven years of marriage. During this seven-year span, Simpson was investigated numerous times for domestic violence. In 1992, Nicole filed for divorce but the abuse didn't stop there. She called the cops a total of eight times before her death; there are chilling 911 recordings of Nicole pleading for help while Simpson tries to break down her door.
Nicole Brown was found brutally murdered along with her friend, Ron Goldman, outside of her condo in LA on June 13, 1994. When officers investigated the crime scene, they found a black leather glove. Once the bodies were identified, officers attempted to reach Simpson at his estate but he was out of town at the time. When they reached his estate, they noticed blood scattered around Simpson's Ford Bronco and a second bloody glove that seemed to match the one previously found at the crime scene. This gave detectives reason enough to issue an arrest warrant for O.J Simpson, and he became the prime suspect in the case. Simpson enlisted the help of popular defense attorney, Robert Shapiro, to represent him along with Simpson's close friend, Robert Kardashian. Robert Kardashian wasn't a practicing attorney at the time, what's interesting is that Simpson urged his friend to renew his license to practice so that their relationship would now fall under attorney-client privilege. Simpson's lawyers convinced the LAPD to let him turn himself in once the arrest warrant was issued, but he never did. Instead, Simpson fled with the help of his friend Al Cowlings and this ultimately led to the infamous car chase on the LA freeway between O.J Simpson with a gun to his head and the LAPD following closely in pursuit.
Lasting an excruciating nine months, the trial was exhausting, to say the least. Deputy District Attorney Marcia Clark was designated to represent the state of California against O.J Simpson. Defending Simpson was a group of accomplished attorney's including Robert Shapiro, Robert Kardashian, Alan Dershowitz, and civil rights advocate, Johnnie Cochran, who joined the team later. No expense was spared by Simpson to ensure that he had an airtight defense. The trial was televised which goes to show the media's investment in this case and for months on end- people were glued to their televisions. The prosecution believed that they had a strong case despite the lack of known witnesses to the crime and their inability to find the murder weapon. Marcia Clark relied a great deal on DNA evidence for a conviction, but at the time very few people were familiar with this science. Clark had Simpson's DNA at the crime scene and evidence of a long history of domestic violence, but the defense was able to successfully poke holes in the prosecution's case. The arresting officer, Mark Fuhrman, proved to be a violent racist after denying allegations on the stand. Despite Simpson's DNA found at the crime scene, the black gloves did not fit when he was asked to try them on in court. This was a poor move made by the prosecution and Simpson's attorney, Johnnie Cochran, turned their failure into a successful catchphrase- "If the glove doesn't fit, you must acquit." Simpson's defense relied heavily on the argument that he was framed due to racist motives. It was because of this emotionally fueled defense and the prosecution's inability to effectively present their evidence that O.J Simpson was acquitted of all charges at the end of the trial. Despite months spent in the courtroom, it only took the jury a couple of hours to come to a conclusion.
After the Trial
In post-trial interviews, a few of the jurors stated that they believed Simpson did commit the murders, but the prosecution failed to present the case beyond reasonable doubt. Critics of the verdict claimed that jurors did not properly understand the forensic evidence because many of them didn't even have a college education. Nearly every person involved in the trial wrote a book about their experience, but perhaps what blows my mind the most is that Simpson came forth with a "hypothetical" description of the murders. Simpson's, "If I Did it, Here's How it Happened," is evidence enough that proves a guilty man was wrongfully acquitted. In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to 33 years of imprisonment with a minimum of nine years without parole after he was convicted of an armed robbery that took place in Las Vegas. Most recently, on July 20, 2017, Simpson was granted parole and was released from prison on October 1, 2017.
Decades later the O.J Simpson case is still a topic of discussion, and, in my opinion, an important one at that. It is a testament to the possible failure of our justice system, a system that we as citizens entrust. While it is said that there is no such thing as bad publicity, there is such a thing as manipulating the media and Simpson used this to his advantage in 1995 and now. I will always wonder how different history would be if the glove had only fit.