OJ Simpson the True Verdict
The event that started all the OJ Simpson trial timeline occurred near midnight on June 13, 1994, when Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown, ex-spouse of Simpson, were found dead in the entryway of Brown’s home. Four days later, on June 17, OJ is asked to surrender for the two murders of Goldman and Brown. Robert Shapiro, Simpson’s lawyer, goes tells the news to OJ that murder charges are filed against him and he has to surrender. Cowlings, a former teammate of Simpson’s helps him escape in a White Ford Bronco. When the police found out OJ wasn’t surrendering, they labeled him as a fugitive and Cowlings as a felon. Once on the highway, “Cowlings refused to pull over and told police over his cellular phone that Simpson was suicidal and had a gun to his head. Police agreed not to stop the vehicle by force, and a low-speed chase ensued.” (“Simpson Acquitted”, 2009, p. 5) which is known as the “White Bronco Chase”. OJ arrives at his home and begins negotiations with the police, but is quickly taken into custody shortly after. While Simpson was in jail before the trial, it was reported “they (the police) had taken sharp objects, shoelaces, and his belt away” and “Every few minutes, officials said, a deputy peered through a window into his cell to make sure he did not kill himself.” (Victor, 2016, Is Jailed section, p. 2)
The trial to prosecute OJ Simpson began on January 21, 1995, with Marcia Clark, a successful prosecutor, began her argument for the charges of Simpson. Two months later, one of OJ’s friends who he had been with the most during the time around the murder, walked to the witness stand and was questioned by Clark. He didn’t give much during the testimony and made a joke out of the entire time he was there, implying he was on OJ’s side.
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Then, the most memorable part of the trial happened. On June 15, 1995, Simpson’s main lawyer, Johnnie L. Cochran Jr., was questioning the gloves that were found at the murder scene. Cochran was accusing the gloves of being too small to be able to fit on OJ’s hands. There he uttered the famous line, “If the glove doesn’t fit, you must acquit.” OJ was then required to try on the gloves found at the scene. He was having trouble trying to put the gloves on, with him muttering “too tight” as he wrestled the gloves on. Once he finally succeeded in putting the gloves on, he showed the jury that they didn’t fit that well, with his fingers not reaching the very tips of the gloves, implying that they were too tight for him to get all the way on.
Another key factor in the trial would come on September 6, 1995, when Detective Fuhrman was accuse ofd planting evidence and filed false reports. When Gerald Uelmen, a defense attorney for Simpson, had fired several questions at Fuhrman including if he had ever filed false reports and if he lied about his testimony during the duration of the trial so far. After the questions have been asked, Fuhrman calmly turns to his lawyer and stated that he would like to use his Fifth Amendment right, meaning that he wasn’t going to respond to the questions thrown at him.
Finally, on October3, 1995, almost ten months after the trial began, the verdict was finally about to come out. With OJ having a pained smile, Deirdre Robertson, the law clerk, read the verdict. Once the words “not guilty” had been said by Robertson, Simpson’s body immediately relaxed, and he was finally declared innocent for the murders.
Part II: Evaluation
To start off with Simpson’s case, the defense team started by raising doubts about the timeline and providing evidence that the evidence that was used in the trial could either be contaminated or planted. After the opening, they brought Simpson’s family members up to the stand, which included Simpson’s daughter, sister, and mother. By the time that his mother finished, “it was apparent to some courtroom observers that jury members were showing more empathy for the Simpson family than for the families of the victims.” (Linder, n.d. Center Stage section, p. 2).
However, they still had a tough fight, with Clark leading as the main prosecutor. At the beginning of the trail, 72 witnesses were brought up, all claiming that Simpson had motivation for the murders of Brown and Goldman, and he took the opportunity to do so. However, most of the evidence against Simpson was through DNA testing and analysis of hair, blood, and many other things.
The most compelling evidence, though, was two restriction fragment length polymorphism, or RFLP tests. The tests showed that it was unlikely that OJ wasn’t at the crime scene, with one test coming back that the blood could have only come from one out of one hundred and seventy million blood samples and the sample matched OJ as well as blood-stained black socks found in OJ’s bedroom could have only come from one out of almost seven billion people. (Linder, n.d.).
OJ Simpson and his team of lawyers developed a well-thought-out plan on how to keep many people, including the media, on his side. OJ and his lawyers, what is now called the “Dream Team” decided to make this case about racial discrimination. When Cochran gave his summation, he “played the race card” and compared the prosecution to Hitler and the Jews, stating, “There was a man not too long ago in this world… people didn’t care… And so Fuhrman. Fuhrman wants to take all black people now and burn them or bomb them. That’s genocidal racism.” (Linder, n.d., Jury Acquits section, p. 4).
This shows that they were trying to make Detective Fuhrman seem like he was racist and he only wanted Simpson to go to jail because of the color of his skin. In doing this, it allowed for “Cochran, through flamboyant statements and acts, was able to captivate the media, which in turn helped sway the jury.” (Staley, 2017, p. 5).
In addition to “playing the race card”, they attacked Fuhrman with everything they had. They asked Fuhrman whether he had used the”n-word”, in which he denied it. It was a lie, however, as it was seen on tape that he used it many times with his discussions with McKinney. The dream team heard of the tapes and wanted the jury to hear them, which judge Lance Ito reluctantly agreed to. Not only was he using a racial slur multiple times, but it was shown on tape of him saying that he had planted some evidence to secure Simpson as the murderer. This evidence was very powerful in proving their point not only to the jury but to the media as well.
However, it wasn’t Fuhrman that completely secured it for the defense team. Henry Lee, a forensics expert, provided crucial doubt to the evidence of the case, with Lee providing “what seemed to be a plausible justification for questioning the prosecution’s key physical evidence.” (Linder, n.d., Center Stage section, p. 5). Not only did Lee have doubts over the DNA testing of the crime scene and Simpson, but he suggested shoe print evidence was irrelevant. After Lee was done, the evidence was there for the jury to do what they wanted, to acquit Simpson.