20 Fun Facts to Remember on the Twentieth Anniversary of O. J. Simpson Trial

1. The case has been described as the most publicized criminal trial in American history.

2. Simpson was acquitted after a trial that lasted more than eight months.

3. Robert Kardashian (Kim Kardashian’s father) was a member of Simpson’s defense team.

4. Over 20 helicopter joined in the police chase that led to his arrest and the chase was watched on live television by over 90 million viewers.

5. When the chase ended in Simpson’s Bronco home, the police found “$8,000 in cash, a change of clothing, a loaded .357 Magnum, a passport, family pictures, and a fake goatee and mustache.

6. Neither the footage of the Bronco chase nor the items found in the Bronco were shown to the jury as evidence in the trial.

7. The 1995 criminal trial of O.J. Simpson was televised for 134 days. The TV exposure made celebrities of many of the figures in the trial, including the presiding judge, Lance Ito.

8. The prosecution opened its case by playing a 9-1-1 call that Nicole Brown Simpson had made on January 1, 1989. She expressed fear that Simpson would physically harm her, and he could be heard yelling at her in the background.

9. The jury for the trial had 10 women and two men, of which there were nine black people, two white people, and one Hispanic person.

10. Simpson’s defense, dubbed the “Dream Team” by reporters, was said to cost between US$3 million and $6 million.

11. On June 15, 1995, defense attorney Johnnie Cochran goaded assistant prosecutor Christopher Darden into asking Simpson to put on the leather glove that was found at the scene of the crime.

12. The prosecution had earlier decided against asking Simpson to try on the gloves because (according to prosecutors) the glove had been soaked in blood from Simpson, Brown and Goldman, and frozen and unfrozen several times.

13. The leather glove seemed too tight for Simpson to put on easily, especially over the sanitary gloves he wore underneath. Uelmen (member of the defense team) came up with and Cochran repeated a quip he had used several times in relation to other points in his closing arguments, “If it doesn’t fit, you must acquit”.

14. Fears grew that race riots would erupt all over Los Angeles and the rest of the country if Simpson was convicted of the murders. As a result, all L.A. police officers were put on 12-hour shifts, and a line of over 100 police officers on horseback surrounded the L.A. county courthouse on the day of the verdict, in case of rioting by the crowd.

15. At 10 a.m. on October 3, 1995, the jury returned a verdict of not guilty, after only three hours of deliberation.

16. An estimated 100 million people worldwide stopped what they were doing to watch or listen to the verdict announcement. Long-distance telephone call volume declined by 58% and trading volume on the New York Stock Exchange by 41%, water usage decreased as people avoided using bathrooms, and government officials postponed meetings. So much work stopped that the verdict cost an estimated $480 million in lost productivity.

17. In post-trial interviews with the jurors, a few said that they believed Simpson probably did commit the murders, but that the prosecution failed to prove their case.

18. In 1997, relatives of the victims brought a civil suit for wrongful death against Simpson. During the civil trial, evidence regarding Simpson’s failure of a lie detector test about the murders was introduced. In addition, a photo of O.J., taken while he was attending a Buffalo Bills game in 1993 was produced and showed him wearing Bruno Magli shoes, the same type of shoes which investigators stated the killer of Goldman and Brown was wearing when the murders were committed. The photo was then presented as evidence against him, as O.J. had previously denied ever wearing such shoes.

19. The jury in the civil trial awarded the victims’ families $33.5 million in compensatory and punitive damages.

20. On December 5, 2008, Simpson was sentenced to a total of thirty-three years in prison for unrelated charges of kidnapping and robbery which took place in September 2007. Simpson is presently serving the sentence.

I hope this post piqued your interest enough to make you want to refresh your memory or familiarize yourself with the facts of the most celebrated case in America. Here’s is a Wikipedia Link. I hope it also gives you an insight into how the judicial system works. Like a Judge said recently during a Settlement Conference I attended, the ends of the judicial process in not necessarily justice, but finality. I guess only Simpson will ever know if he did it.

P.S: The standard of proof in a criminal case is proof beyond reasonable doubt. Hence, in California for example, all twelve jurors must assent for there to be a conviction.On the other hand, the burden of proof in a civil case is preponderance of the evidence (balance of probabilities), therefore, only nine votes are required in California. The difference in the number of juror votes required for a prosecution verdict may explain why there was a verdict against Simpson in the civil case but not in the criminal case.

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