O.J. Not Guilty
Twenty years ago, on October 3, 1995, former pro football great, broadcaster, and actor Orenthal James Simpson, nicknamed “the Juice”, was acquitted for the 1994 gruesome murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. The trial, the People v. Simpson, which lasted eight months, has been described as the most publicized criminal trial in American history because of the unprecedented media coverage. The courtroom’s cast of personalities instantly became celebrities and household names, from Judge Lance Ito, to prosecutors Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden, to O.J. Simpson’s “dream team” of defense lawyers that included Johnnie Cochran, F. Lee Bailey, Robert Shapiro, Alan Dershowitz, Carl E. Douglas, and the late Robert Kardashian, and the most famous houseguest ever, film star Kato Kaelin.
I was a senior at the Junior High School 44 William j O’Shea when I first heard the announcement that O.J. Simpson was found not guilty for the murders. I remembered many of peers in the playground including me feeling happy over the verdict because we felt O.J. Simpson was framed and we did not want him to die. There were also a few people particularly whites that felt O.J. Simpson should have been found guilty for killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend, Ronald Goldman. To my assessment, this was perhaps the first time I saw America divided between African-Americans and Caucasians. The verdict definitely divided the country, which was captured on live TV how both races responded differently. The Blacks celebrated while the Whites stood in shock and disgusted. It was just another indication on the racial issues in America. I do believe that the “trial of the century” helped start the needed dialogue about racism in America.
In a 1997 civil trial, a jury unanimously found O.J. Simpson liable for the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, and ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages.
In 2008, Simpson was found guilty of armed robbery and kidnapping in connection to an unrelated incident and was sentenced to nine to 33 years in prison. He is serving his sentence at the Lovelock Correctional Center in Lovelock, Nevada.
The People v. Simpson, dubbed the “trial of the century”, was as one of the great American tragedies. O.J. Simpson, an American icon, went from a hero to one of the most hated men in the world.
By Shamarie, 5th Oct 2015