FX’s new television series, “O.J Simpson V The People” has continued to intrigue America once again as it did 20 years ago. This high profile and very public case had millions of people’s watching worldwide as the verdict read in 1997.
When the Jury stated, “not guilty” on the charges of the murder, it had all stunned. The case seemed airtight and the evidence stacked against Simpson seemed substantial. They had his DNA at the crime scene, blood in the famous white Ford Bronco, and eye witnesses.
The questioned rang in everybody’s mind – If Simpson was guilty, how could a jury find him innocent?
The Answer: Reasonable doubt
Reasonable doubt means to have, “A standard of proof that must be surpassed to convict an accused in a criminal proceeding.” When a criminal defendant is prosecuted, the prosecutor must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. In other words, even if a jury thinks a defendant probably committed the crime it is not enough to convict. The “probably” still leaves room for reasonable doubt, therefore, the defendant will be acquitted.
Many people, if not most people still believe that Simpson was guilty and this was a travesty of justice. There are a few select people that believe his innocence. In fact, there isn’t an investigator that has succeeded to prove his guilt.
However, there has been one man worth noting to argue his innocence. He is known as a modern day James Bond. His name is Bill Dear and was inducted in the police Hall of Fame in 1988 – which few people have had the privilege. Dear was so convinced of Simpson’s innocence he set out to find the real killer and wrote a book a number of books. In 2012 he published, “OJ is Innocent and I can prove it” where he argues that OJ Simpson was present at the crime scene, but after the murder which his son Jason committed. Maybe the jury was right in their decision and on to something more.
While there is still a lot of controversy over this decision, and even a big wig like Bill Dear has been enough to reopen the case. Understanding the importance of reasonable doubt and what lead the jury to make this decision in the OJ trial is vital to explore.
According to the book that the new television series is based off of the reasonable doubt was: prosecution overconfidence, defense shrewdness, and the LAPD’s history with the city’s African American community.
The image of OJ Simpson trying on the alleged murder gloves found at the scene, will forever be embedded into America’s mind as an image and symbol of the reasonable doubt that led to the acquitting of OJ. Simpson. However, it is just one piece that played a role. Printed in 1996 by the Associated Press are listed Defense Attorney Cochran’s 15 pointes that lead the jury to have reasonable doubt.
Here are the 15 points that are listed:
- Why … did the blood show up on the sock almost two months after a careful search for evidence and why, as demonstrated by Dr. Lee and Professor MacDonell, was the blood applied when there was no foot in it?
- Why was Mark Fuhrman, a detective who had been pushed off the case, the person who went by himself to the Bronco, over the fence to interrogate Kato to discover the glove and the thump-thump-thump area?
- Why was the glove still moist when Fuhrman found it if Mr. Simpson had dropped it seven hours earlier?
- If Mark Fuhrman … would speak so openly about his intense genocidal racism to a relative stranger such as Kathleen Bell, how many of his co-workers, the other detectives in this case, were also aware that he lied when he denied using the n-word, yet failed to come forward?
- Why did the prosecution not call a single police officer to rebut police photographer Rokahr’s testimony that Detective Fuhrman was pointing at the glove before – before Fuhrman went to Rockingham?: That is, around 4:30 in the morning.
- If the glove had been dropped on the walkway at Rockingham 10 minutes after the murder, why is there no blood or fiber on that south walkway or on the leaves the glove was resting on. Why is there no blood in the 150 feet of narrow walkway, on the stucco walk abutting it?
- For what purpose was Vannatter carrying Mr. Simpson’s blood in his pocket for three hours and a distance of 25 miles instead of booking it down the hall at Parker Center?
- Why did Deputy District Attorney Hank Goldberg, in a desperate effort to cover up for the missing 1.5 milliliters of Mr. Simpson’s blood, secretly go out to the home of police nurse Thano Peratis without notice to the defense and get him to contradict his previous sworn testimony at both the grand jury and the preliminary hearing?
- Why if, according to Ms. Clark, he walked into his own house wearing the murder clothes and shoes is there not any soil or so much as a smear or drop of blood associated with the victims on the floor, the white carpeting, the doorknobs, the light switches, and his bedding?
- If Mr. Simpson had just killed Mr. Goldman in a bloody battle involving more than two dozen knife wounds – where Mr. Goldman remained standing and struggling for several minutes – how come there is less than seven-tenths of one drop of blood consistent with Mr. Goldman found in the Bronco?
- Why following a bitter struggle alleged with Mr. Goldman were there no bruises or marks on O.J. Simpson’s body?
- Why do bloodstains with the most DNA not show up until weeks after the murders?
- Why did Mark Fuhrman lie to us?
- Why did Phil Vannatter lie to us?
- Given Professor MacDonell’s testimony that the gloves would not have shrunk no matter how much blood was smeared on them, and given that they never shrank on June 21, 1994, until now despite being repeatedly frozen and thawed, how come the gloves just don’t fit?
These are valid questions and was enough to evoke doubt in the jury’s mind. When it comes to a court case, it’s vital to understand the massive importance that reasonable doubt can add to a trial.
Over to You
What are your thoughts on the O.J. Simpson trial and reasonable doubt?