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DNA evidence played a major and highly publicized role during the criminal trial of...

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jenniem | (Level 1) Honors

Posted August 30, 2013 at 3:35 PM via web

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DNA evidence played a major and highly publicized role during the criminal trial of O.J. Simpson.  Was the DNA evidence introduced in that trial persuasive proof of Simpson's guilt, or was it insufficient to warrant such an outcome?

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kipling2448 | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

Posted August 31, 2013 at 3:13 AM (Answer #1)

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Because the question regarding the role of DNA evidence in the murder trial of retired football player O.J. Simpson is entirely subjective, the answer will reflect this educator’s personal opinion more than would otherwise be the case.

As the question points out, DNA evidence was a major part of the State of California’s case against Simpson.   What is known for a fact, is that the blood of the victims, especially that of Nicole Brown Simpson, was found in multiple locations, including at O.J. Simpson’s house – despite the fact that the murder occurred at the home of his ex-wife.  In addition, blood that matched O.J. Simpson was found at the victim’s home, and blood matching Brown, Simpson, and Ronald Goldman, Brown’s friend and fellow murder victim, were all found in Simpson’s vehicle.  Bloody socks containing Brown’s and Simpson’s DNA were found in Simpson’s bedroom, and both of their DNA was found in blood in Simpson’s now—infamous White Bronco.   Most important were the blood drops tied to Simpson on the walkway of Brown’s home.  This is only a partial list of the “footprint” of DNA evidence that police investigators used to tie Simpson to the murders of Brown and Goldman.  And, of course, there was the murder weapon, a knife, and the infamous glove, which provided defense attorney Johnny Cochran his most indelible moment of the trial: “If it [the glove] doesn’t fit, you [the jury] must acquit,” despite the photograph displayed during the trial that showed Simpson wearing the same ill-fitting glove. 

The trial of O.J. Simpson represented the nadir in American criminal justice, in that, despite a highly flawed prosecution and a judge who appeared in over his head, one hundred percent of the physical evidence presented at the trial pointed toward one, and only one, individual.  No physical evidence pointed in any other direction.  Strictly from a DNA standpoint, the trial should have been as much of a forgone conclusion as a trial within an “innocent until proven guilty” judicial system can be.  A total lack of common sense on the part of the jury and a successful campaign on the part of defense council to portray investigating officers as racist and incompetent proved the prosecution’s undoing.  Does this educator believe the DNA evidence was more than sufficient to convict O.J. Simpson?  Absolutely.

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