On October 3, 1995 former USC and professional football star O.J. Simpson was found not guilty by a jury of his peers after having been charged with the murders of both his ex-wife Nicole Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman outside her Brentwood townhouse on June, 12 1994.
The unanimous verdict was rendered after a mere four hours of deliberations and was one of the most surprising and most viewed in U.S. history.
The eyes of the nation were initially placed on the former Heisman Trophy winner as 95 million Americans watched police give chase to his white Ford Bronco on the day of his arrest.
The circumstances surrounding the arrest and the evidence presented by the prosecution seemed insurmountable for O.J. and his team of defense lawyers led by Loyola Law School Alum Johnnie Cochran.
One key piece of evidence that the prosecution produced were a pair of gloves - one found at the crime scene, the other at OJ's apartment. However, the savvy defense attorney Cochran coaxed the prosecution to have O.J. try one of the gloves on at trial, whereupon it did not fit.
Cochran also spoke of an institutional racism in this country that the jury had the power to redress with a not-guilty verdict.
The chief prosecutor in the case Los Angeles District Attorney Gill Garcetti said of the not-guilty verdict, "Don't look at this case as being how most cases are handled. Juries do the right thing - nearly all the time."
Goldman's father expressed similar sentiments stating "I deeply believe that this country lost today. Justice was not served."
The criminal trial was one of the lengthiest in US legal history. The official court transcript was more than 50,000 pages long.
2 years later the Goldman and Brown families filed a lawsuit in civil court against O.J. Simpson and were awarded over $30 million in compensatory damages.
There the plaintiff's attorneys managed to satisfy the civil preponderance of the evidence standard (more likely than not), while in the jury's eyes at the criminal trial prosecutors could not prove that O.J. committed the 2 murders beyond a reasonable doubt, a much more stringent standard.
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