Part 1: The O.J Simpson murder (criminal) trial, 1995

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1 M1- Elise Le Goff The O.J. Simpson trials: criminal and civil American law I. General presentation of the case: Part 1: The O.J Simpson murder (criminal) trial, 1995 Introduction: a celebrity case / the role of the media 1. Double murder: Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman stabbed to death on June 12, 1994 in Santa Monica, California. 2. O.J Simpson, #1 suspect: evidence (blood and gloves), alibi, domestic violence, the Bronco Chase. 3. The murder trial: The State of California v. O.J Simpson, Place: Downtown LA. (context: the LA riots) Jury selection: women and blacks. OJ s plea Prosecution strategy: evidence and domestic violence Marcia Clark, Chris Darden Defense strategy: LAPD racist manipulation, evidence contaminated Johnnie Cochran and the dream team. Key prosecution witness discredited: Mark Fuhrman Evidence discredited: unreliable evidence. The glove episode and Johnnie Cochran s closing argument If it does not fit, you must acquit. Standard of proof: guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Verdict: O.J Simpson found not guilty. II. Summary of the case: Although the 1995 criminal trial of O. J. Simpson for the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman has been called "a great trash novel come to life," no one can deny the pull it had on the American public. If the early reports of the murder of the wife of the ex-football-starturned-sports-announcer hadn't caught people's full attention, Simpson's surreal Bronco ride on the day of his arrest certainly did--ninety-five million television viewers witnessed the slow police chase live. The 133 days of televised courtroom testimony turned countless viewers into Simpson trial junkies. Even foreign leaders such as Margaret Thatcher and Boris Yeltsin eagerly gossiped about the trial. When Yeltsin stepped off his plane to meet President Clinton, the first question he asked was, "Do you think O. J. did it?" When, at 10 a.m. PST on October 3, Judge Ito's clerk read the jury's verdict of "Not Guilty," 91% of all persons viewing television were glued to the unfolding scene in the Los Angeles courtroom. June 12, 1994 Exactly what happened sometime after ten o'clock on the Sunday night of June 12, 1994 is still disputed, but most likely a single male came through the back entrance of Nicole Brown Simpson's condominium on Bundy Drive in the prestigious Brentwood area of Los Angeles. In a small, nearly enclosed area near the front gate, the man brutally slashed Nicole, almost severing her neck from her body. Then he struggled with and repeatedly--about thirty times--stabbed Ronald Goldman. Ronald Goldman was a twenty-five-yearold acquaintance of Nicole's, who had come to her condominium to return a pair of sunglasses that her mother had left earlier that evening at the Mezzaluna restaurant. ( ) Nicole Brown Simpson's ex-husband, former football great and media personality O. J. Simpson, meanwhile, was aboard American Airlines flight #668 to Chicago. Simpson had taken off from Los Angeles at 11:45 after receiving a ride to the airport in a limousine driven by Allan Park, an employee of the Town and Country Limousine Company. The limousine had left the Simpson estate on Rockingham Avenue about half an hour late, after Park called to report at 10:25 that no one answered his ring at the door. Park observed a man he assumed to be Simpson enter his house at 10:56. Police called Simpson early Monday morning at the O'Hare Plaza Hotel in Chicago, where Simpson had planned to attend a convention of the Hertz rental car company. When informed that his wife had been killed, Simpson did not ask how, when, or by whom. He did--according to his later testimony--smash a glass in grief, badly cutting his left hand. Prosecutors would have a different explanation for the injury. Simpson boarded the next flight to Los Angeles, arriving home about noon to find a full-scale police investigation underway. The Investigation Focuses on Simpson Los Angeles police questioned Simpson for about a half hour that day. ( ) Eventually, police accumulated enough evidence indicating Simpson's guilt in the murders that they sought and obtained a warrant for his arrest. Under an agreement worked out with Simpson's attorney, Robert Shapiro, Simpson was to turn himself in at police headquarters by 10:00 on the morning of June 17, the day following Nicole's funeral. When Simpson didn't show by the agreed upon time, police told Shapiro that they would be driving to his Brentwood home to pick him up. Sometime after one o'clock, four officers knocked on Simpson's front door. Soon they and Shapiro discovered that Simpson had disappeared. Simpson left behind a letter. Addressed to "To whom it may concern," it had all the markings of a suicide letter. It ended: "Don't feel sorry for me. I've had a great life, great friends. Please think of the real O. J. and not this lost person. Thanks for making my life special. I hope I helped yours. Peace and love, O. J." Around 6:20 a motorist in Orange County saw Simpson riding in the white Bronco of his friend, A. C. Cowlings, and notified police. Soon a dozen police cars, news helicopters, and some curious members of the public were following in pursuit of the Bronco. The slowmotion chase would finally end with Simpson's arrest in his own driveway. After making the arrest, police discovered $8,750 in cash, a false beard and mustache, a loaded gun, and a passport in Cowlings' vehicle. 1

2 For the prosecution, the biggest mistake of the trial may well have been to file the Simpson case in the downtown district rather than--as is normal procedure--in the district in which the crime occurred, in this case Santa Monica. The decision was a political one, based on concerns that a conviction by what would be a largely white jury in Santa Monica might spark racial protests--or even riots similar to those that occurred following the trial of four LAPD officers accused of beating Rodney King. The prosecutors probably believed that their case against Simpson was so strong that even the more racially diverse jury likely in downtown Los Angeles would have no choice but to convict. Filing downtown would be only the first of many decisions that may have cost prosecutors the case. ( ) To name just a few: the decision to have Simpson try the glove used in the murder, the decision to call Mark Fuhrman to the stand, and the strategy of presenting so much evidence from so many witnesses over so many weeks that the case lost much of its force.) On July 22, 1994, Simpson answered the question " How do you plead?" at his arraignment with "Absolutely one hundred percent not guilty, Your Honor." Months of discovery, jury selection, and hearings on issues such as whether to permit cameras in the courtroom and the admissibility of DNA test results followed. The Trial Begins The opening day of trial--tuesday, January 24, finally came. Judge Lance Ito in his opening remarks told those assembled in the courtroom that he expected to see "some fabulous lawyering skills." Christopher Darden led off the prosecution's opening statement by portraying Simpson as an abusive husband and a jealous lover of Nicole Brown Simpson. Darden told jurors, "If he couldn't have her, he didn't want anybody else to have her." Marcia Clark followed with a statement laying out the facts proving Simpson's guilt that the prosecution would establish during the trial. The next day Johnnie Cochran ( ) told the jury that the defense would prove that the evidence against Simpson was "contaminated, compromised, and ultimately corrupted." Over the next 99 days of trial, the prosecution put forward 72 witnesses. The first set of witnesses suggested that Simpson had the motive and opportunity to kill. The second set of witnesses suggested that Simpson had in fact used his opportunity to kill his ex-wife and Ronald Goldman. The first group of witnesses included relatives and friends of Nicole, friends of O. J., and a dispatcher, all produced to demonstrate Simpson's motive and his history of domestic abuse. ( ) A dispatcher took the stand so that the prosecution might play for the jury a terrifying call from Nicole describing an ongoing assault by Simpson. The prosecution next produced a set of witnesses--including limousine driver Allan Park, Kato Kaelin, and officers of the LAPD--to establish a timeline of events that left Simpson with ample opportunity to commit murder. Limo driver Allan Park proved to be one of the prosecution's most effective witnesses. Park testified that he arrived at the Simpson home on Rockingham at 10:25 to pick O. J. up for his scheduled flight to Chicago. He said he rang the doorbell repeatedly, but received no answer. Shortly before 11:00, according to Park, a shadowy figure--black, tall, about 200 pounds, and wearing dark clothes-- walked up the driveway and entered the house. A few minutes later, Simpson emerged, telling Park he had overslept. Park testified that as he entered the limo, he carried a small black bag (which the prosecution hoped the jury would conclude contained the murder weapon). Park testified that Simpson would not let him touch the bag. The bag has never been seen since. A skycap at the Los Angeles Airport testified that he saw Simpson near a rubbish bin ( ) Finally, the prosecution began to put forward witnesses directly tying Simpson to the two murders. The evidence was technical and circumstantial, relating mostly of the results of blood, hair, fiber, and footprint analysis from the Bundy crime scene and Simpson's Rockingham home. ( ) On crossexamination of the prosecution's DNA experts, the defense had little choice but to begin to develop the theory that either the blood samples were contaminated or they were planted by corrupt police officers The LAPD officer who found a bloody glove outside OJ s house turned out to be a godsend for the defense's corruptpolice theory. The officer, Mark Fuhrman, testified for the prosecution on March 9 and 10. ( ) Three days later, F. Lee Bailey began a bullying cross-examination of Fuhrman in which he asked the detective, whether, in the past ten years, he had ever used "the n word." Fuhrman replied that he absolutely never had done so. It was a lie. A second prosecution disaster followed. Prosecutor Christopher Darden, confident that the bloody gloves belonged to Simpson, decided to make a dramatic courtroom demonstration. He would ask Simpson, in full view of the jury, to try on the gloves worn by Nicole's killer. Judge Ito asked a bailiff to escort Simpson to a position near the jury box. Darden instructed Simpson, "Pull them on, pull them on." Simpson seemed to struggle with the gloves, then said, "They don't fit. See? They don't fit." Later, it would turn out that there were good reasons why they didn't fit--the gloves may have shrunk because of the blood, photos would turn up showing Simpson wearing ill-fitting gloves--but the damage had been done. Later, Cochran would offer the memorable refrain, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." The Dream Team Takes Center Stage The strategy of Simpson's defense team, called the "Dream Team" in the media, was to undermine the prosecution's evidence concerning motive, suggest Simpson was physically incapable of committing the crime, raise doubts about the prosecution's timeline, and finally to suggest that the key physical evidence against Simpson was either contaminated or planted, or both ( ) The most talked-about aspect of the defense case undoubtedly concerned Mark Fuhrman, the LAPD officer who had found the bloody glove and who, as a prosecution witness, denied using the word "nigger." It turned out that Fuhrman had used "the n word"--many times--and it was on tape. Laura Hart McKinny, an aspiring screenwriter from North Carolina, had hired Fuhrman to consult with her on police issues for a script she was writing. McKinny taped her interviews with Fuhrman, who not only used the offensive racial slur, but disclosed that he had sometimes planted evidence to help secure convictions. Needless to say, the defense wanted McKinny on the stand, and they wanted the jury to hear selected portions of her tapes. ( ) Judge Ito, somewhat reluctantly, allowed the defense evidence. Ito's decision opened the door for the defense to offer its rather fantastic theory that Fuhrman took a glove from the Bundy crime scene, rubbed it in Nicole's blood, then took it to Rockingham to drop outside OJ s house so as to frame Simpson. It may not, however, have been Fuhrman, but rather a softspoken Chinese-American forensic expert named Henry Lee that won Simpson his acquittal. Lee had solid credentials, smiled at the jury, and provided what seemed to be a 2

3 plausible justification for questioning the prosecution's key physical evidence. Lee raised doubts with blood splatter demonstrations, his suggestion that shoe print evidence suggested more than one assailant, and his simple conclusion about the prosecution's DNA tests: "Something's wrong." He might have, as Christopher Darden speculated after the trial, been the person who gave the jury "permission" to do what they wanted to do anyway: acquit Simpson. ( ) The Jury Acquits ( )The jury spent only three hours deliberating the case that had produced 150 witnesses over 133 days and had cost $15 million to try. As America watched at 10 a.m. PST on October 3, 1995, Ito's clerk, Deidre Robertson, announced the jury's verdict: "We the jury in the above entitled action find the defendant, Orenthal James Simpson, not guilty of the crime of murder." ( )The Simpson trial demonstrated the polarization of racial attitudes on issues such as law enforcement that still exists in our country. It may be for that, more than anything, that the trial will be remembered. But it had other effects. It created a greater awareness of domestic violence issues, provided lessons in how not to run a criminal trial, slowed the trend toward the use of cameras in courtrooms, and created a new type of "immersion" journalism that still flourishes today. III. Legal vocabulary: match the words below with their definitions guilt a warrant an attorney to turn oneself in to try somebody a trial a crime the stand motive to plant evidence an opening statement a hearing an arraignment, discovery to file a case the jury box a defendant to frame somebody a no guilty plea the prosecution the defense an assault a. an enclosure where the jury sit in court b. a threat or attempt to inflict offensive physical contact or bodily harm on a person c. the person accused d. 1) in criminal law, the government attorney charging and trying the case against a person accused of a crime. 2) a common term for the government's side in a criminal case e. when a defendant is refuting criminal charges brought against him or he f. to provide false evidence or false testimony in order to falsely prove someone guilty of a crime g. 1) the side of a legal case which argues that a person who is being sued or accused of a crime is innocent 2) the lawyer or lawyers who represent the defendant in a court case h. responsibility for a crime or for doing something bad or wrong i. A criminal proceeding at which the defendant is officially called before a court, informed of the charges held against them, and asked to enter a plea of guilty or not guilty j. the pre-trial phase in a court case in which each party can obtain evidence from the opposing party k. a meeting or session at which evidence and arguments about a crime, complaint, etc., are presented to a person or group who will have to decide on what action should be taken l. filing the document that starts the legal process in a court. That document is usually called a complaint or petition. m. a document issued by a court that gives the police the power to do something n. a lawyer o. to allow oneself to be arrested p. used in connection with Criminal Law to explain why a person acted or refused to act in a certain way for example, to support the prosecution's assertion that the accused committed the crime. If a person accused of murder was the beneficiary of a life insurance policy on the deceased, the prosecution might argue that greed was the for the killing. q. to have a trial to decide if someone is innocent or guilty. r. a formal meeting in a court in which evidence about crimes, disagreements, etc., is presented to a judge and often a jury so that decisions can be made according to the law s. 1) activity that is against the law 2) illegal acts in general t. the place where a witness testifies in court. u. to place objects at the crime scene to make somebody seem guilty of a crime. v. each side lets the jury know what evidence they will present and what this evidence is supposed to prove. This is the primary opportunity for attorneys to present their positions to the jury prior to the introduction of the evidence upon which the jurors will base their decisions IV. Pairwork: ask each other the questions below. 1. When and where did the O.J Simpson murder trial take place? 2. Why is the case famous? 3. Who were the victims? 3

4 4. How were they killed? 5. Why was O.J Simpson the number 1 suspect? 6. What was the prosecution s case based on? 7. What was the theory of the defense? 8. What was the racial context in LA? 9. Who were Marcia Clark, Chris Darden, Johnnie Cochran? 10. Who was Mark Fuhrman? 11. Explain If it does not fit you must acquit? 12. What was the composition of the jury? What was the standard of proof? 13. What was the verdict? V. Video: Frontline, PBS, the O.J verdict - Chapter 1: The Perfect Storm a. Before you watch: Who is who? Oj Simpson Nicole Brown Ronald Goldman Judge Ito Marcia Clark Johnny Cochran Mark Fuhrman A LAPD detective in charge of the crime scene and accused of racism and police manipulation One of the defense attorneys One of the prosecuting attorneys The judge in the criminal trial The victims The defendant b. Now answer the questions below: 1. When was the verdict announced? 2. Where did the trial take place? 3. The OJ verdict was the most event in the history of television. 4. (1:28 to 1:47) Essentially the country stopped. Long distance phone calls during that period. Trading on the stock dropped. Everything simply stopped for the of the verdict because thatʼs how much the country was. 5. An estimated of Americans, the largest in history, was watching. 6. What was the verdict in the OJ criminal case? 7. (3:16 to 3:36) Tonight on Frontline, the verdict that many of our, that cast on the concept of our justice system, and became the event that more than any other event in recent history the difference between being white and black in America. 8. When did the double homicide take place? 9. What were the names of the victims? 10. Why was Nicole a celebrity? 11. Why was OJ Simpson famous? 12. Where did OJ say he was at the times of the killings? 13. (4:44 to 4:52) When Simpson returned from followed by TV cameras, he was, then by the police and was temporarily. 14. The media megastory started when OJ tried to in his white Bronco on the LA freeways. He was by the police and cheered on by his fans. 15. (5:22 to 5:40) There were that OJ was about to kill himself ( ) It was, the country was hooked. 16. Prof. Alan Dershowitz (5:42 to 5:58): Everything came together, race,, beauty,,, tape recordings, the of the car, the media, it was the perfect storm. 17. What did OJ plead? 18. What was the name given to OJʼs team of lawyers? 19. Prof. Gerald Holman: (6:44 to 7:07) Being a professor, I was thinking, boy, this is going to be a wonderful to educate the American people and teach them how our justice system really. It took me about two weeks to realize that this wasnʼt about educating anybody, this was. 20. What did some witnesses do before the trial? 21. What was Nicole sister's first reaction when she heard about Nicoleʼs death? 4

5 22. What did the police release a few days after the murders? 23. What did Faye Resnick say in the book she published while the jury was being selected? 24. (8:22 to 8:29): A worried judge Ito then stopped the (ie. jury selection) in order to assess the making the Faye Resnick book an instant. 25. Prof. Charles Ogletree (8:31 to 9:10): It was a case that the government knew that they had flaws but they had no choice. I canʼt blame them, they had to the case that they were given. They lost because of the media, witnesses were, witnesses were because they were paid to do interviews, family members were compromised because they gave interview before the went to. The government were literally what they were not able to present and what they and thatʼs unfortunate. I donʼt know if that would have changed the but it would have let them put on a much more case. 26. (9:13 to end) Whatever flaws the case had, the choices they made as they later admitted, did little to improve their chances. First they moved the trial from Santa Monica to Downtown Los Angeles where most of the jury pool was likely to be composed of minorities. In fact, the final jury included African Americans, one Hispanic, and whites, were women. V. Listening: NPR, Mixed legacy of OJ Simpson trial, June 8, a. Listen to the introduction and answer the question: what is the main difference between the O.J criminal trial and other celebrity trials? b. Listen to the recording and fill in the blanks: Alex Chadwick: But I do think that the OJ Simpsons trial kind of changed the way we think about the law and trials in some ways. Let's start with judges. What did judges from the trial? Dahlia Lithwick: Well, I think judges learned to try to television cameras of the. Judge Ito's nine month with gavel to gavel just terrified the rest of the. And I think, really, judges learned to put on trials. None months is just too long. This trial involved 36 lawyers, pages of trial. Half of the jury who was originally impanelled left and were by alternates. The whole thing was completely. I think keeping television cameras out of the courtroom and keeping things small and tight, keeping jurors happy, became a real after the trial. AC: And what about for prosecutors? DL: Well, prosecutors really learned not to screw up. I think they learned, you know, for sure that that glove before you have your defendant it. They learned, I think, you know, that they need to know if one of their, who is going to be their star, is a racist. They need to know crucial things they just didn't know going in. And perhaps most importantly, I think they learned that, you know, race, that venue really. This is a case that could have been in Santa Monica. they filed it in Los Angeles. And I think in a lot of ways, you know, because race mattered, that was a bad decision. AC: and then you have the defense lawyers OJ Simpson's attorney, Johnnie Cochran, he certainly became the most noted of his several defense attorneys, especially when he... there were moments like this in his closing argument. Johnnie Cochran: Do the right thing, remembering that if it doesn't fit, you must. AC: He's referring to the infamous, of course. So, do defense lawyers study this trial now for tips on how to get their clients off? DL: Well, I think defense lawyers learned a lot about having this sort of a narrative that really plays to the jury and that narrative of police, planting really worked with the OJ jury. And I think the other impact for defense lawyer is that, you know, what used to be seen as incontrovertible and DNA evidence is no longer incontrovertible. Places like the Innocence Project that Barry Scheck, who was involved in the O.J trial, you know, have gone on to exonerate countless defendants because labs screw up. AC: And of course, there is another lesson from the OJ trial and that is that race remains one of the great in the nation. DL: I think that's right, Alex. I mean I think that, you know, it's not an accident that the majority of African Americans think that O.J. was innocent and the majority of whites in this country think that O.J was guilty. There is a huge race in the perception of what happened in that trial. I think it's that narrative we were talking about. The narrative in this case that ultimately got him is that blacks really believe, that a black man cannot get a trial in white America. AC: Opinion and analysis from Dahlia Lithwick. She writes the jurisprudence column for Slate and she's legal contributor to Day to Day. Dahlia, thanks for joining us again. c. Translate the underlined words. 5

6 Part 2: The O.J Simpson civil (wrongful death) case, 1997 I. General presentation: Plaintiff: Fred Goldman (Ron s father) Grounds: wrongful death Place: Santa Monica Composition of the jury and standard of proof: preponderance of evidence OJ s liability in the wrongful death of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. Damages awarded II. Summary of the civil case: a) Summary 1: The trial, held in Santa Monica, would take just three months and would produce a very different result. Simpson was forced to testify, clumsily trying to explain the unexplainable. Photos showing Simpson wearing the size 12 Bruno Magli shoes that he claimed not to own turned up first in one newspaper, then in others. The judge in the civil trial, Hiroshi Fujisaki, proved he was no Lance Ito, and prevented the Simpson defense from introducing fanciful theories of a top-to-bottom conspiracy. After seventeen hours of deliberation, the jury concluded--using the preponderance of the evidence test applicable in civil cases-- that O. J. Simpson had wrongfully caused the death of Ronald Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson. The jury ordered Simpson to pay compensatory damages of $8.5 million and punitive damages of $25 million. b) Summary 2: On February 5, 1997, a civil jury in Santa Monica, California unanimously found Simpson liable for the wrongful death of and battery against Goldman, and battery against Brown. Daniel Petrocelli represented plaintiff Fred Goldman, Ronald Goldman's father. Simpson was ordered to pay $33,500,000 in damages. However, California law protects pensions from being used to satisfy judgments, so Simpson was able to continue much of his lifestyle based on his NFL pension. In February 1999, an auction of Simpson's Heisman Trophy and other belongings netted almost $500,000. The money went to the Goldman family. A 2000 Rolling Stone article reported that Simpson still made a significant income by signing autographs. He subsequently moved from California to Miami. In Florida, a person's residence cannot be seized to collect a debt under most circumstances. The Goldman family also tried to collect Simpson's NFL pension of $28,000 a year but failed to collect any money On September 5, 2006, Goldman's father took Simpson back to court to obtain control over his "right to publicity" for purposes of satisfying the judgment in the civil court case On January 4, 2007, a Federal judge issued a restraining order prohibiting Simpson from spending any advance he may have received on a canceled book deal and TV interview about the 1994 murders. The matter was dismissed before trial for lack of jurisdiction. On January 19, 2007, a California state judge issued an additional restraining order, ordering Simpson to restrict his spending to "ordinary and necessary living expenses".[ On March 13, 2007, a judge prevented Simpson from receiving any further compensation from the defunct book deal and TV interview. He ordered the bundled book rights to be auctioned. In August 2007, a Florida bankruptcy court awarded the rights to the book to the Goldman family to partially satisfy an unpaid civil judgment. The book was renamed If I Did It: Confessions of the Killer, with the word "If" reduced in size to make it appear that the title was "I Did It: Confessions of the Killer", and comments were added to the original manuscript by the Goldman family, author Pablo Fenjves, and prominent investigative journalist Dominick Dunne. The Goldman family was listed as the author. _death_civil_trial c) Legal vocabulary: match the words below with their definitions: restraining order to dismiss a case wrongful death battery liable seize preponderance of the evidence compensatory damages punitive damages 1. A sum of money awarded in a civil action by a court to indemnify a person for the particular loss, detriment, or injury suffered as a result of the unlawful conduct of another. 2. A requirement that more then 50% of the evidence points to something. This is the burden of proof in a civil trial. 3. to take possession of by legal process 4. Monetary compensation awarded to an injured party that goes beyond that which is necessary to compensate the individual for losses and that is intended to punish the wrongdoer 6

7 5. A court order limiting the amount of money O.J could spend ; in general, a court order that can protect you from being physically abused, threatened, stalked or harassed 6. intentional act of making harmful or offensive contact with a person against that person s will. It is both a crime and a tort. 7. Responsible by law. 8. When someone dies due to the fault of another person or entity (like a car manufacturer), the survivors may be able to bring a lawsuit. Such a lawsuit seeks compensation for the survivors' loss, such as lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, and funeral expenses. III. Wrongful death: Wrongful death is a claim against a person who can be held liable for a death. A wrongful death lawsuit claims that your loved one's death was caused as a result of a willful act or wrongful act, or the negligence (liability) on the part of another person (the defendant), and that the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant's conduct. Wrongful death charges may be brought against the individual(s) responsible and can also be brought against public agencies that may be responsible for death, including a city or state, a city jail, state prison, state or private hospital, school, public company, nursing home, etc. State law defines who is allowed to bring a wrongful death suit. Some states only allow a spouse or children to file a wrongful death lawsuit, while other states allow grandparents or other relatives to file a claim for wrongful death damages. As well, wrongful death lawsuits are brought to civil court and the complaint must be submitted within the statue of limitations and these time limitations are different in each state. Every state has their own wrongful death law or set of laws, which governs these civil personal injury cases. A wrongful death can occur in a number of circumstances. Every year in the US, over 90,000 deaths occur due to malpractice alone (including 7,000 deaths caused by medication errors) Other causes of wrongful death include slip and fall (premise) injury, car or other vehicle accidents, nursing home abuse, work related injury, defective drug injury, dog bite injury, exposure to toxic materials, and defective product injuries. A wrongful death claim generally consists of the following: The death was caused, in whole or part, by the conduct of the defendant; The defendant was negligent or strictly liable for the victim's death; There is a surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents; and Monetary damages have resulted from the victim's death. In a typical wrongful death case, a wrongful death lawyer seeks to obtain damages for the victim's family which may include: Immediate expenses associated with the death (medical & funeral); Loss of victim's anticipated earnings in the future until time of retirement or death; Loss of benefits caused by the victim's death (pension, medical coverage, etc.); Loss of inheritance caused by the untimely death; Pain and suffering, or mental anguish to the survivors; Loss of care, protection, companionship to the survivors; General damages; Punitive damages IV. Differences between criminal and civil law in the American legal system: The American legal system is comprised of two very different types of cases, civil and criminal. Crimes are generally offenses against the state, and are accordingly prosecuted by the state. Civil cases on the other hand, are typically disputes between individuals regarding the legal duties and responsibilities they owe one another. Here are some of the key differences between a criminal case and a civil case: Crimes are considered offenses against the state, or society as a whole. That means that even though one person might murder another person, murder itself is considered an offense to everyone in society. Accordingly, crimes against the state are prosecuted by the state, and the prosecutor (not the victim) files the case in court as a representative of the state. If it were a civil case, then the wronged party would file the case. Criminal offenses and civil offenses are generally different in terms of their punishment. Criminal cases will have jail time as a potential punishment, whereas civil cases generally only result in monetary damages or orders to do or not do something. Note that a criminal case may involve both jail time and monetary punishments in the form of fines. The standard of proof is also very different in a criminal case versus a civil case. Crimes must generally be proved "beyond a reasonable doubt", whereas civil cases are proved by lower standards of proof such as "the preponderance of the evidence" (which essentially means that it was more likely than not that something occurred in a certain way). The difference in standards exists because civil liability is considered less blameworthy and because the punishments are less severe. Criminal cases almost always allow for a trial by jury. Civil cases do allow juries in some instances, but many civil cases will be decided by a judge. A defendant in a criminal case is entitled to an attorney, and if he or she can't afford one, the state must provide an attorney. A defendant in a civil case is not given an attorney and must pay for one, or else defend him or herself. The protections afforded to defendants under criminal law are considerable (such as the protection against illegal searches and seizures under the 4th Amendment). Many of these well known protections are not available to a 7

8 defendant in a civil case.in general, because criminal cases have greater consequences - the possibility of jail and even death - criminal cases have many more protections in place and are harder to prove. The Same Conduct Can Produce Civil and Criminal Liability Although criminal and civil cases are treated very differently, many people often fail to recognize that the same conduct can result in both criminal and civil liability. Perhaps one of the most famous examples of this is the OJ Simpson trial. The same conduct led to a murder trial (criminal) and a wrongful death trial (civil). In part because of the different standards of proof, there was not enough evidence for a jury to decide that OJ Simpson was guilty "beyond a reasonable doubt" in the criminal murder case. In the civil trial, however, the jury found enough evidence to conclude that OJ Simpson wrongfully caused his wife's death by a "preponderance of the evidence". V. Civil or criminal or both? judge sentence fine prison defendant plaintiff tort damages liability prosecution the state attorney witness testimony evidence beyond a reasonable doubt preponderance of the evidence no win no fee agreement wrongful death legal homicide murder personal injury Regina deliberations verdict trial to sue to prosecute Part 3: The O.J. Simpson robbery case Listening: O.J. Simpson Found Guilty In Robbery Trial, NPR, Oct.4, a) Fill in the blanks with the words that you hear: SCOTT SIMON, host: Yesterday was the 13th anniversary of O.J. Simpson's in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, but once again, he was in court. This time, the courtroom was in Las Vegas, not Los Angeles. The were armed and, not murder. There was one other huge difference. O.J. Simpson was found. NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates was watching the drama unfold last night and joins us now to fill us in. Karen, thanks for being with us. KAREN GRIGSBY BATES: You're welcome, Scott. SIMON: And remind us how O.J. Simpson wound up in that Vegas. BATES: Well, he had been in Las Vegas the year before, apparently, for a social event, and he heard that there were some dealers who were selling sports memorabilia that he thought had been acquired from him. He didn't sell it to them. He wasn't sure how they had it, and he was kind of outraged that somebody else would be selling what he called his stuff. He felt that he was to it, that the proceeds from that was - were what he was able to live on to help his children, and so he wanted to get his stuff back. And so that weekend, he - according to the, got together a couple of big guys, and according to prosecution, again, decided that he was going to go up to the hotel room of the two memorabilia dealers and intimidate them into relinquishing their ill-gotten gains. SIMON: Is a lot of this case "he said, she said," or "he said, he said" - I think, I hadn't heard that there are any women there, I could be corrected - or is there better? BATES: Well, there was a lot of back and forth about who said what, who did what. But interestingly, the guy who arranged to put Simpson together with the dealers hid a small digital recorder on top of the armoire in the hotel room where they met, and so there's a of a lot of - it's pretty chaotic, but 8

9 there's a lot of shouting, and you know, give my stuff, and you guys have my stuff, and at some point mentioned a in the room. And so this is a part of what the prosecution used when it made its to the jury that Simpson and one of his cohorts, a guy named Clarence Stewart, had guns and were brandishing them to - sorry, to intimidate these guys into giving up their stuff. SIMON: Karen, when does Mr. Simpson get and what's his exposure, as we say? How much time could he serve? BATES: He will be sentenced - he and Mr. Stewart will be sentenced on December 5th. District Judge Jackie Glass has been very firm about the date and she says that's the only thing on her that day and that's what's going to happen. So in about another two months we'll find out what the damages are. And he could face life - up to life because of the kidnapping. Apparently one of the charges is, you know, someone blocked the door, the gun was being brandished. So it's first degree kidnapping with a deadly, and the maximum for that, Scott, is life imprisonment. SIMON: NPR's Karen Grigsby Bates, thanks very much for being with us. BATES: You're welcome. b) The sentence: O.J. Simpson was sentenced Friday to up to 33 years in prison for armed robbery and kidnapping in a failed attempt to recover sports memorabilia from two collectibles dealers. Simpson will be eligible for parole after nine years. His co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart was sentenced to at least 15 years behind bars. 9

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