O.J. Trial 10th Anniversary

Dahlia Lithwick notes that June 12th will mark the 10 year anniversary [!] of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. She tries to explain why the trial so captured the public imagination in a way that has been unmatched since, despite more famous and more brutal crimes. She ultimately uses the “perfect storm” crutch. I don’t have a better explanation but that one’s particularly unsatisfying.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. boifromtroy says:

    My theory is that the media attention started with the car chase… That got alot of global attention because the World Cup was in the States at the time and programming cut away from the games. It got alot of US attention because, well, watching a Bronco drive down the 405 is more entertaining than soccer.

    Once the chase got so much attention, the media couldn’t turn away.

  2. denise says:

    “It got alot of US attention because, well, watching a Bronco drive down the 405 is more entertaining than soccer.”

    Good one.

    I do think this isn’t the typical celeb trial. OJ was more famous than a lot of celebrities, certainly more famous than Winona Rider. He was also the first major sports celeb to go on trial. He won the damned Heisman, was probably the most famous football player of the 70s, and then went on to a pretty successful movie career (and a bunch of commercials). And the crime was for double homicide, not shoplifting or some stock trade. And before this incident, he was widely, widely liked (whereas Jacko is widely considered a freak). For all these reasons, I don’t think a lot of the celeb trial comparisons hold up.

    I definitely agree with Dalia that some judges have learned from Ito’s mistakes. However, to plenty of judges and lawyers at the time, it was clear he was really blowing it. He was not just over-run by the media; he ran that trial for the benefit of television.