Skurka's Spin: O.J. Simpson glove tampering allegation is 'shameful'
Steven Skurka, CTV legal analyst, appears in this file photo.
Published Tuesday, September 11, 2012 10:06AM EDT
The sensational murder case of O.J. Simpson has re-emerged in the news again. Simpson was acquitted during the 1995 trial of murdering Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman.
A key piece of prosecution evidence was a glove that was left at the murder scene that allegedly belonged to Simpson. Christopher Darden, then-deputy district attorney on the prosecution team, had requested during the trial that O.J. Simpson place the glove on his left hand. As he describes in his book “In Contempt” written after the trial: ''Someone had to stop the games these defence lawyers were playing and just put the damned gloves on his hands.''
It was abundantly clear to the jury and to the television audience that watched the demonstration of Simpson trying to wear the glove that it was too small. In his jury address, the lead defence attorney in the murder trial, Johnnie Cochran told the jury that ''If it doesn't fit, you must acquit.'' The jury agreed.
Christopher Darden is now accusing Johnnie Cochran of tampering with the glove to ensure that it didn't fit. He suggested at a law conference that he thought that Johnnie tore the lining of the glove. He described additional tears in the lining so that O.J.'s fingers couldn't go all the way up the glove.
On Monday, Cochran’s co-counsel on the Simpson case, Carl Douglas, slammed the allegations.
“He lost and he should get over it and go on with his life. It is an insult to the dignity and integrity of one of the greatest lawyers in America to imply that he did anything unethical during that historic trial,” Carl Douglas said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The remarkable accusation made by Darden is serious. It would involve Simpson's lead defence lawyer in obstruction of justice, a serious crime. There isn't a plausible explanation for Darden not raising his concern in court or sharing it with his colleagues on the prosecution team. Darden reveals in his book that senior prosecution lawyers had a meeting about the glove incident and he wasn't involved.
He also describes that for weeks after his courtroom experiment he was left out of the major decisions involving the case. The reason for treating Christopher Darden as an outcast by his fellow prosecutors is obvious. The colossal blunder provided O.J. Simpson with a viable defence without testifying and allowed him to avoid a rigorous cross-examination.
Christopher Darden recognized his grievous mistake during the trial. He recounts in his book that he was aware of the extent of the damage he had caused to the prosecution's case and would never do it again. It is unfortunate that he has chosen to make a fatuous and shameful accusation about Johnnie Cochran interfering with the evidence. The legacy of the O.J. Simpson trial is that both the defence and the prosecution, including Christopher Darden, deserve credit for his acquittal.Listen to Steven's radio show, Closing Argument, every Sunday afternoon at 4:00ET on NewsTalk 1010. You can also follow him on Twitter at @LegalAnalyst