1Running head: OJ SIMPSON: EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES OJ Simpson: Exigent Circumstances and an AcquittalLindsay BradyIndiana Wesleyan UniversitySeptember 22, 2018
2OJ SIMPSON: EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES OJ Simpson: Exigent Circumstances and an AcquittalOn June 13, 1994, Nicole Brown Simpson, ex-wife of OJ Simpson, and family friend, Ron Goldman, were found stabbed to death outside Nicole’s home in Los Angeles, California. Within hours, Simpson’s home was searched, and bloodstains were found; by day four of the investigation, Simpson was leading authorities on a slow-speed chase (CNN, 2007). Although Simpson appeared to be guilty by his actions and behavior the days following the crimes, he was able to assemble a dream team of top lawyers and was later acquitted of all charges. Uniquely, the Fourth and Sixth Amendment played a crucial role in Simpson’s trial; not only did a warrantless search take place, but there were allegations of a racist detective who may have planted evidence at Simpson’s home and a community of fans who wanted nothing more than to persuade the jury of a not guilty verdit. First, in the Simpson case, there were questions as to whether the Fourth Amendment wasbroken, due to a warrantless search and seizure of evidence in OJ Simpson’s home. To clarify, the Supreme Court states that “illegally obtained evidence may not be used in criminal trails [which] is a policy known as the exclusionary rule” (Chapman, 1994). When detectives, Mark Fuhrman and Philip Vannatter, “arrive[d] at Simpson’s house … [to question Nicole’s ex-husband] and examine[d] an apparent bloodstain on Simpson’s Ford Bronco,” they immediately jumped into action (CNN, 2007). The two detectives who arrived at Simpsons home disregardedthe fact that they needed to obtain a search warrant and entered onto Simpson’s property where they found evidence that they thought could link Simpson to the murders. In other words, the officers did not obtain a search warrant before climbing the wall to Simpson’s home which, later, caused an upheaval of controversy. Only after declaring the area a crime scene, did detectives rush to get a warrant in which they claimed an “emergency,” due to “exigent circumstances,” because of the bloodstain found in the vehicle (Washington Post, 1997).To explain, police said that they had good reason to climb the wall because they feared Simpson
3OJ SIMPSON: EXIGENT CIRCUMSTANCES had a stalker who was attempting to kill him after killing his ex-wife; they also insisted they needed to find the father of Nicole’s children to “arrange for their care” (Kolnick, 1994). However, Simpson’s defense fought these claims and said the cops falsified information; they did not act as though an emergency situation was at hand. Furthermore, if they were so concerned for the children, they should have contacted Nicole’s parents (Chapman, 1994). As a result, Kolnick (1994) adds, Simpsons defense team requested for the Judge to suppress the evidence that was collected before the warrant was secured.