The media’s influence over the masses of society is great. With every passing generation, the media’s ability to access and relay information to the general public with seemingly the greatest of ease continues to impress. Given the expanse of time that has passed since the 1990s, the media, even more-so to this day, shapes our lives, our perceptions, and influences our opinions greatly. The 1990s served an important decade in our country’s young history. Since the mid-1800s, and even before that time, our country has experienced its share of societal issues, from racism to sexism, to religious bigotry, and police brutality, to name a few. In 1994 a very high-profile case was introduced to the American public, as former NFL star Orenthal James (O.J.) Simpson was charged in the double-homicide of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend and alleged lover, Ronald Goldman (Neuendorf, 2000).
The O.J. Simpson trial, as it became known, opened on January 24, 1995 and concluded October 3 the same year. Over the span of the trial, the prosecution team presented 72 witnesses including friends and family of Nicole, friends of O.J., and a 9-1-1 dispatcher. Given the trial’s notable and well-known defendant, those involved in the trial gained lifetime fame. To this day I can still recall the names Judge Lance Ito, Marcia Clark (Deputy District Attorney), and Simpson’s defense counsel, “The Dream Team,” which consisted of a number of high-profile attorneys, most notably Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran. I chose this case because it left a lasting impression in my memory, as well as a lasting impression in our nation’s memory. There have been many high-profile cases over the years, but this case was not predicted to end the way it did. Nobody would have predicted an acquittal in this trial, as there was so much evidence against Simpson. However, to my surprise, there was also a significant amount of evidence which was dismissed from trial, if it was even considered in the first place. What made this case so notorious was that it was such a high-profile case. It’s the kind of trial that books are written about. A celebrity football player charged with murder is brought to trial for the world to see.
In the 1990s, there was a vast amount of tensions in the legal system, which not only affected this case, but was also planted in the minds of every person familiar with the trial. Illegal immigration was a hot topic; race riots were on the rise, and instances of police brutality were hot button topics as well, in addition to the typical political topics including war overseas.
During the 1980s and 1990s, the United States experienced a large increase of illegal immigration from Asia and Latin America. The Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986 made it illegal for employers to hire undocumented workers, but it also granted amnesty to illegals already living in the country (Baker, 1997). In addition, Hispanics were becoming a larger minority, and...