OJ Simpson Forensic Psychology and Thesis

  • Length: 7 pages
  • Sources: 10
  • Subject: Criminal Justice
  • Type: Thesis
  • Paper: #20916207

Excerpt from Thesis :

" (Linder, 1)

By and large, Simpson's history would support the argument which might have been levied by forensics psychologists that, in addition to the circumstantial evidence connecting him to the murders and his suspect behavioral pattern at the inception of the investigation, Simpson did have a behavioral history that suggests mental illness and the psychological makeup to commit the double-homicide. Quite certainly, indications of his temperament, of his tendency toward violence, of the frightening side which he displayed within the confines of his marriage and often in front of others could be considered sufficient cause for a more intensive psychological evaluation, particularly considering the strength of DNA evidence against Simpson. (Meier, 1)

These conditions justified the frequently nuanced use of forensic psychology as a way of understanding Simpson's capability to commit deed which evidence suggests he had the motives, the means, the lacking alibi, the varying witness accounts and the scientific data to make a case against him. However, forensic psychology's purposefulness in either establishing or absolving the criminality of a suspect, or in general its application to the process of jurisprudence, creates the demand for this mode of investigation to incorporate such broad and complex categories as the letter of the law, the vagaries of the culture, political realities surrounding cases, linguistic peculiarities in the suspect, anthropological realities and, increasingly, medical orientation. (O'Connor, 1) Together, these requirements create a challenging morass through which the practitioner must trudge to achieve his part in the allotment of justice. Given the media celebration, racial divides and the marked level of grandstanding involved in the trial, the complexity of this responsibility is made even greater.

The result would be a woefully insufficient job of establishing Simpson's criminality, in spite of the likelihood that a greater focus on his psychological make-up might have revealed him to be incontrovertibly dangerous. So would be the belief carried into the civil trial that would follow Simpson's initial acquittal in criminal trial. Though he would serve no time for the crime, Goldman and Brown's families would file suit against Simpson with success. In 1997 "the jury ruled against Simpson on each of the eight technical questions of liability it was asked to consider. It effectively found Simpson liable for his ex-wife's death" (Auther et al., 1) Responding to the circumstantial indications of his guilt and buffeting these with a greater invocation of the types of behaviors which O.J. had always tended toward, the civil findings would set the stage for Simpson's decade of bizarre and arguably insane behaviors. His posture in public and his continued transgression of the law would both show him to be a man with a serious psychological incapacity to behave either in a normal social context or to control his violent tendencies and criminal impulses.

With his conviction on far more petty but nonetheless revealing crimes in 2008, Simpson would in a certain regard be held up to the implications of his acquittal and subsequent civil findings. The jury and judge in this case would aggressively seek prison time for a man whom we may argue was this time sentenced for his lifetime of crimes rather than for the specific one at hand. Indeed, "his efforts to dodge the civil judgment against him in 1997 by protecting his assets from the families of the victims, his bizarre pseudo-confessional book and his failure to pursue the "real killer," as he once promised to do, have reduced the ranks of those who once insisted on his innocence." (Editorial, 1) And continued reports of violence from a 2000 road rage incident in which he assaulted another motorist to the rather incredible fact of his own composed novel entitled 'If I Did It" where he theoretically laid out the murder which evidence suggests he actually committed, suggests that Simpson really views himself in a sympathetic light. Forensic Psychology might address this as a serious mental sickness which allows him personal absolution of his criminal behaviors through simple denial. To Simpson, we may make the argument that he has reinforced the lie of his innocence with such important persistence that he has either come to believe or to accept this version of events.

Today, as he awaits a release that is scheduled for almost a decade in the future, Simpson should have sufficient opportunity to resolve the apparent disconnect between events as he has perceived them and as likelihood, evidence and forensic psychological evaluation suggest they probably occurred.

Works Cited:

Auther, J.; Feldman, C. & LaMotte, G. (1997). Jury Unanimous: Simpson is Liable. CNN Interactive. Online at http://www.cnn.com/U.S./9702/04/simpson.verdict1/index.html

Editorial. (2008). The Juice and Justice. Los Angeles Times. Online at http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-ed-simpson6-2008dec06,0,3851871.story

Linder, D.A. (2001). The Trial of O.J. Simpson. University of Missouri-Kansas City. Online at http://www.law.umkc.edu/faculty/projects/ftrials/Simpson/simpson.htm

Meier, B. (1994). Simpson Team Taking Aim at DNA. The New York Times. Online at http://www.nytimes.com/1994/09/07/us/simpson-team-taking-aim-at-dna-laboratory.html?sec=health&pagewanted=1

O'Connor, Dr. Tom. (2004). A History and Overview of Forensic Psychology. North Carolina Wesleyan College. Online at http://faculty.ncwc.edu/toconnor/psy/psylect01.htm>

Simpson, O.J. (1995). O.J.'s Suicide Note. CNN. Online at http://www.cnn.com/U.S./OJ/suspect/note/index.html

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