The OJ Simpson Case Resurfaces: Understanding Double Jeopardy

The arrest, trial and acquittal of football legend OJ Simpson for the murder of his wife and her friend represents one of the most talked about criminal justice proceedings in the United States in the past generation. The OJ Simpson case returned to the headlines in the past month.

According to law enforcement officials in Los Angeles, a knife that they contend possibly could be the murder weapon was found at the former Simpson Estate. The story is raising the question in some people’s minds about whether OJ Simpson can now be put on trial again in regard to the murder of his wife and her friend.

Double Jeopardy

A fundamental principle in American jurisprudence is something called “double jeopardy.” At its essence, and as the moniker implies, the U.S. Constitution precludes a person from being tried twice for the same crime. A Pennsylvania or federal prosecutor generally gets one shot at trying a person for a specific crime.

Understanding the principle of double jeopardy, the reality is that despite what may be the discovery of the murder weapon, The Juice cannot be retried for the crimes with which he previously was charged and found not guilty after a trial – after a truly sensational trial.

The possibility exists that Simpson could be charged with some other crime. However, that is also not likely for a number of reasons, including issues surrounding the discovered knife itself. The reality is that a prosecutor would have a Herculean task in getting the knife admitted into evidence in the first instance.

Retain Legal Counsel

Due to the complicated nature of mounting a criminal defense generally, and addressing constitutional issues like double jeopardy specifically, a person charged with a crime needs to retain capable and experienced legal representation. The standard practice for a criminal defense attorney in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is to schedule a no-obligation, no-cost initial consultation with a person charged with a crime to discuss a case and possible defenses. A person facing criminal charges needs to schedule such a session with a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney without any undue delay whatsoever.