Over two decades ago, the trial of O.J. Simpson for the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson gained national attention and notoriety. The case, after many days of trial, resulted in a verdict of "not guilty" for O.J. Simpson. Since the case's conclusion, Simpson was held liable through a civil trial for the death of Nicole Brown Simpson. Later on, he was convicted of some other unrelated crimes in Nevada and is now being held in a correctional facility after being found guilty of those charges. Now, nearly two decades after the murder charges were placed against him, LAPD is examining new evidence that may be related to the trial.
Double Jeopardy, Dubious Evidence
The United States Constitution forbids a person to be tried more than once for a crime they were previously found "not guilty" for. Because of this, regardless of whether or not there is any connection found to the case upon examination of the knife, O.J. cannot face charges or another trial. The greatest potential effect from this evidence is tantamount to an "I told you so!" and nothing more.
The knife itself was found years ago, and given to a police officer who has since retired from the force. This happened in 2003. Now, just over a decade since the knife was given to the officer, the officer has decided to bring the knife to the LAPD for examination. The knife itself was allegedly found buried on the Simpson property, back 1998 but had only been brought to the officer after years had passed. The officer has since retired and has just recently brought the knife to anyone's attention.
The O.J. Simpson investigation and trial have recently been revisited through the lens of a dramatic re-telling in the FX series "American Crime Story: The People vs O.J. Simpson." The timing of the knife's emergence seems a little convenient given the current popularity of the series, and the case itself. The knife will, nonetheless, be tested by LAPD for any trace evidence of DNA or connection to the murders.
What Will A Connection Mean?
Although O.J. Simpson himself was not convicted for the murders, the "not guilty" verdict, and the double jeopardy doctrine only holds at the state level. In essence, he cannot be tried again in the State of California, however, if it is decided that his case should move to the federal level, he may face a trial once more under the doctrine of "dual sovereignty." Because the States of the Union govern themselves, most criminal cases are heard at the State level, but if the Federal government deems it necessary to involve itself in a case, defendants may see their crimes heard both at the State level and the Federal level. If a connection to the murders is found from the knife, O.J. Simpson may end up with a new trial at the Federal level, in spite of his "not guilty" verdict in California.