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O.J. Simpson: The Gloves Description of Case

In 1994, O.J. Simpson, a former star football player and actor, was charged with murder of his wife and a friend of hers. It was considered among “the trials of the century” since it featured such a prominent person. During the course of the several month trial, the prosecution placed several items of evidence in front of the jury to consider in assessing Mr. Simpson’s innocence or guilt. One of these was black leather gloves that had blood on them and that were found at Mr. Simpson’s home. Testimony about the gloves can be found on YouTube (IbHmc Clannad Man, 2008).

Attorney Claims and Use of Gloves as Evidence

The prosecution asserted that Mr. Simpson wore the gloves in committing the crimes. The defense claimed he did not commit the crimes. The prosecution introduced the gloves as evidence, pointing to them having Simpson’s DNA on it, as well as that of the victims; but the prosecution considered not having Simpson try the gloves on because the gloves had been soaked in blood and frozen and dried a few times.

The defense reviewed the gloves as evidence and challenged the prosecution to have Simpson try them on to see if they actually fit him. Eventually, the prosecution asked Simpson to try them on. In a famous scene of the trial, he tried them on and it was discovered that the gloves were much too small for him to have worn. After the incident, one of the prosecutors conveyed concern to the judge that Simpson, who had arthritis, had not taken medication for a few days, which could have lead his hands to swell. Also, Simpson wore a pair of white latex gloves when he tried on the black gloves; this also would have caused the gloves to seem a bit tight, contributing to the difficulty he had putting them on.


I analyze the argument posited by the defense once the gloves were shown not to fit Mr. Simpson within the model’s parameters to show how an audience likely perceived the assertion that Simpson wore them

Persuasion, Perception, and the Law 113

in committing the murders. Much of the audience’s perception is affected by elements associated with Visual dominance and prior experience. The model appears below.

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