The criminal justice system generally does what it was set up for. Most cases handled by the courts don’t come into public knowledge. But some cases, garner a lot of public interest, either because of the defendant, or the nature of the crime. In such cases the people tend to hold strong opinions on the defendant, the outcome, or both. Most of these cases go the way the general populace thinks it will, verdict and all. Some rare instances also, however, happen where the case proceedings result in a shock to the public. We list here 10 of such court cases.
How do you feel about marital rape? Would you sympathies with the victim if they took revenge? Lorena Bobbitt, claimed she was the victim of marital rape. When it became too much, she took up a kitchen knife, cut off her husband, John Bobbitt’s penis, drove off with it and flung it out her car window. Her lawyers pleaded insanity due to PTSD, and she spent 45 days in psychiatric care.
One of the most public trials in history, this trial is known to almost everyone. The famous football star, stood trial for murdering his wife and a restaurant waiter in her house. He turned himself in after leading the authorities on a wild goose chase. The powerful defense team he hired proved too much for the prosecution and he got pronounced ‘not guilty’. Remember the line, “if the glove don’t fit, you must acquit”?
One of the most famous recent shockers of cases, the one involving Brock Turner, is an example of the privilege a section of the populace seems to get. In January, 2015, at Stanford University, Turner was spotted in a compromising position with a girl who seemed to be unconscious. Turner was charged with rape, felony sexual assault, and attempted rape. But he only got 6 months, of which he served only 3 on account of his ‘good’ behavior.
Durst was charged with the murder of Morris Black in 2001, near Houston. He was also believed to have killed his wife in 1982. The earlier case is depicted in an HBO original, The Jinx. Durst was acquitted of all charges thanks to a powerhouse defense team despite having killed his neighbor, chopped up his body, and hiding it! The jury believed his defense team’s argument of self-defense.
Remember the Rodney King case? An African-American man brutally beaten by Caucasian Police Officers was shown in a video. That man was Rodney King. This video unearthed the rampant racism and brutality that exists in the system. The acquittal of the officers, charged with use of excessive force, brought about massive riots. The riots resulted in 9500 arrests and 50 deaths. Easily the most devastating verdict ever.