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Friday, April 14, 2017

Crime Scene Investigation Mistakes in the O. J. Simpson Case

     The [Los Angeles] police contaminated the crime scene by covering the bodies with a blanket from Nicole Brown's home, casting doubt on all the hair and fiber evidence they claimed to have recovered later.

     The bodies of the victims [Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman] were dragged around the crime scene before hair and fiber samples were taken from their clothing.

     The police failed to notify the coroner's office in a timely fashion, as required by Los Angeles Police Department procedure.

     The LAPD sent to the crime scene [criminalistics] trainee, Andrea Mazzola, who collected blood samples along with [criminalist] Dennis Fung. Mazzola had never before had primary responsibility for collecting blood evidence from a crime scene. [At the Simpson trial, Dennis Fung turned out to be a huge embarrassment for the prosecution.]

     Detective Vannatter carried around O. J. Simpson's blood in a vial in an unsealed envelope for three hours and went for a cup of coffee before booking it [into evidence]. This would allow the defense to argue that 1.5 cc's of blood could not be accounted for by the prosecution. [A serious chain of custody mistake.]

     The criminologists [actually they're called criminalists] failed to find blood on the back gate and socks (if blood was, in fact, there) during the original investigation and only found it several weeks after Simpson's blood sample had been taken and carried around by Vannatter.

     The criminalists did not count the blood samples when they collected them, did not count them when they were put in tubes for drying, and did not count them when they were taken out of the tubes. No documented booking of samples occurred until June 16. [The murders were committed shortly after midnight on June 13, 1994.]

     [While these are serious and stupid crime scene blunders, I believe the totality of the physical evidence in the Simpson case was sufficient to support a conviction. For all we know, even if these mistakes had not been made, the jury may have acquitted Simpson anyway.]

Alan M. Dershowitz, The Criminal Justice System and the O. J. Simpson Case, 1996

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