Heroes and villains are made in the media and court trials have a way of dividing America. They serve as entertainment as the public roots for or against defendants. Controversial cases always make for controversial verdicts; and we’ve seen many in the last 20 years. Here’s a list of the top 5 most controversial court verdicts of all time.
5. Casey Anthony
Casey Anthony was accused of killing her 2-year-old daughter in Orlando, Florida. The trial had lasted for six weeks and attracted a ton of media attention. Anthony would later be found not guilty of murdering her daughter due to reasonable doubt.
4. Sean Bell Trial
After Sean Bell was killed outside of a club in Queens, New York. Three officers were later charged of shooting into a vehicle full of unarmed men which consisted of 50 shots. The policemen chose to have the verdict chosen by a judge and a jury and were found not guilty of all charges.
3. OJ Simpson
He was charged with killing his wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, outside his house in Brentwood, California. Also, many called this as “trial of the century.” OJ would be found not guilty of murder and the reaction to the verdict would cause racial tension.
2. Rodney King
In 1991, a bystander recorded several police officers brutally beating Rodney King. Sergeant Stacey Koon and officers Laurence Powell, Timothy Wind, Theodore Briseno, and Rolando Solano were charged with using excessive force. The trial was transferred from Los Angeles to the mostly white and conservative Simi Valley, where they were found not guilty despite the video evidence.
1. Grant Verdict
On New Years eve 2009, Bay Area Transit Officer Johannes Mehserle, was recorded killing unarmed “Oscar Grant”. Mehserle would be found not guilty of both second-degree murder and voluntary manslaughter charges, but found guilty of involuntary manslaughter. He wound up being sentenced to two years in prison — but only served one — and was recently release to much anger from many across the country.