How Many Times Has O.J. Simpson Been Arrested? He's Had Many Legal Troubles
It feels like Ryan Murphy's riveting series The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story just concluded — but there's already a new Simpson-focused series. Unlike American Crime Story, which was scripted and focused solely on what's considered the "trial of the century," the ESPN documentary series O.J.: Made In America will explore Simpson's life before the trial and gives a glimpse at what it's like now. As many people know, the former football star is currently in prison for a 2007 armed robbery — but how many times has O.J. Simpson been arrested?
Simpson was famously arrested, tried, and acquitted for the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman — but it wasn't his first brush with the law. Simpson had a troubled legal history that dated back to his teenage years. Although it appeared that he temporarily got on the right track, a series of domestic violence allegations culminated in a 1989 arrest. After he was found not guilty for both murders in the trial of the century, Simpson had several minor brushes with the law before his arrest in Las Vegas that landed him in prison.
Simpson has been arrested a total of six times — here's a chronological look at his record:
Although the details are vague, The Los Angeles Times reported that Simpson was arrested at age 16. According to Simpson himself it was for "fighting," while friends claim the arrest was for stealing beer. Simpson spent the weekend in a juvenile detention center. Upon his release, Simpson was visited by his idol, Willie Mays, who helped troubled children and teenagers. The L.A. Times quoted Simpson as saying the visit from Mays got him back on track and motivated him: "A lot of people thought I was good and I realized I could be this guy. I could be Willie Mays... I don't think I got in any real trouble from that point on. I got a little more focused."
Jan. 1, 1989
According to The Los Angeles Times, Simpson was arrested for spousal battery of Nicole Brown Simpson on Jan. 1, 1989. The outlet reported that she was hospitalized after the incident — and it wasn't the first time police had been called to the couple's residence. They quoted Simpson as telling two officers: "The police have been out here eight times before, and now you're going to arrest me for this?" According to officers, Brown Simpson repeatedly claimed to them: "You never do anything about him. You talk to him and then leave." Although both Simpson and Brown Simpson stated that police had been called multiple times due to domestic violence, the January incident marked Simpson's first arrest for spousal abuse.
Four months later, Simpson was sentenced to 120 hours of community service and two years probation, as reported by The New York Times. According to the outlet, Deputy City Attorney Robert Pingle had requested that Simpson spend 30 days in jail and "undergo an intensive yearlong program for men who batter their wives." Neither of these things happened and Simpson began private counseling with a psychiatrist of his choice.
June 17, 1994
Five days after the murders of Brown Simpson and Goldman, Simpson was arrested for first degree murder. As reported by The Los Angeles Times, it was no ordinary arrest — LAPD officials called Simpson's attorney, Robert Shapiro, at 8:30 a.m. and asked him to surrender his client by 11:00 a.m. When he failed to surrender, the LAPD declared Simpson a fugitive. He had fled with his friend and football teammate, Al Cowlings, in a Ford Bronco — and he'd left what appeared to be a suicide note, which was read aloud by Robert Kardashian during an afternoon press conference.
Shortly before 6 p.m., Simpson made a 911 call from his cell phone and the infamous white Bronco chase began. The CHP pursued him for two hours before Simpson returned to his home at 7:57 p.m. He was taken into custody less than an hour later. The nation was riveted by the Bronco chase and the lengthy murder trial. On Oct. 3, 1995, Simpson was acquitted of both murders.
Dec. 5, 2000
According to The New York Times, Simpson was arrested on Dec. 5, 2000 for a road rage incident. The outlet reported that Jeffrey Pattinson accused Simpson of tearing his glasses off his face and reaching into his car during an argument between the two. Simpson could have been sentenced to a maximum of 16 years in prison for "felony auto burglary and misdemeanor battery," but a jury acquitted him of all charges on Oct. 24, 2001.
July 4, 2002
The Orlando Sentinel reported that Simpson was arrested on July 4, 2002 for speeding on his powerboat through a manatee zone. The case wrapped up in November when Simpson paid a $130 fine for the incident.
Sept. 16, 2007
CBS News reported that Simpson was arrested at The Palms in Las Vegas on Sept. 16, 2007. He was charged with armed robbery, assault, and conspiracy and held without bail. According to The New York Times, Simpson was convicted of 12 felonies stemming from the incident in which he and a group of men stole thousands of dollars worth of sports memorabilia, which Simpson claimed had been stolen from him. In December 2008, Simpson was sentenced to up to 33 years in prison — but he'll be eligible for parole in October 2017.
Simpson has a long history of legal troubles and with 7.5 hours of information, O.J.: Made In America will touch on more of these instances than solely the murders of Brown Simpson and Goldman.