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A Look at Some of the Biggest Criminal Justice Trials

While there are countless criminal justice trials occurring each and every day, only the most notable catch the eye of the public. Some of the most high-profile and odd cases become major fixtures in the public spotlight, dominating media coverage for weeks or months on end. The fascination of people with the presumed innocence or guilt of various individuals is never-ending and makes for plenty of interesting water-cooler discussions. Which high-profile criminal justice trials have been the most notable in recent years? Let's discuss a few of them below and reminisce on the details.

O.J. Simpson

One of the biggest and most high-profile criminal justice cases of the 20th century, the trial of O.J. Simpson is a subject that still garners controversy to this day. One of the reasons why it became such a sensational court case was due to the fact that Simpson was himself a celebrity. A famous athlete and movie star, the suspense and thrill of the proceedings captivated millions of people from all over the world. Most people recall vividly the helicopter footage of Simpson's Ford Bronco speeding down the Los Angeles interstate, and many remember all of the late-night jokes and sketches that originated from the trial. The interest in the case undoubtedly led to an increase in students pursuing bachelors and masters in criminal justice due to so many aspects of the profession being visible through months of coverage.

Michael Jackson

Back in 2004, the world watched as the drama surrounding the Michael Jackson case began to unfold. Accused of child molestation, part of what made the Michael Jackson case so interesting was because previous allegations – which later fell apart in court – had been made. His world status as a pop icon ensured that 24-hour coverage of the event spanned the airwaves for weeks at a time. Various reports from search engine analysis showed that more internet searches were generated during the Michael Jackson case than for any other court case in history. Ultimately, Michael Jackson was acquitted of the charges but his life would never be the same again.

Saddam Hussein

While not an American trial specifically, the coverage of the Saddam Hussein court trial garnered ample attention from all over the country. After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Saddam Hussein went into hiding. He was found less than a year later and brought to trial shortly thereafter. The proceedings lasted three years with a guilty verdict ultimately reached. Many online masters in criminal justice and other experts pointed to numerous examples of the proceedings being illegitimate and ultimately a show-trial. Hussein was inevitably hanged, with video footage of the execution being leaked to the press.

While there are dozens upon dozens of memorable criminal justice cases in the hearts and minds of the public, most draw attention for a couple of reasons: they must involve either somebody famous or an absolutely heinous act. These three cases are prime examples of that, but we'd love for you to share with us the court cases you remember the most.