Domestic Violence Awareness after Nicole Brown Simpson

Nicole Brown was an 18-year old waitress in 1977 when she met football superstar Orenthal James “OJ” Simpson. He was married at the time, but they began a relationship. Simpson divorced his wife in 1979 and continued his relationship with Brown. He married her in 1985. They had two children from their marriage. In 1992, Brown filed for divorce citing California’s “irreconcilable differences.” The divorce was granted. During the marriage Simpson was investigated many times for alleged domestic abuse against Brown. He pleaded no contest to misdemeanor spousal abuse in 1989. In 1993, Brown called 9-1-1 crying and saying, “He [Simpson] is going to beat the s**t out of me.”

On June 13, 1994, Brown was murdered at her home. The autopsy report stated: “[Brown] had been stabbed seven times in the neck and scalp, and had a 5.5-inch-long (140 mm) gash across her throat, which had severed both her left and right carotid arteries breached her right and left jugular veins. The wound on Brown's neck was so severe it had penetrated a depth of 0.75 inches (19 mm) into her cervical vertebrae, nearly decapitating her. She also had defensive wounds on her hands…” Simpson was criminally charged and tried for her murder but was found not guilty. Brown’s family filed a civil suit against Simpson and he was found liable for Brown’s wrongful death.

Brown’s story was a rallying cry for women suffering from domestic abuse and no societal help in preventing it. The brutality of her death and the domestic abuse that preceded caused people to demand the laws be changed. And they were.

Today, in California (as well as many other states), a conviction for domestic violence has numerous consequences including:

Criminal Penalties: Include jail or prison time; protective orders against the perpetrator; community service obligations; and court fines.

Loss of Job Opportunities: Most employers in today’s economy do background checks on their potential employees. A conviction for domestic violence almost automatically prevents an employer from hiring that individual. Employers have a legal obligation to protect the health and safety of their employees. Hiring convicted violent offenders will subject those employees to possible future harm, and if so, the employer can be held liable for the harm to those employees.

Immigration Consequences: There are negative effects for those who are not United States citizens. In many cases these convictions will subject them to immediate deportation. Crimes of domestic violence are considered crimes of moral turpitude and can lead to deportation, exclusion from admission and denial of naturalization for non-citizens.

Other Possible Consequences: Those convicted of domestic violence abuse will not be allowed to possess/own weapons. If the abuser is a police officer, he/she will lose his/her job because carrying weapons is part of the job.

If children were involved in the relationship, the convicted abuser will have his/her interactions curtailed with those children to protect the children and the victim.

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