In addition to the decree of proof needed in a criminal versus a civil case, there were political issues surrounding the criminal trial of OJ that many think affected the criminal verdict.
They included where the trial should take place. The District Attorney at the time chose to conduct the trial in the main courthouse in downtown Los Angeles rather than Santa Monica which had dramatic effects on the jury pool.
Los Angeles is huge geographically. It is about 50 miles east to west and 60 miles from north to south. There are over 20 district courthouses. Criminal trials can take place in central courthouse in downtown Los Angeles or the district court where the crime took place. Ms. Brown's home was in West Los Angeles. Her district courthouse was in Santa Monica., the beach town of Bay Watch fame. The west side of Los Angeles County is heavy white with many wealthy communities such as Beverly Hills and Bel Aire where OJ had his home. The central district downtown had a jury pool of lower income and more diverse people.
The jury consisted of 9 blacks, 1 hispanic and 2 whites. It had 10 women and 2 men with 2 college graduates. Johnny Corcoran, the main defense attorney, exploited the long history of problems between the LAPD and the minority community to influence the testimony of police investigators. If the trial had been conducted in Santa Monica, this strategy would not have been possible.
The other big issue was DNA testing. We are so comfortable with it now thanks to CSI but it was very new back then and OJ got the 2 best attorneys in the country to help him dispute the testing results. The assistant district attorney who was originally scheduled to try the case, an expert on DNA, got sick. Marcia Wallace and Chris Darnan were less experienced and were not able to overcome the work of those two men.
Distrust of the police and poor presentation of DNA were the two issues that gave jury members doubt over OJ's guilt.
The civil case was in the suburban Santa Clarita courthouse in the northern edge of the county. It was an area where many police officers lived at that time and was mainly white in composition. As the previous writer said, the burden of proof is less. OJ did not have all those big guns this time around and there was sympathy for Mr. Gold's family as he was in the wrong place at the wrong time.