O.J. Simpson’s murder trial has weakened Americans’ respect for the criminal justice system, according to an opinion poll released Sunday by the American Bar Association.
Of those people surveyed last month, 45 percent said the continuing trial has caused them to lose respect for the justice system.
Only 28 percent of the people who responded to an ABA poll taken last July, when the Simpson case was still in its pretrial stages, gave that response.
Both polls on the effects of the Simpson case on public perceptions were conducted for the ABA Journal by the Gallup organization. The new poll was conducted April 10-14.
“We take these concerns seriously,” ABA President-elect Roberta Cooper Ramo said of the latest poll’s findings. “It is critical to our democracy that the American people have faith in the integrity of the justice system.”
In last year’s poll, 26 percent of the respondents said they had lost respect for defense lawyers. That figure grew to 41 percent in the April poll.
The percentage of those who said the Simpson case has caused them to lose respect for prosecuting attorneys remained about the same - 21 percent in July, 24 percent in April.
In both polls, 56 percent of those asked said they had lost respect for the news media.