Convictions, acquittals and mistrials -- the notable verdicts of 2016

Court cases can have a lasting impact, not only for the people directly involved, but for the public who follow the story as it develops. Many people still remember where they were and what they were doing when the O.J. Simpson verdict came down in 1995.

2016 also had some high-profile decisions -- some brought closure and others brought more anger.

Major verdicts and decisions of 2016
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Major verdicts and decisions of 2016

Dylann Roof

The man accused of killing nine parishioners inside Mother Emanuel Church in Charleston, South Carolina was found guilty of all 33 counts brought against him.


Brock Turner

Former Stanford University student Brock Turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman near the college's campus. He was sentenced to six months in county jail, but was released after three months.

(Santa Clara County Sheriff's Office/Handout)

Rolling Stone

Rolling Stone magazine, its publisher, and one of its reporters were found liable of defaming a University of Virginia administrator. The trial was centered around a retracted story the magazine published regarding the alleged gang rape of a University of Virginia student by members of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity.

(Photo by Jay Paul/Getty Images)

Hulk Hogan v. Gawker

A jury awarded the former professional wrestler $140 million in a privacy lawsuit against Gawker. Hogan testified during the trial that he was no longer "the same person I was before" following personal setbacks and the humiliation suffered when the online news outlet posted a video of him having sex with a friend's wife.

(REUTERS/Tampa Bay Times/John Pendygraft/Pool)

Hillary Clinton

The FBI recommended that no criminal charges be brought against Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her personal email system. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch accepted that recommendation.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Justin Ross Harris

The Georgia man accused of intentionally leaving his 22-month-old son strapped inside a hot car to die because he wanted to live a child-free life was found guilty of murder.

(REUTERS/Kelly Huff/Pool/File Photo)

Reinhold Hanning

Former Nazi SS officer Reinhold Hanning was convicted of 170,000 counts of accessory to murder. Hanning was sentenced to five years' imprisonment over his role at the Auschwitz camp.

(THISSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Michael Slager

The jury was unable to reach a unanimous decision in the trial of former North Charleston police officer Michael Slager and the judge declared a mistrial. Slager is accused of shooting and killing unarmed black motorist, Walter Scott. 

(REUTERS/Grace Beahm/Post and Courier/Pool)

Erin Andrews

A jury awarded sportscaster Erin Andrews $55 million after she took legal action against the operator of the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University for invasion of privacy after another guest at the hotel took video of her through her hotel room door peep hole.

(Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images)

Hillsborough tragedy

A fresh inquest into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 soccer supporters were crushed to death reached a verdict of unlawful killing.

(Photo by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

Oregon wildlife refuge occupiers 

The leaders of an armed group who took over the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon to protest the federal government's role in governing wild lands were acquitted. Brothers, Ammon (center top) and Ryan Bundy (top left) will still stand trial for a seperate armed standoff in Nevada.

(Multnomah County Sheriff's Office/Handout via Reuters/File Photo)

Kathleen Kane

Pennsylvania's former Attorney General Kathleen Kane was found guilty of all charges in her perjury trial. She was accused of leaking secret grand jury information to a newspaper and lying to cover it up. Kane was sentenced to between 10 and 23 months in prison.

(REUTERS/Dan Gleiter/Pool)

Officers in Freddie Gray case

Three officers were acquitted and the charges against the remaining three were dropped. Freddie Gray suffered a critical neck injury in the back of a police van. The case fueled new anger over police treatment of minorities. 

(REUTERS/Baltimore Police Department/Handout)

The 'Grim Sleeper''

Lonnie David Franklin Jr. was convicted of 10 counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder for the "Grim Sleeper'' killings. Prosecutors say he killed nine women and a teenage girl over more than two decades in the Los Angeles area. He was sentenced to death in August.

(REUTERS/Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/Pool)

Vanderbilt rape case

A Tennessee jury found former Vanderbilt football player Brandon Vandenburg (center) guilty on all counts in connection with the rape of an unconscious female student inside his college dorm room. His teammate, Corey Batey (right) was also found guilty of aggravated rape in the same case. Both men were originally convicted in 2015, but their verdicts were thrown out because a juror hadn't disclosed that he was the victim of sexual assault in the past.

(REUTERS/Metropolitan Nashville Police Department/Handout via Reuters)

Ray Tensing

The jury was unable to reach a verdict for Ray Tensing and an Ohio judge declared a mistrial. The former University of Cincinnati police officer is accused of the shooting death of Samuel Dubose during a routine traffic stop.

(Photo by Mark Lyons/Getty Images)


William 'Bill' Baroni, former deputy executive director of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey and Bridget Anne Kelly, former deputy chief of staff for New Jersey Governor Chris Christie were found guilty on all counts in connection with the George Washington Bridge scandal. They were accused of intentionally causing a traffic gridlock in Fort Lee during morning rush hour for a week in September 2013.

(Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Mike McQueary

A jury awarded the former Penn State assistant coach $7.3 million in a whistleblower lawsuit and the judge added $5 million to that verdict. The jury found that Penn State defamed McQueary. 

(Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)

Johnson & Johnson

A $70 million verdict was reached in a baby powder lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson. A woman alleged the company's baby powder caused her ovarian cancer. 

(REUTERS/Mike Segar/Illustration/File Photo)

Peter Liang

The jury convicted the former New York City Police officer of manslaughter in the shooting death of an unarmed man in the stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project. The judge reduced his conviction to criminally negligent homicide and Liang didn't face any jail time. 

(REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/File photo)

Drew Peterson

Former police sergeant Drew Peterson was convicted for a murder for hire plot. He was found guilty of trying to hire someone to kill the prosecutor who helped convict him in the killing of his third wife, Kathleen Savio. He was sentenced to 40 additional years.

(REUTERS/Will County Sheriff's Office/Handout)

Derrick Rose

The NBA athlete and two other men were found not liable in a sexual assault case.

 (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)


One of the most notable trials was of accused Charleston church massacre suspect, Dylann Roof. It took jurors just two hours to convict the self-declared white supremacist of all 33 counts brought against him. In June of 2015, Roof shot and killed nine black parishioners at Emanuel AME Church while they were attending bible study.

It wasn't the jury's decision, but rather the judge's decision that stirred controversy in the case of an accused sexual assault suspect. Brock Turner was found guilty of sexually assaulting an unconscious woman near the campus of Stanford University. The former college athlete faced up to ten years in prison -- but the judge sentenced him to six months and he was released in three months for good behavior. Widespread outrage shortly after the verdict drew people to criticize the sentence as far too lenient.

Jurys also awarded millions of dollars in several high-profile lawsuits including sportscaster Erin Andrew's and former professional wrestler Hulk Hogan's privacy suits -- as well as a lawsuit filed against Johnson & Johnson over the company's baby powder.

Click through the gallery above to see more decisions from 2016 including the mistrials of two police officers accused of shootings that sparked widespread protests.

By: Lindsay Keeler

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