Christopher Allen Darden, a renowned American lawyer, author, actor, and lecturer, was born on April 7, 1956, in Richmond, California.
He is the fourth child of eight siblings. Darden completed his high school education at John F. Kennedy High School in 1974, and then he attended San Jose State University, where he studied criminal justice administration and participated in track and field.
He graduated with a B.S. degree in 1977. After that, Darden went to the University of California, Hastings, where he earned his Juris Doctor degree in 1980.
In the summer of 1980, Darden passed the California Bar Exam and then got a job with the National Labor Relations Board in Los Angeles.
After four months, he applied to work for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office and was given a job. Initially, Darden was assigned to work at the Huntington Park office before moving on to Beverly Hills.
In late 1983, he moved to the Criminal Courts Building (CCB) in downtown Los Angeles.
Darden worked as a prosecutor at the CCB and served in the central trials and hard-core gang units. He later transferred to the Special Investigation Division (SID), which investigates criminal activity by public and law enforcement officials, in February 1988.
It was in this position that Darden met Johnnie Cochran, a prominent attorney who represented some victims of alleged police violence. Darden and Cochran became close friends, with Darden seeing Cochran as a mentor figure.
Darden became involved in the O. J. Simpson murder case after being asked by Deputy District Attorneys Marcia Clark and William Hodgman to lead the prosecution of Al Cowlings, Simpson’s friend and the driver of the white Ford Bronco during the infamous car chase.
Later on, Clark asked Darden to join the Simpson team as case manager since she and Hodgman were bogged down by various motions and filings from the defense. Darden was also tasked by Clark to prepare the prosecution’s witnesses for testimony, including preparing testimony for key witness Detective Mark Fuhrman.
After Hodgman was incapacitated by stress-related illness in the courtroom shortly before opening statements, Darden was named co-prosecutor.
Darden’s friendship with Cochran, who was a prominent figure on Simpson’s defense team, became heavily strained due to their clashing positions regarding the inclusion of racism in the case. Simpson was ultimately acquitted.
After the Simpson case, Darden was fired from the DA’s office and started teaching undergraduate criminal law at California State University, Los Angeles.
The same year, he was appointed associate professor of law at Southwestern University School of Law, where he specialized in criminal procedure and trial advocacy.
He was a former legal commentator for CNBC, CNN, Court TV, and NBC, and also a frequent guest and commentator on CNN, Court TV, and Fox News Network. Darden also became an actor and made guest appearances on many TV shows and movies.
He is the former principal attorney in the syndicated legal show Power of Attorney.
Darden is also a writer. In addition to In Contempt, which chronicles his experiences with the Simpson trial, he co-authored (with Dick Lochte) a number of crime novels, including The Trials of Nikki Hill, LA Justice, and The Last Defense.
In 1999, Darden left the law school and started his own firm, Darden & Associates, Inc., specializing in criminal defense and civil litigation. In December 2007, he was considered for a judgeship by California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.