At 66 years old, Christopher Darden has this physical status:
Darden took and passed the California Bar Exam in the summer of 1980. Four months afterward, he was hired at the National Labor Relations Board in Los Angeles. Looking for a career change, he applied for and was hired for a position with the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office. Darden was initially assigned to the Huntington Park office before moving on to Beverly Hills, and finally moved to the Criminal Courts Building (CCB) in downtown Los Angeles in late 1983.
During his tenure as a prosecutor at the CCB, Darden served in the central trials and hard-core gang units before transferring 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 first met Johnnie Cochran, who represented some victims of alleged police violence. Darden and Cochran became close friends, with Darden seeing Cochran as a mentor figure.
Darden initially 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. After Darden's work on the Cowlings case ended, Clark requested Darden 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 incapacited 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.
Darden was fired after the Simpson case and joined the faculty at California State University, Los Angeles, where he taught undergraduate criminal law. That same year, he was appointed Associate Professor of Law at Southwestern University School of Law. Darden taught and specialized in criminal procedure and trial advocacy.
Darden is a former legal commentator for CNBC, CNN, Court TV, and NBC, and a frequent guest and commentator on CNN, Court TV, and Fox News Network. He has made guest appearances on Touched by an Angel, Girlfriends, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, The Howard Stern Show, Muppets Tonight, Roseanne, the movie Liar Liar (uncredited), and the TV movie One Hot Summer Night (in which he plays a disgruntled policeman). 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 (1999), LA Justice (2000), and The Last Defense (2002).
He appeared on the cover of Newsweek in 1996 with an article "My Case Against O.J.", which addressed his involvement and prosecution of Simpson.
Darden left the law school in 1999 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.
In an interview by Oprah Winfrey that aired February 9, 2006, Darden stated that he still believed Simpson was guilty. He added that he was nearly as disgusted with the perjury of Mark Fuhrman as by the murders of Goldman and Simpson.
On September 6, 2012, Darden accused deceased Simpson defense lawyer Johnnie Cochran of "'manipulating' one of the infamous gloves", a claim Alan Dershowitz has called "a total fabrication", saying, "the defense doesn't get access to evidence except under controlled circumstances."
Darden represented Eric Ronald Holder, Jr. in his arraignment on April 4, 2019. Darden entered a not guilty plea on behalf of Holder, who is accused of murdering Nipsey Hussle. Darden dropped out of the case May 10, the same day as the court date. Darden received multiple death threats for representing Holder.
As of April 2020, Darden is representing a man accused of pulling a knife on a television crew at a COVID-19 anti-lockdown protest rally in Huntington Beach and forcing them to delete footage.
It was reported in August 2020 that Darden would represent Corey Walker, the alleged killer of rapper Pop Smoke.
- In 1998, Darden received the Crystal Heart Award from Loved Ones of Homicide Victims, an organization devoted to aiding families that have suffered the loss of loved ones as a result of violence.
- In 2000, he was recognized as "Humanitarian of the Year" by Eli Horne, a California shelter for abused children and women.