O.J. Simpson’s appeal in hands of Nevada Supreme Court
O.J. Simpson’s appeal for release from a Nevada prison is now in the hands of the state Supreme Court.
Simpson lawyers argued in a final brief to the Nevada high court that a lower court judge was wrong to deny the former football star a new trial in his 2008 kidnapping and armed robbery conviction for a hotel room heist in Las Vegas.
The filing, submitted Friday, came after Clark County prosecutors submitted documents Sept. 24 saying there was no need for another trial.
The Supreme Court could decide to hear oral arguments, or they could issue a ruling based on the written filings that have been submitted. The court usually hears oral arguments in fewer than 100 of the 2,400 new cases it receives per year. A decision in the Simpson case wasn’t immediately expected.
Simpson attorneys Patricia Palm, Ozzie Fumo and Tom Pitaro argue the former football star was wrongly convicted because his trial lawyer, Yale Galanter, botched his case and had conflicted interests. Galanter also handled a previous Simpson appeal that the state Supreme Court denied in 2010.
Galanter denies any conflict existed.
Both Palm and Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson declined comment Monday.
Simpson is now 67. He’s serving nine to 33 years in a northern Nevada prison after a jury found him guilty of multiple felony charges for leading a group of men in a September 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel. Two of the men testified they brought guns, at Simpson’s request.
Simpson didn’t testify at trial, but claimed he was trying to retrieve items that had been stolen from him after his 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles in the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife and her friend.
He testified in May 2013, when Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell heard his claims of ineffective counsel, that he never knew any of the men with him were carrying guns.
His lawyers now argue that his trial would have had a different outcome if the issues raised now had been raised then.
They argue that Simpson’s multiple convictions and sentences for assault with a deadly weapon and robbery with use of a deadly weapon constitute double-jeopardy; that his lawyer should have challenged his multiple convictions and punishments; and that the jury should have been given a chance to consider lesser kidnapping and theft offenses when they deliberated.
Bell decided last November the evidence against Simpson was overwhelming, and that any errors at trial wouldn’t have changed the outcome of his trial.
Simpson isn’t eligible for parole until 2017.