O.J. Simpson appeal rejected by Nevada Supreme Court

Ken Ritter
Associated Press

Las Vegas — Imprisoned former football star O.J. Simpson lost his latest appeal of his 2008 kidnapping and armed robbery conviction in Las Vegas.

A three-member Nevada Supreme Court panel rejected Simpson’s request for a new trial, ruling in a 16-page order Thursday that there was no reason to overturn a lower court judge’s decisions in the case.

“We … conclude the district court did not err in denying these claims,” justices Ron Parraguire, Michael Douglas and Michael Cherry said.

Simpson lawyers filed the appeal last October, arguing that Clark County District Court Judge Linda Marie Bell was wrong to deny Simpson a new trial on charges that got Simpson sentenced to 9 to 33 years in a botched hotel room heist.

Simpson lawyers Patricia Palm, Ozzie Fumo and Tom Pitaro argued that his trial attorney mishandled his case and had conflicts of interests.

Palm said Friday they’ll decide their next step after the Nevada Supreme Court rejected the imprisoned former football star’s latest appeal of his 2008 kidnapping and armed robbery conviction.

Palm said she’s trying to talk with Simpson at Lovelock Correctional Center about the Thursday ruling.

The 68-year-old Simpson is serving 9 to 33 years for a botched hotel room heist in 2007.

He’s not eligible for parole until 2017.

Simpson, 68, is serving his sentence in a northern Nevada prison after a jury found him guilty of multiple felonies for leading five other men in a September 2007 confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel. Two of the men with Simpson testified they brought guns, at Simpson’s request.

The Heisman Trophy winner, NFL Hall of Fame member and former television and movie star didn’t testify at his robbery trial in Las Vegas. His attorneys, Yale Galanter and Gabriel Grasso, claimed Simpson was just trying to retrieve items stolen from him after his 1995 acquittal in Los Angeles in the deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.

The Supreme Court in September 2010 rejected a previous Simpson appeal, filed by Galanter.

Simpson’s appeal argued that his multiple convictions and sentences for assault with a deadly weapon and robbery with use of a deadly weapon constitute double-jeopardy; that Galanter 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.

Galanter denied the allegations that he mishandled Simpson’s case and had conflicted interests.

Bell held several days of hearings in May 2013 on Simpson’s claims. Simpson testified, and continued to insist he never knew any of the men with him were carrying guns.

Bell ruled in November 2013 that any errors at trial wouldn’t have changed the outcome of Simpson’s trial, and agreed with prosecutors that there was no need for another trial.

The judge said she reviewed the entire court record and determined there was overwhelming evidence that Simpson orchestrated the armed kidnapping and robbery.

Four men who were with Simpson pleaded guilty before trial to felonies and served probation.

One co-defendant, Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, stood trial with Simpson and was convicted.

Stewart was sentenced to 7½ to 27 years, but his conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court as tainted by Simpson’s fame. Stewart avoided retrial, pleaded guilty to felony robbery and conspiracy, was freed from prison after serving more than two years.