O.J. Simpson faces good chance at parole in Las Vegas burglary

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Ethan Miller/ AP O.J. Simpson and his defense lawyer Ozzie Fumo confer during an evidentiary hearing for Simpson in Clark County District Court on Might 17, 2013, in Las Vegas.

Monday, July 17, 2017|9:20 a.m.

O.J. Simpson, the former football star, TV pitchman and now Nevada jail prisoner No. 1027820, will have a lot opting for him when he asks state parole board members today to release him after serving more than 8 years for an unfortunate quote to obtain sports souvenirs.

Now 70, Simpson will have history in his favor and a clean record behind bars as he approaches the nine-year minimum of his 33-year sentence for heist and assault with a weapon. Plus, the parole board sided with him when previously.

Nobody at his Thursday hearing is expected to oppose releasing him in October– not his victim, not even the former district attorney who persuaded a jury in Las Vegas to found guilty Simpson in 2008.

“Assuming that he’s behaved himself in jail, I don’t believe it will be out of line for him to obtain parole,” stated David Roger, the retired Clark County district attorney.

Four other guys who chose Simpson to a hotel room to obtain from two memorabilia dealers sports collectibles and individual products that the former football star said belonged to him took plea handle the break-in and got probation.

Two of those men affirmed that they brought guns. Another who stood trial with Simpson was founded guilty and served 27 months before the Nevada Supreme Court ruled that Simpson’s popularity polluted the jury. Simpson’s conviction was maintained.

Prison life was a stunning fall for a charismatic star whose storybook profession as an electrifying running back called “The Juice” won him the Heisman Prize as the very best college player in 1968 and a location in the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985.

He became a sports analyst, Hollywood motion picture star, cars and truck rental business spokesman and among the world’s most well-known people even prior to his Los Angeles “trial of the century,” when he was acquitted in the killings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her buddy Ronald Goldman.

Simpson, appeared grayer and heavier than the majority of remembered him when he was last seen, four years ago.

He will appear Thursday by videoconference from the Lovelock Correctional Center, to be quizzed by four state parole commissioners in Carson City, a two-hour drive away.

2 other members of the board will keep an eye on the hearing, stated David Smith, a parole hearing examiner.

The commissioners will have a parole hearing report that has actually not been revealed, plus guidelines and worksheets that would appear to prefer Simpson. It prepares to make its written threat evaluation public after a choice.

They will consider his age, whether his conviction was for a violent criminal offense (it was), his previous criminal history (he had none) and his plans after release, Smith said.

Nevada has about 13,500 prison prisoners, and the governor-appointed Board of Parole Commissioners has averaged about 8,300 annual hearings for the previous 4 years. The rate of inmates who are granted parole in discretionary hearings held as they approach their minimum sentence, like Simpson’s, averages about 82 percent.

The same 4 board members also have experience with Simpson, having actually approved him parole in July 2013 on some charges– kidnapping, burglary and break-in– coming from the 2007 armed fight. The board’s decision left Simpson with 4 years to serve prior to reaching his minimum time behind bars.

Board members Connie Bisbee, Tony Corda, Adam Endel and Susan Jackson kept in mind at the time that Simpson had a “positive institutional record,” without any disciplinary actions behind bars.

Simpson’s legal representative, good friends and prison officials state that hasn’t altered.

“He’s truly been a favorable force in there. He’s done a great deal of helpful for a lot of individuals,” said Tom Scotto, a good friend from Florida whose wedding event Simpson remained in Las Vegas to attend the weekend of the burglary.

Scotto stated he checks out or talks with Simpson every few months.

Simpson leads a Baptist prayer group, mentors inmates, operates in the gym, coaches sports groups and works as commissioner of the prison lawn softball league, Scotto stated.

Scotto will be amongst the 15 people with Simpson in a little conference room at the jail, together with Simpson’s legal representative, Malcolm LaVergne, daughter Arnelle Simpson and sister Shirley Baker.

A parole case worker, two prison guards and a little pool of media also were anticipated, along with Andy Caldwell, a retired Las Vegas authorities detective who examined the Simpson case, and Bruce Fromong, one of the souvenirs dealers who was robbed.

“I do not wish to offer an opinion,” said Caldwell, now a Christian minister in Lyons, Oregon. “I’m just curious to see how whatever unfolds.”

Fromong said he will participate in as a victim of the crime but will be “aiming to benefit O.J.” He stated he suffered 4 heart attacks and extreme financial losses as a result of the robbery however later on forgave Simpson.

The other antiques broker, Alfred Beardsley, passed away in 2015.

In a nod to Simpson’s celebrity, officials will let the proceedings be streamed live, and the board prepares a same-day ruling. A decision usually takes several days.

Laurie Levenson, a Loyola Law School teacher and longtime Simpson case analyst, predicted a “tsunami” of spotlight if Simpson wins release.

“If this is the ordinary case, he will be paroled,” Levenson said. “But O.J. is never the common case.”

Al Lasso, a Las Vegas defense attorney who has followed the case but does not represent Simpson, said any other offender in a similar case most likely would have gotten probation, not prison.

“I think he invested ample time in prison for a burglary where he didn’t even have a gun himself,” Lasso stated.

But Michael Shapiro, a New york city defense attorney who offered commentary during Simpson’s conviction in Las Vegas in 2008 and his acquittal in Los Angeles in 1995, stated liberty was no certainty.

“The judge thought he got away with murder,” Shapiro said. “That’s the elephant in the space. If the parole authorities feel the very same method, he could be in difficulty.”

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