Nevada Supreme Court upholds O.J. Simpson conviction
October 23, 2010
The Nevada Supreme Court on Friday rejected O.J.Simpson’s appeal that his conspiracy, kidnapping and robbery conviction was the result of judicial prejudice and prosecutorial misconduct.
He was convicted by a Las Vegas jury in connection with an armed confrontation in a Strip hotel in which he was trying to reclaim property he said belonged to him. Simpson was sentenced to a total of 33 years in prison with parole possible after nine years. He is serving time in Lovelock Correctional Center.
His lawyers argued there were numerous errors during the trial which violated the former football star’s rights to due process and a fair trial.
Those included the elimination of two African American jurors, witness intimidation and limiting his right to cross-examine a key witness. The appeal also complained that his lawyers weren’t allowed to question potential jurors about his highly publicized trial for murder in the deaths of his ex-wife Nicole and a male friend.
The order says lawyers were allowed to ask general questions about that case, in which Simpson was acquitted, and whether the potential jurors could put aside any feelings about the outcome of that trial. But the court supported the district court’s decision not to allow defense counsel to ask why and how they disagreed with the California case because “it did not want to re-litigate those cases.”
The high court panel also rejected claims that District Judge Jackie Glass prejudiced the jury against Simpson, citing among other reasons that Simpson’s lawyers didn’t object to the rulings they claim were prejudicial at the time. Most of those instances consisted of warnings by the judge to lawyers in the case on both sides for their conduct.
“The district court had, at any given moment, multiple attorneys speaking over one another,” the justices noted. “The record is peppered with instances of the district court attempting to maintain control of the courtroom by saying ‘stop’ or ‘sit down’ or ordering the parties to behave in a professional manner.”
The court also rejected the defense challenge of the robbery conviction, pointing out that robbery in Nevada is the unlawful taking of property by force or fear or violence and that a belief the property belongs to the defendant is not a defense.
Finally, the court rejected the challenge to Simpson’s kidnapping conviction pointing out that Simpson and his co-defendants lured the victims to the Palace Station Hotel under the false pretense of purchasing Simpson’s memorabilia and that they wouldn’t have been there otherwise – which they concluded supports the kidnapping charge.
“We conclude that all of Simpson’s arguments on appeal are without merit,” the high court panel of Michael Cherry, Nancy Saitta and Mark Gibbons wrote.
Simpson’s lawyers are expected to ask for a review of the case by the full seven-member Supreme Court.