Anyone born in the 1950s remembers two things: where they were when Kennedy was shot and who they were with when O.J. Simpson was found ‘not guilty’ at 10:07 a.m. PDT on October 3, 1995
While experts and conspiracy theorists still debate who shot Kennedy in Dallas, Simpson is back in the news.
There’s nothing less than his freedom at stake.
Simpson, onetime football star, television spokesman and now inmate #1027820 will find the odds in his favor Thursday when he goes before the Nevada State Parole Board. The board has the power to turn Simpson loose or make him serve another 8-years of his sentence.
Simpson, 70, will have his legacy working for him along with a spotless file while locked up, something that he didn’t have before he landed in prison for armed robbery and attack with a weapon.
Attorneys for Simpson are not expecting anyone to be anti-release. His victim and the previous prosecutor who convicted him in 2008 both support Simpson gaining his freedom.
“Assuming he’s kept his nose clean in behind bars, I don’t think his parole will be a problem,” said Nicholas Wooldridge, a prominent Las Vegas criminal defense attorney.
The four men who joined Simpson in retrieving sports memorabilia and Simpson’s personal items worked out plea deals and never saw the inside of a prison.
Two testified they had guns, and another was sentenced and spent just over two-years in prison before Nevada’s Supreme Court ordered that Simpson’s fame influenced the jury. Simpson’s sentence was sustained.
Simpson has seen a fall from grace as he went from football star, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and moved actor. Even before the 1995 ‘trial of the century’, Simpson was famous.
Simpson is scheduled to go before the parole board by a closed circuit from Lovelock Correctional Center. He will be interrogated b four administrators in Carson City — two hours away.
Two other board members will observe the public hearing. ‘Evidence’ to be presented will be a prepared parole hearing record and worksheets which favor Simpson. The board intends to make its decision know immediately.
The board will consider Simpson’s age, any violent convictions, and prior criminal record as well as his plans for life-after-release.
Nevada’s prisons hold over 13,000 prisoners, and the Board of Parole averages over 8,000 annual hears. The percentage of prisoners paroled in discretionary hearings averages 82%.
The same board members who will meet Thursday have a history with Simpson. They granted him parole in July 2013, on some charges, which stemmed from the 2007 confrontation. The board’s determination left Simpson with four years to complete before his minimum time behind bars was served.
In prison, Simpson heads a prayer group, guides inmates, operates the gym and trains sports teams.
One of the 15 people expected to be with Simpson in a prison conference room is Andy Caldwell, a retired police investigator. Caldwell investigated the Simpson case and is now a minister in Lyons, Oregon.
“I don’t want to give an opinion,” said Caldwell. “I’m just curious to see how it unfolds.”
Wooldridge, who has followed the case, but has not represented Simpson, said any other person in a similar situation would have gotten probation, not prison.
“I think he spent more than enough time in prison for a robbery in which he didn’t even have a gun,” Wooldridge said.