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Lawyer: Simpson almost certain to receive parole

Nevada board set to hear and rule on case Thursday

- Josh Peter @ joshlpeter­11 USA TODAY Sports

O. J. Simpson, who has been behind bars in a Nevada prison for almost nine years, is eligible for parole Thursday, and one of his former attorneys thinks it is all but a forgone conclusion that the former football star will be set free Oct. 1.

“He’s going to get parole” said Yale Galanter, who represente­d Simpson during the 2008 trial in which Simpson was found guilty of 12 counts, including robbery and kidnapping, and sentenced to nine years minimum and 33 years maximum. “Parole in the state of Nevada is really based on how you behave in prison, and by all accounts he’s been a model prisoner.

“There are no absolutes any time you’re dealing with administra­tive boards, but this is as close to a non- personal decision as you can get.”

Four members from the Nevada Board of Parole Commission­ers will consider parole for Simpson at the board offices in Carson City, Nev., with the proceeding­s set to begin Thursday at 1 p. m. ET.

Simpson, 70, will participat­e by video conference from about 100 miles away at Lovelock Correction­al Center, where he has been imprisoned since December 2008.

Parole is largely determined by a point system, and how the commission­ers feel about Simpson — or his acquittal on charges of murder in the deaths of his exwife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and Ron Goldman — can have no impact on parole, according to Galanter.

“It really is based on points,” he said. “How long have you served, what your disciplina­ry record is, what the likelihood of committing another crime is, their age, the facts and the circumstan­ces of the case.”

The parole board has rejected the idea that Simpson could be facing more conservati­ve commission­ers because he’s imprisoned in northern Nevada. In a statement published on its website, the parole board said all commission­ers use the same risk assessment and guidelines, adding, “There is no evidence that the board is aware of that indicates that one location has panel members who are more conservati­ve or liberal than the other location.’’

Brooke Keast, a spokeswoma­n for the Nevada Department of Correction­s, told USA TODAY Sports that Simpson’s disciplina­ry record is not available to the public and that prison officials do not comment on inmates’ behavior. But a parole hearing in 2013 bodes well for Simpson, according to Galanter.

Simpson, with the help of several other men, broke into a Las Vegas hotel room Sept. 13, 2007, and stole at gunpoint sports memorabili­a that he said to be- longed to him. More than a year later, Oct. 8, 2008, he was found guilty by a jury on all 12 charges.

He was granted parole in 2013 on the armed robbery conviction­s. Galanter called that “the clearest indicator” Simpson will be granted parole on the remaining counts Thursday.

Simpson is being considered for parole for kidnapping, robbery, assault with a deadly weapon and the use of a deadly weapon enhancemen­t.

“It’s a fairly routine administra­tive matter,” the attorney said. “It’s more like, ‘ Mr. Simpson, you’ve been a model prisoner, you have the points, congratula­tions, do you have anything to say, thank you very much, granted, Oct. 1.’ ”

Yet, it won’t exactly be routine. The parole board, for example, has said it will issue a decision Thursday to minimize distractio­ns. The results of some hearings, by contrast, take three weeks to reach the inmate.

“The media interest in this one case is a disruption to our operation,” the parole board said in its statement. “A decision ( on Simpson) is being made at the time of the hearing so that the board’s operation can return to normal as soon as possible after the hearing.”

A simply majority of four commission­ers will lead to Simpson being granted or denied parole.

If the four commission­ers at the hearing are not in agreement, two additional commission­ers will participat­e from Las Vegas by phone or video conference.

If the six votes are split, a subsequent parole hearing will be held in January 2018.

Simpson would have an opportunit­y to address the board by video conference as he did during the 2013 hearing.

If Simpson is paroled, he would be released Oct. 1.

“In terms of what he does with the rest of his life,” Galanter said, “if he was sitting next to me I’d say, ‘ Listen, be thankful you got out in nine years. Go live in some small, quaint little golf community, stay under the radar, don’t attract any attention and spend as much time as you can with your family and your friends with whatever time you have left on the planet and just don’t cause any trouble.’ ”

 ?? JULIE JACOBSON, AP ?? O. J. Simpson, shown in Clark County ( Nev.) District Court in 2013, will appear before a parole board via video conference Thursday in hopes of being released from prison.
JULIE JACOBSON, AP O. J. Simpson, shown in Clark County ( Nev.) District Court in 2013, will appear before a parole board via video conference Thursday in hopes of being released from prison.

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