By Alex Dobuzinskis
(Reuters) – O.J. Simpson’s request for a new trial was denied by a Nevada judge on Tuesday, leaving intact the football great’s 2008 conviction on robbery, kidnapping and other charges that landed him in prison at least until 2017, his attorney said.
Simpson, at a hearing in May before Clark County District Judge Linda Bell, sought a new trial on the grounds that his then-defense attorney Yale Galanter mishandled the 2008 trial.
A Pro Football Hall of Fame running back who played for the Buffalo Bills team, Simpson was acquitted in 1995 of two counts of murder in the stabbing and slashing deaths in Los Angeles of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman. He later lost a wrongful death case that was brought by the victims’ families.
In 2008, Simpson was sentenced to up to 33 years in prison in a Las Vegas trial related to his role in the robbery the year before of two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas hotel. Simpson, 66, is imprisoned at Lovelock Correctional Center.
Bell, in a ruling released on Tuesday, denied Simpson’s arguments that he was inadequately represented at his 2008 trial, said Simpson’s attorney, Patricia Palm.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that Bell, in a 100-page ruling, found an “overwhelming amount of evidence” against Simpson in his 2008 trial.
“Mr. Simpson has failed to pinpoint significant errors that either alone or combined would have changed the outcome of his case,” Bell wrote in her ruling, the paper reported.
Palm said she plans to appeal the decision to the Nevada Supreme Court and possibly bring another challenge in federal court seeking a new trial on the same grounds as the appeal in state court.
“I’m shocked, I’m upset, I’m disappointed, I’m confident that it’s going to be overturned when we get to the right court,” Palm said of Bell’s ruling on Tuesday.
Under Nevada law, Simpson’s request for a new trial had to be heard at the district court level before it could be appealed to the state Supreme Court.
The Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners in July reduced Simpson’s sentence by granting him parole on charges of kidnapping, robbery and burglary with a firearm. He remains imprisoned on other charges related to the 2007 robbery.
Simpson’s bid for a retrial was separate from his successful request for parole on some charges.
The commission granted Simpson parole on those charges because of his positive conduct while in prison, his participation in programs for inmates, his lack of prior convictions and the fact that he has other sentences to serve that will keep him in prison.
Simpson has said that during the robbery he was trying to retrieve property that he believed belonged to him.
He is serving consecutive sentences and received additional time on his sentence because two others with him had guns during the robbery. He will next have the opportunity to request parole in 2014.
Even if he wins that round, he will have to serve time for assault with a deadly weapon related to the Las Vegas incident, David Smith, a spokesman for the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners, said in July. If Simpson succeeds in future parole requests, the earliest he could be released from prison would be 2017, Smith said.
Simpson, after his career in the National Football League, stayed in the spotlight as a TV pitch man and actor.