SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 27, 2013

Judge rejects OJ Simpson's bid for new trial

LAS VEGAS — A judge in Las Vegas rejected O.J. Simpson’s bid for a new trial yesterday, dashing the former football star’s bid for freedom based on the claim that his original lawyer botched his armed robbery and kidnapping trial in Las Vegas more than five years ago.

“All grounds in the petition lack merit and, consequently, are denied,” Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell said.

Simpson lawyer Patricia Palm said she wanted to speak to Simpson before commenting on the decision. Ozzie Fumo, her co-counsel in the effort, said he expected they would appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court.

Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, whose wife was the judge who presided over the Simpson trial in 2008, called Bell’s ruling “the right decision.”

“I believe Mr. Simpson received a fair trial and had more than competent counsel,” Wolfson said.

If the 66-year-old Simpson loses his appeal to the state high court, he could take the case to federal courts to argue his constitutional right to effective counsel was violated.

Bell’s 101-page ruling came after a Clark County District Court jury found Simpson guilty in 2008 of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges in what he maintained was an attempt to retrieve memorabilia and personal items from two sports collectibles dealers in a casino hotel room.

It followed a small victory for Simpson in July, when Nevada parole commissioners granted parole on five concurrent sentences. The parole ruling didn’t free Simpson, because he still faces at least four more years for other convictions in the case.

Simpson was handcuffed and jailed following his conviction on Oct. 3, 2008, and sentenced that December to nine to 33 years in Nevada state prison.

His conviction in Las Vegas came 13 years to the day after the former movie and TV star was acquitted in the Los Angeles “trial of the century” in the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. Six years later, a jury in Miami acquitted him of all charges in a Florida road rage case.

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