O.J.'s Lawyer Wants Conviction Overturned

By  | 

LAS VEGAS (AP) - A lawyer for O.J. Simpson is asking for the full Nevada Supreme Court to consider overturning Simpson's conviction and sentence in a Las Vegas hotel room heist.

Las Vegas lawyer Malcolm LaVergne argued in documents filed
Thursday that the jury in Simpson's 2008 Las Vegas trial wasn't fully screened for bias, that blacks were improperly dismissed from the jury and that kidnapping charges weren't proved.

The 12-page document was also notable for the absence of Simpson
trial attorney Yale Galanter.

Galanter told The Associated Press he's still Simpson's lawyer but that he didn't have a hand in the latest filing to the state high court.

LaVergne told AP he hoped the seven justices will agree to hear his appeal and will reach a different conclusion than the three justices who rejected Simpson's appeal in October. The panel also denied Simpson a rehearing in February.

Simpson "sits in prison with a 33-year sentence imposed for a brief confrontation that involved no bodily harm," the document says, "over a dispute involving Mr. Simpson's legitimate claim to property stolen from him."

LaVergne derides Simpson's conviction on the most serious charges, kidnapping, as flawed and "a mockery of real kidnapping
cases and prior precedent."

Clark County District Attorney David Roger didn't immediately respond Thursday to messages seeking comment. He has said he believes the state high court thoroughly dealt with Simpson's appeal.

The 63-year-old Simpson is serving nine to 33 years in prison on
kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges stemming from a
confrontation with two sports memorabilia dealers and a middle man
in a room in a Las Vegas casino hotel in September 2007. If his state appeal is denied, he could appeal to federal courts.

LaVergne said Simpson's notoriety as a college and professional
football star, actor, advertising pitchman and celebrity criminal
defendant meant Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass
should have allowed more thorough questioning of prospective jurors
to identify bias before testimony was presented in Las Vegas.

Glass had 500 potential jurors fill out 26-page questionnaires that included questions about Simpson's 1995 acquittal in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in Los Angeles. Half the Las Vegas jury pool was eliminated after expressing strong feelings that Simpson was guilty in that case.

Glass also instructed the final panel to put aside opinions about the Los Angeles case.

In the request for en banc high court review, LaVergne said Simpson was prevented from arguing that the items taken during the hotel room heist belonged to him. He asks for the entire case against Simpson to be thrown out.

"Simply stated, having an all-white jury sitting in judgment of an African-American who was at the epicenter of the most racially divisive criminal trial of all time during the mid-1990s is simply unacceptable, regardless of Mr. Simpson's notoriety," the document said.