LAS VEGAS (AP) - O.J. Simpson's lawyer won't get a chance to
plead for the imprisoned former football star's freedom before the
full seven-member Nevada Supreme Court.
The state's highest court issued a terse and unanimous order
Tuesday declining to do what three of its members already refused
to do - hear Simpson's appeal of his conviction and nine-to-33-year
prison sentence in a 2007 armed confrontation with two sports
memorabilia dealers in a Las Vegas casino hotel room.
Simpson lawyer Malcolm LaVergne told The Associated Press he
understood the court's reluctance to hear oral arguments after a
three-justice panel in October denied Simpson's appeal and declined
in February to reconsider. LaVergne said he'll take the case now to
the federal courts.
"What judge wants to be put in the position that they let O.J.
go free?" LaVergne asked in an interview. "We'll work now within
the federal court system. That's our option at this point."
"This is not a fair result for Mr. Simpson, given the facts of
the case," the lawyer added.
LaVergne said he spoke last week with Simpson, and said the
63-year-old former football star remains in good spirits at the
medium-security Lovelock Correctional Center in northern Nevada.
In his appeal, LaVergne maintains Simpson didn't intend to
commit a crime because he thought he was retrieving personal items
that had been stolen from him.
Simpson stood trial and was convicted with co-defendant Clarence
"C.J." Stewart of kidnapping, armed robbery and other charges.
Four other men who took part in the caper pleaded guilty to lesser
felonies, testified at trial and were sentenced to probation.
Stewart served more than two years in prison before the Nevada
Supreme Court overturned his conviction with a ruling that
Simpson's fame - stemming from his 1995 acquittal in the Los
Angeles slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her
friend, Ronald Goldman - tainted the Las Vegas proceedings.
Stewart, now 57, avoided a retrial with plea deal in which he
didn't contest felony robbery and conspiracy charges. He was
sentenced in January to three years of probation, including nine
months of home detention.