Society

Could OJ Simpson Be Released From Prison This Fall?

| by Sarah Zimmerman

A legal analyst contends that former football star O.J. Simpson could face early release, returning to society as soon as fall 2017.

Simpson, 70, was found guilty in 2008 on 12 different counts, including burglary, robbery, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon, according to The New York Times. The case revolved around a confrontation in a Las Vegas hotel room, in which he and five other people attempted to steal hundreds of items of sports memorabilia. 

Simpson was sentenced to 33 years in prison with a chance for parole after nine years, notes Sports Illustrated. In 2013, he faced a parole board for five of his 12 charges. In an impassioned speech, he reported his positive influence at Lovelock Correctional Center which ranged from mopping the floors to coaching prison-yard sports. Simpson was granted parole for the counts in question.

The Hall of Fame running back will face the board again in July. Michael McCann, legal analyst and law professor at the University of New Hampshire, believes Simpson has a good chance of securing early release.

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The board hears parole applications three months before a possible release date. If Simpson is granted parole by the board in July, he could be released in October.

"The decision to grant parole is, by definition, discretionary," McCann says. 

In Nevada, inmates applying for parole are judged on 11 different factors, including age at first arrest, gender, employment history, and history of drug and alcohol abuse. The answer to each factor corresponds to a number of points, ranging between minus 1 and plus 2. 

"Inmates exceeding five points are classified as a 'medium' or 'high' risk and are unlikely to be granted parole," says McCann. "In 2013, Simpson scored three points, falling into the 'low risk' category. He seems likely to do well again in 2017."

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In 1995, Simpson was acquitted of murdering his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman, a verdict that remains controversial more than 20 years later. His acquittal was never discussed during his 2008 trial, according to The New York Times, but Goldman's family members saw Simpson's imprisonment as justice.

"He's not going to get the punishment for Ron's murder that he deserved, but at least he should be in jail for as long as they can put him there," said Goldman's father, Frederic, before the sentence was announced.

Sources: Sports Illustrated, The New York Times / Photo credit: Gerald Johnson/Wikimedia Commons

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