independent

Friday 18 April 2014

OJ Simpson in new bid for freedom on kidnapping and robbery jail sentence

OJ Simpson Simpson stands in the courtroom after being sentenced at the Clark County Regional Justice Center December 5, 2008 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Photo: Getty Images

A NEW lawyer for OJ Simpson has filed a new attempt to gain his release from Nevada state prison, alleging the former American football star and actor was so badly represented by lawyers in his trial and previous appeals that he deserves a retrial.

A 94-page document filed in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas faults the trial strategy and performance of attorneys Yale Galanter of Miami and Gabriel Grasso of Las Vegas, but maintains Simpson's same basic defence.



It says the National Football League Hall of Famer wanted to recover from sports memorabilia dealers family photos and personal mementoes stolen from him after his 1995 acquittal in the Los Angeles deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.



Simpson was convicted in 2008 in Las Vegas of charges including kidnapping and armed robbery in a caper in a casino hotel room crammed with two memorabilia dealers and a middle man, Simpson and five others later convicted of felonies.



Simpson, 64, was sentenced in December 2008 to nine to 33 years behind bars. He is the only one in the case still in prison.



The filing, called a writ of habeas corpus, is a common next-step appeals strategy to blame trial and initial appeals attorneys for a defendant's conviction. If state courts deny it, it can be appealed against to federal courts.



Almost all of the 22 grounds that lawyer Patricia Palm of Las Vegas cited in the document fault Mr Galanter and Mr Grasso. Ms Palm is due to argue the case on July 3 in Clark County District Court in Las Vegas.



The first claim is that Mr Galanter had a conflict of interest so severe he should have removed himself from the case. It does not raise a similar contention against Mr Grasso.



Mr Galanter declined comment, saying he wanted to read the complete document and supporting appendices. Mr Grasso said he had not read the document, but "I'm behind OJ and I hope this petition helps him get out of prison".



Simpson's current private lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, declined comment.



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