Friday, June 11, 2010 | 12:13 p.m.
An attorney for O. J. Simpson says the football great never got a fair trial in Las Vegas that led to his conviction on charges involving robbery and kidnapping, and a maximum prison sentence of 33 years.
Yale Galanter told the Nevada Supreme Court that District Judge Jackie Glass gave the jury wrong instructions on the law and she was more interested in getting the trial over quickly than in getting to the truth.
But Clark County District Attorney David Roger argued Glass “did a phenomenal job of refereeing the case” and that she came down “rough” on both the defense and prosecution at the trial.
Simpson, 62, was convicted of 10 counts including robbery, burglary, kidnapping and assault and received a minimum sentence of nine years and a maximum of 33 years. Simpson and five men entered a room at the Palace Station and took property from Bruce Fromong and Alfred Beardsley.
Simpson maintains this was his property that had been stolen years earlier from his trophy room. But Justice Mark Gibbons said Simpson also took memorabilia of football all-star Joe Montana and baseball great Pete Rose.
Galanter, of Aventura, Fla., argued it was Simpson’s intent to recover his property. Simpson believed he had a rightful claim, Galanter said.
But Justice Gibbons said committing a robbery cannot be used as a defense.
Galanter suggested the kidnapping charge was clearly overcharging.
But the justices noted that two of the men with Simpson were armed and that may have posed a risk to the victims.
Galanter said the two victims were not harmed. He said one of the victims was on the telephone after the incident telling another party that this could turn into a “cash cow.”
Galanter also argued there were no blacks on the jury. Two potential black jurors were excluded because the likelihood of a conviction would have decreased, he argued. “It smacks of prejudice,” he said.
Roger countered that one of the prospective black jurors was disqualified because her brother had been sent to prison for three years and she believed he was wrongfully accused. And she appeared to be a Simpson supporter.
The other juror, Roger said, “flip-flopped” on her answers and she struggled with judging another person.
Justice Nancy Saitta said a review of the case showed both sides broke the rules and the judge was heavy-handed on both the defense and prosecution.
Roger said Simpson was accompanied by “gunmen and big thugs” and the taking of property is not permitted by Nevada law.
He said two of the men were carrying guns and that increased the harm to the victims. And Simpson yelled when entering the room, “Don’t let anybody out of here.” The theft of property had been planned, the district attorney told the court.
The court took the arguments under submission and will rule later.
Simpson, who turns 63 next month, is confined at the state prison in Lovelock.
Galanter also inferred that one of the jurors made statements after the case that indicated he didn’t agree with the acquittal of Simpson in the 1994 slaying of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles.
The court also heard arguments on the appeal of Clarence Stewart, one of the men accompanying Simpson. Stewart, 46, confined at the Northern Nevada Correction Center in Carson City, was convicted of similar charges and is serving the same 9-33 years in prison.