This past July, O.J. Simpson was denied parole on part of his conviction from a 2008 robbery and kidnapping bust. What O.J. was convicted of stealing wasn't typical household valuables. He was instead after certain sports memorabilia that he claims had been stolen from him.
His key mistake was in pursuing recovery of the items on his own. He failed by taking the law into his own hands, rather than pursuing a police investigation to recover the items. At the very least, had he gotten a special endorsement or insurance provision, he could have recovered the full cash value of the stolen items.
The board's refusal to grant parole might have proven depressing for any other inmate, but O.J. is so far gone that even his parole wouldn't help. Simpson's conviction included several different charges, and the sentences for each are to run consecutively. That means that he's only serving time on one charge at a time; when he finishes his time on one charge, he begins his time on the next one.
That structure won't be kind to the former #32. At age 66, Simpson is staring down as much as 33 years in the pen. He is likely to die there, unless he can score a new trial. What are the possible courses that could make "O.J." stand for "Out of Jail"? Here's what will have to happen.
New Trial First...
This is a long shot, if you want to stay in the Las Vegas paradigm for a minute. While there are some recommended strategies for improving your chances at a new trial, it's difficult to convince the judge that the motion has any validity.
The most common reasons a new trial is granted are emergence of new evidence and incompetence of counsel. Since the conviction was based largely on O.J.'s confessed possession of items that had been established as someone else's, there is little in the way of physical evidence to throw him a rope. And considering the reputation of his defense team, he'll be unlikely to convince anyone of the latter.
But let's pretend that some clement judge gives him another crack in court. Where might that lead?
...Then An Acquittal
Well, don't hold your breath on this one either. He needs to establish reasonable doubt. That was his strategy in his murder trial, and it worked there. But because there were eyewitnesses (and living victims) in the kidnapping and armed robbery case, Simpson will be unlikely to introduce enough doubt to muddy the waters with a jury and snag a reprieve of his freedom.
Third and long, Juice. Last hope:
Another Conviction...But More Nicely
What's wrecking O.J.'s ship right now is the consecutive status of his sentence. Getting paroled on one charge doesn't get him out of jail. It just allows him to start serving time on a different conviction.
So in an ironic twist, should he be granted a new trial, O.J. Simpson might be most sincerely hoping for another conviction, but one that will allow him to serve his time differently and get out of prison during his lifetime. What he wants is to serve his sentences concurrently, so that he can complete his prison time within his lifetime.
The effect of the concurrent sentence structure is that the inmate is released at the end of the longest sentence. If you're sentenced on three charges, you serve time on all three until you've completed the shortest sentence, then on the remaining two until the next shortest one is completed, and then on the longest one. So someone sentenced to terms of, say, eight, five, and two years serves eight years in prison as opposed to the total of 15.
For 20 years, a one-time sports hero has been the frequent flyer of the legal system. This latest wrinkle holds out slim hope that Simpson will ever walk free.