O.J. Simpson’s lawyers are asking the Nevada Supreme Court to toss out the former football star’s conviction, saying that the judge who slapped him with what amounts to a life sentence was prejudiced and made several improper rulings during last year’s trial.
In their 47-page appeal, Simpson’s attorneys argue that Clark County, Nev., District Judge Jackie Glass exercised a "cumulative error that was so egregious and prejudicial that the defense could not get a fair trial."
They say that Glass, who sentenced the 61-year-old Simpson to up to 33 years in prison on charges including armed robbery and kidnapping, presided over a trial that was “fundamentally unfair.” Not only did she issue improper jury instructions and allow hearsay evidence, but she refused to allow defense attorneys to fully cross-examine witnesses, the attorneys allege in their brief. In addition, they say, Glass allowed the prosecution to strike the only two eligible African-American potential jurors.
"Because of the unique nature of the case, a full and complete questioning of potential jurors needed to take place," the appeal said. "The District Court gave no deference to the fact that Simpson brought a lot of baggage into the courtroom."
Simpson asked five men to help him reclaim several pieces of memorabilia he said had been stolen from him. All but one of those who stormed into that hotel room with Simpson in September 2007 ended up testifying against him. Their reward from the prosecution was probation.
Clarence “C.J.” Stewart, the only member of the group to stand by Simpson throughout the ordeal, was dealt the same harsh sentence, except Stewart is eligible for parole in seven and a half years, compared to Simpson’s eight years.
Some observers have questioned whether it is a coincidence that Simpson’s Oct. 3 conviction fell precisely on the 13th anniversary of his acquittal in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman.