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December 3, 2008

What's the early line on the upcoming OJ sentencing?

According to this AP article, which is headlined "Lawyer: OJ, co-defendant face 18 years," it looks like Orenthal James Simpson is looking at a sentence of at least six years for his state convictions.  Here are the sentencing basics from the article:

O.J. Simpson and a co-defendant face a recommended 18 years in prison in the gunpoint robbery and kidnapping of two sports memorabilia dealers, according to defense briefs and Simpson's lawyer. Defense lawyers for the former football star and co-defendant Clarence "C.J" Stewart filed briefs Tuesday asking Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass for minimum prison terms when she sentences the two men Friday.

"If the judge chooses minimum sentences but runs them consecutively it would total 18 years," Simpson lawyer Gabriel Grasso said after filing an 11-page defense brief in response to a state Parole and Probation Division sentencing recommendation. "We would like the judge to take our recommendation to heart and sentence (Simpson) to the minimum, six years," Grasso said.

Glass is not bound by the report and could sentence each of the men to the maximum term of life in prison. Stewart's lawyer, Brent Bryson, also submitted a brief Tuesday asking the judge to disregard the state's sentencing recommendation. "Stewart submits that given his minimal participation in the events ... as well as his lack of any prior criminal convictions, that (he) be sentenced to the minimum," Stewart's five-page brief said....

A jury on Oct. 3 convicted Simpson and Stewart of all 12 charges against them in the Sept. 13, 2007, confrontation with the two sports memorabilia dealers at a Las Vegas casino hotel room.

Simpson maintained he went to the room to retrieve personal items, family photos and sports mementos that had been stolen from him years earlier. "Justice requires this court impose the very minimum sentence possible in this case," Grasso wrote in Simpson's brief. "Simpson was convicted of crimes that revolve around his belief that the property he was recovering was his and at some point was taken from him."... 

Prosecutors did not submit a sentencing memorandum to the court. Dan Kulin, spokesman for District Attorney David Roger, said prosecutors in Las Vegas usually rely on parole and probation findings.

As I have noted in prior posts, it would seem to be entirely constitutional for Judge Jackie Glass to expressly determine that OJ Simpson is double murderer and to sentencing him to a longer term based on that finding despite his high-profile acquittals years ago. 

Indeed, given that a civil jury formally concluded that OJ was responsible for two wrongful deaths, I think the prosecution here could make a very strong argument that OJ should be considered a repeat offender.  I do not know Nevada sentencing law at all, so I suppose it is possible that there are some state laws and rulings that might limit Judge Glass's sentencing authority.  But, to repeat, current federal constitutional jurisprudence would seem to make largely irrelevant OJ's prior acquittals at this new sentencing.

I would think the recommended 18 years in prison is a sensible over/under for anyone wanting to make book on this sentencing outcome.  If that's the line, I'd probably take the over, but maybe that's just because I have never been a Bills fan.

Some related posts on OJ's sentencing and acquitted conduct enhancements:

December 3, 2008 at 09:47 AM | Permalink

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