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Entries in O.J. Simpson (3)

Sunday
May122013

O.J. Simpson Due in Las Vegas Court on Monday

Issac Brekken-Pool/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) -- O.J. Simpson is expected to make the legal equivalent of a hail Mary pass on Monday in a Las Vegas courtroom, asking a judge to grant him a new trial on grounds his former attorney mishandled his case.

The most public glimpse of Nevada inmate No. 1027820 since his conviction will begin on Monday when Simpson arrives in Clark County District Court for the start of his five-day hearing.

Simpson, 65, is serving a nine-to-33 year sentence at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada after he was convicted in 2008 of leading a sports memorabilia heist at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Simpson, who never testified in his 1995 murder trial, often called the "trial of the century," or in the 2008 trial when he was convicted, is expected to take the stand in a final bid for freedom this week.

His appeal to the Nevada Supreme Court was denied in 2010. As his current sentence stands, he won't be eligible for parole until he is 70 years old.

Much of his testimony is expected to point fingers at his former attorney, Yale Galanter, who Simpson believes fumbled the handling of his case.

According to ABC News Legal Analyst Royal Oakes, Simpson claims he didn't take a plea deal because Galanter convinced him the DA had a losing case, and that he would have taken the offer had he understood there was an actual chance of conviction.

Galanter did not immediately return ABCNews.com's request for an interview.

A hidden audio recorder in the room captured the altercation and was a key piece of evidence used to convict the ex-NFL player.

Simpson, a former American sports hero, became an infamous and polarizing character when he stood trial for the 1994 murders of his wife and her friend. He was acquitted on Oct. 3, 1995, and walked out of court a free man.

Thirteen years later, on Oct. 3, 2008, he was convicted of armed robbery and kidnapping charges and became known as Nevada inmate No. 1027820.

Oakes notes that regardless of what Simpson and his attorney said to each other, he is unlikely to win a new trial.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Sep092012

Prosecutor in O.J. Simpson Trial Accuses Johnnie Cochran of Tampering with Evidence

Lee Celano/WireImage(LOS ANGELES) -- Seventeen years after the sensational murder trial of O.J. Simpson, the former prosecutor who went up against the ex-football star's legal "dream team" is now accusing famed defense attorney Johnnie Cochran of evidence tampering.

Christopher Darden was a 15-year veteran of the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office when he asked Simpson to try on the once blood-soaked gloves that prosecutors said Simpson wore during the June 1994 brutal murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman.

In what became the defining moment in the internationally publicized criminal "trial of the century," Cochran, the head of Simpson's defense team, said of the glove, "If it doesn't fit, you must acquit." In court proceedings televised around the world, Simpson struggled to get the glove onto his hand.

The jury wasn't convinced, and Simpson was eventually acquitted of the murder charges.

Darden is now saying that he believes that Cochran, who died of a brain tumor in March 2005, tampered with the gloves so they wouldn't fit onto Simpson's hand.

"What I think happened is that the defense manipulated that glove so that it did not appear to look as if it fit," Darden said during a panel discussion about the trial at New York's Pace University Law School on Sept. 6.

"I think Johnnie tore the lining. There were some additional tears in the lining so that O.J.'s fingers couldn't go all the way up into the glove," he said.

Darden claims Cochran tore the gloves' lining so that Simpson's fingers would get stuck.

Today, Alan Dershowitz, a former member of Simpson's legal team is firing back.

"If he had the complaint, he should have made it in front of the judge," Dershowitz said. "Now 17 years later he makes a serious allegation against a dead lawyer.

"There ought to be a full and complete investigation, and if he's lying, which I am convinced he is, he should be disbarred," he said.

Attorney Shawn Holley, who was also a member of the Simpson defense team, said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times that the accusation is "slanderous."

"Mr. Darden's self-serving assertion that Johnnie Cochran tampered with the glove--or any piece of evidence--is false, malicious and slanderous," Holley said in the statement. "Almost 20 years later, it seems Mr. Darden is still trying to exculpate himself from one of the biggest blunders in the history of jurisprudence."

Darden could not be reached by ABC News for comment. But some legal experts believe no harm was done.

"When you lose what was billed as a slam dunk case, the most publicized case in modern history, it does cause a little pain," Criminal Defense Attorney Dana Cole told ABC News. "Frankly, he has the right to give his thoughts, whether it's speculation or not."

In a 1997 civil trial for the murders, a jury found Simpson guilty and ordered him to pay $33.5 million in damages to the murder victims' families.

Simpson is currently serving 33 years in jail for an unrelated 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Aug042011

Double Jeopardy: Getting Away With Murder

Brand X Pictures/Thinkstock(DALLAS) -- For an obscure constitutional clause, the concept of double jeopardy is getting a lot of attention these days.

Roger Clemens attorneys recently filed a motion claiming double jeopardy, arguing that the baseball great shouldn't be tried again for perjury because doing so would violate his constitutional rights. And after Casey Anthony's surprise not guilty verdict many outraged members of the public wondered if prosecutors could have a do-over if new evidence surfaced in the death of her daughter, Caylee.

And there's the case of 27-year-old Isaac Turnbaugh of Moretown, Vt., Turnbaugh had been acquitted in the murder of a co-worker back in 2004. But he recently called police in Randolph, Vt., and, according to the cops, confessed to the killing. But, because of double jeopardy, Vermont's Attorney General William Sorrel says his hands are tied.

"The concept of double jeopardy is well established in counstitutional law and our system is not perfect but it's a good system and it works more often than not. We regretted the outcome of the first trial and this more recent information just reinforces our view," Sorrel said.

The double jeopardy clause of the Fifth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution says, "Nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb."

OJ Simpson may be the most famous name associated with double jeopardy. In 1995, Simpson was acquitted in the killing of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman. The verdict that didn't sit well with the public. Then 11 years later it came to light that Simpson was writing a book tentatively titled "If I did it" and reportedly including graphic and detailed scenes that "hypothetically" described how the killings might have occurred. Outrage ensued and the book was dropped.

But the situation left many scratching their heads, wondering why Simpson could not be re-tried for the murders if he confessed or if new details about the crime came to light.

"It's about fairness to the defendant. The law says we're not going to give the government multiple times to prosecute you. We are going to value finality more than we value the truth," said Dallas-based attorney Tom Melsheimer, a Managing Principal with the law firm Fish and Richardson in Dallas.

Melsheimer added that it forces the prosecutor to make their best case the first time out. There are exceptions, of course. In the case of a hung jury, a defendant can be re-tried. And if federal charges apply, a defendant might be acquitted in a local trial but still charged and convicted of federal crimes. Melsheimer pointed to the civil rights era as a time when many defendants were acquitted in local courts but subsequently charged and found guilty of civil rights violations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio