*The Nevada Supreme Court refused Friday to overturn O.J. Simpson’s armed robbery and kidnapping convictions, rejecting a claim that prospective jurors were dismissed because they were black.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter planned to take Simpson’s appeal to federal court after his 2008 conviction in the gunpoint heist in a Las Vegas hotel room was upheld.
“This is but the first step in a very long line of appeals that Mr. Simpson has before him,” Galanter said.
“I’m extremely disappointed,” added Malcolm LaVergne, another Simpson lawyer. “I thought we had a very strong appeal.”
The court said all eight separate issues raised in the appeal were without merit.
Separately, the court ordered the conviction of Simpson’s co-defendant Clarence “C.J.” Stewart to be reversed and a new trial held. Stewart’s lawyers successfully contended that Simpson’s notoriety had hurt Stewart’s ability to get a fair trial.
Stewart’s attorney Brent Bryson said he and Stewart were happy with the ruling.
“This is no disrespect to O.J., but O.J. kind of made his own bed over the years,” Bryson said. “My guy was kind of taken along for the ride.”
Bryson planned to meet with Clark County prosecutors to determine the next legal steps while trying to get Stewart released from prison.
Simpson, 63, is serving nine to 33 years at a state prison in Lovelock Correctional Center, 90 miles northeast of Reno. Stewart, 56, is serving 7 1/2 to 27 years in Northern Nevada Correctional Center, a medium-security prison in Carson City.
Both men were convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery, conspiracy and other crimes for what Simpson maintained was an attempt to retrieve stolen family photos and mementoes from memorabilia dealers.
The key issues in Simpson’s appeal were the racial makeup of the jury and the conduct of Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass. Simpson’s lawyers argued that prosecutors improperly rejected two jurors because they were African American. But the court concluded that except for providing the race of the prospective jurors, the lawyers didn’t offer any evidence of discrimination. Prosecutors gave race-neutral reasons for dismissing the jurors, the court said.
The court also said it reviewed 34 instances in which Simpson’s lawyers alleged misconduct by Glass, then concluded most of the allegations consisted of warnings by Glass for lawyers to stop talking and sit down. The court also noted both sides in the case had been admonished during the trial.