Later this week, O.J. Simpson, currently in a Nevada prison for his role in a 2007 armed robbery, will face a state parole board. On the table: an opportunity to walk away a free man, having served nine of a potential 33 years behind bars at the Lovelock Correctional Facility. Here’s how it will go down:
At 1:00 p.m. Eastern, Simpson, via Skype, will meet with a four-member panel of the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners, who will be in Carson City, Nev. The board will determine whether any negatives Simpson has accrued during his nine years in prison total enough to keep him imprisoned.
The board will use the following form to assess both Simpson’s conduct while at Lovelock and his overall risk to society at large:
If scored 0-5 points, Simpson is likely to be paroled. Score 6-10, he’d still be eligible for parole.
It’s important to remember that Simpson was imprisoned as a result of a botched Las Vegas robbery — a farce of a crime in which Simpson was trying to recover his own memorabilia. Because guns were involved in the robbery attempt — and perhaps because of Simpson’s own notoriety — the sentence was extraordinarily harsh. In a far more notorious trial, Simpson was found not guilty in 1995 of the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ronald Goldman; legally, that case has no bearing on this one.
Simpson, charged with robbery, attempted kidnapping, and assault with a deadly weapon, won parole in 2013 on the weapons charges, and now is seeking release on the remaining ones. Simpson’s hearing is likely to be similar to his 2013 session, which has been posted on YouTube.
Given that he won parole in the prior hearing, and that two separate source — Simpson’s lawyer and a close friend — have indicated he has been trouble-free since then, the odds of parole seem promising. The only knock on Simpson’s record, his associate Tom Scotto said, is that Simpson conceded to having consumed alcohol prior to the robbery, but Scotto said Simpson has discussed the possibility of entering a treatment program.
The four board members considering Simpson’s case can free him by a simple majority vote. If the four deadlock, then the board’s other two commissioners will have the opportunity to weigh in. (The board’s seventh position is currently vacant.) If the board remains tied, Simpson will next have an opportunity for parole in January 2018.
Media interest in the case is sufficient that the state has established a separate page for the Simpson hearing. While the parole board generally takes several weeks to render a decision, the Simpson matter will be determined on Thursday to minimize media disruption. State officials have indicated that discussion generally only takes 20 to 30 minutes following the conclusion of the hearing.
At least 240 media outlets have been credentialed to cover the case, either in Lovelock or in Carson City. A live link to follow the hearing will go live when the hearing begins at 1 p.m. Eastern on Thursday.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports and the author of EARNHARDT NATION, on sale now at Amazon or wherever books are sold. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.