On the surface, it seems like the perfunctory, garden-variety, Hail Mary pass from one of the thousands of convicted felons who happen to actually be innocent.
Closer inspection shows that Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson has a chance at getting a new trial on armed robbery and kidnapping charges that have placed him behind bars since 2008.
As explained by the Associated Press, Simpson has received a five-day hearing focusing on 19 specific points raised in support of the argument that his lawyer, Yale Galanter, botched the case so badly that Simpson deserves another chance to prove his innocence. Simpson contends, for example, that he advised Galanter of the plan to confront two dealers of collectibles in an effort to recover Simpson’s property, and that Galanter approved of the strategy. Also, Simpson claims that Galanter told Simpson that his testimony at trial wasn’t necessary, and that Galanter failed to tell Simpson that prosecutors had offered a plea deal that would have given Simpson a minimum of two years behind bars.
Simpson has exhausted his appeal rights at the state-court level in Nevada. He’s using the federal device known as the writ of habeas corpus in an effort to get a new trial that possibly would result in his freedom.
Some believed at the time Simpson was convicted that the process was tainted by a desire to put behind bars the man who was found civilly but not criminally responsible for the brutal murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, who happened to be in the wrong place at the worst possible time. Many believe that Simpson did it, but that the late Johnnie Cochran masterfully conjured reasonable doubt, thanks to the not-so-subtle spreading of Simpson’s fingers while trying on gloves that notoriously didn’t fit.