OJ Simpson, 61, was denied bail pending an appeal of his armed robbery conviction, and called a flight risk by Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass. She in turn sentenced him today on 10 separate counts, to 16-21 years in state prison, with parole unlikely but possible after 6-7 years. Sentences for some of the counts will run concurrently. It could have actually been worse- the sentences could have run consecutively.
Outrageously, before sentencing, Simpson’s attorneys asked that Ron Goldman’s father and sister be removed from the courtroom. The Goldmans had gone through the lottery process like all other observers to be able to sit in the courtroom today. The motion was swiftly denied by Judge Glass.
OJ’s lawyers sucked up hard to Judge Glass prior to sentencing, with Grasso throwing out badly presented quotes by John Adams (WTF!) and Gale Galanter telling Judge Glass what a pleasure it was to practice before her. OJ was not expected to speak on his own behalf, but surprised by throwing himself on the mercy the court before sentencing was pronounced. OJ very emotionally and tearfully said:
…”I stand before you today sorry, somewhat confused, I feel apologetic to the people of the state of Nevada, I’ve been coming to Nevada since 1959, and I have never gotten in trouble. I came here for a wedding, I didn’t come to reclaim property. I was told it was here. Things that were being sold on the internet. I called my kids and told them, I called the Brown family, I told them I had a chance to get some of it back… I called the police and asked them what to try to do, they told me to try to get it back- this was the first time I had the opportunity to catch the guys red-handed. I didn’t ask anyone to help me do anything but to help me remove these things from the room. It was my fault they were there, I’m sorry, by no means did I mean to hurt anyone, or to steal anything. I volunteered to come back, show the police what I had…I just wanted to have my family things that were stolen. Ms. Brown gave my daughter her wedding ring- it was stolen. Family pictures- stolen. I didn’t know I was doing anything illegal, and I’m sorry, I’m sorry for all of it.”…
Judge Glass then said:
“I didn’t know if he (OJ) was arrogant or ignorant or both, but during the trial I found out he was both. At the time of the event, and the time of the bail hearing, it was clear to the court that you believed you could do in Las Vegas you could get your stuff back…the tapes, however, in theis case indicated to me that you didn’t want all of the items to fall into the hands of the Goldmans. You refered to them on the tapes as the “Golddiggers”. So you put your group together, and went to the Palace Station to get it back. What you didn’t know, was the planning was taped, the event was taped, conversations were taped…everything in this case was on tape. And it’s your own words, Mr. Simpson that have brought you here to this seat in my courtroom…what came out on the tapes was overwhelming evidence. How often do I sit as a judge and hear everything laid out for me to hear…very rarely. I went to that hotel room. There were a lot of you big guys in that little bitty room. On the tape it wasn’t ‘Oh just give me my stuff back’ , it was a violent event. Guns were brought…the potential for harm in that room was enormous. If a gun had gone off, not only could someone in the room have been hurt or killed, some poor tourist or worker in that hotel could have been hurt. That is why in Nevada we say you can’t take back your property by force. When you take a gun with you, and take men with you in a show of force, that’s why we are all here. It’s not behavior we can say is just ‘no harm, no foul’. Then, after the event, all of the sudden the realization hits…phone calls were made ‘there was no gun’- why would Mr. Simpson say this? All of a sudden he realized he was in trouble. At the party afterwards, the laughter, the joking, ha ha ha, isn’t this funny…you knew what was going on there. I have to respect the jury’s verdict. I’m not here to try and cause any retribution or payback for anything else. I want that to be perfectly clear to everyone. If I did, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a judge in this jurisdiction and this matter.
Jurors who heard 13 days of testimony, said after their guilty verdict that they were convinced of Simpson’s guilt because of audio recordings middleman Thomas Riccio secretly made of the Sept. 13, 2007, Palace Station casino hotel confrontation with sports memorabilia brokers Alfred Beardsley and Bruce Fromong.
“Don’t let nobody out of this room!” Simpson commands on the recordings, and instructs other men to scoop up items he insists had been stolen from him. Judge Glass, known for giving severe sentences, received a recommendation from the state parole agency calling for at least 18 years. In the Las Vegas trial, Simpson was accused of taking a gang of men to the Palace Station to retrieve items he lost while trying to hide them from Goldman’s family, which won $33.5m in damages from Simpson in a civil case over the deaths of Brown and Goldman.
Four of the five men who accompanied Simpson to the casino – Charles Cashmore, Walter “Goldie” Alexander, Michael “Spencer” McClinton and Charles Ehrlich – agreed to cooperate with prosecutors and testified against Simpson and Stewart.
On Tuesday, Glass is scheduled to sentence four former co-defendants who took plea deals and testified against Simpson and Stewart. Michael McClinton, Charles Cashmore, Walter Alexander and Charles Ehrlich could receive probation or prison time. McClinton could get up to 11 years; the others face less.
The judge treated OJ and Stewart the same in their sentencing, closing an argument that could have paved the way for an appeal. Stewart is paying the price for wanting to hang with a “celebrity.” If the idiots hadn’t brought a gun, the issues would be very different. Also, in Nevada, just holding a person can trigger a kidnapping charge. The overwhelming evidence- much of it on audio and video surveillance tapes sunk OJ completely.