O.J. Simpson and Clarence “C.J.” Stewart saw their motions for new trials denied Friday by District Judge Jackie Glass. This, of course, was expected.
Not just because a jury convicted the two men of robbery and kidnapping charges in the infamous Vegas sports memorabilia heist, but also because the issues raised are of the sort that must be decided by the state Supreme Court.
The two men will be sentenced in December and are expected to need paramedics shortly after the judge makes them guests of the state for the next 20 years or so.
The question is not whether Simpson ambles out of court a free man any time soon. In fact, if he were thinking straight, he would be ready to bring in a top Nevada attorney for his appeal, someone who understands our laws and the makeup and personality of the high court. The strutting Yale Galanter isn’t the guy for this job.
Galanter is a very good lawyer, but there’s no question the jury wasn’t impressed and courtroom observers had told me his constant sniping with the judge reflected negatively on his client.
Stewart’s problem is different. He actually could score a new trial by arguing that the judge should have granted severance from the infamous Simpson. He also received strong representation from Brent Bryson and Bob Lucherini.
The problem with both appeals, of course, is that the jurors didn’t make any big mistakes. Neither did Judge Glass despite all the whining and second-guessing from the defense table. Jurors kept their ears open, listened to the damning audio recordings, and made the only reasonable call they could.
In this one, I’m guessing sentence reductions will be the best they can do. And that will take time.
I also wonder what the calendar of Clark County Public Defender’s office veteran JoNell Thomas looks like. She handles death penalty appeals, is meticulous and fierce, and knows the way to the Supreme Court blindfolded. It will take that kind of experience to prevent the two memorabilia mopes from burning up our taxpayer dollars for the next two decades. (Full disclosure: Thomas represented me.)
I will entertain the names of other qualified attorneys. Let’s add to the list.