Simpson loses bid for new trial
November 8, 2008 - 10:00 pm
By BRIAN HAYNES
District Judge Jackie Glass on Friday denied a motion for a new trial in the O.J. Simpson armed robbery case.
The Hall of Fame running back and co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart had asked for a new trial after being convicted last month of kidnapping and armed robbery in the September 2007 holdup of two sports memorabilia dealers in a Palace Station hotel room.
Glass said none of the arguments supported granting a new trial.
"It will be up to the appellate court. That’s where it’s going," said Simpson lawyer Yale Galanter, who has said he will appeal the conviction to the Nevada Supreme Court.
Stewart’s lawyers also plan to appeal.
In their motion, Simpson’s lawyers cited seven reasons for granting a new trial, including the removal of two black potential jurors and limits on questioning potential jurors that could have uncovered prejudice against Simpson because of his 1995 acquittal in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman in Los Angeles.
Stewart’s lawyers asked for a new trial based on comments made by jury foreman Paul Connelly.
In his juror questionnaire, Connelly said he agreed with the 1995 verdict and that, "He (Simpson) was tried and acquitted. That is a separate issue," lawyer Brent Bryson wrote.
But in a news conference after the verdict, Connelly said he thought Simpson should have gotten a life sentence, according to the motion.
In court Friday, Bryson also said Connelly was once fired from a job for making a "racial statement."
"Obviously, if you have a juror who happens to be the jury foreman, who is racially biased, the prejudice speaks for itself," Bryson said in asking for an evidentiary hearing on the issue.
Glass denied the request for another hearing, saying there is "nothing that rises to the level of juror misconduct."
Simpson, 61, and Stewart, 54, will be sentenced Dec. 5. Each faces a minimum 15-year prison term.
In another matter, the Nevada state attorney general submitted documents Monday asking the state Supreme Court to uphold Glass’ decisions to withhold jury questionnaires from the public until the trial was over and redact the documents when they were released.
"Judge Glass successfully balanced the needs of the defendants and the press," Senior Deputy Attorney General Jill Davis wrote. "Judge Glass determined that the defendants’ right to a fair trial before an impartial jury constituted an overriding interest to the media’s First Amendment rights pertaining to the immediate access to juror questionnaires."
Lawyer Colby Williams, representing The Associated Press and the Review-Journal, said Friday that case law is clear and jury questioning should be an open process and questionnaires should be made public.
He said the state high court has the option to schedule oral arguments before deciding the issue.
Contact reporter Brian Haynes at bhaynes @reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0281. The Associated Press contributed to this report.