O.J. Simpson parole hearing: Nevada officials to decide fate in coming days



Next week, four members of the Nevada Board of Parole will convene in Carson City to consider the case of Inmate #1027820. The parole hearing will likely be routine, save for one bold-faced fact: The inmate is O.J. Simpson.

Those parole board commissioners must decide whether one of the most infamous men in the nation, imprisoned nearly a decade ago for a bungled Las Vegas robbery, walks out of prison.

But according to two former chairs of the state parole board, the commissioners will treat O.J. Simpson, who turned 70 last weekend, just like any other potential parolee — notorious as he may be.

"That's really the beauty of the system: It's the same for everyone," said Dorla Salling, who served as chair of the parole board from 2000-2009. "It doesn't matter what your name is."

Simpson was acquitted in 1995 in the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ron Goldman, after a lengthy trial that riveted America. He was found liable for the killings in a 1997 civil case.

18 PHOTOS
Key Players in the OJ Simpson Trial
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Key Players in the OJ Simpson Trial
Defense attorney Robert Shapiro (L) sits next to O.J. Simpson during a preliminary hearing following the murders of Simpson's ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman July 7, 1994 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Lee Celano/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 27: Prosecutor Marcia Clark complains to the judge 27 February about a second statement by Rosa Lopez, a key defense witness, that was not released by the defense. Lopez, a housekeeper to a neighbor of O.J. Simpson's, claims to have seen a white Ford Bronco outside his home at around the time the prosecution claim the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman took place. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 19: O.J. Simpson (R) whispers to Defense attorney F. Lee Bailey (L) during testimony of FBI special agent William Bodziak 19 June during the O.J. Simpson murder trial in Los Angeles. Bodziak compared one of O.J. Simpson's tennis shoes to a model of the Italian-made Bruno Magli shoes, which left imprints at the murder scene of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JUNE 16: O.J. Simpson defense attorney Alan Dershowitz (standing) gestures during a motion to Judge Lance Ito 16 June in which he said that the standard of juror dismissals must be changed. The defense has accused the prosecution of juror targeting and hiding witnesses. Seated are (L-R) prosecutor Marcia Clark and Scott Gordon. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
Deputy District Attorney Christopher Darden, one of the prosecutors in the OJ Simpson murder trial is shown during a court hearing December 9
OJ Simpson sits in court October 14 with his attorney Robert Shapiro during a hearing in Simpson's murder trial
Defense attorneys Robert Shapiro (L) and Johnnie Cochran, Jr., arrive at the Criminal Courts Building in Los Angeles September 26 for the first day of jury selection in the OJ Simpson murder trial. A protestor's painting on spousal abuse is in the background
Superior Court Judge Lance Ito makes a point during a pre-trial hearing on suppression of evidence in the OJ Simpson murder case September 21 in Los Angeles
Josephine Guarin, housekeeper at OJ Simpson's estate in the Brentwood section of Los Angeles, testifies during a pre-trial hearing on evidence suppression in the OJ Simpson murder case September 22
Prosecution witness Candace Garvey, a friend of Nicole-Brown Simpson, testifes about OJ Simpson's appearance at his daughter's dance recital June 12, 1994, during afternoon court session in OJ Simpson's murder trial
Prosecutor Marcia Clark wears rubber gloves as she places a left-hand glove found at the feet of murder victim Ronald Goldman into a plastic bag during OJ Simpson's murder trial, February 17
Denise Brown (L), sister of Nicole-Brown Simpson, cries as she testifies February 6 about Nicole-Simpson's relationship with O.J. Simpson, during morning court session in Simpson's murder trial. Brown wears "Angel" earrings and pins in memory of her sister
FILE PHOTO 16MAR95 - Los Angeles police detective Mark Fuhrman is shown on the witness stand March 16, 1995 during O.J. Simpson's murder trial in Los Angeles. A bloody fingerprint was found at the scene of the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman but police bungling destroyed it, Fuhrman says in a new book published on February 17. SIMPSON FINGERPRINT
Prosecutor Brian Kelberg points out a wound near Ronald Goldman's ear on an autopsy chart during testimony June 9 in the OJ Simpson murder trial. The Los Angeles County coroner said that Goldman received two small stabs to the neck in addition to fatal slashes, suggesting that he was taunted by his attacker before being killed
Kim Goldman, sister of murder victim Ron Goldman, reacts to the showing of a photograph of her brother's bloody shirt during the OJ Simpson double murder trial in Los Angeles June 26. The prosecution presented the final phase of its case, trace and hair evidence. **POOR QUALITY DOCUMENT
Arnelle Simpson, daughter of murder defendant OJ Simpson, testifies July 10 on her father's behalf in his double murder trial in Los Angeles. Arnelle Simpson is the first witness in the defense's case
Defense witness Robert Heidstra points during his testimony July 12 at O.J. Simpson's murder trial to the area near where he walked his dog on the night [Nicole Simpson and Ronald Goldman] were murdered June 12,1994. The chart is a map of the area around Bundy Drive, site of the murders
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The so-called "Trial of the Century" captivated the country again last year with the release of an Emmy-winning FX miniseries that dramatized the legal saga and an Oscar-winning ESPN documentary that delved into the social issues surrounding it.

Those series may have reignited public fascination with the former football star, but they will not shade the opinions of Nevada officials at the July 20 hearing, said Thomas Patton, another former chair of the parole board.

"I don't think they're going to be swayed by something that was put out in a media context. They're looking at a particular crime for which he was incarcerated in Nevada," said Patton, who served as chair in 1997 and 1998. "I don't think TV documentaries or shows — I would be very surprised if that played a role in anybody's thinking."

The crime in question, explored in detail in the five-part ESPN film, proved to be Simpson's downfall.

In 2008, Simpson was found guilty of robbing two sports memorabilia dealers at gunpoint in a Las Vegas hotel room. He had broken in with five other men and seized several items he believed were his property — game balls, plaques, photos of his children.

35 PHOTOS
O.J. Simpson Vegas
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O.J. Simpson Vegas
LOS ANGELES, CA - FEBRUARY 28: Robert Kardashian, Simpson, Robert Shapiro and F. Lee Bailey. (Photo credit should read POO/AFP/Getty Images)
OJ Simpson Mug Shot at the Los Angeles in Los Angeles, California (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 23: Defense attorneys for murder defendant O.J. Simpson Robert Shapiro(L), Johnnie Cochran Jr.(R) and F. Lee Bailey(R,rear) enter the courthouse for the first day of the trial 23 January in Los Angeles. Jurors in the case will reportedly be allowed to see a photograph of the crime scene during opening statements, Superior Court Judge lance Ito ruled 23 January. (COLOR KEY:Barricade marker is red.) AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read Dan GROSHANG/AFP/Getty Images)
BRENTWOOD, : An unidentified man and woman place flowers on the walkway of Nicole Brown Simpson's condominium in Brentwood, California, 12 June. Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman were allegedly murdered at the Bundy Avenue site by O.J. Simpson on 12 June 1994. To mark the first anniversary of the murder, people were permitted by police to pause at the crime scene for a moment. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read MIKE NELSON/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - OCTOBER 04: Daily News front page dated Oct. 4, 1995, Headlines: HOME FREE, After senational double-murder acquittal O.J. walks back into mansion a free man., Al Cowlings, left, and unidentified man, flank O.J. as he walks around his Brentwood estate., O.J. Simpson, (Photo by NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, UNITED STATES: Demonstrators Larry Green (L) and Morris Griffin (R) yell at each other outside the Santa Monica Courthouse where the first day of opening arguements is underway in the O.J. Simpson wrongful death civil lawsuit 23 October. In 1995 Simpson was aquitted in his criminal trial for the murders of Nicole Brown and Ron Goldman. AFP PHOTO Vince BUCCI/mn (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
SANTA MONICA, UNITED STATES: A woman who identified herself only as Elf from Brentwood holds a picture of O.J. Simpson as she stands in front of the Santa Monica Courthouse in California where evidence proceedings in the the O.J. Simpson civil lawsuit are taking place 17 September. The trial will get underway with jury selection 18 September. AFP PHOTO Vince BUCCI (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: A group of supporters of OJ Simpson demonstrate near Santa Monica Court in Santa Monica, CA, 27 January. The case is expected to go to the jury 27 January. AFP PHOTO/Hector MATA (Photo credit should read HECTOR MATA/AFP/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JUNE 17: O.J. Simpson at a press conference where he announced his upcoming role in an episode of the CBS drama: 'Medical Center.' Image dated June 17, 1969. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - CIRCA 1979: Running back O.J. Simpson #32 of the San Francisco 49ers looks on from the sidelines during an NFL football game at Candlestick Park circa 1979 in San Francisco, California. Simpson played for the 49ers from 1978-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson (32) carries the ball during a 38-14 victory over the Denver Broncos on October 5, 1975, at Rich Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tony Tomsic/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - CIRCA 1979: Running back O.J. Simpson #32 of the San Francisco 49ers stands on the sidelines with his mother Eunice Simpson before the start of an NFL football game at Candlestick Park circa 1979 in San Francisco, California. Simpson played for the 49ers from 1978-79. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
FROGMEN -- Pictured: (middle) O.J. Simpson, (far right) Evan Handler (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
O.J. Simpson aka Orenthal James Simpson serves as a NBC Sports sideline reporter for AFC Wild Card playoff game between the Denver Broncos and Oakland Raiders at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Jan. 9, 1994. (Photo by Kirby Lee/WireImage)
NBC Sports commentator and former professional football player OJ Simpson, center, watches a Thanksgiving Day football game with United States troops deployed in the region for Operation Desert Shield, Saudi Arabia, 1991. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JAUNARY 13: NBC Analyst O.J. Simpson poses with the Raiderettes during the 1990 AFC Divisional Playoffs game with the Cincinnati Bengals against Los Angeles Raiders at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 13, 1991 in Los Angeles, California. The Raiders won 20-10. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
American former football player O.J. Simpson (right) and his wife Nicole Brown Simpson (1959 - 1994) arrive at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater for the premiere of the film 'When Harry Met Sally,' Beverly Hills, California, July 14, 1989. (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - DECEMBER 16: Running back O.J. Simpson #32 of the San Francisco 49ers relaxes in the locker room before the final game of his career against the Atlanta Falcons at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on December 16, 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Niners 31-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - DECEMBER 16: Running back O.J. Simpson #32 of the San Francisco 49ers talks to reporters after the final game of his career against the Atlanta Falcons at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium on December 16, 1979 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Falcons defeated the Niners 31-21. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)
SAN FRANCISCO - DECEMBER 9: Running back O.J. Simpson #32 of the San Francisco 49ers shakes hands with John McKay, his former coach at USC and current head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, before his final home game at Candlestick Park on December 9, 1979 in San Francisco, California. The Niners defeated the Bucs 23-7. (Photo by Michael Zagaris/Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 12 -- Aired 02/25/1978 -- Pictured: Host O.J. Simpson during the monologue on February 25, 1978 (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 12 -- Aired 02/25/1978 -- Pictured: (l-r) Laraine Newman, O.J. Simpson during 'Weekend Update' on February 25, 1978 (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 12 -- Aired 02/25/1978 -- Pictured: (l-r) Bill Murray as farmer, Laraine Newman as farmers daughter, Garrett Morris as farmer, O.J. Simpson as Mandingo during the 'Mandingo II' skit on February 25, 1978 (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
Close-up of American former football player, actor, and sports commentator O.J. Simpson in a baseball cap on the 'The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour,' December 21, 1973. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
American actor Chad Everett (right) examines American football player and sometime actor O.J. Simpson in a scene from the debut episode (called 'The Last 10 Yards') of the television series 'Medical Center,' Los Angeles, California, September 24, 1960. Everett listens to Simpson's head with his stethoscope. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images)
SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE -- Episode 12 -- Aired 02/25/1978 -- Pictured: (l-r) John Belushi as Samurai Futaba, O.J. Simpson as Joe during the 'Samurai Night Fever' skit on February 25, 1978 (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
O.J. Simpson and Nicole Brown Simpson (Photo by Ron Galella/WireImage)
OJ Simpson & Nicole Simpson & family (Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)
UNITED STATES - MARCH 17: OJ Simpson (Photo by The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, UNITED STATES: Mark Thomas (C) watches his portable television outside the Los Angeles Criminal courts building and celebrates with others 03 October as a not guilty verdict is read by the jury in the O.J. Simpson murder trial. Jurors deliberated for less then a day before reaching a verdict in the highly publicized case. AFP PHOTO (Photo credit should read Vince Bucci/AFP/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - CIRCA 2000: O.J. Simpson golfing at the Legend golf course. (Photo by David Handschuh/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
395562 01: Former NFL star O.J. Simpson talks with one of his defense attorneys on the first day of jury selection October 9, 2001 at a Dade County courtroom in Miami, FL. Simpson, who was acquitted in 1994 in the murders of his ex-wife and her friend, is on trial for allegedly attacking a motorist in the Miami suburb of Kendall, Florida in December of 2000. If found guilty, Simpson could face up to 16 years in prison. (Pool Photo/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - SEPTEMBER 16: In handcuffs, O.J. Simpson is transferred by police officers to the Clark County Detention Center in Las Vegas, Nev., after being arrested in connection with an armed robbery of sports memorabilia, in a hotel room at the Palace Station Hotel-Casino. Simpson claimed he was trying to retrieve stolen items of his that were being offered for sale. (Photo by Debbie Egan-Chin/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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Simpson was convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery and 10 other charges in the crime. Judge Jackie Glass sentenced him to 33 years behind bars, with the possibility of parole after nine years. (He was granted parole on some of the charges against him in 2013.)

Four of his accused accomplices — Michael McClinton, Walter Alexander, Charles Ehrlich and Charles Cashmore — took plea deals and testified against Simpson. They were sentenced to probation. A fifth accused accomplice, Clarence "C.J." Stewart, stood trial and was convicted. That conviction was later overturned by the Nevada Supreme Court, which ruled Stewart had been denied a fair trial.

McClinton declined to be interviewed for this article, and the other men did not respond to requests for comment from NBC News. Bruce Fromong, one of the collectibles sellers, also declined to be interviewed; the other dealer died in 2015, according to The Associated Press.

Simpson will have an opportunity to speak during the upcoming hearing, according to David Smith, a spokesman for the parole board. He will appear via video conference from Lovelock Correctional Center, a medium-security prison northeast of Reno.

The commissioners will consider 11 objective criteria before deciding whether to grant Simpson parole, according to state guidelines.

"They're looking at the severity of the crime .... they're looking at the individual's personal and prior criminal history, they're looking at histories of drug abuse, alcohol abuse" and other factors, said Patton, one of the former parole board chairs. "It's big picture. They do a very thorough investigation."

The commissioners will examine Simpson's behavior in prison, and ask him questions about his plans for the future — including where he intends to live if released.

Four members of the six-person parole board will be in the hearing room in Carson City. They must reach a unanimous decision; if they can't, the two other members will review the case from a different location until the full group can reach a majority of four votes. In the rare case of a three-three tie, parole would be denied for six months and a new hearing would be held next January.

If Simpson is granted parole, he may not be released until at least October 1 — his technical eligibility date. (Nevada holds parole hearings roughly three months ahead of time.) His release would likely come with numerous conditions, and he would almost certainly be required to check in regularly with a parole officer.

F. Lee Bailey, a member of the "Dream Team" of defense attorneys who represented Simpson in his murder trial, said he is hopeful his onetime client will go free.

10 PHOTOS
How O.J. Simpson paid off his lawyers
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How O.J. Simpson paid off his lawyers

Simpson's former agent Mike Gilbert said in the doc that by the third day Simpson was in prison, he got his reps to start getting together a marketing and merchandising plan to generate a lot of money.

(REUTERS/SAM MIRCOVICH/POOL /Landov)

Memorabilia dealer Bruce Fromong explained that Simpson would be given numbers to sign his autograph to in his jail cell.

(ESPN)

Those numbers would then be put on jerseys to be sold at memorabilia collector events.

(ESPN)

To autograph footballs, a panel of a ball would be brought in to the jail for him to sign.

(ESPN)

And that panel would be stitched onto a football to be sold.

(ESPN)

The market exploded for Simpson memorabilia and autographs while the case went on, according to Fromong.

(ESPN)

There were even photos sold that Simpson and his attorney Johnnie Cochran had signed.

(ESPN)

In one sitting, Simpson would sign 2,500 cards.

(ESPN)

For some cards, Simpson would even date them, indicating that he signed them while in prison, inevitably driving up the price of the card.

(ESPN)

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"I'm very sympathetic to him being released at the first possible moment," Bailey, 84, told NBC News.

If he is denied parole, Simpson could remain in prison until 2022. In either case, a decision is expected on the day of the hearing.

Salling and Patton, the former board chairs, declined to speculate on a possible outcome. Salling stressed that, for the members of the commission, the process is a "difficult task" that will inevitably make many people "unhappy."

"You have to do what you think is right and not really worry about public opinion," said Salling. "It's so important to treat everyone the same. And what's what these people do day in and day out."

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