O.J. Simpson is headed for a parole hearing in Nevada this week with legal experts saying he stands a good chance of winning release from prison in October, after serving nine years for a botched attempt to steal mementos from his sports career at gunpoint.
However, one factor that could weigh against his seemingly solid case for parole is the notoriety still surrounding Simpson’s acquittal in a sensational double-murder trial that gripped America two decades ago, according to some who have followed his case most closely.
“What plays against him is the ghost of the murders,” Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson told Reuters on Tuesday. Anyone else fitting Simpson’s inmate profile would be virtually assured of parole, she said. “What we don’t know is how much the O.J. factor will make a difference,” Levenson said.
The four parole commissioners meeting on Thursday in Carson City are supposed to decide Simpson’s fate on the basis of other factors, including his age, his conduct in prison and whether his release would pose a threat to public safety.