A Nevada judge has sentenced O.J. Simpson to up to 33 years for his role in taking property in a Las Vegas hotel that he claimed was stolen from him. While this may not be popular, I think the sentence is excessive and that the entire case was overcharged. He was convicted of armed robbery, kidnapping and assault 13 years to the day after his acquittal in the killings of his former wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Lyle Goldman.
Before sentencing, a clearly upset Simpson, 61, apologized in court and insisted he was merely trying to recover property that had been stolen from him. For the video of his statement in court, click here. He was facing a recommendation of 18 years in a pre-sentence report.
Judge Jackie Glass was unmoved and repeatedly referenced his words on the tape — showing that tapes not only have an overwhelming impact of juries but judges also. She stated “[e]verything in this case was on tape. You went to the room. You took guns. You used force. You took property, and in this state, that amounts to robbery with the use of a deadly weapon.”
There is no question that he deserved to be prosecuted and deserves jail time. However, 33 years? This is not for the earlier murders, which I happen to believe that he committed. This was a serious but not uncommon act. People will often feel empowered when retrieving what they believe is their own property. Yet, no one was injured and there was a valid claim of ownership by Simpson. I can see jail for one or two years, but this is a sentence that you would get on murder charges.
I certainly have no sympathy for Simpson and I am glad that the Goldman family will feel some sense of relief. However, this strikes me as a case where celebrity status worked to the disadvantage of the defendant.
He will be eligible for parole in nine years.
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