POSTED: 07:14 a.m. HST, Oct 22, 2010
LAST UPDATED: 11:39 a.m. HST, Oct 22, 2010
LAS VEGAS >> The Nevada Supreme Court refused Friday to overturn O.J. Simpson's armed robbery and kidnapping convictions stemming from a gunpoint heist in a Las Vegas hotel room.
In its ruling, the court said it concluded each of Simpson's eight appeal arguments were without merit.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter said the ruling was disappointing but not unexpected.
"This is but the first step in a very long line of appeals that Mr. Simpson has before him," Galanter said.
Another Simpson lawyer, Malcolm LaVergne, said he planned to inform Simpson of the order.
"I'm extremely disappointed — I thought we had a very strong appeal," LaVergne said.
Separately, the court ordered the conviction of Simpson's co-defendant Clarence "C.J." Stewart to be reversed and a new trial held.
Simpson, 63, is serving nine to 33 years at a state prison in Lovelock Correctional Center, 90 miles northeast of Reno. Stewart is serving 7 1/2 to 27 years.
Both men were convicted of kidnapping, armed robbery, conspiracy and other crimes for what Simpson maintained was an attempt to retrieve family photos and mementoes.
The key issues in the former football star's appeal were the racial makeup of the jury and the conduct of Clark County District Court Judge Jackie Glass.
Simpson's lawyers argued that prosecutors improperly rejected two jurors because they were African American. But the court concluded that except for providing the race of the prospective jurors, Simpson's lawyers didn't offer any evidence of discrimination. Prosecutors gave race-neutral reasons for dismissing the jurors, the court said.
The court also said it reviewed 34 instances in which Simpson's lawyers alleged misconduct by Glass, then concluded most of the allegations consisted of warnings by Glass for lawyers to stop talking and sit down.
The court noted both sides in the case were admonished during the trial.
"Of the 23 volumes of appendices, covering over four weeks of trial, there is hardly a moment of the trial where numerous attorneys were not trying to speak over one another," the court said in its order.
A spokeswoman for the Clark County Court did not immediately return a call from the AP requesting comment from Glass.
Clark County District Attorney David Roger has called the September 2008 trial contentious but fair, and the sentences just. He had urged the justices to deny both appeals.
Roger was not immediately available for comment Friday.
Simpson attorney Yale Galanter characterized his client's conviction as prejudicial "payback" for his 1994 double-murder acquittal involving the 1994 slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman in Los Angeles.
At a previous hearing, Justices Michael Cherry, Mark Gibbons and Nancy Saitta posed pointed questions about whether Stewart received a fair trial alongside Simpson.
Four other men took plea deals and received probation after testifying for the prosecution.
Stewart, 56, is a former Simpson golfing partner from North Las Vegas.
Associated Press Writers Sandra Chereb in Carson City, Nev., and Ed Donahue in Washington, D.C., contributed to this report.