BREAKING: O.J. Simpson Freed

… from uncertainty as to how the Nevada Supreme Court will rule in his case, because it denied his appeal yesterday.

Sorry—now that I look at that headline, it seems a little misleading. I need to be more careful about that, I guess. See O.J. Simpson Set Free” (Nov. 27, 2013) (he wasn’t); “O.J.’s Sentencing Speech Causes Spectators to Weep, Judge to Reverse Conviction” (Dec. 5, 2008) (it didn’t); “O.J. Simpson Convicted of Murder” (Oct. 5, 2008) (it was technically armed robbery and kidnapping).

In general I do try to be fair to the guy, though. SeeO.J. Simpson Actually Not Guilty of Something” (Sept. 30, 2013) (quashing rumors that he had stolen cookies from the prison cafeteria); “Smithsonian Doesn’t Want O.J.’s ‘Acquittal Suit‘” (Mar. 2, 2010) (noting that people would probably prefer to forget him).

OJ smirks in court

Bet he hasn’t made this face recently

No, I guess I don’t.

Anyway, this is O.J.’s second loss before this court. It rejected his direct appeal in 2010; this was an appeal regarding his state habeas corpus claim, in which he argued ineffective assistance of counsel. The lower-court judge ruled against him on that claim in 2013 (a ruling I discussed in the first misleadingly titled post above), and the Nevada Supreme Court affirmed. It did not think that any of the lawyer’s alleged mistakes would have made a difference, and held that only one of them was actually a “mistake” anyway.

The court also held, among other things, that the lawyer wasn’t “ineffective” just because he didn’t make every possible argument. “[C]ounsel is not required to, and will be most effective when he does not, raise every non-frivolous issue,” the court pointed out. (You also shouldn’t raise the ones that are frivolous, just to be clear.) Also, the court held a lawyer does not necessarily have a conflict of interest, as Simpson had argued, just because he or she wants to get paid or “enjoys publicity,” so that’s good to know.

Simpson could still bring a federal habeas claim, and he is eligible for parole starting in 2017. So, just FYI, I would not rely on any future headlines you see here regarding those events.