Legal expert says O.J. Simpson could be released from prison this summer

O.J. Simpson has been incarcerated at Lovelock Correctional Center in Nevada since 2008 after being sentenced to 33 years in prison, all stemming from an incident at a Las Vegas hotel room from which Simpson attempted to forcefully reclaim memorabilia.

The former Bills star and Hall of Fame running back, now 70, was charged with and found guilty on 12 counts, including conspiracy, burglary, robbery, kidnapping and assault with a deadly weapon.

This summer, he may get out early. According to analysis from Sports Illustrated legal analyst and University of New Hampshire law professor Michael McCann and co-writer Jon Wertheim, Simpson might be granted early release on parole.

The decision to grant parole is, by definition, discretionary. But it is a decision that Thomas Patton, a former chairman of the parole board in Nevada, stresses is conducted through a "very comprehensive review," weighing 11 largely objective factors. Between -1 and +2 points are allocated for each criterion. Inmates exceeding five points are classified as a "medium" or "high" risk and are unlikely to be granted parole. Score fewer than five points, and odds swing the other way. In 2013, Simpson scored three points, falling into the "low risk" category. He seems likely to do well again in 2017.

Here are the 11 factors SI.com says will be considered, as well as Simpson's score in each:

  • Age at the time of first arrest (0 points)
  • Prior probation or parole revocation (0 points)
  • Employment history immediately before arrest (0 points)
  • Offense leading to current or prior convictions (2 points)
  • History of drug or alcohol abuse (0 points or 1 point)
  • Gender (1 point)
  • Current age (-1 point)
  • Active gang membership (0 points)
  • Completed education, vocational or treatment program during prison term (-1 point or 0 points)
  • Disciplinary write-ups (-1 point)
  • Custody level (0 points)

Simpson's final tally on this analysis comes to between 0 and 2 points, making him a low risk and a good candidate for parole. SI quotes Las Vegas criminal defense attorney Daniel Hill as saying, "He's the kind of person who gets paroled. He has done a significant amount of time and, by all accounts, hasn't caused any problems [while in prison]."

A release on parole would come with conditions, such as meeting with a parole officer on a regular basis, obtaining permission in order to leave the state, and subjecting himself to regular searches of his home and vehicles.

Simpson, of course, is universally known for being acquitted of another crime, the murders of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend, Ronald Goldman, in his Trial of the Century in 1995. Two years later, the families of Brown and Goldman won a wrongful-death civil suit against Simpson.

CBS Sports Writer

Jared Dubin is a New York lawyer and writer. He joined CBSSports.com in 2014 and has since spent far too much of his time watching film and working in spreadsheets. Full Bio

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