"All grounds in the petition lack merit and, consequently, are
denied," Clark County District Judge Linda Marie Bell said in
her ruling Tuesday.
Simpson's lawyer Patricia Palm said she
spoke briefly with the former football star from prison, and
said he was disappointed but would appeal to the Nevada Supreme
Court. Simpson's new defense team argued that his original
lawyers botched his case.
"We're confident that when we get to the right court we'll
get relief because he deserves relief, because he didn't get a
fair trial," Palm told The Associated Press.
Clark County District Attorney Steve Wolfson, whose wife was
the judge who presided over the Simpson 2008 trial, called
Bell's ruling the right decision.
"I believe Mr. Simpson received a fair trial and had more
than competent counsel," Wolfson said.
If the 66-year-old Simpson loses his appeal to the state high
court, he could take the case to federal courts to argue his
constitutional right to effective counsel was violated.
Simpson was found guilty of kidnapping, armed robbery and
other charges in what he said was an attempt to retrieve
memorabilia and personal items from two sports collectibles
dealers in a casino hotel room.
Simpson was sentenced to nine to 33 years in Nevada state
prison but was granted parole on some convictions in July,
meaning he must serve at least four more years locked up.
Simpson's conviction came 13 years to the day after the
former movie and TV star was acquitted in the Los Angeles "trial
of the century" in the stabbing deaths of his ex-wife, Nicole
Brown Simpson, and her friend Ronald Goldman. Six years later, a
jury in Miami acquitted him of all charges in a Florida road
Simpson's legal defense in his Las Vegas trial was headed by
Yale Galanter, the Miami-based attorney who represented him in
the 2001 road rage case. Attorney Gabriel Grasso served with
Galanter as co-counsel in Las Vegas.
Galanter, who testified during Simpson's five-day habeas
corpus hearing in May, said he felt vindicated.
"As O.J.'s lawyer and confidante, it was gut-wrenching for me
to have to be in a position to defend my strategy and efforts on
his behalf as his lawyer and testify against my client,"
Galanter said by telephone. "If I did what their legal team says
I did, the first thing O.J. should have said to me was, 'Hey I'm
in jail and it's because of you. Go screw yourself.'"
Bell's 101-page ruling rejected arguments that Simpson
received inadequate legal representation.
"Mr. Simpson's convictions stem from serious offenses," she
wrote. The judge noted the involvement of six co-conspirators
and weeks of advance planning.
"Mr. Simpson specifically asked two of his co-conspirators to
bring weapons ... to show the sellers he meant business," she
said. And the two memorabilia dealers were "lured into a small
hotel room" where they were surprised by Simpson's group.
The judge considered a 94-page petition for a new trial.
Simpson's new legal team — Palm, Ozzie Fumo and Tom Pitaro —
said they believed they presented overwhelming evidence that
Galanter knew of Simpson's plan, had conflicted interests that
shaped the way he handled the case, and that Simpson didn't get
a fair trial.
They said Galanter failed to hire an investigator or have
experts examine crucial evidence, including audio tapes that
jurors later said convinced them of Simpson's guilt.