When O.J. Simpson was granted parole this past July, the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners, which considered his case, didn’t take into consideration his 1989 conviction for beating his then-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson.
The reason? It apparently wasn’t listed in a national FBI crime database, according to the New York Post.
The paper reports that the Nevada board’s hearing officer, David Smith, says that the panel has asked for a second report from the FBI’s National Crime Information Center to “determine whether an error had been made.”
Smith told the paper that, months after the panel filed the request, “we have not been given any formal notice that the charges back in 1989 resulted in a conviction.”
The charge—and the conviction—are easily searchable on the internet.
Prominent attorney Gloria Allred also noted that the Nevada parole board could have simply asked Simpson about the battery conviction, especially considering that the 1989 assault was presented as evidence during Simpson’s murder trial. Simpson was acquitted in the infamous trial, only to be convicted later of armed robbery.
He had served nine years of a whopping 33-year sentence before being granted parole by the state of Nevada.
Smith shared the information Tuesday. In the meantime, Nevada Assemblywoman Lisa Krasner is proposing legislation that would require parole boards to consider an inmate’s history of domestic abuse before the inmate could be released.
While Kramer claims that the measure “isn’t specifically tailored” toward Simpson, the bill does set requirements regarding civil suits and truthfulness, both issues that came up during Simpson’s hearing.
From the Post:
Krasner’s bill would require the board to set specific standards in cases where an inmate seeking parole was held responsible for a wrongful death of another person and punitive damages were awarded.
The measure also would require those seeking parole to sign a sworn statement that all information they provide to the board is true. If Simpson was required to testify under such conditions, he couldn’t have told the commissioners he had “spent a conflict free life,” Allred said.
But the fact that public information about a domestic-assault conviction wasn’t considered is a troubling reminder of how these sorts of cases are overlooked by the justice system.
This is less about whether Simpson “deserved” parole or about whether his record of spousal abuse would have prevented the Nevada parole board from releasing him. The legal system, as a whole, repeatedly fails to take domestic-abuse cases seriously and take them into consideration where appropriate. Consider this: Over half of mass shootings (54 percent) between 2009 and 2016 involved a current or former intimate partner or family member as a victim, according to one study. The same study found that 16 percent of of mass shooters had previously been charged with domestic violence.
The Violence Policy Center reports that three American women are killed every day by their current or former romantic partners. And black women are disproportionately affected: They make up half of all homicide victims, most of them dying at the hands of person with whom they’ve been intimate.
Despite this, the National Rifle Association refuses to advocate restricting the gun rights of people who have been charged with domestic assault.
Is Simpson likely to go on a shooting rampage? No. But the law that Krasner is introducing in the wake of his release is a welcome step toward making sure that an inmate’s record of domestic abuse doesn’t get buried in plain sight.
Read more at the New York Post.