Update: July 20, 2017: O.J. Simpson is scheduled to appear in a hearing today that could lead to his early release from prison. If four of the seven members of the Nevada Board of Parole vote in his favor, Simpson will be released as soon as October 2017.
This article was originally published on February 22, 2017.
O.J. Simpson's name dominated pop culture in 2016, thanks to an award-wining show about the former football star's infamous murder trial, American Crime Story: The People vs. O.J. Simpson. In addition to the FX hit starring Cuba Gooding Jr., Sarah Paulson, Sterling K. Brown, and John Travolta, ESPN produced a five-part documentary telling the fallen hero's story called O.J.: Made In America. Now, it's looking like Simpson may be making headlines again in 2017, for an entirely different reason: he is up for parole this year.
Sports Illustrated did a deep-dive into the likelihood that Simpson will walk free this year after eight years behind bars. In 2008, Simpson was convicted of 12 counts (including armed robbery and kidnapping) and sentenced to 33 years in prison — exactly 13 years after being found not guilty in the murder of Nicole Brown and Goldman. (You can read more about that bizarre Las Vegas incident here.) The sentence stipulated that Simpson would be eligible for parole after nine years. (He was granted parole for five of those charges in 2013.)
Now, nine years later, Simpson's odds of getting out in October look promising, according to SI's thorough analysis of the factors that go into the decision. A member of the Nevada parole board told SI that the hearing, which usually happens about 90 days before the eligibility date, would probably take place in the summer. (Going by the three-months guide, that would be on or around July 1.)
At the hearing, Simpson will need to sway at least four out of seven commissioners on the parole board by scoring well on 11 different factors. Those criteria include gender, current age, age at time of arrest, gang membership, substance abuse, prior convictions, and disciplinary write-ups for bad behavior in prison. By SI's calculations, Simpson's predicted score will qualify him for release by a safe margin.
Las Vegas attorney Daniel Hill told SI that Simpson is "the kind of person who gets paroled,” adding that he "has done a significant amount of time and, by all accounts, hasn’t caused any problems.” Indeed, Simpson was granted parole on those five counts back in 2013 due in part to his good behavior and positive contributions to the prison, including helping with chores, participating in education programming, and mentoring fellow inmates.
What happens if Simpson is not granted parole? He may stay in prison for up to another five years, until 2022. We'll learn either way soon enough. Here's looking forward to hearing yet another major O.J. Simpson ruling in 2017.