Nevada Parole Board Unaware of O.J. Simpson’s Old Conviction

He said the parole commissioners relied in part on the information in that 2008 report in assessing whether Mr. Simpson should be released. Mr. Smith’s response came in a written statement in response to questions from The New York Times, which began inquiring about Mr. Simpson’s record after a reader noted the 1989 case.

To see if it had made an error, the parole board checked the N.C.I.C. again after the inquiry by The Times. “This most recent report also makes no mention of the 1989 California court record,” Mr. Smith said.

The parole commissioners declined to be interviewed. Mr. Smith said it was impossible to tell whether knowing of the misdemeanor conviction would have influenced their decision on Mr. Simpson, who is 70, and who has had no disciplinary record from his time in prison. The decision is not subject to review unless Mr. Simpson violates the terms of his release.

Though a jury in Los Angeles found Mr. Simpson not guilty of killing Mr. Goldman and Ms. Simpson, a civil jury later found him responsible for their deaths. The killings have cast an inescapable shadow over every aspect of his life since then. Because he was acquitted of the murders, the Nevada parole board legally could not take that case into account in making its decision.

It is not clear why the 1989 case failed to turn up in the federal system, and California court officials said they did not have an explanation. But the omission highlights a frequent problem: There are major gaps in the databases, which rely primarily on accurate and complete reporting by local and state agencies.

The Justice Department has reported, for example, that states fail to transmit most of their active arrest warrants from their own databases into the federal system and often neglect to update records to show whether cases resulted in convictions. Some states still rely on paper files, making it likelier that they will not end up in the federal electronic records database, and that is even more of a problem with older records.

Gaps in the federal databases have often been noted in the context of background checks for gun purchasers, whose names are checked against those files, but far less attention has gone to the effect they have on other aspects of law enforcement, like sentencing and parole.

The F.B.I. said it could not comment on a specific case or the practices of individual agencies, but noted in a statement that participation “from our state and local partners is…

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