Why The Stakes Are So High In O.J. Simpson's Parole Hearing

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After serving nearly nine years on his nine-to-33-year sentence, O.J. Simpson will appear before the Nevada Board of Parole on Thursday morning for a hearing that could result in his release. Simpson has been serving his time at Nevada's medium security Lovelock Correctional Facility since 2008 — after being convicted on 12 counts, including kidnapping and armed robbery — and he will participate in Thursday's hearing via teleconference. The commissioners on the Board of Parole are expected to vote in Simpson's favor which could mean he'll be released early as October, but what will happen if O.J. Simpson doesn't make parole?

During the hearing, four Board of Parole commissioners will meet in Carson City to consider Simpson's case. They will ask him questions about his plans for after his release, and consider whether or not he will pose a threat to society. They will also give him an opportunity to speak further and advocate for himself.

Simpson needs at least four commissioners to vote in his favor in order to be paroled, so if the four board members present at the hearing are unable to come to a decision, there are two remaining commissioners who will be patched in to vote on Simpson's case. If Simpson is unable to get four commissioners' support even after that, he will not be paroled and he will continue serving out his sentence, according to The Washington Post.

The Post reported that this parole hearing will not be quite as high-profile as Simpson's 1995 murder trial, during which he was acquitted in the murders of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. However, the possibility of his impending release has nevertheless attracted a significant amount of attention, and Goldman's father said that Simpson's release would mean his family would "never get the justice."

Back in 2013, Simpson was paroled on five of the lesser charges against him, which means he only has to be granted parole on the seven remaining counts. In fact, at Thursday's hearing, Simpson will face some of the same commissioners who granted him parole on those earlier charges.

According to the Associated Press, Simpson stands a good chance of being released. A former guard told ABC News that Simpson was a model prisoner, and nobody present at the hearing — not even Simpson's alleged victim or the former prosecutor who fought for his conviction — is expected to oppose his release in October.