What’s next for O.J. Simpson?

O.J. Simpson was granted parole Thursday after serving nearly nine years in prison for a 2007 armed robbery in Las Vegas. But the former NFL superstar and movie actor’s future outside of prison may not be so rosy.

Life outside the Lovelock Correctional Facility, a medium security prison in Nevada’s high desert, could well resemble Simpson’s solitary years after he was acquitted in the slayings of his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman, CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin said Thursday.

“I think it will be a lot like life was between 1995 and 2007,” Toobin said. “He was really a pariah. His old life was gone — celebrity pitchman, sportscaster, actor, all gone.”

So what’s next for the 70-year-old who was known as the “Juice” during his football heyday?

When will Simpson go free?

The next chapter in Simpson’s life could begin as soon as October, the earliest he could be released, according to David Smith, a spokesman for the Nevada Board of Parole Commissioners. The state must now develop his release plan.

What will Simpson do?

One option for Simpson, Toobin said, would be to return to a life of memorabilia sales and autograph signings.

“I think it will be a pretty seedy existence,” Toobin said. “He’ll be trying to make money off what’s left of his fame. It’s mostly infamy, not fame.”

Simpson’s involvement in the world of memorabilia sales was what got him a nine-to-33-year sentence for his role in a 2007 incident that unfolded in a Las Vegas hotel room.

Simpson and armed associates allegedly confronted two memorabilia dealers and took pieces of memorabilia from them.

The “Juice” was convicted on charges including kidnapping, armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon.

The former college and pro football star said at his sentencing that he was trying to reclaim family heirlooms and other personal items that had been stolen from him, and claimed he was unaware his associates were carrying guns.

What skills has Simpson gained behind bars?

At his parole hearing Thursday, Simpson said that he is a Baptist, and that a few other inmates asked him to help create Lovelock’s first Baptist service.

“I worked with them,” he said. “We now have an ongoing Baptist service that … is well attended. I attend it religiously, and pun is intended.”

“I was always a good guy but could have been a better Christian and my commitment to change is to be a better Christian,” he added.

Simpson also said he recently became commissioner of the 18-team softball league.

“My primary responsibility was rules enforcement and, you know, player comportment,” he said, adding that he decided on removing players from games and suspensions.

“I never got any blowback from the guys because they know how to act. I’ve done the best I can and just trying to keep them out of trouble. So my agenda was full here. I’ve been active, totally active for as long … I’ve been here. I don’t have much time to sit around and do anything.”

He also completed a number of courses, he said, including one entitled “Alternative to Violence.”

“I think it’s the most important course anybody in this prison can take, because it teaches you how to deal with conflict, through conversation,” Simpson said.

“I have been asked many, many times here to mediate conflicts between individuals and groups,” he said. “And it gave me so many tools on how to use it, that you … try to walk these guys through. Not throwing punches at one another.”

O.J. Simpson, the webcaster and blogger?

Simpson said he completed a computer course that has helped him stay in touch with his four children.

“I took a computer course here not because I was computer illiterate, but I took the computer course because … sometimes I could never get my kids on the phone,” he said. “But if you text them or send something to them on the computer you can get them.”

In June 1967, Simpson, then 19 years old, married his 18-year-old high school sweetheart, Marguerite Whitley. The couple had three children, Arnelle, Jason and Aaren. Aaren drowned in the family swimming pool just before her second birthday in 1979.

At his parole hearing, Arnelle Simpson, O.J. Simpson’s oldest daughter, said her father was “my best friend and my rock.”

Simpson lamented to the parole board that he had missed too many graduations and birthdays. He’s anxious to get back to family and friends.

“I’ve done my time,” he told the board. “I would just like to get back to my family and friends, and believe it or not, I do have some real friends.”

Simpson and Brown married in 1985 and had two children, daughter Sydney and son Justin.

In a letter to a friend — which was read in court — Simpson wrote, “Who knows, you may even see a webcast/blog in my future.”

Simpson urged the friend, Ozzie Fumo, now a Nevada state legislator, to support prisoner education.

“It wasn’t until I got to prison that I realized just how many people did not have the exposure to … education — in part because of their circumstances i.e. gangs, bad neighborhoods, lack of parental supervision, poverty, etc.,” Simpson wrote.

How much is Simpson’s NFL pension worth?

Simpson stands to do better than most who have just been released from prison.

The NFL won’t say how much he’ll get from his NFL pension, and it’s hard to estimate without knowing some key details, such as when he decided to start collecting benefits. But according to the NFL benefits formula, if Simpson waited until age 65 to start drawing his pension, he could receive as much as $100,680 a year, and could have amassed more than $500,000 during the time he was in prison.

If he started at age 55, he would have accumulated $566,000 in benefits up until now, but he’d only get about $47,000 a year going forward.

Simpson also reportedly has made $5 million in contributions to a retirement plan run by the Screen Actor’s Guild, according to USA Today.

Were the Goldman and Brown families compensated?

Simpson was found liable in a 1996 civil trial for the deaths of Goldman and Brown-Simpson, and was ordered to pay $33.5 million in damages — more money than he had. Most of that money has not been collected.

He moved to Florida, where state law prevented his pension and home from being seized to pay the damages. Simpson’s Heisman Trophy was ordered sold and brought in $230,000.

Where will Simpson go?

Simpson told the parole panel that he will likely return to Florida.

“I could stay in Nevada but I don’t think you guys want me here,” he joked.

The Nevada Division of Parole and Probation will investigate Simpson’s proposed release plan.

Michelle Glady, a spokeswoman for the Florida Department of Corrections, said in a statement that if Nevada’s relocation request for Simpson “meets all criteria, Florida must accept the transfer.”

Fumo, the lawyer and Nevada state legislator, told CNN affiliate KLAS-TV that the former running back is “looking forward to the future.”

“He’s a better person than what a lot of people, you know, think he is,” Fumo said.

“He’s not going to be golfing everyday. I think the physical part has really taken a toll on his life.”

Toobin predicted Simpson’s eventual return to Florida, where bankruptcy laws will enable him to protect his assets from the Goldman family. Toobin also predicted that Simpson will likely continue to surround himself with figures from the memorabilia world.

“It’s a far cry from the old life in Brentwood, but it’s a hell of a lot better than being in Lovelock prison,” he said.

Simpson will likely make money selling interviews and memorabilia, Toobin said.

“He is a deeply delusional and self-obsessed narcissist, and, you know, good luck to America once he’s out,” he said.

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Mormon professor says she was fired for pro-LGBT post

Ruthie Robertson is a life-long Mormon who supports equal rights for gay, lesbian and transgender individuals.

Despite the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ doctrine opposing same-sex marriage, she firmly believes her views are compatible with her faith.

But Robertson, a 23-year-old recent graduate of Brigham Young University-Idaho, claims her views cost her her job.

Robertson says her alma mater fired her from her post as an adjunct professor after she shared a statement on Facebook in support of the LGBT community.

“This is my official announcement and declaration that I believe heterosexuality and homosexuality are both natural and neither is sinful. I will never support the phrase ‘love the sinner, hate the sin’ because that ‘sin’ is part of who that person is. Homosexuality and transgenderism are not sins; if God made us, and those are part of who we are … then God created that as well,” she said in the Facebook post.

“I realize that my views counter the current day policies of the LDS Church, but I hope that over time the Church will come to see the harm these policies have.”

The LDS Church declined to comment on Roberston’s dismissal and referred inquiries to the school. For questions about doctrine it pointed CNN to its website, Mormon and Gay. BYU-Idaho spokesman Brett A. Crandall confirmed that Robertson will not be teaching at the school next semester. He declined to elaborate on Robertson’s case citing “a long-standing policy of not commenting on personnel matters.”

The school did not respond to repeated requests to clarify its policy on homosexuality in its honor code or faculty guide. The honor code mirrors church doctrine, which distinguishes between same-sex attraction and homosexual behavior, condoning the former but not the latter. According to church teachings, “the attraction itself is not a sin but acting on it is,” and even though people “do not choose to have such attractions, they do choose how to respond to them.”

BYU’s honor code says that “one’s stated same-gender attraction is not an Honor Code issue. However, the Honor Code requires all members of the university community to manifest a strict commitment to the law of chastity. Homosexual behavior is inappropriate and violates the Honor Code. Homosexual behavior includes not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.”

The faculty guide is not publicly available. In a copy Robertson provided to CNN, a section on faculty commitment and academic freedom says faculty members are charged with broadening students’ perspectives “without causing doubt of fundamental tenets of the gospel.”

The policy does not appear to apply to adjunct faculty members like Robertson, nor does it address statements of personal views of faculty or staff made outside the classroom or on social media. That’s why Robertson thinks the decision to not renew her contract was punitive and unfair.

She said she never discussed LGBT rights in her political science classes for the sake of avoiding controversy. She made her statement on June 5 in a personal Facebook post shared only with friends.

“… We like to pick and choose from the scriptures, and if we choose to use the Old Testament as a defense for condemning homosexuality, there’s a whole lot more we need to be condemning as well,” she said in the post.

“Church History shows that the Church has rescinded policies before that weren’t doctrinal, and that weren’t inspired by the Lord. I hope that this will some day apply to the stance on the LGBT community. I will always and forever stand up for the equality of the LGBT community. Sexuality and gender are not binary, they are on a spectrum and that’s how we were made.”

She said a Facebook friend shared it with her department head and the school’s president, leading to a meeting with administrators the next day. The school would not confirm those details.

What began as a positive discussion about her motivation for the post ended with administrators telling her she was wrong and that she should go home and pray on it, she said.

She took that to mean they wanted her to remove the post; instead, she said she modified it somewhat. The following week, she was told in a phone call that she would be terminated after finishing the semester.

“I knew it would upset some of my Facebook friends, but I never thought any of them would report me to the school,” she told CNN. “I never thought I’d lose my job over this.”

“It’s made me feel like my voice and view isn’t wanted, both in the school and the culture, and that’s been disappointing.”

The controversy reignited debate in the Mormon community about church doctrine on LGBT identity.

Lori Embree, another BYU-I adjunct professor, said the church still has a long way to go despite its efforts in recent years to be more inclusive and welcoming of gay and lesbian members.

Mormon support groups have formed in recent years for LGBT youth and their parents, Embree said. But a culture of fear still exists, one that stifles LGBT Mormons and prevents them from coming out, with devastating effects, she said.

She commended Robertson for not backing down from her statement. While Embree fears her dismissal may have a chilling effect, she also believes it will empower others. “I applaud her personal decision,” Embree said. “I also applaud her assertion that, no, she will not be silenced for having a different opinion than that of the mainstream Church.”

“This is the larger issue this young faculty member is standing up for, the one I stand up for, and the one that needs to be heard,” she said.”

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County offers reduced jail time for birth control

Yes, you read that right. Inmates in White County, Tennessee, can shave 30 days off their jail sentence if they undergo an elective birth control procedure.

Both male and female inmates can volunteer for the new program. Women receive a Nexplanon implant in their arm, which provides up to three years of continuous birth control. Men undergo a vasectomy. The procedures are free and conducted by the Tennessee Department of Health.

General Sessions Judge Sam Benningfield signed a standing order on May 15 enforcing the program.

“I hope to encourage them to take personal responsibility and give them a chance, when they do get out, not to be burdened with children,” Benningfield told CNN affiliate WTVF. “This gives them a chance to get on their feet and make something of themselves.”

Since the program started, 32 women and 38 men have volunteered. The men are currently waiting to have the vasectomies performed.

“I understand it won’t be entirely successful, but if you reach two or three people, maybe that’s two or three kids not being born under the influence of drugs. I see it as a win-win,” Benningfield said.

Controversy over new program

Not everyone is enthusiastic about the idea. District Attorney Bryant Dunaway and the ACLU are speaking against the ethics and legality of it.

“Those decisions are personal in nature and I think that’s just something the court system should not encourage or mandate,” Dunaway told WTVF.

Dunaway has instructed his staff not to make any arrangements involving the birth control program.

“Offering a so-called ‘choice’ between jail time and coerced contraception or sterilization is unconstitutional,” said Hedy Weinberg, ACLU-TN executive director, in a statement.

“Judges play an important role in our community — overseeing individuals’ childbearing capacity should not be part of that role.”

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Illinois dodges downgrade to ‘junk’

Illinois has just barely avoided the dishonor of becoming America’s first “junk” state.

Moody’s decided Thursday that it won’t downgrade Illinois because the cash-strapped state finally passed its first budget in more than two years. S&P Global Ratings similarly removed the threat of an imminent downgrade last week.

Moody’s concluded that the Illinois budget deal — which includes a 32% tax hike — is enough to ease the enormous financial pressures facing the state. Illinois had built up $15 billion in unpaid bills, affecting everything from mental health services for teens to funding for state colleges and universities.

Even though Illinois has dodged another downgrade bullet, the state remains in financial disarray. After decades of mismanagement, Illinois has built up a stunning pension shortfall of $251 billion that will continue to grow, according to Moody’s.

That’s why Moody’s is keeping a “negative” outlook on the state, signaling further action could come in the next 12 to 24 months if Illinois gets back into trouble.

In addition to the “severe” pension shortfall, Moody’s said Illinois continues to grapple with a “weak governance” system and “residual political paralysis.”

It wasn’t clear if the budget compromise was going to be enough for Illinois to avoid a downgrade. Moody’s had warned right before the budget was enacted on July 6 that potential “shortcomings” in the deal could trigger a downgrade from its organization.

Moody’s reiterated on Thursday that there is a risk that Illinois will fail to cut spending and raise tax revenue by as much as the budget calls for.

Moody’s said the state’s failure to enact a budget for two straight years is partially the result of the state’s pension time bomb, which was caused by politicians delaying tough decisions.

“As the liabilities have grown more difficult, so have the potential political repercussions of addressing them,” Moody’s said.

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Family of former Miami-Dade police director still searching for answers after suicide

It happened the day after his 62nd birthday: Bobby Parker shot himself across the street from his Miami home.

Two years after his death, Parker’s police family still has no answers. His wife of nearly 40 years along with his three children, are living with the mystery every day.

The Parkers looked through pictures, remembering the rock of their family.

“I could not have imagined a better father for my kids,” Veronica Parker said about her late husband. “He said, ‘All you have to do is get up and breathe. I’ll take care of the rest.'” 

Bobby Parker was also the patriarch of an extended family — the Miami-Dade Police Department — for 33 years.

In 2004, he became the first black police director.

In July 2015, six years after he retired, Bobby Parker took his own life.

“I’ve torn this house apart. I tore the Georgia house apart. I tore the North Carolina house apart — (and found) nothing,”   Veronica Parker said. “I looked through his phone. His iPad. His personal papers — nothing.”

Veronica Parker recalls her husband being happy the day he died.

“The storm came and then the lights went out,” she said. “I was standing in the front yard and my sons, they went to the back, and I heard them scream. They said ‘Daddy, no.’ I knew it wasn’t good. And that’s when I saw him.” 

When Veronica Parker saw her husband’s body she closed his eyes and laid on top of him. 

“I think it was rescue that took me off,” she said. 

Parker’s two sons took Local 10 News’ Calvin Hughes to the canal across from their home, where they found their father’s body.

“I just broke down in tears. Never thought I would find my father here laying down,” Robert Parker  Jr. said. “It’s been very tough. Think about him every day.”

Kyron Parker said he thanks God daily for the time he had with his father. 

“It was just so unexpected,” Kalika Parker said about her father. “For someone to be so happy at that time. You just never know. And the reason we believe it was mental illness is he just didn’t display the signs.” 

Veronica Parker said her husband’s passing wasn’t just a loss for her and her family, but for the community.

“His race was done and we finished his race. And it was time for him to go. His work was done here,”  Veronica Parker said.

Friday would have been Bobby Parker’s 64th birthday. In remembrance of the former police director,  Veronica Parker is having a celebration at 790 South Biscayne River Drive in Miami.

She is accepting donations for the foundation named in his honor two years ago, hoping to raise $1 million. Donations can be made through the family’s GoFundMe account. 

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