Simpson Case Forces Jail Renovation
A court order requiring the Sheriff’s Department to provide O.J. Simpson’s squad of attorneys a place to confer with their famous client on weekends is prompting renovations to visiting areas of the Men’s Central Jail.
The attorneys’ room where Simpson meets with Robert L. Shapiro and other members of his legal team normally is closed Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. But the room was made available to Simpson and his attorneys last weekend and staffed with a guard earning overtime pay because other visiting rooms were too small to accommodate them.
Those visiting rooms, which are equipped with glass walls to separate inmates from their visitors, are being enlarged and more intercoms installed, sheriff’s spokesman Brian Jones said Tuesday. When completed, an inmate will be able to speak with as many as four people at a time.
In addition to enlarging the visiting rooms, the department will install a partition on the attorneys’ side of the glass wall to provide a measure of privacy.
Jones said the department had planned the renovations in response to logistic problems in the past involving other teams of attorneys.
The project was speeded up, however, to save the cost of paying overtime to monitor Simpson’s visitation sessions. In another cost-saving move, the department is planning to install additional cameras that will allow the wing where he is jailed to be monitored remotely, according to a sheriff’s official.
Simpson is housed in a 9-by-7-foot windowless cell in the so-called “high-power” wing of the 6,500-inmate jail, where other residents have included Christian Brando, Charles Keating and, currently, Erik Menendez.