Wednesday, November 22, 2017
Has Justice Been Served?
By Jason Lewis (Sports Editor)
Published August 20, 2009

Donte Stallworth walks away with less than a month in jail for vehicular manslaughter, while Michael Vick received nearly two years in prison for his role in a dog fighting ring and Plaxico Burress is facing 3 1/2 years in prison for carrying a gun.

Has Justice Been Served?

Donte Stallworth, Plaxico Burress, and Michael Vick

By Jason Lewis
Sentinel Staff Writer

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Michael Vick received nearly two years in prison for killing dogs, Plaxico Burress is facing 3 1/2 years for carrying a gun, and Donte Stallworth only received 30 days in jail for hitting and killing a guy while drunk driving. Is this justice? Most people say now, but the answer to that question is… Yes!
It may be a head scratchier, but in reality, the three cases really cannot be compared to each other. Different charges, different circumstances, and different states. It’s as apple and oranges as it gets. One decision does not have anything to do with the other.
Vick did not serve nearly two years in prison simply for killing dogs. Actually, in his plea agreement he did not admit to killing any dogs. Vick served those two years for running an illegal gambling ring that involved dogfights and the killing of dogs. On top of that he performed these illegal acts in multiple states, making it a federal crime.
Looking at the charges Vick is lucky that he got off with only a two-year sentence. Killing dogs may have been the least of his worries. Running an illegal gambling ring for several years where millions of dollars is being exchanged, tax-free, will land anybody in jail for a number of years.
Lets not forget why Vick’s home was raided in the first place. Authorities were searching for drugs. It appears that Vick had his hands in a few different illegal endeavors that could have landed him in jail for a lot longer than two years.
Burress is facing more time than Vick received, and all he did was carry a gun. He didn’t shoot anybody… well, except for himself by accident. Now he’s facing 3 1/2 years, and it looks like he’ll be lucky to plea it down to two years.
In the city of New York if a person is caught with an unregistered gun he faces a minimum a 3 1/2 year sentence. Like it or not that’s flat out the law in New York. Burress should not have been carrying an unregistered weapon when there is a penalty like that. There is a penalty to stop people from carrying unregistered guns. Burress ignored that, so now he has to pay.
Being a celebrity is not helping Burress here, because the Mayor of New York and the District Attorney have already said that they will not make an exception for Burris, and it appears that they will be making an example of him.
As for Stallworth, many have questioned how he got off with such a light sentence when his crime appears much worse than Vick or Burress’ crimes. But is his crime worse? And argument can be made that it is not.
Stallworth received such a sweet deal because he could have beaten the charges. His attorney would have made the argument that Stallworth was not totally at fault, and he would have been right!
The victim of the accident was struck while jaywalking across a busy street. Stallworth saw the man running across the street and tried to signal him. Stallworth’s attorney would have argued that even if Stallworth was sober he still could have struck the pedestrian, or another car could have struck him while he was illegally crossing the street. It appears that the jaywalker may have been culpable for his own death.
According to Florida’s DUI manslaughter law there are exceptions under what is called “causation” of an accident. A drunk driver is not necessarily responsible if the other party did something to contribute to the accident. In other words, the jaywalker contributed to his own death by illegally crossing a busy street, so Stallworth’s attorney may have been able to get him off all the charges.
Knowing that Stallworth could have walked the District Attorney offered him a sweet deal so Stallworth would not walk without any punishment. Stallworth was smart to take the deal because if he had gone to trial he still could have been convicted and spent up to 15 years in prison. So it was a win-win situation for both sides, which is what plea agreements are supposed to be.
In the end, Vick knowingly committed several crimes for several years. Burress carried an unregistered gun in a city with a very strict law. Stallworth… it’s not even certain that he did anything more than driving under the influence of alcohol, which usually does not carry any jail time.
Like it or not, justice has been served correctly in these three cases.


Categories: Football

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