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Old 08-20-2009, 11:04 AM   #1
jhuerbin88
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Default Burress to serve 2 years in prison after pleading guilty

Former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress pleads guilty, to serve 2 years in prison - ESPN

I don't understand what the relationship between the NFL and the law is, but if somebody figures it out let me know. How does Stallworth serve 24 days out of a 30-day sentence for killing somebody while DUI and Burress has to spend 2 years in prison for shooting himself with a gun? What the hell?
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Old 08-20-2009, 11:48 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by jhuerbin88 View Post
Former New York Giants receiver Plaxico Burress pleads guilty, to serve 2 years in prison - ESPN

I don't understand what the relationship between the NFL and the law is, but if somebody figures it out let me know. How does Stallworth serve 24 days out of a 30-day sentence for killing somebody while DUI and Burress has to spend 2 years in prison for shooting himself with a gun? What the hell?
Statutes and what the Prosecution can prove.

On Statutes, I don't know how the DUI manslaughter is set up in Florida, but, the original charge for Plaxico came with a mandatory minimum of 3 1/2 years.

Plaxico's case was much easier for the prosecution to prove than Stallworth's. Stallworth's penalty might not seem like a lot, but the case is just different in how it would unravel. It would have been a lot harder for Plaxico to win a trial than it would for Stallworth.

With Stallworth, there is a part in the law where, to be guilty of it, the drunkenness must have also led to the death. So, he would be able to make an argument at trial, that, yes, he was driving while intoxicated, but, if he had not been intoxicated, there is still a chance that the same accident would have occurred...or, at least, the prosecutor would have had to show more.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:23 PM   #3
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Wasn't the guy who got killed technically jay-walking to begin with? I seem to remember him saying the guy stepped right out into traffic from in between two parked cars and he never saw the guy until he hit him.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:42 PM   #4
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I don't know what the facts of it were specifically, but, I believe you are right that it was something like that. So, given what you said, Stallworth would have an argument that he wouldn't have seen the guy even if sober. Not saying a jury/judge would necessarily have to buy it, but it's more of an argument than Plax had.
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Old 08-20-2009, 02:45 PM   #5
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I think another factor in Stallworth's case was he was able to pay the family enough money to go away and not stand in the way of the plea deal he reached.
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Old 08-20-2009, 03:57 PM   #6
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I think another factor in Stallworth's case was he was able to pay the family enough money to go away and not stand in the way of the plea deal he reached.
Yeah, I think this is a good point as well. One of my clients this summer I got a plea deal for and it was a great deal. I'd like to say I was a good lawyer to get it, but, it was basically just the prosecution giving us a great deal and nothing I did. Anyway, after my client accepted the plea deal the victim complained to the prosecutors office about it, and all of a sudden the prosecutors office was pissed off about my client not getting sentenced long enough. So, they definitely take into consideration factors of the victim and community. A lot of offices will push their caseload based on catering to the victim quite a bit, which brings a lot of problems.

But, yeah, there are tons of factors that go into things where it's not as cut and dry as Stallworth killed a dude, Plax just shot himself. The legislation in Stallworth's case is basically a tack on to drunk driving. Burress is dealing with an NY/NYC legislature that considers carrying guns the way he did a huge societal problem. I dislike the idea of mandatory minimums and I think his penalty was quite severe, but I just don't like the comparison to Stallworth's situation.
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Old 08-20-2009, 09:51 PM   #7
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But doesn't say something that Stallworth could even "pay" for his lesser sentence? Regardless if he didn't see the guy and was only .01 over the legal limit, I still think death trumps gun law violations in terms of a sentence.
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Old 08-21-2009, 02:42 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by jhuerbin88 View Post
But doesn't say something that Stallworth could even "pay" for his lesser sentence?
Stallworth "paying" for his lesser sentence, I think, was only a small factor in his sentence. It's a point, but, I certainly wouldn't consider it determinative in why he got his sentence.

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egardless if he didn't see the guy and was only .01 over the legal limit, I still think death trumps gun law violations in terms of a sentence.
So, then where would you draw the line?

First, you have the hurdle of proving Stallworth's guilt, which would not have been easy.

You have to do that before you can even begin to compare the two sentences.

Then you look at the gun violation compared to what Stallworth did. The question there is, would increased punishment seek to stop or lower the percent likelihood of potential harm for the offense? Do I think the mandatory minimum is a good law in Plax's case, not really, but, I think in terms of addressing the purpose it does so more than in Stallworth's case. The reasoning being that with Stallworth, there is less of a connection between the statute's punishment and the crime. For instance, someone who would otherwise illegally carry a gun in NY, might not carry it with them knowing that sentence. It's a different situation with DUI manslaughter because the harm you want to prevent is the DUI in the first place and the manslaughter is an element that is unknown.

As well, the idea that everyone who commits DUI manslaughter only gets 30 days, I think would also be incorrect. I would imagine that there have been greater sentences for DUI manslaughter than what Stallworth got.

I just don't see the point in trying to compare the two like you are doing.
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Old 08-22-2009, 01:24 AM   #9
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I have a great deal of respect for Burress for taking responsibility for his actions in this way. His sentence will likely be served without incident.
As a lawyer, you probably see cases similar to these occasionally and the sentence that Stallworth received was very light, IMO.
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Old 08-22-2009, 07:08 AM   #10
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Certain "wicked" people are comparing Burress' sentence with that handed down in another case from the same jurisdiction:

Bernie Goetz intentionally shoots four other people with an illegally-possessed gun, crippling one of them for life - and gets (no pun intended) eight months.

Plaxico Burress accidentally shoots himself with an illegally-possessed gun, and gets two years.

Last edited by Anthony; 08-22-2009 at 08:37 AM.
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Old 08-23-2009, 12:29 AM   #11
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Default Well...

Actually ,....Plex seemed to get off lightly if you ask me.....3 1/2 mandatory minimum- means "minimum" and I'll bet the average"Joe" off the street ,that carried and discharged a gun in a nightclub .....would get every bit of the 3 & 1/2years...and thats why Plex, shut his mouth and accepted the sentence

Murph....
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Old 08-23-2009, 04:43 AM   #12
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Welcome, Murph! :wavey:
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Old 08-23-2009, 07:31 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xxMURPHxx View Post
3 1/2 mandatory minimum- means "minimum" and I'll bet the average"Joe" off the street ,that carried and discharged a gun in a nightclub .....would get every bit of the 3 & 1/2years...
Nah, this wouldn't be the case, most likely.

Plaxico pled to a lesser offense, that didn't have the minimum. The average Joe off the street with the criminal record Plax had, or slightly more, most likely pleads to the lesser charge and doesn't get the 2 years.

Mandatory Minimums increases the amount of pleas and decreases the amount of trials. If Plax went to trial on his offense and is found guilty, than, yeah, the mandatory minimum is a minimum. But, a city like NYC, they want a lot of plea bargaining while also keeping the possibility that someone would go to jail for three 1/2 on the table.

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Old 08-25-2009, 04:24 PM   #14
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According to Burress on E:60 (great show), the gun slipped in his pants as he was going up the stars to the VIP room at the club, having been there only a few minutes. He grabbed to catch it falling and the trigger went off, kind of a freak thing. Also, the club security knew he had a gun and let him in. That seems fishy.
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Old 09-22-2009, 11:30 AM   #15
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Well, he was officially sentenced today and taken into custody to serve his 2-years (or according to the ESPN article, what is expected to be 20 months with good behavior credit) in prison.
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