You call this justice?

A friend made this absurd connection this morning: Stallworth gets 30 days for killing a man, Vick gets 18 months for killing dogs, and Plax gets 2 years for shooting himself in the leg.


  1. That statement boggles my mind to the point that I can't make any comprehensible reaction. The only thing that came to me was "wtf?@#$#QqtSGATG43%" with one of those little dazed smileys.

    Does this make sense to anyone? GAH!

  2. Well first of all, let's be real that it wasn't JUST for shooting himself in the leg, it was for discharging a concealed firearm in a public place. He wasn't chilling on his empty ranch and popped a cap.

    Second, what is the most surprising thing to you? Is it that Stallworth got so little time for killing a human being, or that Burress got so much time for the firearm charge?

    (As an aside, I personally feel that Vick's punishment was fitting. I mean that apart from its comparisons with these other sentences.)

    What do you think accounts for the disparity in sentences here?

  3. They both seem absurd to me. Right now, if I played judge for Stallworth and Plax, I'd give Plax 6 months and Stallworth 3-5 years.

    As far as why these things happened this way, it's simply a case of one prosecutor trying to make a name for himself, while the other isn't. I don't know the specifics, but I feel that the DA in Plax's case went on a power trip and tried to get the maximum without being lenient in any sense of the word, while the DA for Stallworth let those most affected by the situation - namely, Stallworth and the victim's family - determine the outcome.

    There's also something to be said about Stallworth owning up to his actions immediately, and doing all the right things afterwards, but I honestly don't think that played as much a part in his sentence than the DA's lack of an ego.

  4. The point about a DA with an ego is a good one. If he's trying to make a career-advancing name for himself then he goes big after big-name clients (Stallworth isn't as big a name as Burress, also).

    You know where I stand on Stallworth... I really think there is something to be said for, as you put it, "letting those most affected by the situation - namely, Stallworth and the victim's family - determine the outcome."

    Stallworth seems very contrite. He immediately owned up to his egregious error. Most importantly the victim's family felt he was sincere about that. If the ultimate goals of our judicial system are first to prevent crime and second to reform offenders, then it appears to be fully successful in the latter goal.

    How Burress got WAY more than Stallworth and 6 months more than Vick, who ran an illegal dog fighting and murdering ring for an extended period of time, is still amazing.

  5. I think the location played as much a part as the DA. I heard several lawyers mentioning that Stallworth's case was not a slam dunk conviction, mostly because the guy was jaywalking and Florida law says something along the lines that if the alcohol did not cause the accident, that is, it can be reasonably shown that the accident would have occurred had he not been drinking, then the alcohol charge can be excluded or separate (Legal disclaimer: I am not a lawyer). So the DA made the plea deal very generous.

    In New York, the mayor and the DA were trying to make an example of the concealed weapon charge, because they are specifically trying to get guns off the streets and out of clubs.

    Vick was prosecuted at a federal level and was originally sentenced to 24 months (same as Burress). They also factored in the conspiracy actions of Vick. He took specific actions to avoid law enforcement for an extended period of time while committing multiple crimes.

  6. Quick update on this, Simmons agreed with Scott's take in today's picks column:

    "Speaking of the Giants, can we talk about Plaxico Burress heading to Rikers Island? Not since Tango and Cash were framed by Jack Palance have we seen a bigger overreaction to a crime by the judicial system. Since when did people who did stupid things -- and let's face it, Plax shooting himself was the act of a dope, not a criminal -- end up in Rikers Island? Rikers Island? Really??? Rikers Island? This is like when Rick Fox ended up in "Oz." Did this situation require two obscure pop culture analogies? Yes, it did."