Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Vickkampf: Himmler Goes to Switzerland to Try to Strike a Deal

The team prosecuting Michael Vick are now three-for-three in getting his co-defendants to plead out and offer testimony against Vick, so the soon-to-be-former Falcon is considering a plea himself. It seems highly likely to me that Vick is going to take the offered plea, given that his lawyers are presumably advising him that the case against him just went from strong to quite strong with seven cooperating witnesses instead of five. The open question is what sort of deal is being offered by the U.S. Attorney (along with the variable that the presiding judge is always free to increase the sentence that the prosecutor recommends). If the Feds are taking hard line and demanding five years or more, then Vick might decide to fight it, since a plea will probably mean the end of his football career. On the other hand, if the Feds are offering a year or less (either in terms of the actual sentence or the practical equivalent of "three years and you'll be out in one" [not that the U.S. Attorney can really control that]), then Vick will take it. He'll miss this season and then be back in 2008, assuming that Roger Goodell decides that his year in prison counts as his NFL suspension.

As for a destination, with the Raiders having just spent a #1 pick on a quarterback, the most likely refuge becomes Dallas, especially if Tony Romo doesn't light the world on fire. If there is one owner who would: (a) love the spectacle of signing the most infamous player in the NFL; and (b) not care about the PETA protests (especially with PETA's relative popularity in Texas), it would be Jerry Jones. Vick is in some serious trouble, but the people who think that he should be banned for multiple seasons (or for life) have lost all sense of proportion. If Leonard Little and Ray Lewis can play in the league, not to mention the various players who have been convicted of crimes involving violence against human beings, then Vick can play too. He deserves to be punished. Given that it's looking inevitable that he will miss this season, lose all his endorsements, and be cut by the Falcons before signing an sure-to-be inferior deal with another team, he will certainly be punished. At a certain stage, the piling on will need to stop.


LD said...

From what I recall on my visit to FCI Edgefield, there's no such thing as parole in the federal penal system.

If he's sentenced to 3 years, the only way he gets out in less is via presidential pardon or commutation.

Anonymous said...

He will be the Ravens starting QB in 2009

Ryno said...

Question for the Legal Eagles:

Since Vick would be #4 of 4 to agree to a plea would the deal that he got be worse than the other individuals? Since he's the last one to the party, does he get the smallest piece of cake...etc?

Is the government obligated to give him the same deal as everyone else?

Michael said...

The government doesn't have to give Vick the same deal that it does to any of the others. His deal will be tailored to the value of his case. On the one hand, the Feds have an array of witnesses and have backed him into a corner. They have terrific leverage over him. On the other hand, Vick will be able to mount an impressive defense based on the quality of his legal team, which drives the value of the government's case against him down. Another issue to consider is that, per the indictment, Vick wasn't quite as intimately involved as the others were, so he might get a lighter sentence for that reason (from the judge who ultimately sentences him, if not from the prosecutors).

Anonymous said...

Michael, there's no way Goodell let's him back in after one season. The crime, the screwed owner, bald faced lies to the Commish, gambling. I expect a 3 yr suspension to run concurrent with his jail time. Little and Lewis are irrelevant, P Tags is a distant memory. He'll get another shot, probably a waste o time for whatever org signs him.

Michael said...

All true, Anon, but a three-year suspension is completely unprecedented. If it is given for what is, legally speaking, a relatively low-grade felony, then Goodell will have set himself up to have to suspend every felon for multiple years. The next time an NFL player pleads guilty to spousal abuse or assault and battery, the three-year suspension is going to have to come out again (especially if those subsequent players, unlike Vick, are repeat offenders). That would be a major overreaction.