Stallworth v Vick – This Makes No Sense!

Donte Stallworth Sentence v Michael Vick SentenceDoes this country’s criminal justice system make any sense at all? I think not. Let’s compare the cases of the two NFL stars who have recently traveled through the criminal justice process.

First, the well documented case of Donte Stallworth. If any of you were in a third world country in the last four months, I will recap for you. Donte Stallworth was driving drunk and killed a pedestrian in Miami on March 14th of this year.

His Sentence – 30 Days in jail, 2 years on house arrest, which will allow him to play football, and he settled with the 59 year old victim’s family for an undisclosed dollar amount.

Onto Michael Vick. Vick was charged with felonies and later reached a plea agreement in December of 2007 for funding the operations of a dog fighting ring for a period of many years.

His Sentence – 23 months in Federal Prison, followed by a period of house arrest. During this time, Vick lost 16 million dollars in assets in his bankruptcy case.

Now the debate begins.

How in the hell can you kill a person, a grandfather, a father, a husband, a brother, an uncle, a freaking person, and only serve 30 days in jail. But for fighting dogs, which some still consider a sport, be jailed for 2 years? Does this make any sense at all?

I know, I know, I can hear all of the dog lovers of the world yelling, “My dog is a member of my family.” Great, so is mine. But I will not trade my wife’s, children’s, or parents’ life to save my dog, would you? These crimes do not compare on any level, and yes, Stallworth I am sure paid a ton of money; but Vick lost everything as well as serving a prison term 23 times longer than Stallworth’s.

Vick’s actions were more common than you think, and most likely experienced by him in childhood which continued into his young adult life. I am not making excuses for Vick, but clearly an example was made out of Vick for his actions.

Look at the losses in these cases. Yes, a dog lost their life, but Vick did not steal your dog and kill it. Stallworth took a life from a family which will never come back. Every time I dwell on this topic, it sickens me and disgusts me to know that if a high profile athlete drives while intoxicated and kills my family member, the criminal justice system will not hold them accountable at all.

My sympathies go out to the family and friends of the victim.

**********

Kurt Fraschetti

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* – Donte Stallworth photo credit: ROBERT E. KLEIN/FOR THE GLOBE



Comments

  1. I could write a whole post in rebuttal but hear me out in the comment section.

    You are correct, “These crimes do not compare on any level…” That is because they are individual, separate cases. In the court of law it is not value of human life versus value of animal life. This is victim’s family prosecution versus citizen Stallworth.

    If we do want to compare Vick versus Stallworth here is how you should look at it.

    Michael Vick killed dogS (plural) in illegal dog fighting rings for years and years. Punishment? Federal offense, prison sentence. Now how did Vick handle the charges against him? He lied to the feds (another crime) and showed zero remorse until the Atlanta organization forced him into a press conference with his lawyers after the charges were brought. People even tried to say that was his environment growing up and didn’t feel what he was doing was wrong. Correct and that was held against him by prosecution. He handled himself with no class or remorse and was hoping to get the professional treatment that people complain about in (now) Stallworth’s case, Leonard Little, Kobe Bryant, etc.

    Stallworth. The family’s prosecution themselves proposed all of the said guilty plea. Money (easily seven figures), probation, house arrest, 30 days in jail. It’s debatable why they proposed this to Dante but it is probably a combination of things. Money; A long emotional, grueling trial that the family does not want to sit through; A jury being lenient while defense evidence would show that the victim was jay walking. On top of that we see the NFL served some justice with an indefinite suspension.

    Also how did Stallworth handle himself after he ran over the victim? Called 911 immediately and traffic camera’s backed up his story and he was honest and compliant with all blood tests and questioning. That goes a long way in getting some sympathy from the victim’s family and the justice system. It was an accident and his blood alcohol level was 0.12 (over 0.08 is illegal). At that level it is debatable in court whether that would make one impaired and malicious in an accident.

    That said, I can still feel the same as you, sympathies go out to those close to the victim. But it is obvious the family wanted nothing to do with a court trial. Thus justice is served, in the form of a plea. Vick may have been prosecuted to set an example, but he had that coming to him. Stallworth not the same.

    • Also, what i’ve heard about the differences is that in Florida it HAS TO be proven that alcohol was the real reason why the victim got killed and it wasn’t. The victim was jaywalking and it would’ve been hard to prove that alcohol ALONE killed the victim. The victim’s family wanted NO PART of a trial even before money was discussed.

      With Vick, his boys turned him in, there were dead dogs everywhere, vick lied to authorities, NFL and everyone else. With Michael Vick it was a slam dunk and with stallworth, he “might’ve” gotten off if a trial would’ve gone through.

      That’s why there is a difference in the sentences.

      • @robert, Yes and if you thought the justice system was wrong in the process, due process was served if you add the one year suspension by the NFL. Stallworth will prove a lot of people wrong, if he ever gets any significant playing time after attempt at coming back.

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