As you will have noticed, this is Billy Merck, filling in once more for Lat so that he can attend the ACS National Convention.
As you will have also noted if you’re a regular reader, we are from Georgia. As a native Georgian and an Atlanta Falcon fan, we therefore feel obligated to touch upon this whole Michael Vick thing.
Initially, we note that the media coverage of yesterday’s arraignment was typically laughable. We must have received at least 25 separate headlines in our RSS feeder with some version of “Vick pleads not guilty to dogfighting charges.” Yeah, no kidding. It’s an arraignment, people! Everybody pleads not guilty at an arraignment, unless you have already worked out a plea agreement. It would have been news if he had NOT pled not guilty. But because of the 24-hour news cycle and/or a fundamental misunderstanding of legal proceedings on the part of the press, it’s a story either way.
More discussion after the jump.
This leads us to speculate: will Vick consider a plea deal? Given the all-star legal team he has been putting together, it doesn’t look like that’s what he’s getting ready for. He has, of course, kept longtime family lawyer Lawrence Woodward, Jr. on board. Woodward has a lifetime of criminal defense experience just from representing the Vick brothers.
Vick then added Billy Martin, probably best known for his representation of former New Jersey Nets forward Jayson Williams on manslaugter charges. He’s also represented Allen Iverson, Riddick Bowe, and currently Wesley Snipes on those tax evasion charges, among other superstar clients.
And yesterday Vick also hired Daniel R. Meachum, whose site boasts that he “has successfully tried 122 out of 126 major jury trials and arbitrations.”
So it looks like Vick is preparing for trial. And, as any legal-hack-of-the-week-cable-news-commentator will tell you, he is “innocent until proven guilty”, and so we should not prejudge the situation. Remember Mike Nifong, they will say.
All of which is true insofar as the criminal charges and potential jail time go. But I’m a little tired of these hacks insinuating that this is the same standard required of the NFL or the Atlanta Falcons before they take any action. Nonsense! Mike Nifong notwithstanding, prosecutors generally don’t take cases to grand juries until they either have the evidence to convict or can reasonably foresee obtaining the rest of that evidence during the continuing investigation and the discovery process. The fact that the prosecutor felt he had enough evidence to get an indictment, and indeed obtained that indictment, is evidence enough for a suspension.
And even if it is not, it is easily enough for Falcons fans to jump ship in supporting Vick, as many (myself included) have already done. Whether he was intimately involved in the dogfighting operation, as the mounting evidence seems to indicate, or whether he simply knew about and allowed his thug friends to do it at the house he owned, we don’t want this guy leading the Falcons.
As a loyal Atlanta Falcons and University of Georgia football fan, our vote for Falcons QB is with D.J. Shockley. The current #1, assuming Vick will not be playing, is Joey Harrington, but we’ve never been very impressed with him. We prefer Shockley, who plays a lot like Vick but with a more accurate arm. With a little grooming and experience, Shockley may just turn out to be everything Vick promised to be but wasn’t, and without the dogfighting and the attempted smuggling of
marijuana unknown substances in fancy water bottle devices.
Finally, we leave you with this amusing link that will provide you with a Ron-Mexico-esque incognito name under which to do all your dirty little deeds. Ours is Philippe Benin.