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Djfan
06-18-2009, 02:39 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/story?id=7867036&page=1



Browns' Donte Stallworth Gets 30 Days for DUI
Wide Receiver Will Pay Financial Settlement to Victim's Family
By SHARYN ALFONSI, RICH McHUGH and IMAEYEN IBANGA
June 18, 2009

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth begins his second day of a 30-day jail sentence today for killing a pedestrian while driving drunk in Florida.
Football player serves 30 days in jail for killing a man while driving drunk.

The 28-year-old National Football League star's abbreviated jail term came because of his cooperation with investigators and the wishes of the victim's family.

Stallworth pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol in exchange for a lighter sentence. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the car crash that killed a pedestrian in Miami Beach.

The player had faced up to 15 years in jail for the death of 59-year-old construction worker Mario Reyes, who apparently was running across the street to catch a bus when the athlete hit him with his car March 14.

The average jail sentence for similar crimes in Florida is 10 years, but Stallworth reached a confidential financial settlement with Reyes' family.

"I am truly sorry," Stallworth said at his DUI manslaughter sentencing.

Authorities also suspended Stallworth's driver's license for life and ordered him to pay $10,000 in fines and perform 1,000 hours of community service.

After his release from jail, Stallworth must serve two years of house arrest and spend eight years on probation.
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M.A.D.D. To Refuse Stallworth Donation

Another one of the terms of Stallworth's plea deal is that he has to make a $225,000 donation to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, or M.A.D.D. But according to M.A.D.D. national president Laura Dean-Mooney, the group doesn't want Stallworth's money.

"If we took the settlement, we would agree with the settlement, and we don't agree," Dean-Mooney explained. "Drunk driving is a serious, serious crime. In this case, Mr. Stallworth killed someone, and we believe that taking the money would not send the right message to the community and to the nation.

M.A.D.D. also disagrees with the abbreviated sentence for a crime Dean-Mooney said is "100 percent preventable."

"We want to see that the punishment fit the crime," she said.

Stallworth might be allowed to play football during the time he is under house arrest, if his community control officer and the NFL allow it, because people under house arrest are usually permitted to go to work or school, a spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade County state attorney's office said.

M.A.D.D. is pressuring the NFL to make his league-related punishment more than a "slap on the wrist."

"A person died -- a person who was completely innocent, doing nothing wrong. So putting him back on the field would probably send the wrong message to his fans and to the rest of the NFL players who have chosen to make bad decisions and drink and drive as well," Dean-Mooney said.

Stallworth had been partying in Miami when he struck and killed Reyes. Blood tests showed the athlete had a blood alcohol level of 0.126 -- well above Florida's legal limit of 0.08 -- when he hit Reyes with his black Bentley GT coupe as Reyes ran across the MacArthur Causeway after finishing his shift as a crane operator.

Celebrity Justice?

Critics wonder if Stallworth's punishment is just another example of celebrity justice, but prosecutors said Stallworth's behavior after the accident led them to push for leniency.

"He cooperated with police. He never left the scene, he said he wanted to help the family and make things right with the Reyes family," Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle said.

Yet, some wonder if Stallworth's wealth bought him his brief stay behind bars.

"If you cannot afford to settle the civil case and help out the family you have damaged, then you are going to get a longer sentence. That's unfortunate, but it's a fact of life," criminal defense attorney Roy Black said.


But other football stars haven't enjoyed the same mercy as Stallworth. Former Atlanta Falcons star Michael Vick served 23 months in a federal prison for bankrolling a dog-fighting operation. The once popular player saw fans turn on him, endorsements disappear and his once promising career vanish.

"There was outrage over what Vick was doing with the dogs, whereas with Stallworth, the family was supporting him," Black said. "This was not an intentional kind of act ... whereas with Mr. Vick, for several years he was intentionally fighting dogs. I think that's what drove his penalty to make it higher than what happened with Stallworth."

The Falcons formally relinquished their contractual obligations to the 28-year-old troubled quarterback Friday.

"In the event NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell decides to reinstate Michael, we feel his best opportunity to re-engage his football career would be at another club," Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff said in a statement on the Falcons' Web site.

The No. 1 pick in the 2001 NFL draft and a three-time All-Pro quarterback with the Falcons remains on supervised home confinement in Virginia and suspended by the NFL.

Reuters contributed to this report.


This is just plain bull-crap. Another example of the completely worthless "justice" system in this nation. We worry about the rights of criminals and forget that there is a citizenry to protect.

papillon
06-18-2009, 03:08 PM
I believe that a longer sentence should have been handed down; it's not completely outrageous though. Stallworth did everything that you should do when you make a such an egregious mistake in judgment; he didn't leave the scene, he did right by the family, it wasn't premeditated and had he not been under the influence there would be no jail time, because the victim dashed in front of Stallworth unexpectedly.

The NFL will likely suspend him for a year which will hurt his bank account and he'll have to stay in good condition to get back with a team next year. When you own up to your mistakes the justice system should be forgiving to a certain degree.

Michael Vick premeditated the dog fighting for years, showed no initial remorse and attempted to escape unscathed. There's a difference between the two cases; the unfortunate part of Stallworth's case is that a father and husband was killed.

Pappy

Djfan
06-18-2009, 03:09 PM
I hear you Pap, but the reality is that drunk driving is murder. Everyone knows the dangers and it should not be looked at lightly.

frankthetank1
06-18-2009, 03:14 PM
I hear you Pap, but the reality is that drunk driving is murder. Everyone knows the dangers and it should not be looked at lightly.

i agree it is outrageous. yes he did all the right things after the fact he killed another man. that is a very serious crime and he only gets 30 days in jail? a lot of people get far worse sentences for far less serious of a crime

RuthlessBurgher
06-18-2009, 03:19 PM
He also lost his license forever and has to spend 2 years under house arrest and then another 8 years on probation. I doubt that Goodell allows him to play football in the next two seasons while wearing an ankle bracelet. I don't think that would abide by NFL uniform standards.

Northern_Blitz
06-18-2009, 03:19 PM
It's a shame that DS literally bought his way to a lighter sentence. I guess at least the victim's family would benifit. Hard to say what I would do as the family in that situation.

"Football player serves 30 days in jail for killing a man while driving drunk."

"The average jail sentence for similar crimes in Florida is 10 years, but Stallworth reached a confidential financial settlement with Reyes' family."

"The 28-year-old National Football League star's abbreviated jail term came because of his cooperation with investigators and the wishes of the victim's family."

Good for MADD for refusing the donation. They are correct that this is 100% preventable. It's unfortunate that the drunk person is usually the person that survives.

frankthetank1
06-18-2009, 03:29 PM
He also lost his license forever and has to spend 2 years under house arrest and then another 8 years on probation. I doubt that Goodell allows him to play football in the next two seasons while wearing an ankle bracelet. I don't think that would abide by NFL uniform standards.

i would be suprised if he is not playing this upcoming season. even on house arrest aren't you still allowed to go to work? at least playing on the browns is a harsh sentence enough no matter what the crime :lol:

RuthlessBurgher
06-18-2009, 04:05 PM
He also lost his license forever and has to spend 2 years under house arrest and then another 8 years on probation. I doubt that Goodell allows him to play football in the next two seasons while wearing an ankle bracelet. I don't think that would abide by NFL uniform standards.

i would be suprised if he is not playing this upcoming season. even on house arrest aren't you still allowed to go to work? at least playing on the browns is a harsh sentence enough no matter what the crime :lol:

It was funny to see Chad Johnson get hit so hard that Troy Polamalu had to pick up his gold teeth and hand them back to him. It would also be funny to see Donte Stallworth get hit so hard that Troy Polamalu has to pick up his ankle bracelet and hand it back to him. :P

RuthlessBurgher
06-18-2009, 07:02 PM
For comparison's sake, when the Rams Leonard Little killed a woman in 1998 when his BAC was more than double the legal limit, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, four years probation and 1000 hours of community service. Then commissioner Paul Tagliabue suspended him for 8 games. Little was arrested again for drunk driving and speeding 6 years later. I have no idea how he is still in the league.


Updated: June 18, 2009, 6:41 PM ET
Stallworth suspended indefinitely
ESPN.com news services

NFL suspends Browns WR Donte' Stallworth indefinitely

Cleveland Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth was suspended by the NFL indefinitely without pay following his guilty plea to DUI manslaughter in the death of a pedestrian, the league announced Thursday.

Stallworth was sentenced in a Miami court Tuesday to 30 days in jail, a controversial ruling that drew a great deal of criticism.

Commissioner Roger Goodell wrote a detailed letter to Stallworth explaining the stiff penalty levied by the league.

"The conduct reflected in your guilty plea resulted in the tragic loss of life and was inexcusable," Goodell wrote. "While the criminal justice system has determined the legal consequences of this incident, it is my responsibility as NFL commissioner to determine the appropriate league discipline for your actions, which have caused irreparable harm to the victim and his family, your club, your fellow players and the NFL."

The suspension is effective immediately, but Goodell still plans to schedule a meeting with Stallworth, who signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns last year. But now it appears the team will have no choice but to cut ties with the seven-year veteran.

Browns spokesman Neal Gulkis said the team would comment later.

The last indefinite suspension handed down by Goodell was to Adam "Pacman" Jones of the Dallas Cowboys in October 2008. That punishment turned into a six-week ban.

In a memo sent to all 32 NFL teams, obtained by ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen from a team source, Goodell sought to reinforce the league's policy on "alcohol-related misconduct."

"DUI is a serious matter which poses great risks to both those who drive under the influence, and innocent third parties. This truth was tragically underscored in Mr. Stallworth's case," Goodell wrote in the memo.

"In the past few years, I have not hesitated to impose discipline, including suspensions, on club and league employees who have violated the law relating to alcohol use. Every club should advise its employees of their obligations and our commitment to hold people accountable for alcohol-related violations of law."

After a night of drinking at a bar in Miami Beach's Fountainebleau hotel, police said Stallworth hit 59-year-old Mario Reyes, a Miami construction worker, who was rushing to catch a bus after finishing work at about 7:15 a.m. Stallworth told police he flashed his lights in an attempt to warn Reyes, who was not in a crosswalk.

Stallworth had a blood-alcohol level well above Florida's legal limit. He stopped after the crash and reported the accident. Police estimated Stallworth was driving about 50 mph in a 40 mph zone.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle cited Stallworth's cooperation and willingness to accept responsibility as factors in the plea deal. Rundle also said the Reyes family -- particularly the victim's 15-year-old daughter -- wanted the case resolved to avoid any more pain.

Stallworth also must undergo drug and alcohol testing. His driver's license was suspended for life and he must perform 1,000 hours of community service.

Stallworth told Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy that he hopes to get involved in drunken driving education programs.

"I accept full responsibility for this horrible tragedy," Stallworth said. "I will bear this burden for the rest of my life."

Stallworth signed a seven-year, $35 million contract with the Browns before last season but was injured much of the year, finishing with 17 catches for 170 yards and a touchdown. A star at the University of Tennessee, Stallworth has also played in the NFL for New England, Philadelphia and New Orleans.

The night before the crash, Stallworth earned a $4.5 million roster bonus from the Browns, whose offseason moves since have indicated they were not counting on having him available.

They added free-agent wide receiver David Patten this spring and then drafted Ohio State's Brian Robiskie and Georgia's Mohamed Massaquoi. Patten is in his second stint with the club after stops with New Orleans, the New York Giants, New England and Washington.

The Browns also released receiver Joe Jurevicius three days before the accident.

Stallworth began serving the sentence Tuesday. He also was sentenced to two years of house arrest following his release from jail, and will be on probation for eight years. He had faced 15 years in prison.

But Goodell showed no mercy in the wording of his letter to Stallworth.

"There is no reasonable dispute that your continued eligibility for participation at this time would undermine the integrity of and public confidence in our league," he said.

And in his memo to the teams, Goodell made his message quite clear: "Let's make sure that the 2009 season does not bring more tragedy or embarrassment to ourselves and our employees."

James Walker covers the AFC North for ESPN.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Djfan
06-18-2009, 07:40 PM
For comparison's sake, when the Rams Leonard Little killed a woman in 1998 when his BAC was more than double the legal limit, he was sentenced to 90 days in jail, four years probation and 1000 hours of community service. Then commissioner Paul Tagliabue suspended him for 8 games. Little was arrested again for drunk driving and speeding 6 years later. I have no idea how he is still in the league.



Pathetic. This has to stop.

feltdizz
06-19-2009, 02:21 PM
while I was frustrated at first... you have to look at the facts..

Stalworth never lied.. even said e flashed his lights (which was stupid) but sounds like something a person who was drunk might do... the guy ran across a highway illegally and was struck and killed.

It would be different in Stallworth ran a light or T-boned another car...

I think the suspension by Goodell is also correct.

Djfan
06-19-2009, 06:43 PM
FD,

I am not sure either of us can know if he would have better reacted had he not had any alcohol in his system. My bet is that he would have.

Still, drunk driving is no accident. Cliche' I know, but true. It needs to be dealt with harshly IMO. Look at the guy who killed the pitcher from the Angels. Different circumstances, I know, but harsh. As it should be. 30 days, 2 years house arrest, and indefinite suspention is harsh enough to make people rethink driving after a few drinks?

I doubt it.