Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Former Virginia football player sentenced on assault charges

On behalf of The Law Offices of Daniel J Miller posted in Criminal Defense on Tuesday, May 22, 2012

A current National Football League player who attended college in Virginia will probably spend over one month in jail after pleading guilty to assault and battery charges. The man, a defensive tackle in the NFL, played for Hampton University before being drafted in 2011.

Prosecutors had alleged that while at Hampton, he got into an argument with another man that turned physical. The other man asserted that he sustained injuries in the altercation that required him to drop out of school. As a result, prosecutors had initially charged the football player with the criminal charge of malicious wounding, a felony that carries a maximum prison term of 20 years.

But in an agreement with the prosecution, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault and battery. Under the terms of the plea deal, the judge imposed a jail sentence of 179 days. But the man received a stay on 89 of those days, meaning he will not have to serve them for the time being. In general, the suspended term of a sentence can be served if defendants later violate the terms of their probation. No details were provided on the length and terms of the football player's probation.

In another point of interest, the man's plea did not contain an admission of guilt in the crime. His plea was a specialized type of plea permitted by law called an Alford plea. When entering an Alford plea, defendants admit that there is likely enough evidence to convict them at trial, but do not have to admit guilt. Defendants should be properly advised of the consequences of entering a plea before doing so.

Source: Associated Press, "Jets DT Kenrick Ellis pleads guilty in Va. assault case," May 22, 2012.

Tags: alford plea, assault, criminal defense

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