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In The Zone
Aug 20th, 2009, 08:11 PM
NFL Star Burress Takes Plea Deal, 2-Year Prison Term

August 20, 2009

Former New York Giant Plaxico Burress pleaded guilty Thursday to a weapons charge and agreed to a two-year prison term, addressing the legal fallout after accidentally shooting himself in the thigh at a Manhattan nightclub.

The ex-wide receiver pleaded guilty to one count of attempted criminal possession of a weapon, a lesser charge than he initially faced. Under a plea agreement, he agreed to a two-year prison sentence and two years of supervised release.

Burress was indicted earlier this month on two counts of criminal possession of a weapon and one count of reckless endangerment. He faced a minimum sentence of 3 1/2 years if convicted at a trial.

Burress' attorney said he hoped to resume his NFL career when he gets out of prison.

With time off for good behavior, the two-year sentence could be reduced to 20 months. Sentencing was set for Sept. 22, and if Burress were to go to prison soon after, he could be freed as early as the spring of 2011.

The guilty plea ends months of haggling between Burress' attorney and the Manhattan district attorney's office. The case went to a grand jury earlier this month after negotiations broke down, apparently because District Attorney Robert Morgenthau was insisting that Burress serve at least two years in prison.

Assistant District Attorney Mark Dwyer said it is standard policy to request a two-year sentence as part of a plea bargain on such serious charges.

In Manhattan state Supreme Court on Thursday, the soft-spoken Burress, wearing a dark blue suit, peacock blue shirt and blue tie, first entered a not-guilty plea to the initial charges against him. After attorneys on both sides conferred, Burress said "guilty" to the new attempted weapons possession charge.

His attorney, Benjamin Brafman, said in court that the 31-year-old Burress was thinking of his family in taking the plea, although he questioned the recommended prison sentence. Afterward, Brafman described Burress as having "an agonizing period of discussion" about taking the plea, but taking it so he could put the whole episode behind him quickly.

"This was not an intentional criminal act," Brafman said in court. "In my judgment, a two-year prison sentence is a very severe punishment."

Burress did not speak to reporters and left while his attorney addressed the media outside the courthouse.

Brafman called the case "a perfect example about how bad judgment can have very serious consequences" and said Burress was treated more harshly because he is a celebrity.

"If Plaxico Burress were not a high-profile individual, there never would be a case," he said. "If he were just John Q Public, he could have walked out of the club and he never would have been arrested."

Burress will make a statement at his sentencing and will try to begin serving his sentence immediately, Brafman said. He did not know where Burress would serve his time.

Burress and former teammate Antonio Pierce were at the Latin Quarter nightclub in late November when a gun tucked into Burress' waistband slipped down his leg and fired, shooting him in the right thigh. The bullet narrowly missed a nightclub security guard who was standing inches away, prosecutors said, lodged in the floor and was recovered by a bartender.

The gun was not licensed in New York or in New Jersey, where Burress lived, prosecutors said. His license to carry a concealed weapon in the state of Florida had expired in May 2008.

Prosecutors said Pierce drove Burress to a hospital, then took the gun to his own home in New Jersey; it was later delivered to Burress' home.

Pierce was not indicted. The grand jury also did not indict the nightclub security guard who carried the gun to Pierce's car, or the hospital staff members who failed to notify police that Burress had been shot.

Burress, who caught the winning touchdown for the Giants over the New England Patriots in the final minute of the 2008 Super Bowl, also could face disciplinary action by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

Brafman said he hoped any sanctions imposed by the NFL would run concurrent with Burress' prison sentence.

The Giants released Burress in April.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=112062396

Having been in a similar situation, it saddens me to hear about another American cornered into something because the justice system does not have any -- you guessed it -- justice. It is a game where Prosecutors and public officials force charges and can't let them go for the sake of public ridicule -- regardless of the evidence present and a thing called "justice".

I agree with Brafman. The punishment does not fit the crime, at all. If we want to talk about wasteful spending, it is because we have "criminals" like Burress in (going to) jail.

Bijoux0021
Aug 20th, 2009, 08:31 PM
I know he could have accidentally shot someone else instead of himself, but I still think the 2-year prison sentence is harsh.

*JR*
Aug 20th, 2009, 09:34 PM
I wonder how many posts/posters will say this deal was totally racist? :shrug:

HRHoliviasmith
Aug 20th, 2009, 10:00 PM
plax is a dumbass but the DA wnated to make an example out of him.

kris719
Aug 20th, 2009, 10:49 PM
yes plax is a dumbass but he almost killed himself. i think having to live with his stupidity for the rest of his life is punishment enough.

Sally Struthers
Aug 20th, 2009, 11:48 PM
It's a stupid law when he gets 2 years for shooting himself and Stallworth got 30 days for killing someone :shrug:

meyerpl
Aug 21st, 2009, 12:06 AM
I think any prison time is excessive. I think prison beds should generally be reserved for people who did serious harm to others. There should be a criminal penalty for walking into a night club with a loaded pistol stuffed into your pands but, unless you're a chronic criminal offender with an assaultive history, prison is ridiculous in my view. That having been said, what Mr. Burris did was major league stupid.

darrinbaker00
Aug 21st, 2009, 12:31 AM
It's a stupid law when he gets 2 years for shooting himself and Stallworth got 30 days for killing someone :shrug:
The nominations for Post of the Year are now closed, ladies and gentlemen. :yeah:

darrinbaker00
Aug 21st, 2009, 12:33 AM
yes plax is a dumbass but he almost killed himself. i think having to live with his stupidity for the rest of his life is punishment enough.
Once Burress does his time and signs a new NFL contract, he won't have a problem with that.

The Prophet
Aug 21st, 2009, 03:14 AM
Apparently, earlier this year, Burress turned down a plea bargain of just three months in prison.

http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2009/05/report_new_york_giants_burress_2.html

darrinbaker00
Aug 21st, 2009, 03:22 AM
Apparently, earlier this year, Burress turned down a plea bargain of just three months in prison.

http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2009/05/report_new_york_giants_burress_2.html
That was before Roger Goddell made him an offer he couldn't refuse: plead guilty, do two years and play football again, or plead not guilty, do three years and find a real job.

doni1212
Aug 21st, 2009, 04:36 AM
Another insane punishment, :rolleyes:

kris719
Aug 21st, 2009, 05:03 AM
Apparently, earlier this year, Burress turned down a plea bargain of just three months in prison.

http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2009/05/report_new_york_giants_burress_2.html

wow he must have been an idiot not to take that.

Scotso
Aug 21st, 2009, 12:12 PM
It's a stupid law when he gets 2 years for shooting himself and Stallworth got 30 days for killing someone :shrug:

I think any prison time is excessive. I think prison beds should generally be reserved for people who did serious harm to others.

Agreed. Absolutely ridiculous punishment and really highlights the insanity of many of these gun control laws.

*JR*
Aug 21st, 2009, 12:15 PM
That was before Roger Goddell made him an offer he couldn't refuse: plead guilty, do two years and play football again, or plead not guilty, do three years and find a real job.
Play again? He just turned 32, so will be almost 34 when he's released even if he gets time off for good behavior. How many WR's that age RU aware of in recent years? (OK, Jerry Rice and TO, but both had exceptional talent)

@ 6'5" I guess Burress can be a possession receiver who reaches up for the ball, but of course if you do that all the time you take hard shots from safety's where you're ribs are wide open, etc. (and spend a lot of time on the sidelines).

Ironic that both this jerk and the one who used to throw him the ball (Big Ben) have made the off-field news they have this offseason. :shrug: