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Prosecutorial discretion is one of the most expansive and powerful concepts in the law.  With that authority, the representatives of the public decide who gets charged with the commission of crimes.
And who doesn’t.
In Philadelphia, the fact that a gun owned by Colts receiver Marvin Harrison fired up to six bullets at another man in April 2008 has yet to prompt District Attorney Lynne Abraham to pursue charges against Harrison.
And Abraham said at a Tuesday press conference that no charges will be pursued.
She explained that she does not believe there are credible accounts of the events that resulted in the shooting of the gun owned by Harrison at David Dixon, who previously was charged with making false statements to police, after he apparently offered up a different explanation for his injuries — possibly in order to avoid “snitching” on Harrison.
In other words, Abraham does not believe that a jury would find that Harrison was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.  Or, perhaps more accurately, she’s not inclined to take on the risk of a high-profile courtroom butt-kicking — regardless of whether the facts (and common sense) suggest that Harrison was something more than an innocent bystander. 
That said, the notion that, sometimes, the victim and the eyewitnesses wouldn’t be believed even if they are telling the truth supports the conclusion that taxpayer money shouldn’t be devoted to an ultimately unsuccessful prosecution.  Nevertheless, Pennsylvania law seems to make Harrison responsible for the fact that his gun escaped from his custody and was fired at another person, regardless of whether Harrison’s finger pulled the trigger.
If, in other words, Plaxico Burress faces a mandatory sentence of three-and-a-half years for accidentally blowing a hole through his own leg in Manhattan, Harrison should at least face some criminal liability in Philadelphia for allowing his gun to get into the hands of someone who then tried to blow a hole through someone else with it.
Until the applicable statutes of limitations expire, Abraham has the ability to revisit the case, if/when other evidence becomes available.  And with a civil action pending in which any decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment by Harrison can and will be used against him before the civil court jury, it would be very wise (as we pointed out for in October) for Harrison to settle the case quickly and quietly, before it leads to the development of any evidence that then could be used against Harrison by Abraham.

Permalink 36 Comments Feed for comments Latest Stories in: Indianapolis Colts, Legal, Rumor Mill, Top Stories
  1. bender says: Jan 6, 2009 12:21 PM

    Absolute insanity.
    We have an out of control issue in this city with gun violence and our wonderful DA chooses not to go after a case that could be used as a poster child?
    Thank God she isn’t running for reelection.

  2. Ralph GreNader says: Jan 6, 2009 12:24 PM

    I told you guys O.J. did it.

  3. buzzkillz says: Jan 6, 2009 12:26 PM

    Marvin is a lucky man. He was involved in one way or another, so there’s some crooked sh*t going on. As far as on the field, I guess his perfomance has finally caught up to his personality.

  4. patspsycho says: Jan 6, 2009 12:26 PM

    Maybe she is waiting for precisely that- the civil action to possibly produce more evidence, before pressing charges.

  5. spikenpatrick08 says: Jan 6, 2009 12:28 PM

    Of course it went away. He plays for St. Dungy. If it had been New England, Dallas or New York he would already be in jail. Oh and screw you guys for making take up for The Cowboys & Giants.

  6. Chev says: Jan 6, 2009 12:31 PM


  7. Heinekenfun says: Jan 6, 2009 12:33 PM

    I found the most compelling part of this article to be that you crave Pepperoni Pizza and Yoo-Hoo at the same time. Yoo-Hoo is really not a pizza beverage Mike. Thats too much dairy and would make you feel as bloated and gassy as Romeo Crennel. That’s why the finer pizza establishments don’t usually push the Yoo-Hoo on customers, as much as soda’s or beer. Can I recommend a nice tall glass of Heineken, the next time you curl up with a nice Pepperoni Pizza? If you’re having pizza for lunch, I’m sure those cold one’s won’t hurt your performance running this site.
    In advance…., you’re welcome.

  8. partner55416386 says: Jan 6, 2009 12:44 PM

    Come on Florio, no mention of Polian having something to do with this? It has to be killing you.

  9. Bellicheat says: Jan 6, 2009 12:45 PM

    Heineken is skunk beer. If it smells like fart, tastes like fart, then it must be fart.

  10. Eaglenut says: Jan 6, 2009 12:47 PM

    This is an absolute crock. I live in Philadelphia and had to endure commercials, featuring Lynne Abraham herself, talk about the penalties that await registered gun owners whose guns are involved in crimes – even if the person the gun was registered to was at the crime scene or not. These commercials had a VERY ominious tone and she was talking SO tough about this issue.
    Now, frankly, I think the initiative to go after the gun owner is legit. While I am not a Colts or Harrison fan – nor hater – I find it laughable that he is skating on this and that the commercials no longer run. On second thought, maybe it was a good that such a high profile athlete got jammed up on something like this…those commercials were VERY poorly produced and like listening to fingernails on a chalkboard (anyone who has heard Abraham speak knows what I am talking about)…

  11. brian_21 says: Jan 6, 2009 12:50 PM

    Looks like Marvin Harrison is getting off easy with this one. But like pointed out, there needs to be evidence to get someone else in doo-doo (aside for the fact that the gun itself was Harrison’s). It’s hard enough to get celebrities and celebrated athletes convicted of crimes they committed (see O.J. Simpson), so if it’d be tough to prove Harrison pulled the trigger or that he was negligent, then the D.A. seems to be making the right choice.

  12. dashoe says: Jan 6, 2009 12:55 PM

    Florio is flurious! haha No rumor mongering for you! Marvin’s innocent.

  13. HarrisonHits says: Jan 6, 2009 12:59 PM

    Bet if he was a player on one of the other NFC east teams he would have been arrested during the season and prosecuted for every crime that happened within miles of the shooting. This is ridiculous and that prosecutor should be let go.

  14. jkorn1818 says: Jan 6, 2009 1:00 PM

    so plax shoots himself, facing 3 yrs in a prison and is suspended from the nfl this yr. harrison shoots someone, they trace the gun to be his, he hides it in a wash bucket and he gets to sit on the bench alone all season with his legs crossed as usual. makes sense.

  15. MarkB says: Jan 6, 2009 1:03 PM

    Don’t you know anything? Guns don’t fire bullets – wide receivers fire bullets.
    Now let’s hope Marvin stays away from memorabilia dealers.

  16. dirtyhippy says: Jan 6, 2009 1:04 PM

    Honestly the DA is just being prudent in this case. There are a bunch of behind the scenes stories of how this guy ended up looking for marvin in the first place, plus the fact that there is no way they will get a conviction on the evidence they have.
    Additionally, you have to look at the threat that Marvin poses. This is Marvin’s first run in with the law, they guy came into his place looking for him. What is his risk to society? Is he going out looking for victims? Is he likely to be involved in criminal activity?
    This was a pretty straightforward self-preservation if no self defense case and it is unlikely to occur again.

  17. cincykid says: Jan 6, 2009 1:05 PM

    Yoo-hoo doesn’t have any dairy in it, its just sugar, powdered chocolate and water. Nasay!!!!!

  18. todd says: Jan 6, 2009 1:07 PM

    I almost don’t have the energy to say it, but I’ll say it anyway. Florio, are you going to keep after this case like you kept after the Vick case? After calling for an investigation into Gerald Poindexter, are you going to do the same with this DA? If so, why not? Because Vick looked mean and Harrison seems like a nice guy? Because we’re desensitized to gun violence against people but dog fighting is new and sounds really mean? Btw, very accurate first two sentences to the post. Any reason why you failed to mention that in any of the Vick postings?

  19. Fade 2 Black says: Jan 6, 2009 1:09 PM

    Aw shoot, man.
    I was hoping they would fry his butt on national TV.

  20. Insomniac says: Jan 6, 2009 1:10 PM

    Wow. Your gun is used to shoot someone (and ballistics tests can prove it) and there is nothing criminal about that? Must be nice to be a professional athlete.

  21. texasPHINSfan says: Jan 6, 2009 1:15 PM

    such bullshit.
    stop giving athletes preferential treatment. If my gun is found at a shooting, i’m arrested before the casing hits the ground. wtf?

  22. Alpheratz says: Jan 6, 2009 1:16 PM

    So Marv can join the list of people out looking for the real perpetrators, which includes O.J. and Ray Lewis.

  23. Chief Wahoo says: Jan 6, 2009 1:17 PM

    Wow. What a waste of time. Wonder if he’ll retire or be released?

  24. TBIH says: Jan 6, 2009 1:20 PM

    HAHA…too funny…Florio’s ever transparent agenda strikes again.
    Your earlier “prediction” was wrong and you hate the Colts and Polian so now you do a classic “my agenda is so transparent, my name should be Saran Wrap” hatchet job.
    Once a whiny hack, always a whiny hack.

  25. pats307 says: Jan 6, 2009 1:20 PM

    not even obstruction of justice?
    Ray Lewis should be jealous.

  26. LL Live says: Jan 6, 2009 1:40 PM

    Florio, you sure are wrong a lot about how legal matters will turn out…maybe your growing legion of haters will start keeping a score card!…LOL…not a hater, just sayin…

  27. empty13 says: Jan 6, 2009 1:43 PM

    disregard the “hanging prosecutor” shtick. classic modern liberal…

  28. rbstud19 says: Jan 6, 2009 1:45 PM

    Lennie Brisco could have this one solved and ready for prosecution by Jack McCoy in 26 minutes + commercials.

  29. Rob0769 says: Jan 6, 2009 1:48 PM

    What a shock! Another prosecutor with no stones to go after a rich, famous athlete where if the same circumstances happened to a poor black man in Philly, he would probably get many years in jail. In fact, they probably would have scared the suspect and his court appointed public defender into a deal that is way more severe than what he probably should get.
    This is what is wrong with this country. There is a separate justice system for the rich and famous. At least the procecutor in NY has the stones to go after Plaxico Burress.
    Marvin Harrison, bar owner, would be in jail right now. Marvin Harrison, professional football player who happens to own a bar, doesn’t even get indicted.

  30. titans_fan says: Jan 6, 2009 2:38 PM

    Maybe the Feds will step in like in the Vick case

  31. 3amigosalute says: Jan 6, 2009 2:55 PM

    This is what happens when people “stop snitchin’.” Thug life.

  32. moonbeam says: Jan 6, 2009 3:28 PM

    face brute

  33. F00kFl0ri0 says: Jan 6, 2009 3:38 PM

    Maybe Florio should stop his 2nd job of being a NFL tabloid pusher and be the NFL Prosecuter to investigate all things NFL. Since he knows everything about investigations and can tell someone how to do their job behind the dangers of a keyboard, I think he’d do a “heckuva” job. No one would second guess his all knowing judgement and his talents of never being wrong would make him immune to public scrutiny.

  34. Kevin from Philly says: Jan 6, 2009 3:41 PM

    empty, don’t you agree that the case would be a LOT easier to prosecute if Pennsylvania didn’t allow you to buy as many guns as you want and consistently break up any attempt to enact even the most moderate gun control laws in Philadelphia? Classic modern conservative.

  35. DanSnydersPetCeratto says: Jan 6, 2009 3:45 PM

    This was an actual case of violence with a deadly weapon. What MarHar did was far worse than anything Plaxico did unless it’s proven that he was acting in self defense.
    Too bad the prosecutors aren’t going after MarHar with the same zeal that they go after Andy Reid’s non-violent drug addict kids. While our prisons fill up with non-violent drug criminals who are easy to prosecute but might be better served by getting help, violent crimes like this one are being ignored. What a system.

  36. pats307 says: Jan 6, 2009 4:30 PM

    wow. Imagine a crime where people hide the evidence then lie about it. I can see how any prosecutor or cop would be at a loss.

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