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Brafman Seems To Admit That Plaxico Is Guilty

During a recent appearance on Sirius NFL Radio, lawyer Benjamin Brafman seems to acknowledge that, factually, receiver Plaxico Burress is guilty of carrying a loaded and unlicensed weapon in New York City.
Brafman’s plan seems to be to attempt to persuade prosecutors to go easy on Burress, due to various factors, such as:  (1) the gun was licensed in another state; (2) there was no intent to violate the law; and (3) no one — other than Burress — was hit by the bullet.
If that fails, Brafman will try those arguments out on a jury.
But the intent of the law is to ensure that one of the millions of people in Mahattan don’t get killed by a bullet from a gun that some moron is carrying in the waistband of his sweatpants.
And we also think that Brafman is playing his cards a little too aggressively, on a couple of points.  He argues, for example, that if Burress wasn’t a celebrity, he could have walked (or maybe limped) out of the night club and tossed the gun in the river.
Also, in comparing Plaxico’s case to the Donte’ Stallworth situation, Brafman pointed only to the 30-day jail term Stallworth will serve for DUI manslaughter, and Brafman ignored the two years of house arrest.
As to the timing of the litigation, Brafman says it’s “inconceivable” that the case could be tried before March 2010, which presumably is part of the broader effort to get Burress onto a team for 2009.
One key fact here is that Burress hasn’t even been indicted yet.  So no trial date can be set until a grand jury does its thing.
So, yeah, Burress won’t stand trial until after the season ends.
Finally, we think that Brafman attaches way too much significance to the “intent” issue.  Plenty of laws apply on a “strict liability” basis, regardless of whether the defendant intended to do anything illegal.
Listening between the lines, Brafman seems to be hoping for a jury that will choose to revolt against the letter of the law, substituting its own judgment for the judgment of the folks who wrote the laws.
Look, Brafman is good.  He’s smooth.  And maybe he’ll be able to bamboozle a jury of “ordinary citizens” (i.e., undereducated people who are prone to be influenced by emotion and/or a visceral sense of fairness).  But it’s clear that Burress broke the law — the only question at this point is whether he can escape this mess with little or no jail time.

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26 Responses to “Brafman Seems To Admit That Plaxico Is Guilty”
  1. jimicos says: Jun 17, 2009 4:27 PM

    “During a recent appearance on Sirius NFL Radio, lawyer Benjamin Brafman seems to acknowledge that, factually, receiver Plaxico Burress is guilty of carrying a loaded and unlicensed weapon in New York City.”
    ——————————
    Did anyone need Benjamin Brafman to admit that? I think the hole in his leg pretty much admitted that.

  2. lee says: Jun 17, 2009 4:37 PM

    i heard the interview live on Sirius.
    Brafman referred to HIS schedule multiple times.
    it was like it was all about him.
    he also had some rather condescending remarks referencing the
    intelligence of the potential jury pool.
    i dont think the OJ jury is available for this trial.

  3. Big Daddy Rog says: Jun 17, 2009 4:39 PM

    As an attorney that has worked for both prosecution and defense and now work for neither. I want jurors with a visceral sense of fairness no matter what the letter of the law might be. Overeducated morons with hidden agendas and who largely live above the law make plenty of unfair and overly strict statutes so they can seem tough on crime while they take lobbying money and cheat on their wives and taxes.
    I want a reasonable juror who has to live under those statutes judging whether the defendant actually deserves punishment. Jury nullification and modification is an old and necessary part of adjudication. No one wants to live in Judge Dredd type of society.
    How many people actually deserve jail time for accidentally shooting themselves. You could throw a good 20% of all Texans in jail today if that’s the case. New York has bred an uncivilized and violent culture and it seeks to treat the symptoms with restrictive hand gun statutes; well good luck solving the problem that way.

  4. ZN0rseman says: Jun 17, 2009 4:57 PM

    OJ was found not guilty.
    If this goes to court, Burress will probably walk.
    Legal Right.
    Illegal Wrong.
    Law < Common Sense.
    Law Justice.
    Law Fair.
    Money > Law.
    $0.02,
    –Z

  5. mashoaf says: Jun 17, 2009 5:01 PM

    So what if he shot himself. He carry the loaded gun to a crowded night club in Manhatten! Logic says his intent was to shoot someone who wished to do ill harm to him? He also did not have to liscence to carry the weapon in New York or even in Flordia where the concealed weapons permit was expired.

  6. whatthehellisgoingonoutthere says: Jun 17, 2009 5:05 PM

    Big Daddy Rog says:
    June 17th, 2009 at 4:39 pm How many people actually deserve jail time for accidentally shooting themselves. You could throw a good 20% of all Texans in jail today if that’s the case. New York has bred an uncivilized and violent culture and it seeks to treat the symptoms with restrictive hand gun statutes; well good luck solving the problem that way.
    ————
    You must be an attorney to come up with such twisted logic. It’s not about the fact that he shot himself, it has more to do with the fact that he was in a public place and could have shot and killed someone else with his negligence and inability to handle a loaded firearm. I’m guessing this is at least one of the reasons for the law against carrying concealed weapons was passed in the first place??????
    I also have to question how someone can even carry and conceal a firearm safely in the waistband of sweatpants??? I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure if I tried to stuff a gun in the waistband of any sweatpants I own, it would fall out on it’s own at some point in the evening without me being pulling it out and being too clumsy to mishandle it and shoot myself. Of course that leads to another question. Aren’t wide receivers supposed to have good hands????

  7. hayward giablommi says: Jun 17, 2009 5:11 PM

    Big Daddy Rog said:
    “You could throw a good 20% of all Texans in jail today if that’s the case. New York has bred an uncivilized and violent culture and it seeks to trea the symptoms with restrictive hand gun statutes; well good luck solving the problem that way. ”
    ^^^
    While this may be the case, it is the NY’ers, most of whom are anti-gun, who have elected the politicians who have enacted these stiff gun laws. Texans would burn bibles before they let someone take their guns away from them.
    Its really apples and oranges.

  8. texasPHINSfan says: Jun 17, 2009 5:18 PM

    how can one say there was no “intent?” the “intent” here would be the intentions of carrying an unlicensed firearm in the city limits of NYC.
    clearly it WAS the intent, or else plaxico wouldn’t have put it in his pants when he headed out the door that day.
    sorry, 3.5 years seems stiff but this is a well-known law. i’m not even a new yorker and i’m familiar with that law there. i still don’t understand the concept of a plea bargain in this case. why does one plea bargain? to save time of a trial and/or to possibly help convict a bigger felon, right?
    in this case, neither of those is satisfied. this is an open & shut violation that is up for no debate. why is there a plea bargain?

  9. hayward giablommi says: Jun 17, 2009 5:18 PM

    “New York has bred an uncivilized and violent culture”
    ^^^^
    Look, I am the last one to defend New York for anything, but this is a patently ludicrus statement. New York has done no more to breed an “uncivilized and violent culture” than Atlanta, Miami, LA, Baltimore, Philly, Houston, New Orleans…need I continue?
    I would feel safer walking the streets of Manhattan at 3am than I would in any of those other cities. Get real.

  10. Vox Veritas says: Jun 17, 2009 5:34 PM

    “here was no intent to violate the law”
    So I guess the argument is that:
    1 – Plastico didn’t know that his weapon needed to be registered in NY to be legal in NY
    2 – Plastico didn’t know that it’s illegal to carry a concealed weapon without a permit to carry a concealed weapon
    3 – Plastico didn’t know that it’s illegal to carry a weapon into a place that serves alcohol, even if you have a concealed carry permit

  11. Vox Veritas says: Jun 17, 2009 5:38 PM

    “And maybe he’ll be able to bamboozle a jury of “ordinary citizens” (i.e., undereducated people who are prone to be influenced by emotion and/or a visceral sense of fairness)”
    Uhhh the trial will be in NY, not Philly.

  12. Vox Veritas says: Jun 17, 2009 5:40 PM

    “How many people actually deserve jail time for accidentally shooting themselves. You could throw a good 20% of all Texans in jail today if that’s the case.”
    You’re not a lawyer. You’re just another idiot with an agenda.

  13. Vox Veritas says: Jun 17, 2009 5:46 PM

    “in this case, neither of those is satisfied. this is an open & shut violation that is up for no debate. why is there a plea bargain? ”
    Because this case is distracting away from he prosecutor’s more important job of busting potheads. And don’t underestimate the power of a few million bucks spread around at the right spots, as Donte Stallworth taught us. I hope some violent felons get off easy because of the precedent that judge set and shoot him right in his ass.

  14. unclaimedfright says: Jun 17, 2009 6:41 PM

    Wow, the way Vox is defending Plaxico you’d think the Cowboys were gonna make a play for him. Or maybe Vox is confused – in this case the scumbag wide receiver is actually NOT part of the Dallas roster.

  15. rew14478 says: Jun 17, 2009 6:59 PM

    The legal system is screwed up without a doubt. Money changes everything. Mandatory sentence is a fairly simple term. It’s meant to deter individuals from committing the crime because the punishment is in stone. If you do this stupid, you get this -period- But if mandatory means nothing then why would somebody worry about it? Hell, most don’t even care until their finally classafied as habitual felons/career criminals anyway. Too many aggrivating factors in this case.

  16. VonClausewitz says: Jun 17, 2009 7:02 PM

    Plax doesn’t have that many years left in him. His options are to go to trial or take a short plea. Anything else will destroy what’s left of his career. Thus a delay takes back at least one of those potentially lost years assuming he can get picked up by a team. If Team Plax makes this bargaining position of theirs clear it puts the ball in the prosecutor’s court. The prosecution doesn’t want to be the one to lose the trial their boss is making an example of. Nor do they want to cut a sweet deal for the same reasons. But a trial always brings risks. So their best strategy is probably to delay this thing too until the issue is far enough away from the public attention span that nobody looks bad when a short deal gets cut, should that happen. Personally I think no matter how much of a douche Plax is, he doesn’t deserve a huge amount of time, regardless of what the legislation says. I’m sure that this sentiment is shared amongst many potential jurors. And I’m sure the prosecution knows it.

  17. Old School says: Jun 17, 2009 7:03 PM

    Maybe Barfman can get Sotomayor on the jury. She decides cases using her empathy.

  18. 4shortofa100 says: Jun 17, 2009 7:19 PM

    “You’re just another idiot with an agenda.”
    Who on this site does that *not* describe?

  19. FLORIOLEADSWITNESSES says: Jun 17, 2009 8:20 PM

    love how white people like to bring up the oj case as an example of the failures in our judicial system. never hear anything about the rodney king trial which proceeded the oj trial. after all, the only evidence the jury had to go on in the rodney king trial WAS A VIDEOTAPE!!!!

  20. CtownBleedsGreen says: Jun 17, 2009 9:02 PM

    Vox Veritas says:
    June 17th, 2009 at 5:38 pm
    “And maybe he’ll be able to bamboozle a jury of “ordinary citizens” (i.e., undereducated people who are prone to be influenced by emotion and/or a visceral sense of fairness)”
    Uhhh the trial will be in NY, not Philly.
    ++++++++++++++++++++
    And if the trial was in your town, the bigger news would be that you got caught fornicating with sheep.

  21. smiley says: Jun 17, 2009 9:37 PM

    Have you been to New York lately? You walk into Times Square with a gun and see what happens to you. I’m a quick train ride from the city and I’m usually coming out around 2-3AM on weekends (without a handgun) and always feel safe.

  22. CFioren317 says: Jun 18, 2009 9:06 AM

    The fact here is that the law was written for gangbanging street hood thugs who have been arrested carrying guns multiple times…to get them off the streets. I have read and heard interviews with lawyers in NY, congressmen who actually wrote the law, and people who were arrested in breaking that law, and they all have said the same thing…if Plaxico Burress were a regular citizen, he would have been given a slap on the wrist and that would have been it. That is because he has never been in trouble with the law and has never had a record of illegal gun possession.
    But because the stupid blowhard mayor put on his Florio hat that day and declared that Burress should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, the prosecutor is under pressure to get something more than usual on Burress. If the Mayor would keep his stupid big fat mouth shut, like Florio, rather than give day-to-day legal advice to the people who are already there DAY TO FREAKING DAY, then this entire issue would already have been resolved.
    Very similar to the Stallworth thing…there was NO WAY Stallworth was going to get less than the mandatory sentence, since his plea was ABSOLUTELY a CONVICTION, right Florio??? You were wrong there and you are wrong here. Instead of burying your head in the sand, why not read about the precedents regarding all of the “mandatory 3.5 year sentences” that have NOT been given out for the exact same thing Plaxico Burress did.
    And by the way, I FREAKING HATE THE GIANTS, HATE BURRESS, AND I THINK HE IS A SCUMBAG. But the facts are the facts and they should not be bent one way or the other because the stupid Mayor opened his big fat mouth.

  23. moonbeam says: Jun 18, 2009 9:25 AM

    big daddy rog–”as an attorney who has worked for both prosecution and defense and now works for neither”.wow, an out of work attorney giving the rest of us life lessons,i’m thrilled.
    your argument is the most sophmoric i’ve ever seen on this sight in a long time,if this is the best you can up with,good luck job hunting.
    as far as juries from the so called “overeducated”be wary of them if you are the prosecutor.this type of jury can be very touchy feely and can be overly empathetic to the plight of the accused.
    new york is one of the safest cities in the u.s..recently there was a poll of the best and worst cities in the u.s..houston was listed as one of the more undesireable cities.look in you’re own backyard before you go throwing stones.

  24. Vox Veritas says: Jun 18, 2009 11:30 AM

    “Wow, the way Vox is defending Plaxico you’d think the Cowboys were gonna make a play for him. Or maybe Vox is confused”
    Yeeeah, it’s pretty obvious who is confused. I have *never* defended Cheddar Bob Burress and I hope he will eventually be convicted of every one of the multiple crimes he obviously committed and serves each mandatory minimum sentence consecutively.

  25. Vox Veritas says: Jun 18, 2009 11:31 AM

    “And if the trial was in your town, the bigger news would be that you got caught fornicating with sheep. ”
    You don’t even know where I live.

  26. Vox Veritas says: Jun 18, 2009 12:00 PM

    “new york is one of the safest cities in the u.s”
    The mandatory minimum law is particular to Manhattan.
    http://www.nypost.com/seven/05192009/news/regionalnews/manhattan/violent_crime_wave_jolts_trendy_downtown_170010.htm
    Downtown Manhattan, the city’s party mecca, has been hit by an alarming spike in vicious street violence.
    Assaults in Greenwich Village lead the frightening upturn, with a whopping 43 percent increase so far this year compared with the same period in 2008.
    “I’ve never seen it like this before — never, ever,” said G. Simon Chafik, a female photographer who has lived in Manhattan for 15 years.
    “I’m a big New Yorker. New York is one of the safest cities. [But] I’m beginning to question that.”
    Other hot Manhattan neighborhoods tainted by the crime wave include TriBeCa, with a nearly 17 percent jump, and Gramercy, which has seen a 24 percent increase in assaults.
    The danger zones also include the East Village from East 14th Street to Houston Street and the East River to Broadway, which has seen a 27.7 percent rise, from 47 to 60 assaults.
    The Lower East Side has experienced a whopping 30 percent hike in assaults.
    One area appearing to buck the trend is Chelsea, which has recorded a 17 percent drop in such attacks.
    Deputy Police Commissioner Paul Browne attributed the crime jump largely to the neighborhoods’ huge restaurant and bar scenes, which attract large numbers of late-night revelers.

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