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Could Plaxico be pardoned?

One of our Twitter followers (thanks, @giants1975) asked whether we’d heard the rumor that  lawyers for receiver Plaxico Burress have commenced the process of seeking a pardon.

A source close to the situation tells us that, to the source’s knowledge, there’s currently no such effort, but the source didn’t rule it out.

And, frankly, we think it might be worth trying.

As pointed out in our recent PFTV segment on the matter, the stiff sentence to a high-profile football player will help to advance the goal of deterrence. 

But we’re still troubled by the fact that prosecutors have the ability to hand-pick the defendants who’ll be given a pass, and those who’ll spend 3.5 years in the “slammer,” as Mayor Michael Bloomberg described it after Burress was arrested.

Second-degree possession of a loaded and unlicensed weapon entails the mandatory minimum sentence of 3.5 years.  But third-degree possession — a crime virtually identical to second-degree possession — has no minimum sentence.

As a result, and as Sal Paolantonio of ESPN pointed out earlier this year, similar cases have generated widely dissimilar outcomes.

Of the defendants pleading guilty to third-degree possesion, 24 percent (i.e., nearly one out of four) were placed on probation and served no time in jail.  Another 41 percent served more than a year in jail, 24 percent served a year, 6 percent served less than one year, and another 6 percent served a mixture of jail and probation.  (We know that the total is 101 percent, probably due to rounding.)

So two years seems unfair on its face, especially since Burress has no criminal history (of which we’re aware) and shot only himself.

That said, pardons are available only to the politically connected.

Though NFLPA Executive Director De Smith has a pipeline to Attorney General Eric Holder, it’s unknown whether and to what extent Smith has any juice with New York Governor David Paterson.

Frankly, we’d support a pardon of Plaxico Burress.  Or even a commutation of the sentence, like the one Scooter Libby received from President Bush after being convicted for lying to federal investigators.

Burress has accepted responsibility for his crime, unlike Libby ever did.  More importantly, giving Burress a pass will do nothing to lessen the message that has been sent to every New Yorker and anyone who’ll visit there:  If you have a loaded gun and you don’t have a license to carry it in New York, don’t carry it in New York.

Share your thoughts below, PFT Planet.  Though Burress has done more than his fair share of stupid things, we think two years in jail is far too long.

[UPDATE:  We previously suggested that the pardon would come from the President.  As some of you accurately have pointed out, the President grants pardons only for federal offenses.  (I must have missed that day in law school.)  A pardon of Burress would come from Paterson.]

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91 Responses to “Could Plaxico be pardoned?”
  1. Romo Witten His Pants says: Aug 21, 2009 4:31 PM

    Never going to happen. Obama is the President. No way he would open himself up to partisan attacks for a sport! Have you ever wondered why every president offers pardons at the end of their tenure? That is when they don’t care anymore!

  2. FFTnet says: Aug 21, 2009 4:31 PM

    Is it possible that Obama can give Burress a partial pardon? So he would still have to serve a month or so in jail just so that he understands that there will be consequences for violating a law?

  3. Hap says: Aug 21, 2009 4:33 PM

    Ohhhh-Bama won’t touch that with a 6″4″ pole. It’s ludicrous.Forghet it. Bloomberg will make a call to scotch that pathetic effort.

  4. rayrayraider says: Aug 21, 2009 4:34 PM

    Great Idea. Let him loose! Too bad Obama is so into gun control and it won’t happen…

  5. SDFAN says: Aug 21, 2009 4:34 PM

    Can POTUS issue a pardon for a State of New York crime?

  6. jwinn006 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:35 PM

    Stop saying two years is too long. Stop comparing it to other cases. The law says a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years is the penaltly. Burress got 2 years, which he really won’t even serve all of that time. I’m a Virginia Beach native (where Burress is from) so I don’t have a “hometown hero” bias. I’m glad he is going to jail for the breaking the law. I’m glad Vick went to jail for breaking the law, hell I’m glad Stallworth did some type of time. 5-10 years ago they would not have seen a day in the “slammer.” People these days are getting tired of celebs getting off clean, so now their high priced lawyers can’t get them off just by name-dropping. Burress broke a New York law, now he has to pay the New York price.

  7. tbtsm15 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:36 PM

    Given Burress’ public presence, he would only be pardoned if it was politically helpful for Obama. Given the current focusing on health care reform, Obama’s support for strict gun laws, and Obama’s approval rating is falling, a potentially controversial pardon seems even more unlikely.

  8. EdgarSnyder says: Aug 21, 2009 4:37 PM

    wow what a stupid post, had to check if it was 4/1. are you really a lawyer?

  9. ebr362 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:38 PM

    Plax deserves what he got, plain and simple. The law is the law and no one should be above it, period!
    A pardon would send the wrong message because he is/was a star. Would any of us be offered that pardon………

  10. bobinpuertorico says: Aug 21, 2009 4:38 PM

    Early in the process, Plaxico’s attorney explained that the facts were similar to another illegal gun possession case involving P. Diddy, who beat the charges. Hopefully, either the President or the Governor of New York will give Plaxico a pardon. Of course if that happens, then Goodell will need to step in and give him a suspension between 8 games and one year.

  11. Dr. Michael says: Aug 21, 2009 4:38 PM

    A pardon? Who better to broker the deal but The Cleaner, Tony Dungheap. Can’t you see the press conference now? Barack Obama, Tony Dungheap, Plexiglass, Drew Rosenhaus, Marcus and Michael Vick, Marvin HArrison, Aqib Talib and any other late Dungheap entries.

  12. jd says: Aug 21, 2009 4:39 PM

    Obama should present Plax with a 3-year Bears contract as a condition for commutation.

  13. hayward giablommi says: Aug 21, 2009 4:39 PM

    GARBAGE

  14. litemater says: Aug 21, 2009 4:39 PM

    Don’t want two years, Don’t plea. Take it to court. owning up to your actions could have been done day one, rather than after criminal proceedings start. NY has ha alot of problems with unlicensed arms. So they are cracking down. Just because he is busted now an not before big crackdowns is no excuse.

  15. BossHog says: Aug 21, 2009 4:40 PM

    I disagree that giving him a pass will lessen the message, if anything it will just go to support the fact if you are rich/famous you can get away stuff or get preferred treatment. That said, I do think 2 year is harsh given the percentages listed above. He should still do time but a reduced sentence for good behavior would seem fair.

  16. pjg321 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:40 PM

    The President cannot pardon a defendant in a state criminal action. The President can only pardon a defendant in a federal criminal case. I got this right on my recent bar exam, unlike Mr. Florio.

  17. zygi milf says: Aug 21, 2009 4:41 PM

    Why not? The great savior is already a banker, a car dealer and sells health insurance.

  18. dariesmi1 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:41 PM

    SDFan is right – POTUS cannot pardon someone for a State of New York crime, only for federal crimes

  19. Marty says: Aug 21, 2009 4:41 PM

    Yea its too long of a sentence but remember – A lot of those cases you quoted were for people that merely possessed a gun!
    Whether its an accident on not, he had a gun that went off inside a crowded night club – Its not the same as someone who got caught with one in the glove compartment of a car.
    What he did was reckless.

  20. Crabcake says: Aug 21, 2009 4:42 PM

    Bad enough Obama is messing with health care. Keep him out of sports!

  21. bdub says: Aug 21, 2009 4:42 PM

    Let him go. Typical New Yorker Bloomberg, open mouth before you think. Plax may be a bonehead, but he doesnt deserve 2 years, heck Stallworth killed a guy in Florida and got 24 days. Another great reason not to live in New York and move to Texas where people have brains.

  22. BernardPollardIsAnAss says: Aug 21, 2009 4:43 PM

    Yeah Florio, support a pardon. Make another excuse for a guy who has made excuses his whole life for not handling his business like a man. That’ll really show ‘em. How does escaping punishment for a crime equal taking responsibility? Taking responsibility is accepting the consequences of your actions up fornt. Try explaining that to Florio Jr. before you try it out in public. My guess is telling your kid it is alright to act like an asshole and put other people in harms way is fine as long as you admit you did it. No need bothering with that pesky concept of consequences for your actions. Idiot.

  23. lebowski says: Aug 21, 2009 4:44 PM

    WTF?!?! You’ve slammed this guy for weeks for being stupid enough to carry a loaded firearm into a crowded club, and now that he and his high priced lawyer saw the writing on the wall and got a lighter sentence, you want him pardoned? You become a bigger idiot every day.

  24. BearNDesert says: Aug 21, 2009 4:44 PM

    Did I slip into a coma and it’s suddenly April 1st? President Obama pardoning Plaxico Burress so he can sign with Obama’s favorite football team?
    I know Obama comes from Chicago–a city known for its crooked politics–but that would be an unfathomable abuse of power. Please tell me this is supposed to be tongue-in-cheek.

  25. Fidelito says: Aug 21, 2009 4:45 PM

    There is no way that he would get a Presidential pardon, nor should he. He willingly plead guilty, so there’s no chance of him arguing that he is in reality innocent sometime down the road. Secondly, he received less than the maximum sentence for the crime he committed. New York has stringent gun laws for a reason, just like many other states have super strict DUI laws. People get longer sentences for small time pot possession and similarly victimless crimes. He hurt only himself by sheer dumb luck. (Emphasis on the dumb) There would be no political or moral upside to pardoning him. I’m not going to shed any tears for a guy who gets paid millions to play a game, and then throws it all away by carrying an un-safetied unlicensed illegal handgun in the waistband of his fricking sweatpants. It doesn’t matter what Vick or Stallworth or Little got in the way of sentences for “worse” crimes. The criminal justice system isn’t based on relativity, and certainly not on public opinion. It’s not even based on fairness, unfortunate as that may be. It’s about the rule of law, and we should use our outrage on cases when people get away with circumventing that, not ones where they are rightfully found guilty. Finally, the justice department generally pushes for pardons to be well down the line and after the fact, several years at least. This isn’t always the case of course, but it’s just another reason why this is a complete non story and this is basically just an example of a slow August Friday afternoon on the rumor mill.

  26. Temple77 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:45 PM

    We now know why you retired from law. You just made a basic mistake in your post of jurisdiction. Plax plead guilty to crime under New York law and Governor Patterson would have to be the one issuing the pardon. Any connection to Holder or Obama doesn’t mean a thing unless they would lean on Patterson, which they won’t.

  27. kujoatc75 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:46 PM

    He could apply for clemency after serving at least 1/2 of his term and will not become eligible for parole within one year of the date of his application for commutation.

  28. Redskins7 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:46 PM

    Florio is off-base with this post. Plax not only had a gun, but a bullet was fired from it and nearly hit someone besides himself. This is not your run of the mill possessing an illegal handgun case, he could have easily killed someone. Enjoy the “slammer”

  29. NinerNation says: Aug 21, 2009 4:46 PM

    Personally, I also think it’s too long, but it’s still the law, and he still committed an illegal act. If he had just left the gun at home, or had a CCW in that state, this wouldn’t have happened. He has no one to blame but himself.

  30. Akshun says: Aug 21, 2009 4:47 PM

    Oh yea you’re completely right that the president will simply let him go for the possibility he can play for the bears.. ARE YOU AN IDIOT?!? Their’s so many gun crimes in the US especially in a city like New York.. THEY NEED HIM THEIR TO SHOW PEOPLE ITS NOT RIGHT TO WALK AROUND WITH A GUN THAT HAS NO PERMIT.. this dude is a repeat moron, what about driving around without insurance because he thinks hes better than everyone of us too that he doesnt need to spend his money on it, yea Plax is a real role model that needs to get out of prison because the president might happen to think he’ll go to his team im sure he’ll do that… morons

  31. Devils Advocate says: Aug 21, 2009 4:47 PM

    ha ha ha – really funny Florio.
    oh crap, you were serious!
    I almost started the “Days Without a PLAX/POTUS Pardon Meter”
    nahhhhhhh fuget about it.

  32. Phenom says: Aug 21, 2009 4:49 PM

    Florio, I hope you are kidding here. It is outrageous to think that Obaba should pardon Burress. He did the crime, now let him do the time. If Burress wasn’t happy with his sentence then he should not have taken a plea deal (yes I realize that it was his only option).

  33. hayward giablommi says: Aug 21, 2009 4:49 PM

    WTF is wrong with you Florio? Why even have a legal process if the rich and/or well connected have their deserved penalties commuted or erased altogether?
    And you justify this reprehensible position by referencing the War Criminal in chief pardoning Libby? Just about everyone with a pulse knew that was a foregone conclusion due to the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the War Criminal’s administration Have you lost your mind?
    Mike, I like the site. Over the years I have agreed with a lot of what you’ve said. Lately, that is becoming less and less the case. But this article, and your spineless position, is the biggest, smelliest pile of fecal matter I have seen to date. You are losing me.

  34. jd says: Aug 21, 2009 4:50 PM

    Can’t he just appeal this to the supreme court as cruel and unusual punishment? I mean this is america, no one goes to jail for anything. What gives?

  35. Taxlaw26 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:51 PM

    Obama will NOT pardon or provide a commutation of Burress’ sentence. Didn’t we all just finish watching Obama slap every police officer in this country square across the face with his handling of the Dr. Gates fiasco? There is no way he would make another very public ‘correction’ of a local criminal justice system.
    Additionally, I am amazed that you believe letting Burress walk wouldn’t lessen the message. If there are no consequences for committing the prohibited act then why should I give a crap?

  36. Hong Kong Phooey says: Aug 21, 2009 4:53 PM

    A parson will come from Patterson????
    He doesn’t need a parson, he needs a pardon!!!

  37. Hooby says: Aug 21, 2009 4:54 PM

    he broke a law yes but really…come on. yes he was carrying an unlicensed concealed weapon. dangerous. yes. there was a reason for it. he was trying to protect himself after 2 former talented nfl players were shot and killed (see williams and taylor). theres a reason for the gun. second, what harm did he cause? he shot himself. if the gun went off and hit a person, then id say punish him. but it didnt. it hit him. hes probably not gonna carry a gun again just because of that. jail time is meant to punish an offense against society and rehabilitate someone from doing it again. there was no offense against anyone (no more than jaywalking or loitering) and i dont think hes gonna carry any more unlicensed concealed weapon.
    if they ask obama, i hope hes smart enough to realize this and pardon him so he can get back to what he does…make bad qbs look good

  38. paul says: Aug 21, 2009 4:55 PM

    Plaxico is an idiot and should go to prison. I remember his first game against the Jags, dove and caught a ball, jumoed up and spiked it,,,,,ooooops not college, Jags recovered.

  39. nohio says: Aug 21, 2009 4:57 PM

    So simply put, you think that because he is a celebrity and got a little stiffer penalty than most would get that he should be pardoned and receive no penalty at all? You sound like a douche bag lawyer.

  40. chc4 says: Aug 21, 2009 4:57 PM

    Pardon Burress, praise Talib after his “good decision. Wow… I guess Florio isn’t a big fan of personal responsibility and the criminal justice system!

  41. EdgarSnyder says: Aug 21, 2009 5:04 PM

    In Florio’s defense West Virginia Bar exam merely requires you watch every episode of Law & Order.

  42. hayward giablommi says: Aug 21, 2009 5:05 PM

    I think the expression “Don’t quit your day job” would apply to you, Florio, but that would just mean we have another lawyer trying to circumvent the legal process and get another felon with no respect for society back on the street.
    Still trying to get the bad taste out of my mouth from this horsecrap article, but I don’t have a bottle of Jager at my cubicle. Thanks for nothing.

  43. mborz says: Aug 21, 2009 5:06 PM

    Interesting article. I have no opinion about a pardon, but it was interesting reading the inconsistencies in applying the law.
    I kind of feel bad for Plaxico, and I know a lot of people are outraged saying that his penalty is unfair. It does seem excessive.
    But the guy has shown no respect for rules his entire NFL career. Being late / absent for meetings isn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but it’s the same lack of respect for rules that got him in the huge mess he’s in now.
    And that’s the problem when you break the law — there’s no guarantee that you’re going to get the same leniency others may have gotten. You throw yourself at the mercy of a system that has a lot of other interests / angles and it’s not always fair, it never has been, and it never will be.
    But that’s the way it is, and if you don’t like it, best not to break the law in the first place.

  44. Kevin Greenstein says: Aug 21, 2009 5:06 PM

    Are you kidding, Mike? Weren’t you just espousing the importance of the gun control laws with regard to the “crush of humanity” you witnessed in Times Square? How has Burress’s negotiated sentence (2 years instead of 3.5) changed that one iota?
    The line between second and third-degree weapon possession is quite clear in this case: Burress’s gun was loaded. Stick with your original position. There’s no reason for you to be wavering here.
    http://www.criminaldefensefirm.com/topics/weaponspossession.html

  45. Lights Out 56 says: Aug 21, 2009 5:07 PM

    plaxico is a thug and so is pierce. i hope big bubbah is waiting for him in the slammer. Burress i hope you hold that soap like a football.

  46. jhem4prez says: Aug 21, 2009 5:13 PM

    he has plenty of options and I highly doubt he actually serves the 2 years. I just think its odd that if he intended to fight this or seek a pardon, why would you take a plea. Instead wouldnt it be wise to go ahead with trial and get the heavier 3.5 year sentence then b*tch and moan, seems reasonable to me. The only reason most take pleas is they dont have the money to waste courts times as I suggest or defend themselves properly, Burress has the cash.
    I think 2 years is nuts, if you want the guy to pay for his actions, make him pay, he could do tons of community service, give a ton of money, he would become the poster child for responsible gun ownership, that makes a difference, throwing a guy in jail who doesnt belong there only adds a criminal to the community once he gets out.

  47. Stone Ln says: Aug 21, 2009 5:15 PM

    I fully support a hope for a pardon of Burress’ sentence. The sentence was unfair and extreme and quite frankly scares the hell out of me. I don’t want to come off as a redneck, but this country is out of whack! Honestly, if this happen in Atlanta it won’t even be a story anymore.

  48. Herman Brood says: Aug 21, 2009 5:17 PM

    When I hear anything about Plax, all I can think about is him repeatedly saying “f$&k you!” repeatedly to the officer in Florida about a month or so after he shot himself. He has no respect for amything that isn’t Plaxico. 2 years seems about the right amount of time for Plax to get his mind right. When the Steelers didn’t offer him a second contract, there was a very good reason. Plax is pretty much a POS wih money. I’d almost bet that he doesn’t get out early, because he’s going to try to prove his credibilty to the convicts by being hard. Hey Plax, grow the f$&k up! You’re over 30 years old, for Gods sake.
    Quit acting like an imbecile.

  49. cbeato says: Aug 21, 2009 5:21 PM

    President Obama does not have the constitutional authority to issue a pardon to Plaxico. Plaxico was convicted of a NY State Crime. Presidents only have the Constitutional authority to issue pardons for persons convicted of Federal crimes. The only person that has the authority to issue a pardon is Governor David Paterson. Given Governor Paterson’s historically low poll numbers, I seriously doubt that he would grant Plaxico a pardon. The fact of the matter is that Plaxico is looking at the very least 21 months in prison.

  50. tom coughlin's coat holder says: Aug 21, 2009 5:28 PM

    hayward,i’m disappointed in you,you fell for the lie that florio put out there,bush never pardoned libby.look it up,bush and cheney got into a dust up over this,and bush held his ground.bush might be a lot of things but he did not pardon libby.
    i can’t believe how this has gotten by so many people on here.
    florio, you have got to cut back on your consumption of keith olbermann vective.

  51. Wellsee says: Aug 21, 2009 5:29 PM

    You know what? If Burress had been caught JUST carrying the weapon illegally, I’d be more likely to agree with the idea of a pardon since so little separates 2nd degree from 3rd degree. But the weapon was discharged, and that changes it for me. It doesn’t matter that it was accidental (although I’m not comfortable with that term either; since a safety wasn’t engaged, it is more negligence than accident), or that no one else was injured physically (barely). He did enough wrong to warrant jail time.

  52. moswesley says: Aug 21, 2009 5:31 PM

    Not a legal expert, but I could the sentence being commuted, so the prison time would be less, but the conviction would stay on Plaxico’s record.
    If he were pardoned, he would have no conviction, and would be treated as first time offender if were to slip up in the future.
    I would definitely agree that the conviction should stay on his record, and his sentence should be commuted to less than a year.

  53. BEAR-A-HOLIC says: Aug 21, 2009 5:34 PM

    Does Judge Magnuson have a brother who’s a Judge in New York? Problem solved.

  54. Drat says: Aug 21, 2009 5:35 PM

    “24 percent (i.e., nearly one out of four)” Thanks, Florio, for this remedial insight. And as a matter of fact, you clearly don’t understand populational statisics. So you’ve labelled yourself uneducated on two levels at once.

  55. Wick says: Aug 21, 2009 5:38 PM

    Agreed – 2 years in the can seems too steep.
    No question – Burress effed up, but incarcerating him for two years is a bit much, when Burress had absolutely zero malice.

  56. HappyBunny says: Aug 21, 2009 5:38 PM

    “So two years seems unfair on its face, especially since Burress has no criminal history (of which we’re aware) and shot only himself.”
    This comment and listening to the attorney Roger Cosack on ESPN talk about how “unfair” the plea was because he only shot himself leads me to say that someone could get stinking drunk, drive, get busted and call for a lenient sentence, because he only hurts no one else or only himself. The shot barely missed hitting a security guard.

  57. HardHusker says: Aug 21, 2009 5:44 PM

    Pardon Plax? FLorio, that’s just brilliant. Keep your politics out of sports. What in the wild west does Scooter Libby have to do with this thug? You are showing your true colors as being part of what is wrong with the NFL.
    Now go get your frigg’n shine box.

  58. Stormin says: Aug 21, 2009 5:48 PM

    Buy a spell check software. Wait, they are free. What is your excuse then?

  59. VoxVeritas says: Aug 21, 2009 5:48 PM

    “And you justify this reprehensible position by referencing the War Criminal in chief pardoning Libby? Just about everyone with a pulse knew that was a foregone conclusion due to the moral and ethical bankruptcy of the War Criminal’s administration Have you lost your mind?”
    Nobody pardoned Scooter Libby, you two ultra-lib jackasses need to get informed.

  60. MasterShake says: Aug 21, 2009 5:52 PM

    I just listened to Rodney Harrison on the Dan Patrick show. I never gave a crap about Harrison until I heard what he had to say. If you haven’t heard it yet, take the time to do so. Of course the opinions of this post are those of the poster and sometimes I think I’m full of shit.

  61. Eaglestrainingcamp says: Aug 21, 2009 6:00 PM

    You gotta be f(*&)*&g kidding me. Pardon the animal? How fast we forget about the hate for Vick and Johnson and Pacman and…. I’d rather they all were given their own gun and count 10 paces, turn and fire. The last man standing can be pardoned. No wonder criminals and celebrities act as they do. They can be pardoned because they are famous. And rich. Florio talks s*&)t sometimes.

  62. bbq says: Aug 21, 2009 6:00 PM

    While Plaxico Burress is an idiot for trying to keep it thug and carrying a loaded handgun, I do feel that the penalty he received is grossly stiff.
    Shoot yourself in the leg by accident and go to jail for two years? Give me a break. I feel for the guy.

  63. someguy says: Aug 21, 2009 6:25 PM

    Your feelings towards Buress and your feelings toward Vick are logically inconsistent. Both guys thought they were above the law and could do whatever they want. Both did bad things. Buress could easily have killed an innocent person, so don’t minimize what he did.
    Yet you want leniency for Buress but you want the harshest possible punishment for Vick. What bias lies underneath this?

  64. republiKKKans_suck says: Aug 21, 2009 6:37 PM

    this just reeks of mayor bloomturd & his hitleresque views towards guns & gun-owners. 24 days for running over a man while drunk, 19 months for brutalizing dogs, and an idiot like burress gets 2 years? no wonder screw york has such problem with crime.

  65. Guru Gruden says: Aug 21, 2009 6:46 PM

    “Too bad Obama is so into gun control and it won’t happen…”
    Last I checked its August and you still have your precious (and necessary, apparently) assault rifles, as well as your hunting guns and pistols in tow for when you guys hop on board your all-expenses paid buses to your coached and staged crying sessions at the townhalls. Next.
    Oh and it never fails to make me laugh when someone calls him savior, yet 43 was the one to say he was anointed by God to higher office. Keep it up guys, you’re doing awesome!

  66. norseman69 says: Aug 21, 2009 6:53 PM

    Hey! how about some credit I posted that yesterday here on the board mentioning Plaxio should only serve 6 months and the Governor should issue a pardon…the time doesn’t fit the crime..

  67. hayward giablommi says: Aug 21, 2009 6:55 PM

    @ tom coughlin’s coat holder
    You know, my first instinct was that I wasn’t sure Bush even did pardon Libby. Touche.
    Don’t get me wrong, I stay up on current events, but I am so disgusted with government and society in general that I just live my life and ignore all the BS that doesn’t affect me.

  68. kayC says: Aug 21, 2009 7:20 PM

    “I am so disgusted with government and society in general that I just live my life and ignore all the BS that doesn’t affect me.”
    Except when you drop in on sports forums to regurgitate a stale, misinformed Democrat talking point or two.

  69. dawk says: Aug 21, 2009 7:20 PM

    Irrational thinking = irrational post. Florio, you ARE a lawyer, right? Since when does the penalty for a crime (non-federal) in one state have anything to do with the penalty for a crime, maybe even a more serious crime, in another state? Using your illogic, every defense lawyer should scour the laws of the individual states when defending a client on a particular state/local charge and demand that only the lightest penalty they could find should apply. Vick didn’t break New York law. Stallworth didn’t break New York law. Burress DID. Each was sentenced according to that state’s laws. The penalty phase for Burress depends ONLY on New York law. If not, his defense team only need find one state where this kind of irresponsibility would be accepted without penalty and demand that their client go completely unpunished. You confuse the issue. This has only to do with Burress and New York.

  70. unkl fil says: Aug 21, 2009 7:22 PM

    gimme a break – Burress is not contrite at all – he’s just spoiled – no pardon!

  71. runningamuck says: Aug 21, 2009 7:25 PM

    Just a thought.
    They do have Political Immunity.
    Why not Professional Athlete Immunity, we’re close anyhow.
    Then all of you who feel the penalties for Burress, Vick, Blow J, lets see, he nearly cut a woman’s head off, is to harsh, can rejoice when the justice system would deem this behavior normal, what do you think ?
    Also when one of these thug like douche bag athletes kills a family member, rapes your sister, throws your dog into oncoming moving traffic, you will agree that there should be no penalty for that…sounds go to me.
    Where do I sign up ?
    You wonder why our sports youth today have no clue, commit crime, receive a slap on the wrist, and come back and make millions, in which you will be just foolish enough to pay for when you purchase you ticket to see this SCUM of the earth perform. Commentary that athletes get a raw deal, when they kill someone and have to serve time, is excessive, you are right, no big deal, there celebrities, they deserve a pass.
    Wake the ‘F’ up !
    The athlete you save, might just be kind enough to
    thank you…by killing your loved one.

  72. Alpheratz says: Aug 21, 2009 7:32 PM

    Libby should have never been in the courtroom.
    The prosecutor already KNEW Richard Armitage was the source of the Plame information, but he was on a witch hunt for Dick Cheney or Karl Rove or both.
    That whole “investigation” was a sham.
    As far as Plastico, I assumed when I first read this that Florio was talking about a pardon via the Governor, not Obama.
    The “mandatory” sentence has already been proven a farce.

  73. JunkYardDogg1156 says: Aug 21, 2009 8:07 PM

    # Wellsee says: August 21, 2009 5:29 PM
    If Burress had been caught JUST carrying the weapon illegally, I’d be more likely to agree with the idea of a pardon since so little separates 2nd degree from 3rd degree. But the weapon was discharged, and that changes it for me. It doesn’t matter that it was accidental (although I’m not comfortable with that term either; since a safety wasn’t engaged, it is more negligence than accident), or that no one else was injured physically (barely). He did enough wrong to warrant jail time.
    ——————————————————-
    Beautiful work Wellsee – This says it all – negligence is exactly what it was.

  74. VoxVeritas says: Aug 21, 2009 8:08 PM

    “Shoot yourself in the leg by accident and go to jail for two years?”
    No… carry an unlicensed firearm in NYC and face up to 3.5 in jail whether you shoot yourself or not. The hole in his leg is a testament to his stupidity. He got off extremely light. He could have been prosecuted for lots of other stuff.

  75. patssb363839 says: Aug 21, 2009 8:12 PM

    Did Bdub actually state that people from Texas have brains??? Yeah, and Dubya is a rhoads scholar! LMAO

  76. tr975 says: Aug 21, 2009 8:21 PM

    Instead of pardoning Burress because his sentence seems “harsh” compared to other players, why not work to try to get those other penalties that made this one seem harsh lengthened? Stop coddling these athletes instead of suggesting that the government intervene and coddle this one even further.
    Without a doubt, Donte Stallworth got off too light in his sentencing. The next time a Donte Stallworth situation pops up, call for the judges and juries to treat them just as they would a normal person, same penalties and same time in jail. There’s your deterrent to the next player. “Wow, if I do the same thing, I might be in jail for 2 or more years” instead of “Oh well, I will just have my lawyer ask for a pardon” or “Oh well, I will be out in 2 weeks, no big deal”.

  77. mholt59 says: Aug 21, 2009 8:40 PM

    bbq:
    If he shot himself in the leg, at home, I would agree with you. But he did it in a CROWDED NIGHTCLUB WITH AN UNLICENSED GUN, WITH THE SAFETY OFF. Come on, think.

  78. Scoop says: Aug 21, 2009 8:42 PM

    I’m baffled. The dude skirted a MANDATORY 3.5 year sentence, and we’re debating pardon because he’s a baller? A smug, insolent, spit-on-the-public baller no less? The guy is a thug personafied and keeping him off the streets for two years is called service to the public, not a politically expedient witchhunt.
    I mean, come on, he was too careless and cavalier to understand the death machine he had stuffed in his $1,000 sweatpants. That’s maliscious indifference at the very least.
    Me thinks some values have become skewed by sport.

  79. MacDaddy says: Aug 21, 2009 8:57 PM

    “Or even a commutation of the sentence, like the one Scooter Libby received from President Bush after being convicted for lying to federal investigators.”
    Bush never pardoned Libby. As usual, Florio’s bias and white guilt comes out.

  80. iamcool says: Aug 21, 2009 9:10 PM

    “Burress has accepted responsibility for his crime”
    Yeah, just like Vick. You sir are a Liberal POS. Plax is just luck he only shot himself. That would be a typical celebrity BS. Your motives are obvious. All of the talk and spanking your monkey over the Plax news, and now you support his release. Just for the news my friend. You sir are a douche and I am done!

  81. Popeye says: Aug 21, 2009 9:31 PM

    Get Bubba Clinton involved. He pardoned tons of terrorists, cop killers and criminals. Plaxico fits right in.

  82. PypersRealm says: Aug 21, 2009 9:31 PM

    I feel bad for Burress. Two years is ridiculous. The law was intended to punish bad guys and thugs. Burress is neither. Who benefits from this?
    Having said that, any outrage should not be directed only at getting Burress out of prison but on restoring some common sense to the law as well. Calling for a minimun sentence of 3.5 years is a gross abuse of power.
    The guy should be doing no more than 90 days in jail plus a gazillion hours of community service talking to kids. Our idiotic prosecutor, judge, and legal system missed an excellent opportunity to allow something good to come from this mess.
    It actually makes me want to do violent things to that judge and prosecutor. Shame on them!
    …and no, I’m not a Giants fan.

  83. Smush Rodrigez says: Aug 21, 2009 9:54 PM

    Post should have read:
    Some wishful Plax fans (or Glen Beck) started a rumor about an Obama pardon but were too stupid to realize that this was not a federal crime. So, either wishful thinking or someone trying to use Twitter to (successfully) stir the pot.

  84. Givner says: Aug 21, 2009 11:41 PM

    Didn’t you ever think that they were trying to help Plax? Think about it … he won’t shoot himself in jail and a drunken Stallworth won’t run him over.

  85. Twiz says: Aug 21, 2009 11:42 PM

    No matter what, you cannot get past the fact that the man wore SWEATS to a NY nightclub. That alone deserves jail time. Just how stupid can a black man be?

  86. BigBear says: Aug 21, 2009 11:47 PM

    My money is on Beck starting the rumor.
    Gah, slow news day.

  87. Kappy says: Aug 22, 2009 12:20 AM

    Article II, Section 2.1 of the US Constitution states the President “shall have power to grant reprieves and pardons for offenses against the United States, except in cases of impeachment.” It explicitly reads crimes against the US, and the US Supreme Ct has held that the President cannot pardon a person for state crimes. Article 4, Section 4 of the New York State Constitution give the Governor of New York the power to either pardon or grant clemency to a convict. Any applications for clemency, pardons, commutations, or reprieves are kept as a public record by both the Governor’s office and the New York Secretary of State. The Governor must also make annual reports to the state legislature of all such applications.
    If Burress were to seek a pardon, he would have to apply to the Governor of New York, not Mesiah Obama. If or when he does so, it’s public record and I am sure ESPN will run a 10-day report on it.
    Generally speaking, pardons are NOT granted for politically motivation prosecutions or convictions. Pardons are granted to those conviced defendants who display sincere remorse; take responsibility for their actions; and make a concerted effort to rehabilitate themselves through work within the community. Burress’s sentence can be seen as harsh for a victimless crime, but the bottom line is that New York law states that if you carry an illegal firearm and are convicted, you MUST serve a mandatory minimum of 3.5 years in prison. Possession of a firearm is considered a violent felony, therefore Plax is going to big boy prison, not jail. This sentence was given to serve as a general deterrent. The prosecution is telling people that if you carry an illegal firearm in New York, you’re going to prison regardless of who you are. This type of sentence serves as an important public policy statement and Governor Patterson will not touch this case for many reasons. Plus, his approval ratings are in the toilet (low 20′s) and he’s fighting off people in his own party in an attempt to get the nomination for 2010. He’s not going to voluntarily enter himself into a controversy that he can be viewed as soft of gun control. It’s liberal doctrine to have strict gun control policies.

  88. Jeff Smith says: Aug 22, 2009 2:12 AM

    I am generally the last person to advocate any commutation of a sentence and I support gun control. Scooter Libby should definitely be in jail right now.
    All that said, two years seems awfully stiff for a guy who has already suffered the pain and humiliation of shooting himself.
    If Patterson commuted it down to one year in prison, I think justice would be served.

  89. meezle says: Aug 22, 2009 2:53 AM

    Twiz I was the first to say that, you sir are the second person to steal my comment

  90. Kevin Jon Heller says: Aug 22, 2009 7:51 AM

    As a former criminal-defense attorney and a professor of criminal law, I’m trying to stop laughing. Burress accepted responsibility for the crime? By stupidly going before the grand jury and begging them to nullify the law? Morgenthau had him dead to rights from day one; if Burress had genuinely accepted responsibility, he would have taken the plea deal long ago, not after a grand jury charged him with three crimes instead of one.
    And please, spare me the “he didn’t hurt anyone.” The point of the law is to deter people from bringing loaded guns into crowded public venues; the fact that Burress got lucky and only shot himself in no way mitigates the danger his actions posed to others.
    Finally, I note that you don’t bother to explain why Burress should have been allowed to plead to possession in the third degree instead of attempted possession in the second degree, the lesser crime to which he was actually allowed to plead. Morgenthau didn’t have to let him plead to anything at all, which is the outcome in 12% of such cases. Burress should be thankful he didn’t get the full 3.5 years.

  91. Iceberg34 says: Aug 22, 2009 9:50 PM

    I actually would agree with the pardon. I think it is an abuse of discretion to give him 2 years for this–I have a real problem putting first timers away to prison. That is a harsh sentence and everyone deserves a second chance.

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