Last week, Philadelphia District Attorney Lynne Abraham announced that Colts receiver Marvin Harrison would face no charges, for now, as a result of that April 29 incident in which someone used a gun owned by Harrison to fire bullets at another person.
Abraham explained during a press conference that she did not have credible accounts of the incident.
Shaun Assael and Peter Keating of ESPN The Magazine report that Abraham came to this conclusion despite having in her possession the statement of a second victim who claimed that Harrison was gripping a gun during his altercation with the person at whom the gun was fired.
The statement from Robert Nixon corroborates the allegations of Dwight Dixon, who sued Harrison last year for injuries resulting from the shooting.  But Nixon initially told police he didn’t know what happened, which might have fueled Abraham’s concern that Nixon would not hold up under cross-examination, and that a jury would not find that Harrison was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. 
But why not hire an expert witness in urban culture, who could testify as to the “stop snitching” mentality and who could also explain that Nixon’s initial Sgt. Schulz routine was consistent with the notion that nothing good comes from cooperating with the police?  Jurors never leave their common sense at the courthouse steps, and we think that there’s a good chance tjat enough of them would realize why Nixon might have been reluctant to point a finger at a high-profile guy who was (allegedly and brazenly) pointing a gun at someone else.
“I’m pretty comfortable I know who fired the gun,” Abraham said last week. “But I’m not going to say because I don’t have the evidence.”
Assael and Keating point out that the decision not to press charges could be revisited based on evidence uncovered in Dixon’s civil suit.  Dixon’s lawyer says that he’ll try to take Harrison’s sworn deposition within the next six weeks.
And as we’ve previously explained, that’s all the more reason for Harrison to settle the case.  Because even though he’ll be able to invoke the Fifth Amendment while testifying in the civil case, the fact that he invoked the Fifth Amendment can be used against him in the civil proceedings.  And since most civil lawsuits use only the 51 percent/49 percent “preponderance of the evidence” standard, Harrison’s chances of winning at trial would plummet if he opts to hide behind the Fifth Amendment.
(And we’ll pre-empt the certain flood of comments explaining that O.J. Simpson couldn’t take the Fifth in his civil wrongful death trial by pointing out that his testimony came after he had been acquitted in the criminal case, making the Fifth Amendment irrelevant since he could not have been tried again on criminal murder charges, even if he had admitted killing his ex-wife and Ron Goldman in the civil case.)
Bottom line?  Harrison is hardly out of the woods — and he still ultimately could be in the hoosegow.


  1. I disagree with your ‘expert’ idea. Establishing credibility is key to witnesses. And in the above example, you’re only interpreting their story switching as ‘inconsistent but initially true.’ It’s just as likely it was ‘inconsistent but initially false.’
    You’re right that the jury would have to decide which was which, but to have some expert come in to say that anyone who changes stories is just scared seems like only seeing this in one kind of light.

  2. “expert witness in ‘urban culture'”
    “stop snitching mentality”
    Why call it like it is??
    No witness is credible enough to waste a jury’s time with all the nonsense.

  3. “Because even though he’ll be able to invoke the Fifth Amendment while testifying in the civil case, the fact that he invoked the Fifth Amendment can be used against
    him in the civil proceedings.”
    I think you meant to say he’ll invoke the 5th during the CRIMINAL case.

  4. I wonder if the guy who filed the suit made a side deal with the witness to give him some of the cash if he agreed to tell the police he saw Harrison with the gun?

  5. josereyes0 says:
    January 12th, 2009 at 11:20 am
    Oh life, you shoot yourself accidentally and you go to prison. You shoot someone else and you’re free to go play poor football and earn millions.
    Come on now, to say that Starvin Marvin played poorly this year would be too kind, he was atrocious this year. He is the 4th pass catching option behind Wayne, Gonzalez, and Clark, and he may even be behind Addai out of the backfield.

  6. “Jurors never leave their common sense at the courthouse steps”
    What planet do you live on, Florio?!?!? Since you brought up OJ, do you think maybe the jurors in his murder trial left just a little common sense outside the courtroom? Just a little?

  7. Marvin’s got gun
    Oh no Lord Marvin, What have you done
    Oh no Lord it’s the sound of his gun
    Oh no Lord Marvin, what have you done
    Oh no Lord it’s the sound of his gun
    Marvin’s got a gun
    Marvin’s got a gun
    whole Colts world’s come undone
    lookin’ straight at the sun
    what did Marvin do
    what did he put you through
    they say when Marvin was arrested
    they found him without his gun
    but man he had it comin’
    now that Marvin’s got a gun
    He ain’t never gonna be the same
    Marvin’s got a gun
    Marvin’s got a gun
    Two-a-days just begun
    now everybody is on the run
    tell me now it’s untrue
    what did Marvin do
    he jacked a couple of thugs
    the man has got to be insane
    they say the spell that he was under
    the lightning and the thunder
    knew that someone had to stop the rain
    run away, run away from the play
    run away, run away from the play
    run away, run away
    run, run away
    what did Marvin do
    it’s Marvin’s last I-O-U
    He had to take him down easy
    and put a bullet near his brain
    he said ’cause nobody believes me
    the man was such a sleaze
    he ain’t never gonna be the same
    Marvin, what’s the problem
    tell me it ain’t right
    was it you holding the gun that night

  8. East69 – The OJ jury never HAD common sense to leave anywhere, based on the outcome of that trial. BTW glad you aren’t punking out like Vox after your G-man lost.

  9. Harrison is really getting off easy. With the gun violence in Philly on the rise, they are locking dudes under the jail for having a gun registered to you that was used in a crime. Anybody else would be explaining their side of the story from behind bars not from the football field

  10. “expert witness in urban culture”? Mr. Florio, you have been watching too much BET. All urban areas aren’t the same and culture varies greatly depending on the geographic area. Urban Miami is different from urban Philadelphia which is different from Urban Seattle.
    I congratulate you on your success and your knowledge of football, but with your continued rants and snide comments, you are venturing farther and farther from Carlin and Maher ‘roast-like’ comments into meanspirited Limbaugh and Hannity territory. That’s fine, if that’s your cup of tea. But, don’t pretend to be something you’re not.

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