Serving a two-year term since admitting he bankrolled a dogfighting operation and helped execute dogs, Michael Vick received a setback in his effort to gain a conclusion to his legal woes.
Former NFL quarterback Michael Vick won’t be allowed to plead guilty to dogfighting charges by videoconference. His attorney’s made the request to allow him to enter his plea on Nov. 25. Under the terms of his plea deal, he would receive only a suspended sentence and a year of probation. If he is able to resolve the state dogfighting and animal cruelty charges, he would be eligible to transfer to a halfway house for the final six months of his term, according to court papers., a judge ruled Tuesday.
However, citing high public interest in the case, Surry County Circuit Judge Samuel Campbell said it would be better for Vick to appear in person.
Needless to say, to appear in person while incarcerated at Leavenworth is quite impossible. While Vick would like to get this behind him…his primary motivation would be the ability to move to the half-way house. FYI – transfer to a half-way house is still prison (just much less confined).
His obstacle…public attention and a justice system that is pushing the maximum punishment. According to an Associated Press Article:
Prosecutor Gerald Poindexter preferred that Vick’s plea wait until his release from federal prison. He objected to the video conferencing motion on grounds that it has never been used in Virginia and he didn’t want the county to set a precedent.
According to an article in the Atlanta Journal:
“This has been a long and very difficult road for Michael,” Martin said. “He has been incarcerated for over a year and hopes to bring closure to this case.”
The motion is an attempt by Vick’s attorneys to bring closure to the state case.
“We are very happy with the judge’s ruling,” Woodward said. “For my standpoint, the fact that we are going to have the hearing and the case is going to be resolved within the next few weeks is a good result for Michael and will help him get where he needs to be.”
If Vick, who is scheduled to be released from federal prison July 20, 2009, can resolve his state case, he would become eligible to participate in the Federal Bureau of Prisons re-entry program. That might include entry into a halfway house for up to six months. Vick cannot serve a portion of his sentence in a halfway house until he has resolved the pending state charges.
“We were fine with [pleading] by video or personally,” Woodward said. “We just wanted to get it done so that he can apply to be in the halfway house.”
Woodward declined to elaborate on Vick entering a halfway house.
“It’s a process and that process is ongoing,” Woodward said. “I don’t want to comment on that. Obviously, he needed to get this case resolved in order for that process to move forward.”
As an ex-felon…I know first hand what Michael Vick has been through. I am sure that he does want this behind him. Hopefully, he will use his notoriety and experience to have a positive influence on the youth of America. As a speaker, I address youth across the country to help them understand the relationship between choices and their consequences.