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Does Gilbert Arenas deserve jail time?

Prosecutors and attorneys for Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas were in plea negotiations this week that could have Arenas in court on gun charges as soon as Thursday, according to law enforcement sources.

If the grand jury were to charge Arenas, he likely would face charges of carrying a handgun without a license, which is a felony and punishable by up to five years behind bars. Because he has said he had four guns in the Verizon Center locker room, he could face up to 20 years in jail. Read the full article.

By Jodi Westrick  |  January 14, 2010; 8:08 AM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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We had better know if the law is Constitutional or not before we put people in jail. Right now the Supreme Court is reviewing District gun laws. Or did you know that?

If not, how are you so hot to put someone in jail where nobody was injured?

Posted by: gary4books | January 14, 2010 9:51 AM

It is unprofessional for the post to run this type of survey prior to any facts being know or before the authorities actually make anything public.

While indeed he caused this on himself the feeding frenzy between the media and the NBA is pathetic and almost wholly based on rumors at this point. This young mans life has been destroyed entirely on rumors at this point.

Posted by: dcperspective | January 14, 2010 10:39 AM

If Gilbert Arenas was any other young Black man in Washington, DC (SE,NE,SW,NW) who was caught with several unregistered guns he would already be in jail. His fame and fortune will not be enough to save him from his fate. He is know a "Poster Child" for the anti-NRA people who will insist his punishment is severe. PETA and the rest of the dog lovers of the world sent M. Vick to prison for dog fighting to bring attention and raised a lot of money for their cause. The anti-NRA people will do the same thing to Arenas. We live in a world where extremist groups such as PETA and the anti-NRA people can dictate to the rest of us what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior.

Posted by: rkornegay1 | January 14, 2010 11:22 AM

I agree with these first two comments and I am surprised at how few people voted "unsure." I assume these first two commenters did as well.

But can you imagine that 1 out of 3 people so far have voted to put him in jail without a clue as to the full facts and the language of the statute he allegedly violated? God help the defendant who ends up with any of those folks on his or her jury.

Does the government need to provide some basic civics lessons for the citizenry?

Posted by: JOHNSMOST | January 14, 2010 11:27 AM

any other black man with a gun will be in jail is bull s*#t. there MEN every day get arrested with guns and get out the next day and never do any more time even in D C and what is happeoning to Gil is realy unfair to him and the way he being treated for just being a jerk

Posted by: lostdogrwd1011 | January 14, 2010 2:37 PM

Do the crime: Do the time. It really is that simple. Everything else is just excuses.

Posted by: KJR1 | January 14, 2010 2:53 PM

I'd respect RKORNEGAY1's comments a lot more if he'd included the NRA in his category of extremist groups.

IIRC Vick went to jail as much for the way he tortured and killed the "underperforming" dogs as for running an illegal dogfighting outfit.

I voted no because jail doesn't cure stupidity and there are lots of folks more deserving of incarceration.

Posted by: kguy1 | January 14, 2010 3:14 PM

Do the crime: Do the time. It really is that simple. Everything else is just excuses.

Posted by: KJR1 | January 14, 2010 2:53 PM

Its usually that simple when its not you who is doing the time. As soon as its you or your loved one thats when it becomes more complicated.

Posted by: ged0386 | January 14, 2010 4:29 PM

If Gilbert Arenas was any other young Black man in Washington, DC (SE,NE,SW,NW) who was caught with several unregistered guns he would already be in jail.

POSTED BY: RKORNEGAY1 | JANUARY 14, 2010 11:22 AM

_______________________________


Oh, here comes the race card already... PA-LEASE... A person with no record in DC with guns registered in VA that had no bullets would be given the right to plea to a misdemeanor which is what GIL is going to do... stop with the race card sh!t, we got a black PRESIDENT, damn!

Posted by: tony325 | January 14, 2010 6:46 PM

funny thing is that Crittenton is the one who actually committed more of a crime...if all of the statements are true about what happened in the lockerroom. agent zero just brought 4 pistols (albeit unregistered/unlicensed) to the lockerroom and laid them out for crittenton to choose one so he (crittenton) could use to pop a cap in his @$$...

crittenton, however, pulled out a gun of his own, actually chambered a round and pointed it at agent zero. that to me is way more of a crime than what arenas did...

but since they dont have crittentons gun...they cant charge him with anything and this is all falling on arenas...

i voted no for arenas doing jail time cause showing off guns to me isnt much of a crime...though i would never show off my guns but i would also never have a gun that wasnt registered or licensed...

nor would i ever carry it with me to my team lockerroom or like plaxico into a club...

freagin' idiots all the way around...

if only the judge would understand that they were "just keeping it real"!!!! know what im sayin'??? ;)

Posted by: deadskin | January 14, 2010 7:32 PM

I say NO, because the issue here has more to do with DC's draconian, and possible still unconstitutional, gun laws.

Guns are not registered in VA. If you buy from a store, you pass a background check run by the State Police through the NICS database (hope that's the right arrangement of letters). If you buy them from a current gun owner, there is no need for the background check, but the seller can be deemed liable if the guns are misused, and it's reasonable for the seller to have known, or suspected, the buyer was not legal to own a gun (such as knowing the buyer no longer had the right to vote).

Gil is a VA resident, not a DC resident, correct? So it would be unreasonable, legally, to require a VA resident to "register" his/her guns in DC. Gil's mistake was not realizing/knowing how stupid DC law is. VA gun owners usually know not to ever enter DC with their guns, and MD is almost as bad.

One of the problems with DC's law is, if I were simply traveling down 395 and crossed through DC to get somewhere in MD or VA, I could end up being charged just like Gil is now, because I'd be carrying "unregistered" guns, while traveling "through" DC with no intention to stop in DC. That is abusive lawmaking. It would be the equivalent of VA making a law that married gay couples would be arrested for just being in VA, even though there were legally married in DC, or Mass., etc. That would be a ridiculous law. As is making it a felony to posses an otherwise lawfully owned gun.

If Gil's guns were bought illegally in VA, which would be a felony in VA I suspect, that's a different situation altogether. But if he bought them legally in VA, then it's DC's bad lawmaking that needs to be fixed.

In this case, Gil should be given a lot of grief for having 4 guns stored in the arena, especially since the NBA bans such. DC should be slapping him with a misdemeanor reckless handling of firearm(s) or such charge, and with unlawful storage of 4 guns within DC city limits without registering them. Making it illegal to "store" a legal gun from VA in DC would seem to me an ok law, but the simple possessing if passing through should not. But DC's law isn't sensible, it's outlandish. and very likely still violates the 2nd Amendment.

Gil needs to spend about 4 weeks at some of the major firearms training academy's around the country, learning proper handling, operation, and LEGAL issues. I don't mind these athletes owning guns, I mind that they aren't properly trained and educated in how to own guns without causing all of these issues that reflect poorly on gun ownership in general.

Posted by: Rogueone | January 14, 2010 7:43 PM

Hes paying a significant fine, the treat of jail is ridiculous unless someone wants to bring a charge for a threat.

Far worse crimes have gone unpunished in the NFL and NBA.

Posted by: dannyboyrules | January 14, 2010 7:55 PM

deadskin wrote:
"funny thing is that Crittenton is the one who actually committed more of a crime...if all of the statements are true about what happened in the lockerroom."

The funny thing is that that you don't know what Mr. Crittenton did, which means you can't say that he is the one "who actually committed more of a crime." Mr. Arenas, forgetting everything else, admitted what he did. Mr. Arena's self-admitted guilt is the same as if law enforcement authorities found evidence against him.

You don't think there's anything wrong with "Mr. agent zero just brought 4 pistols (albeit unregistered/unlicensed) to the lockerroom and laid them out for crittenton to choose one so he (crittenton) could use to pop a cap in his @$$...??

deadskin wrote: "crittenton, however, pulled out a gun of his own, actually chambered a round and pointed it at agent zero. that to me is way more of a crime than what arenas did..."

You already said you didn't know if what they said about Mr. Crittenton was true or not; so how can you say that "crittenton...actually chambered a round." Mr. Crittenton hasn't said he did it, and law enforcement authorities haven't said he did it, and they haven't displayed any evidence that he did it. All you're doing is speculating on what happened; on what might - MIGHT - be true.

"i voted no for arenas doing jail time cause showing off guns to me isnt much of a crime..."
No, but bringing them from Virginia into DC without a license is against the law; and you don't think it's a problem laying out four weapons and leaving a note saying "pick one"?

But what I absolutely don't understand about what deadskin wrote is: "...if only the judge would understand that they were "just keeping it real"!!!! know what im sayin'???"

No; I don't know what you're saying? You're saying that bringing weapons illegally into the city, pulling them out and the other people not knowing if the weapons were loaded or not - not knowing if they were properly unloaded or that a round might have been chambered; you're saying that daring the other guy to pick one of the guns (for which he had no reason to know is or is not loaded - but you have to assume that every gun is loaded until you prove otherwise), you're saying that's keeping it real? You're saying that the judge should just understand that a couple of guys who got into a fight and at least one of which displayed guns (illegally brought into to DC, and brought into the arena against rule) after having a previous weapons charge against hime, that they're just a couple of guys funning around?

Why don't I understand how they're "just keeping it real"?

dungarees@gmail.com

Posted by: Dungarees | January 14, 2010 8:57 PM

As long as he wasn't in a nightclub and didn't shoot himself I say let him go (but he has to hit the last shot for the NBA championship 1st.)

Posted by: GaryMurray2 | January 14, 2010 11:10 PM

Arenas wasn't blithely driving on 395 with the guns in his trunk. He brought them to his place of work as part of a joke and dared a guy he was having a disagreement with to pick one of them up. All of us would be fired on the spot if we did that.

As for the critique of DC gun laws, it's funny how folks cherry-pick the state's rights they support and those they don't. The gun issue is very different in cities versus the country, so it makes some sense to me to have different laws in urban/rural areas. A radar detector which is legal in many states will get you busted in Virginia. Maybe Arenas was trying to get Crittenton to form a militia with him?

Posted by: minorthread | January 14, 2010 11:47 PM

All I ask is that the law is applied evenly here. Do others, regardless of wealth or fame, get sentenced to jail time for the same crimes? If so, Gil should do time. My hunch is that we don't have the jail space to lock up every guy who illegaly carries a gun. Complicating this matter is the fact that Gil has previously been charged with carrying an unlicensed firearm. This is a pattern with Gil not an isolated incident. With all that being said I don't think Gil is a threat to society, which these days is the only reason someone should do time. We just don't have the capacity to jail people for punsihment only. If he is not a threat to the community then hit him hard in the pocket book and put him on probation.

Posted by: sjp879 | January 15, 2010 7:26 AM

Does fame afford you with a speedy trial and the ability to plea bargain for a lesser sentence after admitting your guilt? What’s the purpose of laws if justice is blind but can rub it’s fingers over a federal reserve note and tell the difference between a one and a one hundred dollar bill. Does Arenas deserve jail time is a question the wash post want it’s readers to comment and cast a vote on, my question is why? Back to the real issue, there’s a young black man carrying guns, auguring with a teammate over a gambling debt and who is paid millions to assist his team in winning games. Then there’s the law that states it’s illegal to have an unregistered gun in the District of Columbia. The law states it’s a felony if convicted; jail time along with fines is punishment. My question is will justice do what it states or will another person with money rise above the law?

Posted by: geg5100 | January 15, 2010 7:45 AM

If Mr. Arenas was any other person coming into the District with a gun, he would be arrested and charged and will be fined with a possible jail time. He should not be treated any different just because he plays for the NBA.

Posted by: mchll_krny | January 15, 2010 8:10 AM

The way things work in DC if Arenas was just your run of the mill black youth he would be given a slap on the wrist for this and set back out on the street to eventually kill someone. Each time you read about a murderer caught in DC and see the prior arrests it is clear that there is a revolving door. What Arenas did was stupid but don't crucify the guy just to put on a show. The fact is a lot of the crime in DC is because they let people go for much worse offenses than this and Arenas should be treated no different.

Posted by: Pilot1 | January 15, 2010 8:19 AM

How many times, in the past, have we given preferential treatment to someone in the public eye?
Whereas in my opinion this was a blatant display of ignorance and arrogance and I believe that there should be no gray area. I certainly believe Mr. Arenas should be held to the same standards as you and I, chances are he will get a warning and a tap on the wrist. Then he'll be allowed to go on his merry little way until in another moment of arrogance he decides to "play" with firearms again and someone loses their life. The clock is ticking.

Posted by: PAFolks | January 15, 2010 8:25 AM

I take my yes vote back. He should maybe serve a minimum sentence, or nothing at all...but he should DEFINITELY be fired from the NBA.

Posted by: rocotten | January 15, 2010 8:52 AM

Young blacks need positive role models. Arenas could be one of them. Instead he has decided to show all of us that being successful, being a black male, and carrying weapons all go together. I think this is very sad. I wish that the black community could loudly object to this man's irresponsible and juvenile behavior.

Posted by: JerryB2 | January 15, 2010 8:55 AM

Gary4Books asks "how are you so hot to put someone in jail where nobody was injured?"

I am hoping you are kidding. Thousands of people are in jail and they didn't "injure" any one. Pimps, hookers, dead beat dads, parole jumpers, car jackers, drug users, drug sellers, white collar crime, blue collar crime. You don't, and our justice system, doesn't jail someone based on the amount of blood spilled. There are injuries suffered by people, communities and nations that show no blood, but there is a lasting negative impact. There are laws, you break them, you do the time or pay the fine.

Someone else asked how the Post can post such a question. Why not? It's just OPINION. Based on what YOU know, what DO YOU think? Minds that remain open can be changed. If on Monday someone says "JAIL" that doesn't mean on Tuesday that person can't say "NO JAIL" based on new findings. This is nothing more than the Post asking a question, stirrng debate. Gallup doesn't wait untiil AFTER an election to ask who you would vote for, so why would this be any different?

A third person wrote that D.C. is looking to change the gun laws. That's correct. But just becuase there is thought given to CHANGING the laws doesn't mean you STOP ENFORCING the CURRENT LAWS.

I don't think Gilbert did anything that should ruin his life, no one suffered a physical injury and only the Wizards, there business partners and the city of D.C. will suffer fiscal damages. However Gilbert BROKE THE LAW. He is admitting to that today by pleading guilty to a felony. What is so hard to understand? Person A break the law, pleads guilty and now has to accept the results of his choices.

The sad thing about this is that Gilbert seems to be a decent person who is just so immature that he can't see beyond his own front yard. His actions seem to portray a person who lacks guidence, a solid support network and good old fashion common sense.

You can't punish someone for being stupid, but you can punish a stupid person. Gilbert is a stupid person.

Posted by: tzj20874 | January 15, 2010 9:02 AM

"If Gilbert Arenas was any other young Black man in Washington, DC (SE,NE,SW,NW) who was caught with several unregistered guns he would already be in jail."

I don't see that as "racist" I see that as fact.

I am guessing what the poster was trying to convey is the "celebrity" status keeps you out of jail.

It's not a fair society unfortunately.

- Ray

Posted by: rmcazz | January 15, 2010 11:36 AM

@Gary4books...

The DC law that is under review is the law for carrying a gun in THE HOME ONLY. DC law still prohibits the carrying of a weapon, concealed or not, on public space. Regardless of whether or not anyone got injured is immaterial to the law. There are individuals in DC jail for the same thing Arenas is pleading guilty. There are others who are out of jail and on probation for what Arenas did. Arenas should have known better and should have locked them up in his own safe at his house. His kids wouldn't have been able to access his guns at all.

No one is above the law. DC law is unambiguous. If you are caught carrying a gun on public space, you are guaranteed an arrest, except if you are law enforcement or anyone designated by the mayor to carry a weapon within the DC jurisdiction.

*****DC Code 22-4504 says...*****
(a) No person shall carry within the District of Columbia either openly or concealed on or about their person, a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon capable of being so concealed. Whoever violates this section shall be punished as provided in § 22-4515, except that:


(1) A person who violates this section by carrying a pistol, without a license issued pursuant to District of Columbia law, or any deadly or dangerous weapon, in a place other than the person's dwelling place, place of business, or on other land possessed by the person, shall be fined not more than $5,000 or imprisoned for not more than 5 years, or both;

Posted by: robostop10 | January 15, 2010 11:46 AM

ALSO...

IF Arenas has a prior conviction he is in even worse trouble with sentencing...

***** (2) If the violation of this section occurs after a person has been convicted in the District of Columbia of a violation of this section or of a felony, either in the District of Columbia or another jurisdiction, the person shall be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned for not more than 10 years, or both.*****

Posted by: robostop10 | January 15, 2010 12:03 PM

Although guilty of poor judgment, what was the man’s intent? Out here in AZ, you can legally carry a loaded handgun in a bar, holster and all!

Posted by: tonyholst | January 15, 2010 12:12 PM

If they let Glibert plea out of this, they are wrong. He has shown criminal intend under the law.(whether the law in under review or not) Glibert's statement says that he feels that the Wizards organization has shown him no support is totaly bogus.

The Whiz has franchised him, carried him through 3 seasons of rehab and TRUST. And, They have contracted him to $111 million real dollars to lead the show.

The situation is totally reversed. The Whiz has put their trust in him and backed him 100%. He is the one who has let down the NBA, the Whiz, and his fans. He is a disgrace to the name of professional sports, as well as 4-5 of his "clown" buddies performing the "gun" dance on the floor of the Philly game.

We, the public, are getting sick and tired of the "idol" mentallity and recognition wanted by such immature and irresponsible jerks. Where else in the world can they go and get paid for dribbling a B-ball for over $100,000 per game and think that they are immune to responsibility. Very sad.

I would hope that he never sees the hardwood again.

Posted by: pfflyerB777 | January 15, 2010 12:28 PM

No way should Arenas go to jail. Probation and a fine with community service is appropriate. Why do non-athletes want professional athletes to serve prison time if/when they screw up? Are you jealous of the money they make because they play a game? If you are get over it. Why hasn't he Wizard been more accountable? Can anyone say without a doubt the team trainers didn't know those weapons were in the locker? I think not. Finally, 95% of NBA players are great guys. Look at teams like the Spurs if you want role model....oh, they are too boring to immulate.

Posted by: reginaldsmith15 | January 15, 2010 12:44 PM

"Although guilty of poor judgment, what was the man’s intent? Out here in AZ, you can legally carry a loaded handgun in a bar, holster and all!"

Thanks God, we are not in AZ

Posted by: cordobes17 | January 15, 2010 12:55 PM

I am not afraid of Gilbert Arenas. He can come over to my house any time and even bring his unloaded guns with him, though I'd rather he bring a basketball. Save his jail cell for someone dangerous.

Posted by: rjma1 | January 16, 2010 9:20 AM

Gilbert Arenas is not a thug, he is not violent, and he is not malicious.

However, what he did was profoundly and utterly STUPID. And at a certain point, stupidity is a crime.

He should not be sentenced to serve years locked up, but he needs to be punished. 6-8 months should do just fine.

Posted by: j762 | January 16, 2010 12:26 PM

Look, the former vice president shot a man and he wasn't jailed.

Arenas shouldn't have to go to jail even if he wings someone. He has too much money to go to jail. If he accidentally kills someone, consider some kind of community service, but let him continue to play on work release. We're talking about the NBA here.

Posted by: llrllr | January 16, 2010 12:54 PM

If you don't have your gun, then how can you use it to defend yourself? Screw the law. That's to protect criminals.

Posted by: dlkimura | January 16, 2010 12:59 PM

It's the possesion of a handgun WITHOUT A LICENSE part that makes me think this is skewed.

If the only sticking point is whether he filed the appropriate paperwork or not, I fail to see this as a felony. Yes, it's written that way, but what is the benefit?

Does it matter if one is shot with a pedigreed handgun whose lineage can be traced or one that someone acquired on the sly?

He didn't load the weapon(s) or discharge them. they weren't pointed at anyone or used to commit any other crime.

If I get caught fishing without a license, does that mean I'm bound for the slammer?

A license is just mandated paperwork. They are issued so that the state can keep track of ownership and to levy a "user tax".

Would any of this had been different had Arenas filed the paperwork and STILL taken the guns to the locker room? I don't think so.

A young black man with a gun is white society's worst nightmare.

Posted by: joecairo | January 16, 2010 2:41 PM

more people are killed by cars than guns in the U.S. In your state(s), is it a felony, with punishment up to 5 years in prison, to drive without a license?

We are either allowed to posses handguns or we are not. Trying to have it both ways seems convoluted.

"Yes, you can own one, but we have to know about it". "And, if you don't inform us and we later find out, you're going to prison for 5 years" Why?

Posted by: joecairo | January 16, 2010 2:50 PM

You don't get to vote people into jail

Posted by: nmoses | January 16, 2010 3:35 PM

An interesting poll, but you have posed the wrong question. The question should be, "WILL Gilbert Arenas spend any time in prison/jail?"

He brought four guns into the locker room, but was charged only with a single count, which he pled guilty to.

The fix is in.

Posted by: Curmudgeon10 | January 16, 2010 4:46 PM

There are sufficient young Black men in prison now, in fact, enough is enough. The law you are avocating to put this young man in prison is presently under review by the Supreme Court. AND, to Curmurgeon-10 are you saying the judiciary is crooked?

Posted by: webster11 | January 16, 2010 9:55 PM

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