The League

Neil Jacobs

Neil Jacobs

Criminal defense attorney President of the Maryland Criminal Defense Attorney's Association

Party Over for Plax


If you have ever tried to use two discount coupons for one meal, or for one of anything, you've probably heard the phrase, "sorry, only one discount allowed." Unfortunately for Plaxico Burress that policy not only applies to retail establishments, but also to the grand jury of New York City. In what might go down as one of the biggest long-shots in the annals of criminal defense Plaxico Burress testified before a New York City grand jury for the sole purpose of trying to convince them to put aside his clearly criminal activity, and find it in their hearts not to indict him. Unfortunately for Mr. Burress, his former teammate, Antonio Pierce, also made the same play to the grand jury; but with much better facts and innocent intent supporting his cry for understanding and leniency.

If the grand jury had only been presented with Burress's pleas for forgiveness there was a slim chance they would have set aside the law and given him the break of a lifetime, but with Pierce, the man who arguably saved his life, making the same case to the same grand jury, Plaxico really had no chance. If the grand jury was to look away from the black-letter of the law for only one of them, Antonio Pierce would be the beneficiary. Pierce, reportedly, not only cooperated with police, but also met with prosecutors, Giants and NFL officials soon after the incident occurred. Pierce's defense was certainly that of necessity and the "good Samaritan" who had no criminal intent, while Plaxico's defense was one of stupidity and ignorance of the law.

When the grand jury was able to look at Pierce and Burress' actions side by side, clearly Pierce stood out as the one deserving understanding and forgiveness for his actions. Though I'm certain Burress presented compelling arguments, in the end he was in competition for the grand jury's one "get out of jail free" card with the guy who helped save his life. Clearly a no-brainer in my book.

Plaxico now faces trial on two felony counts of 2nd degree weapons possession and reckless endangerment, which if convicted of the weapons related offenses, carries a minimum sentence of three and half to a maximum sentence of fifteen years in prison. With the "truthful testimony" of Plaxico before the grand jury and all the other evidence, the chance that Plaxico will avoid a conviction and significant jail time, is somewhere between slim and nil, and I think slim left the building.

Burress's judicial Hail Mary not only failed, but likely sealed his fate for more prison time, and as I speculate, a suspension from NFL participation until his legal matters are resolved (which are currently set for February of 2010). In the end, due to the likely outcomes of the criminal case, and Goodell's iron fist of justice, I believe that Plaxico Burress will never again suit-up and take the field for an NFL team.

As for Antonio Pierce, though he played the discount coupon perfectly, getting every cent of value he could for himself, Plaxico Burress has seemingly been left to pay the rest of the very expensive bill, but then again, it was his party.

By Neil Jacobs  |  August 4, 2009; 11:35 AM ET  | Category:  Crime , Michael Vick , New York Giants , Plaxico Burress , Roger Goodell Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Mr. Jacobs, well said. But no discussion of what it means for the G-men? What gives?

Posted by: aisaacman | August 4, 2009 5:15 PM

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