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July 18, 2007

Who knows what guidelines apply to dog fighting?

As explained in this CNN story, Michael Vick should make sure his lawyers are up to speed on federal sentencing following his indictment by "a federal grand jury in Richmond, Virginia, on a conspiracy count alleging [Vick and three others] bought and sponsored dogs in an animal fighting venture and traveled across state lines to participate in illegal activity, including gambling." 

This official press release about the indictment has this to say about sentencing possibilities if Vick is convicted of all the charges:

If convicted on the Travel Act portion of the conspiracy charge, each defendant faces a statutory maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and full restitution.  If convicted on the animal fighting venture portion of the conspiracy charge, each defendant faces one year in prison, a $100,000 fine, or both.  The indictment also includes a forfeiture allegation seeking recovery of any property constituting, or derived from, proceeds obtained directly or indirectly as a result of these offenses.

July 18, 2007 at 12:18 AM | Permalink


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A just punishment for such cruelty to animals is for these dog owners to get into a pit themselves, bare handed, and fight like their dogs had to do. The losing guy is either shot or electrocuted, or drowned, or hanged. Good riddance of these human rodents, I say.

Office worker and animal lover.

Posted by: | Jul 18, 2007 1:30:06 AM

Indictment is here.

Posted by: S.cotus | Jul 18, 2007 6:50:36 AM

Aha, now that I've read the indictment I know why so many news reports say the house is in Smithfield. Smithfield (of ham fame) is actually a town in the next county. Now I wonder how the indictment got the address wrong? And does the mistake matter?

Posted by: Anne | Jul 18, 2007 10:32:49 AM

Any thoughts on what he'll do?

If he had less to lose, I suspect that his lawyers would try to cut a deal. But if he pleads guilty, I don't think the feds would let him off without prison time. And even if they did, the NFL would probably end his career, or at least I hope they would.

It seems like he has enough to lose that he'll try to roll the dice, hire good lawyers to try to win it on procedure, and take it to a jury if necessary.

Posted by: | Jul 18, 2007 10:40:56 AM

He has probably lost any & all endorsements! What product wants even the most remote association with this case?

The NFL seems to be giving the coaches more disciplinary range (remember Marvin Lewis said there was little he could do about the errant Bengals).

Jury trial? Yikes, the alleged facts would have an immediate effect on juror minds. I'm not sure how you unring that bell. That people have already mentioned Nifong and OJ in the context of the coverage likewise does not bode well. Tons of pretrial publicity...is there anywhere this case is not? NPR even led with it this morning. In our area the story has been running since April.

Keep in mind, too, there may be a state case against him as well. The local commonwealth's attorney has been working on this for a few months now.

Posted by: Anne | Jul 18, 2007 1:56:49 PM

I don't see the feds letting Vick plea here unless they have a relatively weak case against him.

The feds will try and flip the others that were indicted and have them tesitfy against Vick. The feds didn't get in this to NOT prosecute Vick if they got the chance.

Posted by: Jay | Jul 18, 2007 4:30:54 PM

To answer the question posed by the post's title, the Guideline would be either 2E1.2 (assuming he was being sentenced pursuant to a violation of 18 USC 1952) or 2X5.2 (assuming he was being sentenced pursuant to a violation of 7 USC 2156). Both have a base offense level of 6, so 2E1.2(a)(2) is not applicable.

Posted by: DEJ | Jul 18, 2007 5:27:20 PM

I doubt a conviction would even come close to ending his career. Remember when then-Ravens RB Jamal Lewis went to federal prison for drug trafficking? Short suspension, I believe.

Posted by: Anon | Jul 18, 2007 10:01:33 PM

I thought the guidelines wer 0-6 months, base offense level 6. However, some expert has reported that guidelines are 10 to 16 months.

"If Vick is convicted of conspiracy to engage in illegal gambling, the federal guidelines call for a sentence of between 10 and 16 months, Sadow said, noting the sentence can be split with a term of prison and home confinement.

If Vick were to plead guilty and accept responsibility for this offense, Sadow said, his potential sentence under the guidelines would drop to six to 12 months. "


Posted by: Daryl E. Wilcox | Jul 30, 2007 10:04:00 PM

I bet if he goes to trial and loses, he will get 27-33 months. This is with a perjury enhancement. See if you agree with this analysis:

One conspiracy count with three objects. 1B1.2(d) says treat like 3 offenses. For the 1952 charge, the base offense level should be 12 because note 2 says if the underlying conduct is a state law violation (gambling under Virginia law) use the analogous federal guideline. That should be the racketeering guideline, 2E3.1

The dogfighting charges are just misdemeanors, so 2X5.2 says the base offense level for those is 6.

These are grouped under 3D1.2 and 3D1.3(a) because it's the same course of conduct, so you use the highest base offense level of 12. My guess is the government would try for a leader or organizer enhancement under 3B1.1(a), so add 4 for a total of 16.

Assume criminal history category I and a trial with no obstruction enhancement for perjury, and you get 21-27 months with no probation. If there's a perjury enhancement penalty for testifying, he's looking at 27-33 months, again with no probation.

Posted by: MJ | Aug 7, 2007 10:45:16 AM

It is sad to see a country up in arms over something is as unimportant as a dog fighting ring. Sure Mike Vick is a criminal and should do the time for the crime committed. However, his time should not be any more or any less than anyone else convicted of the same crime.

I say that this is unimportant because we have a president, and an administration that has taken our country to war based soley on manipulated intelligence, lies and deception so that US Multinational corporations can control the tap for oil and natural gas profits in the Middle East. And they are using the US military as cannonfodder to get this done.

When Scooter Libby was found guilty of lying under oath about taking this country to war based on known lies,and deception.. using forged documents(Yellow Cake Uranium from Niger) to amplify his knowingly false case for war, our corrupt president gave him a get out of jail free card.

This criminal administration is responsible for the deaths of over 750,000 innocents Iraqi's, 3700 of our troops, and thousands of troops from the countries of our allies...and the media that is complicit in this deception has been totally is silent, yet the media is trying to get the scope off the administration where it belongs, and place the scope on an irrelevant story like the Michael Vick Dogfighting operation.

The corruption of our adminstrative branch in commiting TREASON is being neglected by the corporate media. Who gives a damn about whether Michael Vick will play or not?

Why does the corporate Media neglect the act of treason committed by this administration??? Could it be because the corporate media is controlled by neoconservative cronies of the Bush administration who really want war?

Posted by: Michael Herron | Aug 24, 2007 3:24:04 PM

The really sad thing about this is that the whole goal is to convict Vick, the people who are testifying against him are career criminals. Former running back Le SHon Johnson got 5 years probation, for twice being caught dogfighting.

Posted by: micah | Sep 1, 2007 6:39:01 PM

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