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January 5, 2010

NBA star Arenas might discover that jokes with guns can lead to jail time

This new piece from the Los Angeles Times provides the latest news concerning the holiday brush with the law for NBA star Gilbert Arenas:

Washington Wizards star Gilbert Arenas says he took unloaded guns from his locker in a "misguided effort to play a joke" on a teammate.  Arenas released a written statement Monday after meeting with law enforcement officials.  Arenas' lawyer says the player voluntarily met with prosecutors and detectives and answered every question during a two-hour interview.

In his statement, Arenas repeated his assertion that he brought four guns to the Verizon Center to store in his locker in order to get them out of his house and away from his children.  He said he mistakenly believed that recent changes in District of Columbia law made it legal for him to store unloaded guns there.

As every 1L should know, ignorance of the law is generally no excuse, and this new piece from CBS Sports speculates about possible criminal charges and sentencing prospects for Arenas:

"The U.S. Attorney will have to file charges for possession of a pistol without a license," [an] official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he did not have jurisdiction over the case.  "The prosecutor cannot simply walk away from this case."

Depending on what facts are discovered in other interviews with possible witnesses to the Dec. 21 locker room confrontation between Arenas and previously obscure guard Javaris Crittenton, the official said one likely outcome would be the following: Arenas, 27, would be permitted to plead guilty to charges of carrying a pistol without a license, a felony that carries a maximum of five years in prison.  Such a charge would require a grand jury indictment, which could be acquired quickly since five grand juries are seated at any given time in the District.  Any other charges -- which could include misdemeanor counts for possession of unregistered firearms, carrying maximum jail time of six months for each count -- would be dismissed.  In exchange for Arenas' cooperation and guilty plea, the prosecutor would ask for no jail time.

"Given his prior offense, however, a judge might consider jail time in this case," one of the law enforcement officials said. "It all depends on which judge he draws."  Arenas pleaded guilty to charges of failing to maintain proper registration of a firearm in California in 2003 while playing for the Golden State Warriors.

January 5, 2010 at 11:18 AM | Permalink


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"The prosecutor cannot simply walk away from this case."

Because everybody knows prosecutorial discretion only applies when ratcheting UP sentences, and besides, this one will get the prosecutor's name in the paper.

The CBS story is garbage coverage - anonymous sources speculating on things about which they have no direct knowledge.

Posted by: Gritsforbreakfast | Jan 5, 2010 3:38:42 PM

Why shouldn't he get what every other gun criminal in DC gets? A slap on the wrist. It's no mystery why DC is a cesspool full of gun violence.

Posted by: Ferris Bueller | Jan 5, 2010 6:12:08 PM

It would appear that Gilbert Arenas has problems well beyond the law. http://msn.foxsports.com/nba/story/Arenas-suspended-indefinitely-010610

Unless the Second Amendment binds not merely the states but the NBA, he's in big trouble.

I know very little about this, but from what little I do know, this is overkill by the league, probably driven more by political correctness than anything else. Arenas has a good reputation -- something of a flake, but not a dangerous or malevolent character at all.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Jan 6, 2010 5:37:09 PM

Too bad for him. This season, he is healthy but I think he will spend his healthiness in jail.

Posted by: Weight Training Blog | Jan 7, 2010 10:36:48 AM

I think it is gread. That is the main motivating factor in what all people do. Criminals just are willing to go farther to get their money than the rest.

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