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July 15, 2010

NBA's Delonte West sentenced (lightly? harshly?) for weapons offenses in Maryland

The fact that the Supeme Court has now made clear that the Second Amendment applies to the states apparently did not prompt NBA player Delonte West or his lawyer to think he ought to try to fight his prosecution for keeping and bearing arms on a Maryland highway last year.  As detailed in this Washington Post article, West today pleaded guilty and was sentenced for his arms possession:

NBA player Delonte West pleaded guilty Thursday to two weapons charges and was sentenced by a Prince George's County judge to eight months of home detention, two months of probation and 40 hours of community service.

West had been charged with six weapons offenses and two traffic violations. He pleaded guilty to carrying a dangerous weapon -- an eight-inch bowie knife -- and illegally transporting a handgun.

At a court hearing in Upper Marlboro, West's attorney, C. Todd M. Steuart, said his client was taking the weapons from his mother's home in Brandywine to his house in Fort Washington when he was stopped by a Prince George's police officer on the Capital Beltway in the Landover area, miles away from either home. West was carrying two handguns, a shotgun, the knife and more than 100 shotgun rounds.

West told Circuit County Judge Graydon S. McKee III that he felt remorse for the incident. "I want you to know how apologetic I am to you and all the other professionals in here who do the right thing," he said. West said he often speaks to Washington area youth who have been in trouble. "I'm able to share my experiences with them," he said. "I'm able to relate to them. If I never dribble a basketball again, I think I found my calling."

Following the hearing, State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey said the sentence will allow West to go to Cleveland for his job as a player with the Cleveland Cavaliers. West will be allowed to attend practices, home games and away games, Ivey said.

Prince George's prosecutors typically ask for a year in jail for defendants convicted of a weapons offense. Judges usually sentence defendants with no prior convictions -- like West -- to probation or home detention, Ivey said. The terms of West's plea bargain ensure he is being treated no differently than any other defendant in similar circumstances, Ivey said.

As the title to this post suggests, I am unsure whether it is fair to view West's sentence as light, harsh, or perhaps just right.  As I suggested in this post right after West's arrest, a person with a robust view of the Second Amendment might be greatly concerned that West is subject to a significant sanction for merely keeping and bearing arms.  And yet, in light of the significant prison sentences given to Plaxico Burress and Lil Wayne for gun possession in New York City, West likely should consider himself lucky to avoid any serious jail time.

July 15, 2010 at 04:25 PM | Permalink


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I bet his home that he'll serve "home detention" in is a masion and not some tiny apartment and he won't feel pinched by not being able to work, and be able to pay people to deliver whatever he needs. See Stewart, Martha.

Posted by: . | Jul 15, 2010 4:46:27 PM

So the Second Amendment doesn't allow me to transport my gun?

An 8" bowie knife can't be carried?

I can't move my stuff from my mom's house to my house?

Why is any of this a crime?

Posted by: k | Jul 15, 2010 11:44:41 PM

Because, k, these days damned near everything's a crime.

BTW,., unless you're some sort of mindless-authoritarian punishment freek, Martha Stewart is a poor example to illustrate the point rich, famous people get off easy.

She's the poster girl for governmental abuse of power. She was imprisoned for protesting (falsely, the DOJ said) her innocence to a crime that she was never subsequently charged with committing.

Stewart is a better example of the argument the government has become too powerful and can do pretty much anything it wants to pretty much anyone it wants to do it to.

Posted by: JohnK | Jul 16, 2010 5:41:04 PM

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