When dealing with athletes we as sports fans have unfortunately come to expect athletes to always get the bear minimum, especially their first time through the system. Still I keep thinking Larry Johnson go extremely lucky in this case.
True, Johnson has never been convicted of a crime. But these were the 3rd and 4th incidents that he has been involved in. The first time, in 2003, he was charged with aggravated assault and misdemeanor battery for allegations that he brandished a gun while arguing with an ex-girlfriend. Those chargers were dropped after Johnson completed a domestic-violence diversion program. Then in 2005 he was charged with misdemeanor assault after a women alleged Johnson shoved her at a nightclub. When the woman failed to show for a court hearing those charges were dropped as well.
I have found myself thinking Larry Johnson got off easy, even by professional athlete’s standards. But then I figured I was probably just being harder than I should because as a Chiefs fan Johnson has been nothing but frustrating in not being able to keep his nose clean. So I asked our legal expert, Wes, about the plea in order to get an unbiased (and educated) view:
“It looks like Larry Johnson and his attorneys managed to strike a pretty good deal in resolving what had become a very well-publicized incident. Despite claims that Larry acknowledged in open court that there was enough evidence to convict him on two counts of misdemeanor assault, one wonders what the DA’s office really had. Typically young assistant district attorneys will always take the conviction–especially in something this high-profile–but only if they’re confident they have their case in order. As with one of Larry’s previous cases, you have to wonder if the key witnesses were ever going to testify, or if they were otherwise motivated to stay home that day.”
Wes clearly agrees Johnson got off easy and makes a great point that if there was a good chance for conviction the ADA would have been foaming at the mouth for a court date. The cynic in me thinks someone had a long talk with the victims in each case. Either way, as I mentioned earlier, what are the chances Johnson is able to go two years without violating the terms of his probation?