June 18, 2009, - 3:29 pm

Yes, You Can Buy Justice in America . . . If You’re a Rich Pro Football Player

By Debbie Schlussel
If your dad was killed by a drunk driver, would you ask a court to give the killer a lenient 30-day sentence in exchange for a huge cash pay-off?
I certainly wouldn’t.
But the family of 59-year-old construction worker Mario Reyes did just that. They were paid off by Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth, and because of that, justice wasn’t served. Stallworth–who should do years in prison for the killing–will serve only a 30-day sentence. And while he’ll serve two years of house arrest after that, he will be playing for the Browns when the NFL football season starts at the end of this summer. The ridiculously lenient plea agreement allows him to do so.

dantestallworth.jpg

NFL’s Donte Stallworth Killed a Man Driving Drunk, Got 30 Days

It’s really a disgusting display. But I don’t just blame the family. I blame the justice system and the prosecutors who recommended this, merely because he paid the family off. And I blame the judge who went along with this absurd sentence.


Stallworth’s “cooperation” in the matter–which they cite–is a euphemism for nothing. People get killed by drunk drivers all the time, and they do hard time. The fact that they admitted, hey, I agree with your tests that I had an alcohol level over the limit when I killed a man, doesn’t save them from that.
Unless they are a rich ball player with the capacity to pay someone off.

The 28-year-old National Football League star’s abbreviated jail term came because of his cooperation with investigators and the wishes of the victim’s family.
Stallworth pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol in exchange for a lighter sentence. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail for the car crash that killed a pedestrian in Miami Beach.
The player had faced up to 15 years in jail for the death of 59-year-old construction worker Mario Reyes, who apparently was running across the street to catch a bus when the athlete hit him with his car March 14.
The average jail sentence for similar crimes in Florida is 10 years, but Stallworth reached a confidential financial settlement with Reyes’ family.

What does this say for poor people who commit crimes and are unable to pay off their victims?
It says that, contrary to the trite adage, justice isn’t blind in America. It’s not blind at all. If you have the right dollar amounts in your bank account, you get a separate kind of “justice” applied to you.
But don’t worry, Donte Stallworth will get away with murder, just like his NFL colleague, Ray Lewis, got away with taking part in the murder of three people.
Crime pays when you are a wealthy star athlete and your victims are humans and not dogs (a la Michael Vick).

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16 Responses

Don’t worry. He’ll be back. It’s just a matter of time when he will commit another crime, whether another drunk driving death or something else. Has he learned anything? No, nothing. He is indifferent to others and is selfish. That is a description of his character. Someone else will be at the receiving end of his next crime.

norman on June 18, 2009 at 4:22 pm

If you’re famous, you’re above the law. Sad and true.

NormanF on June 18, 2009 at 5:11 pm

surprisingly Stallworth has been suspended indefinitely
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4270311

C-Hay on June 18, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Wanna bet Stallworth is either a Dem or a non-voter?
I thought the Dems were against “evil” rich people having their own justice.
Or am I merely being RAAACIST?

SamAdams on June 18, 2009 at 6:15 pm

The man is a cockroach, and so are the people who enabled him.

Worry01 on June 18, 2009 at 8:02 pm

AMERICA, the best Government and apparently Justice(?) System money can buy.

ender on June 18, 2009 at 9:02 pm

All of the above comments are correct. Only a matter of time before his next DUI. Why would this idiot get behind the wheel of his $265,000 Bentley and drive drunk anyway? I guess I’ll just have to axe him next time we meet. I think they are just picking on him because he is Black.

#1Vato on June 18, 2009 at 10:12 pm

When I was an undergrad at the University of Arizona in Tucson (early – mid 1980’s) Augie Busch (of Budweiser fame) killed a girl in his car because he was driving drunk.
Shortly thereafter his family arranged for a ton of lawyers to descend on Tucson and they paid a bunch of people off.
You think the 30 days that Donte Stallworth got is too little (it is, but that is not my point here), well that is 30 days more than Augie Busch got.

i_am_me on June 18, 2009 at 11:47 pm

My family did not even get a day… My niece was killed in Canton MI in 2003 from a drunk driver… 15 yrs old, not issued a license. Kim Worthy was the prosecutor. The SOB got off as a juvenile – too much to get into now, just wish Debbie was the lawyer. It did not help the kids Dad and Uncle were cops. Stories like this bring it all back… 30 days is BS

sharon61 on June 19, 2009 at 12:15 am

The NFL has done the right thing here…
http://sports.espn.go.com/nfl/news/story?id=4270311
Roger Goodell has been pretty consistent as NFL commish. I am not condoning the BS 30 day charge in Florida aka LoonLand but at least the NFL seems to get it by now (I hope).

Ego on June 19, 2009 at 1:28 am

What I can’t beleive is that the family went for this? do they not believe in justice?

mindy1 on June 19, 2009 at 5:38 am

I am personally familiar with two tragic cases.
In one, a friend was driving downtown when a woman in a mechanized wheelchair crossed illegally in front of her. She came out from the front of a van which was blind to both her and my friend. She was struck and killed. My friend got seven years for vehicular homicide, etc. Total injustice for the accident.
In the other, another friend was DUI and hit a parked car. The officer wrote that on the ticket. My friend went to court and through a comedy of errors over an eight month epic, he was finally charged with attempted vehicular homicide and sentenced to give years in one of the state’s prisons. Don’t ever think that an appointed lawyer either knows or cares about what is going on.
On a good note, he hasn’t touched alcohol in over 20 years and has no bitterness about his ordeal.

kaporet on June 19, 2009 at 7:00 am

I am with you Debbie, no way you can put a price on your family for settlement money.
If you can’t buy off the victims then you get years in prison. This judge should be recalled or kicked of as an accomplice to this act. The judge should have rejected the deal between prosecutor and defendant. What a joke. Cant the dude spend money on a taxi or limo service? This is worse than a regular Joe because he has unlimited resources to get a taxi or a driver.
Wow all those fantasy football teams must be breathing a sigh of relief right now.

californiascreaming on June 19, 2009 at 11:35 am

sad
and you know it’s becuase he’s black.
I’m glad I don’t have to see his face this season. (commish suspended him without pay) All you browns fans should be ashamed this piece of shit is on your team.

Squirrel3D on June 19, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Whoa, whoa, whoa people.
It’s easy to be an armchair quarterback here but when you’re the family facing the loss of income, future retirement benefits, etc. then what is the best course of action for your family?
Putting him in jail won’t bring back the loved one, better the family benefit than be poor.

Allan on June 19, 2009 at 3:30 pm

This is practical and constructive justice.Unfortunately the loved one can not be brought back to life but at least monetary compensation can mitigate the pain and suffering of the family.Americans entertain the notion that only prologed and futile incarceration can serve justice ,yet we have the highest crime rate in the industrilised world and largest number of prisoners languishing in our prisons at taxpayer’s expense.

Izzy. on September 10, 2011 at 5:13 am

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