Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, dogfighting co-defendants of NFL Falcons pro Michael Vick, were sentenced on Friday by U.S. District Court Judge Henry Hudson to 18 & 21 months' (respectively) prison time, in addition to a small fine (less than $300) and 3 years' probation. Third co-defendant Tony Taylor is awaiting Dec. 14 sentencing; Vick will be sentenced formally on Dec. 10, though he surrendered himself to the authorities on Nov. 19 to get an early start on serving time. (Click on the label Vick in the sidebar for related posts.)
Peace and Phillips both received longer jail sentences than suggested by federal prosecutors for their cooperation in the dogfighting case, leading some to believe that Judge Hudson won't go so easy on Vick. However, Judge Hudson has the option of sentencing according to federal guidelines that allow up to 5 years imprisonment; he can impose harsher sentences at his discretion in this case.
It appears to me that Judge Hudson was easy on Peace and Phillips. How much worse can dogfighting be to draw the maximum sentence? Does it have to be worse than hanging, drowning, and electrocuting dogs? What is worse? Phillips goes into this with about 10 prior misdemeanor convictions. Seems to me he doesn't "get" anything about the law; I can't imagine that 21 months in a cell will help. Oh, and here's a kicker: Peace gets to celebrate the holidays; he reports to jail January 3, 2008.
I predict that Judge Henry Hudson will go easy on Vick. If Vick garners the same 18 months sentence, he should be out of prison just in time for pre-season football practice, if anyone will have him. And, I'm sure they will.
Hudson is a disappointment, to put it mildly. Actually, I think he doesn't have any balls; he didn't send any kind of worthwhile message. Indeed, Hudson's federal sentencing can easily influence in favor of lesser sentences for like crimes on the local level. The ripple effect could prove disturbing.
Just when you hope the federal government can be there for you in times of need.... Well, that's a joke.
Lucky Vick. Not so lucky dogs.
To read the story on CNN, click on this link. To read the story on ESPN, click on this link.