Posted by: BillyMcGuinessRealtor | June 17, 2009

Cruelty vs. Murder and more of the same

Rewind almost exactly 2 years ago to NFL Quarter back Michael Vick being convicted of essentially Cruelty to animals and lieing.  For that he was sentenced to 23 months in federal prison.

Today NFL wide receiver Donte Stallworth plead guilty to felony manslaughter stemming from a drunk driving “accident” in which he hit and killed a pedestrian on his way to work, and was sentenced to 30 DAYS in jail.

Now rewind to April 2009 when Los Angeles Angels of Anehiem pitcher Nick Adenhart was killed in an accident by a drunk driver that fled the scene and was caught 30 minutes later.  The driver has yet to face charges.

People are screaming that Vick not be allowed back into the NFL, while hardly a murmur is being uttered against Stallworth.  Yet I have seen and heard people calling for the death penalty for the drunk driver in the Adenhart death.

Don’t get me wrong what Vick did is disgusting, but we are talking about the value of life between Humans, Cats and Dogs.  Unfortunately the scales of justice where a bit out of whack here.

Oh and just to throw another nugget of information your way Manny Ramirez steroid suspension is twice as long as Donte Stallworth’s jail sentence.

Is the justice department to blame? P.E.T.A? Have we become numb to the effects of drunk driving?  Or is what we value becoming a bit out of touch with reality?



  1. The problem here is the media and our tendancy to be “sheeple.” Justice isn’t set by what’s wrong and right…these days it’s set by public opinion, which is highly influenced by what the public sees in the media. We the people hear about drunk driving incidents almost daily and we’ve been desensitized to it. The stories are glossed over in the news. The animal cruelty that happened at Michael Vick’s home was widely and graphically publicized and brought nationwide outrage. Justice was decided by public opinion. It may not be right, but that’s how it works now. It’s the same question as to why a pretty, blonde, white girl spends months in the media when she disappears, but no one bats an eye about the black girl that went missing at the same time. It’s sad that the public expresses outrage only when things are shoved in their faces by the media. It would be better if we would decide for ourselves what to be “outraged” about rather than following the media’s lead on it.

  2. I think you need to bear in mind that all of the cases you mentioned have been (or will be, in the case of the one that’s still pending) tried and sentenced by different judges. Each case was tried, the judge looked into the facts, and decided on a sentence based on what he or she thought was appropriate for the crime they were convicted of. They didn’t compare to what other crimes are going on in the world. I’m not saying that I think any of the sentences were appropriate. I don’t believe they are, but I think your question, which is the same question a lot of people are asking, shows what’s wrong in today’s society. Rather than a person committing a crime and accepting the punishment, they (and we, as onlookers) tend to compare it to whatever else is going on in the world. Rather than saying Michael Vick did a horrible thing and should have received the 2 yr. sentence that he did, we say “but look at this other person whose crime was even WORSE and all he has to do is 30 days… It’s not fair”

    It’s like there’s this sliding scale of crime. Maybe 2 dogs being mistreated is equal to one being killed? And maybe the murder of 10 dogs is equal to manslaughter in the taking of one human life? But 2 human lives are equal to one D-list celebrity life.. And 2 of them are equal to an A-lister. It seems ridiculous to label things this way, and yet that’s what we try to do when we compare our crimes…

    Do I think it’s fair that a person who took another human life (for whatever reason) will do only 30 days in jail while I know someone personally who served 2 1/2 years for stealing a credit card? No. But, it’s not my place to judge. I believe that the court of public opinion will decide whether or not to “forgive” Donte Stallworth (did I spell that right?) just as they’ll decide whether to forgive Michael Vick. You can choose not to support their teams or the products they endorse… The jail sentence doesn’t mean too much in the grand scheme of things because it will effect the rest of their lives.

    I think God’s probably looking at this situation thinking we’re silly. Crime is crime. Sin is Sin. He’s the only one that can really hold us accountable, and I think we’ll be shocked by some of the “horrible people” we see in heaven, just like we’ll be surprised by some of the “saints” that will be missing. It’s the same thing. It’s possible that Donte Stollworth got a light sentence because the judge saw that he’s truly repentant, and Michael Vick’s judge saw that he wasn’t. Who knows?

    And this is why I NEVER comment on your blog… I talk too much, and I stop making sense after a while.

  3. Laurie, There is one problem with your well written comment above. You said: “Each case was tried, the judge looked into the facts, and decided on a sentence based on what he or she thought was appropriate for the crime they were convicted of. They didn’t compare to what other crimes are going on in the world.” The problem is that IS how our judicial system is supposed to work. It’s called president.
    Vick received a longer sentence than anybody that has been convicted of the same crime. In fact it was nearly twice as long as both his co-defendants combined. Had Donte plead innocent and been convicted he would have faced a MANDATORY 4.5 years in prison according to Florida law.
    My goal was not to simply draw comparisons to all these sentences but to use them to say that our system of justice is out of whack.

  4. Not all precedent is binding, especially when you talk about sentencing rather than trial. And there could be mitigationg circumstantces in the eyes of the judge on the Stollworth case simply because he didn’t hide behind his celebrity. He fessed up, plead guilty, and was ready to do whatever time the judge handed out. As far as Vick, the judge basically called him out as a liar, and he only admitted to a small role in the whole operation AFTER his friends ratted him out. That doesn’t show sincerity. That shows that he got caught and he’s trying to cover his butt. All in all, I do agree with you. Vick probably got what he deserved in my opinion (and that includes a probable early-retirement from the NFL and his endorsements a-la OJ)

    I do believe Stollworth should have had a longer sentence, but that won’t bring back the man he killed. I do believe, however, if my facts are straight, that Stollworth and this other guy who “allegedly” hit and killed this Nick Adenhart in the same way should get different sentences. Stollworth stayed on the scene, gave a breathalyzer, faced the music, plead guilty, and probably offered a heartfelt apology to his fans and the family. This other guy was on his second DUI, killed THREE people, took off from the scene, and plead not guilty. He hasn’t taken one bit of responsibility along the way, and so he should have a harsher sentence if he’s convicted, in my opinion.

    It’s like if Emilie was playing and broke your guitar. You’d be ticked! If she came to you, told you what happened, said she was sorry, you’d probably punish her.

    But say 3 weeks later, Erynne’s playing with your replacement guitar, and she knows she shouldn’t, so you punish her and tell her it’s off limits.. Then she does it again, and she breaks it, just like Emilie did. But, she hides it, and you find it, and you ask her about it, and she lies and says it wasn’t her. You’d punish her A LOT worse than you punished Emilie. That’s the point. It’s the same crime, but the mitigating factors are different.

  5. Laurie,
    While it is true Donte stayed at the scene and gave a breathalyzer it was nearly 4 hours after the bars closed and he was still well over the legal limit. And to say he didn’t hide behind his celebrity is false. The reason he got the sentence he did was because he paid the family between 5 and 8 Million dollars to avoid a civil suit and as a result the prosecutors offered him the light sentence.
    You are now comparing what the driver in the Adenhart case did Vs. what Donte did. You think he should be punished harder for taking 3 lives vs. 1, and for being a repeat offender. That goes against your initial argument.
    As far as Vick goes. Every defendant that has committed a crime and was tried for that crime has lied by pleading not guilty. So to give him a stricter sentence for lieing is silly.

    On another Note Donte was ordered to give $1 million to M.A.D.D. and they have refused to take it… Somethings wrong there.

  6. I didn’t mean to compare the two cases, just to show that there are reasons why I’d be okay about 2 people who were convicted of the same crime getting different sentences. Just that it’s okay to take things on a case by case basis without comparing other people got for doing the same thing. I don’t know if we’ll ever actually resolve this here. I kind of feel like we’re both arguing the same case.

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