Gilbert Arenas is a three time All – Star point guard in the NBA for the Washington Wizards. However, today in DC Superior Court he will find out his sentence that will be imposed on him by Judge Robert E. Morin. The question is whether Arenas will be sentenced to do jail time or get probation and community service for his one felony count of violating the District of Columbia’s strict gun laws.
The basic facts of this case are simple and unfortunately very foolish. Arenas and Crittenton were playing cards and got into a heated verbal joust while flying back from on the team plane on December 19, 2009. Two days later, Arenas brought his guns to the locker room and in his words “played the prank” on Crittenton by placing the guns on the latter’s chair with the sign, "Pick 1." Additionally, Crittenton then retrieved his own gun and ensured that Areans knew he had a “piece” of his own. (Crittenton pleaded guilty in January to a misdemeanor gun charge and received a year of unsupervised probation.) Subsequent, Arenas entered a guilty plea on January 15th.
The maximum term for Arenas' crime is five years. The sentencing guidelines for someone with his record call for 6-24 months, although those guidelines also allow for probation. The reason his guidelines start at 6 months is that Arenas has had two prior misdemeanor convictions for gun related crimes. The sentencing guidelines take into account both prior record variables as well as offense variables to increase one’s guideline. The top of one’s sentencing guideline may not exceed the top of the statutory penalty. Perhaps most important, Arenas' sentence could determine whether the Wizards will attempt to void the remainder of his six-year, $111 million contract.
Prosecutors demand a sentence of three months in jail. Part of their argument is that Arenas’ showed a carefree type attitude throughout the proceedings, that he knew that bringing the guns to the locker room was illegal, that he has a prior gun charge and that he “joked about the incident to large groups, and stated that he did nothing wrong and felt no remorse,” according to assistant United States attorney Christopher Kavanaugh.
The defense has made good arguments to counter on behalf of Arenas, and attempt to persuade the Judge to grant Arenas probation and community service in lieu of a jail sentence. The crust of the defense argument is that Arenas played a much misguided prank but he had absolutely no intent to harm anyone. Additionally, the guns were unloaded, the media misinterpreted Arenas’s light hearted comments regarding the case, and that he has been a positive role model for the community with much community service and charitable donations through NBA Cares and other charitable organization. Finally, the defense argues that Arenas was confused about the DC’s complicated gun laws and that through his suspension the rest of the 2009-10 season he was already punished with the tens of millions lost in earnings and endorsements.
The arguments put forth by both sides are fairly persuasive on their face. The defense team is making the type of arguments that defendants should expect their clients to put forth in all types of cases. Lack of prior history, positive impact on the community prior and subsequent to the offense, remorse for one’s actions after entering a plea deal are all factors that a well trained criminal defense attorney should use to craft a persuasive argument on their client’s behalf at the sentencing hearing.
Attorney Raymond Cassar is a Detroit Area Criminal Defense attorney who has twenty years of experience in State & Federal Court. His office is happy to give advice regarding criminal matters. You may learn more about Attorney Raymond Cassar and his team of attorneys by visiting his website at: http://www.crimlawattorney.com .