Michael Vick Dog Fighter
December 10, 2007 Update: Michael Vick Sentenced to 23 months in Prison!
Michael Vick was sentenced to 23 months in prison and three years probation for his role in the "Bad Newz Kennels" dog fighting operation and his participation in the brutal killing of several dogs that did not "perform well" in testing sessions.
During his sentencing the suspended football star apologized to the court and his family. However, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson told him, "You need to apologize to millions of young people who looked up to you".
Judge Hudson called Vick's actions "cruel and inhumane" and said that Vick was a full partner in "Bad Newz Kennels" and was therefore equally culpable for all crimes committed. Two of Vick's codefendants; Purnell Peace and Quanis Phillips, received 18 and 21 months respectively. A sentencing hearing is still pending for the final codefendant, Tony Taylor.
According to Vick’s plea agreement he faced a possible sentence of 12-18 months in prison, however, prompted by Vick’s contradictory statements to officials and his drug use while out on bond, Judge Hudson upped the possible sentence range to 18-24 months.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael Gill asked Judge Hudson to sentence Michael Vick to jail time at the high end the guideline range of 18-24 months because, as he told Judge Hudson, Vick funded the operation and used friends who were “dangerous” and “predisposed” to commit criminal acts.
Click here for the full text of the Federal Plea Agreement
Click here to read LCA's Modest Proposal for Michael Vick
September 26, 2007 Update: State of Virginia Files Additional Charges Against Vick!
Virginia Files State Charges: On September 25, a grand jury in Surry County, Virginia brought two felony charges against Vick. One count was for “unlawfully torturing and killing dogs” and one for “promoting dogfights.” Each charge carries a possible 5 year prison term. The next step is an October 3rd arraignment. The State of Virginia is represented by Surry County Commonwealth Attorney Gerald D. Poindexter, and Vick will continue to be represented by Billy Martin, who is also representing him in the federal case.
What Do These New State Charges Mean? The grand jury decided that it was “more probable than not” that Vick committed the crimes of unlawfully torturing and killing dogs and promoting dogfights, and that Vick should stand trial for those charges. Now, there can either be a state trial set, or there can be a plea agreement, as happened in the federal case. We should find out which path is more likely at the October 3rd arraignment. Tentatively, a state trial is scheduled for November 27th, but this can and probably will change.
If Vick is convicted of state charges, it may or may not lead to longer prison time. While the sentences could run “consecutively,” meaning the state time would be added to the federal time, it is more likely that the sentences would be “concurrent,” or run at the same time. Still, if given the maximum sentence on both state charges, Vick faces a 10 year prison term, even if the sentence runs concurrently with the federal sentence.
Where Do The Federal Charges Stand? U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson will issue a sentence under the federal plea agreement on December 10th.
August 27, 2007 Update: Michael Vick entered a guilty plea Monday, August 27, 2007 to conspiracy charges in Federal Court after being suspended indefinitely from the NFL on Friday.
The plea agreement stated that he took part in an illegal, interstate dog-fighting enterprise. In documents filed in U.S. District Court in Richmond, Virginia, Vick said he knew dogs that did not perform well were killed. He said the fights involved gambling although he did not personally place bets. Judge Hudson scheduled the sentencing hearing for Michael Vick for December 10. To read the full text of the plea, click the link above.
Michael Vick last week was suspended indefinitely from the NFL. In a statement from the NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, he referred to Vick’s admitted conduct as "not only illegal but also cruel and reprehensible".
Michael Vick is a star NFL quarterback with the Atlantic Falcons. On April 25th, 2007, investigators raided Vick's home, in Surry County, Virginia, as part of a drug investigation involving a Vick's cousin, and stumbled upon a concealed dog kennel out back.
Sixty-six dogs, mostly pit bulls, were seized, along with evidence of an organized fighting operation: treadmills rigged up for training; “break sticks” that are used to pry apart the powerful jaws of fighting animals; blood-soaked carpeting that might have been used in a fighting pit; veterinary medicines for treating wounds; and “rape stands,” hideous contraptions used to restrain female pit bulls during the breeding process.
July 27th, 2007, Vick was charged with conspiracy to travel in interstate commerce in aid of unlawful activities and to sponsor a dog in an animal fighting venture. If convicted on the interstate commerce, Vick could face a maximum of five years in prison, a $250,000 fine, and restitution of all the money made during the dog fighting venture. If convicted on the dog fighting charges, Vick faces up to a year in prison and a $100,000 fine. Read the full text of the indictment.
Last Chance for Animals has contacted the lawyers and prosecutors involved in this case with our modest proposal. Read how Michael Vick can still be a hero for animals.
How You Can Get Involved In The Vick Case
- Contact the commissioners of the major professional sports leagues and urge them to update their personal conduct guidelines by including animal abuse in their prohibited conduct policy.
Allen H. Selig
- Sign up for our action alerts to keep updated on the Michael Vick case and learn more about how you can stay involved and put an end to dog fighting.