You will get nothing and like it, Orange-Man.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Exploring the actual charges

I will warn you ahead of time that this is long and dry. For funny stuff, check out this incredibly well-executed comparison of the members of the SEC to the Bluth family. Seriously, it's outstanding.

For those of you interested in what, precisely, Dominique Douglas and Anthony Bowman are charged with, here's the full text of the relevant portion of Iowa code (emphasis mine):
715A.6 Credit cards.

1. A person commits a public offense by using a credit card for the purpose of obtaining property or services with knowledge of any of the following:

a. The credit card is stolen or forged.

b. The credit card has been revoked or canceled.

c. For any other reason the use of the credit card is unauthorized.

It is an affirmative defense to prosecution under paragraph "c" if the person proves by a preponderance of the evidence that the person had the intent and ability to meet all obligations to the issuer arising out of the use of the credit card.

2. An offense under this section is a class "D" felony if the value of the property or services secured or sought to be secured by means of the credit card is greater than one thousand dollars, otherwise the offense is an aggravated misdemeanor.

The first bolded text is--well, it's the title of the code. Actually, though, it's still important. It's Iowa code, which means it's not a federal crime (despite early rumors). That's good for Bowman and Douglas; if the feds take a case, you can be sure of three things: 1) there's overwhelming evidence that you did something very, very bad, 2) The Feds, having spent months meticulously preparing the case, are wholly uninterested in letting you plead down to a misdemeanor, and 3) with a conviction rate over 90%, you are grade-A fucked.

The second is a biggie, and it explains why the complaint alleges the young men "purchased or attempted to purchase" those (sigh) hats and shoes. Whether they actually received the ill-gotten property is irrelevant; the criminal act is the unlawful use of the card(s). Thus, if some anti-fraud person at the credit card company saw the transaction and nixed it, that wouldn't let Douglas or Bowman off the hook. And that is bad news for them: even if the situation was so fraught with ineptitude that the young men couldn't finalize the online purchases because they didn't know the billing address (highly plausible), the defense that the charges weren't actually made won't save them.

Lastly, the kids are accused of $2016 in attempted fraudulent purchases, which is more than twice the necessary amount for a felony. Their attorneys may try to argue that the two acts weren't in conjunction with each other, so unless they each tried to ring up $1008, one could move down to a serious misdemeanor. The judge, however, probably won't fall for the "unrelated and separate instances" defense, for some reason.

If the young men's attorneys can't get a plea bargain for misdemeanors, they are most likely facing felony conviction. I'm not assuming they're guilty, but this doesn't look good at all. I mentioned it before, but there's a whole lot of easily verifiable information that implicates them both. They used their HawkID to log into university computers to (allegedly) commit the crimes, for crying out loud. Unless they can prove the integrity of their passwords was compromised and that the goods were to be reaped by someone else with access to those computers, then they're going down.

The "good" news about that, however, is that as of 2001, a class D felon with no prior prison or jail time should "only" no more than two years [links to PDF file; page 4]. So if convicted, their lives would not be over. They'd be felons, but at least they wouldn't be in prison long enough to ruin their lives. One would hope so, anyway.

Let's hope, strictly for the personal sake of Douglas and Bowman, that their charges are reduced to misdemeanors. If so, they'd probably only face lengthy probation sentences. They definitely shouldn't expect to play a single snap of football this year, but maybe they can at least get their shit together while they're still on the right side of prison bars.


Patrick said...

Allow me to comment. Assume, for the moment, the following:
1) Both guys are guilty
2) The state has the requisite facts to prove (1)

Being a Class D Felony, the chances of either Douglas or Bowman doing any time is slim. Both are first-time offenders, at least as far as we know. Likewise, if they plead out, they'll likely not plead to the crime charged, but to a lesser version - most likely a high-"ranked" misdemeanor. That being the case, the sentencing guidelines go down, and with the clean record, it would be highly unlikely that either would see anything more than a hefty fine and a few years probation.

OOPS is correct in all that he says, but from a legal standpoint, this is the next logical step (assuming, again, that both are guilty and both choose to plea instead of head to trial). With the facts known by the general public, it is extremely unlikely that either Bowman or Douglas will go to trial, it is even more unlikely that either will ever suit up for the Hawks again, but it is just as unlikely that either of these two gents will see any jail time. They'll plead out, get a few years' probation, etc.

Oops Pow Surprise said...

Thanks patrick. I was under the impression that Class D felonies in Iowa carried a minimum one year sentence. Then again, I am as qualified for legal advice now as when I was 4 years old, so there's your grain of salt.

If they plead down to misdemeanors (one would think that's the case), then they certainly wouldn't see any time.

From a football standpoint, I would be extremely disappointed to see them get anything less than a one-year suspension. In light of both the illegal activity and their behavior in those pictures, they really ought to be gone.

Hawkeye State said...

patrick is right. A couple of years probation and a fine seem likely.

That is, unless they hire Unfrozen Caveman Lawyer.

JHC said...

*pours one out for Phil Hartman*

Hawkeye State said...

"Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, I'm just a caveman. I fell into some ice and was thawed out by...I...I can't do it"

*weeps into his beer*

Mac G said...

Have fun in Juco ball