Thursday, November 22, 2007
Former Atlanta Falcon's quarterback Michael Vick opted to begin his expected prison term almost three weeks before sentencing when U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson signed an order (available below) directing the U.S. Marshal to "take custody of the Defendant immediately upon his surrender." By choosing to start his term now, Vick probably will spend his first -- and I suspect his only -- Thanksgiving in prison. While the maximum term Vick is facing is five years, I expect he will receive a sentence of a year-and-a-day or thereabouts. There's an outside chance of a split sentence that would include home confinement, but his use of marijuana while on bail pending sentencing probably jeopardizes his hopes for such a modest punishment. I think the upside to entering the Bureau of Prisons system now is that the expected term will be completed by October 1 because of the 15% good time credit he would receive for a sentence of more than one year -- the extra day effectively cuts off about six weeks. Vick would likely be released in August to a half-way house, at which point he could begin workouts in the hope of resuming his football career, perhaps even as early as the end of the 2008 season if NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell were to suspend him for one year from the date of sentencing on December 10.
The pressure on Vick to start generating an NFL salary again is enormous. Federal prosecutors filed a motion for a restraining order (available below) seeking to keep Vick from dissipating assets before he pays approximately $930,000 in restitution for the care of the pitbulls seized from his property in Virginia. The motion outlines other pending proceedings against Vick seeking to recover money from him that include: (1) the Falcons' arbitration proceeding to recoup almost $20 million of bonus money paid to Vick based on his being on the team's roster during his contract, which has now been voided; (2) a claim by Wachovia Bank for $1.3 million in loans for a wine store; (3) RBC Centura Bank's claim to recover on a $2.5 million line of credit extended to Vick; and, (4) 1st Source Bank's suit to recover on a $2.5 million loan for a car rental business. That's a lot of money being sought by creditors, and the sooner Vick can get back to the NFL -- some team will certainly take a chance on a quarterback with his talent, even if he sits out two seasons -- the quicker he can start rebuilding his financial life. Trading a Thanksgiving in prison for a shot at an earlier release may be a worthwhile exchange when prison is inevitable. (ph)