If you haven’t heard by now, Michael Vick’s sentencing in the notorious dogfighting case was today and he received a whopping 23 months of jail time. Honestly this is actually more than he would have gotten most likely if he hadn’t continue to be his own worst enemy.

Between his lies and poor behavior, to be nice about it, including getting caught by a drug test, what may have been 12-18 months turned out to be 23 months.

Vick’s defense team asked for leniency which Judge Hudson rebuffed, determining Vick had lied about his involvement in the killing of dogs, and about his drug use. Vick tested positive for marijuana Sept. 13 after claiming to have avoided illicit drugs.

“You were instrumental in promoting, funding and facilitating this cruel and inhumane sporting activity,” Hudson told Vick, who exhibited no visible reaction.

The sentence means Vick will be in prison until at least mid-July 2009, even if he meets the federal standard of 54 days’ reduction per year for good behavior.

Hudson agreed with a federal probation officer’s finding that Vick had lied about his hands-on killing of dogs, calling honesty “really the crux of the matter here.”

“You were a full participant and you were at least equally culpable” as the three other defendants, the judge told Vick in summing up his own findings. “This is a racketeering case in front of me and you are to be sentenced accordingly.”

Hudson said Vick at times admitted killing dogs, and other times denied it.

“I’m not convinced you’ve fully accepted responsibility,” Hudson said.

Federal sentencing guidelines called for a term of 18 months to two years. Federal prosecutor Michael Gill said Vick’s involvement warranted a sentence at the high end.

“He did more than fund it,” Gill said, referring to the “Bad Newz Kennels” dogfighting operation. “He was in this thing up to his neck with the other defendants.”(AJC)

Two of Vick co-defendents have already been sentenced, Purnell Peace, of Virginia Beach, got 18 months, and Quantis Phillips, of Atlanta, got 21 months at their sentencing hearings on Nov. 30. The most striking thing in the sentencing was that even with their past criminal backgrounds, both received lesser sentences than Vick. The reasoning for this? Most likely due to the fact that they gave their stories and statements, both of them blunt and detailed and very close to the same. Vick on the other hand, changed his story, back-pedaled and lied again and again.

Vick broke down when an FBI agent suggested he was lying on a polygraph test about his role in the killing of dogs, ultimately admitting to full involvement in the hope of showing he had accepted responsibility for his actions, lawyer Billy Martin said in court. He sought the numbing comfort of marijuana to cope with his depression.

For all of his promises to cooperate and tell the truth, to redeem himself, he did nothing of the kind.

I have gotten email from many people expressing their disgust the the leniency of the sentence, Vick could have gotten up to 5 years.  I admit that I was disappointed as well but not surprised after the sentencing of the co-defendents.

For those who feel his got off too lightly, keep in mind that he has yet to face state charges, he’s being sued by at least three banks,  the Falcons want almost 20 million dollars back from him, he’s been order to pay almost a million dollars for the care of the dogs, his fancy homes are gone, his lost millions in lucrative business and endorsement contracts, he’s on indefinite suspension from the NFL, he’ll be sitting in jail for the foreseeable future, at least until spring of 2009, he’s lost the respect and standing he once held by so many.

So yes, 23 months may not sound like much of a sentence but the sentence for his crimes does not begin or end with just the jail time he’ll be serving.

And for those of you out there whining that the sentence is too harsh or that he’s been punished enough or that this is all racially motivated… to put is mildly, stuff it!  I’m sick of the whining.  Those abused and dead dogs suffered!  What he did was illegal and he deserves to pay the price for it.  The only innocent victims in this story cannot even speak for themselves so we who care will speak for them, the legal system will speak for them and it’s time for you to get off your little soapboxes  and get real!

For all the background and info on the Michael Vick case, including all the documents, please see Michael Vick and Dogfighting.

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