Wednesday, June 20, 2007
Updated: June 21, 1:42 PM ET
Case resolved as Jackson pleads guilty in strip club fight
ESPN.com news services
INDIANAPOLIS -- Stephen Jackson pleaded guilty
Wednesday to a felony count of criminal recklessness for firing a
gun outside a strip club last fall and was ordered to pay a $5,000
fine and perform 100 hours of community service.
Misdemeanor counts of battery and disorderly conduct were
dismissed as part of the agreement with prosecutors, and a judge
added a year of probation to Jackson's sentence.
Jackson, whom the Indiana Pacers traded to the Golden State Warriors in January, said after the brief court appearance that he would have done the community service anyway.
"Community service has always been a part of my life," he said.
But prosecutors intend the work to be punishment, which is why
they chose the community center Christamore House for Jackson.
David Wyser, Marion County's chief trial deputy prosecutor, said
he was confident that Christamore's director, Olgen Williams,
"will ensure that Mr. Jackson performs his community hours doing
work of cleaning, of painting, whatever it is he has to do as
opposed to helping youths play basketball, something he enjoys
Williams said the center, located in a lower-income neighborhood
just west of the city's downtown, works with people performing
community service every day and that Jackson might clean restrooms,
shovel mulch, move furniture or plant flowers, among many possible
|Stephen Jackson takes questions as he leaves a court hearing in Indianapolis. He will not go to jail and said he's relieved to have his criminal case behind him.|
"I'm not going to put him down in the gym playing basketball,"
he said. "He may be in the gym, but he'll be in there sweeping."
An NBA spokesman told the Indianapolis Star that league officials will review Jackson's case and decide whether the charge of criminal recklessness amounted to a violent felony. If so, an immediate suspension of at least 10 games is possible, according to the conduct guidelines in the NBA rulebook.
Jackson was charged in connection with the Oct. 6 fracas outside
Indianapolis' Club Rio. He told police he fired shots in the air
from his 9mm pistol to try to break up a fight.
In February, Deon Willford, who hit Jackson with a car during
the incident, was convicted of felony battery and sentenced to two
years in prison, two years on probation and 100 hours community
Willford hit Jackson with his car after the fight started. He
claimed self defense at his trial, testifying that Jackson was
walking toward his car and pointing a gun at him. But other
witnesses said Jackson was walking away from Willford's car and had
no weapon out when he was hit.
Jackson chipped some teeth that night and underwent plastic
surgery on his lip.
The fight started after Willford's cousin got into an argument
with a group of people who accompanied Jackson to the club. That
group included current Pacers Jamaal Tinsley and Marquis Daniels,
who were not charged.
Because he had no prior felony convictions, Jackson was eligible
to receive misdemeanor sentencing despite pleading guilty to the
felony. Wyser said that Jackson received a stiffer sentence than
most people facing a similar charge.
"I thought it was appropriate due to the fact that Mr. Jackson
is held out as a role model to many individuals and youths in the
community that look up to him," Wyser said.
At the time, Jackson was on probation in Michigan after pleading
no contest to misdemeanor assault and battery charges for his role
in the 2004 brawl between Pacers players and Detroit Pistons fans.
A Michigan judge had ruled that the Indiana charges constituted
a violation of Jackson's probation. But Jackson's attorney, Jim
Voyles, said the case was resolved last week, and Jackson will
serve 10 days of community service.
Jackson said after Wednesday's hearing that he was happy to
resolve the latest criminal case.
"I'm ready to move on," he told a small crowd of reporters.
"I'm in a great city with a great new team, had a great year, as
all y'all seen. I'm ready to experience another one."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
I'm not going to put him down in the gym playing basketball. He may be in the gym, but he'll be in there sweeping.
Olgen Williams, director of the center where Stephen Jackson will perform community service