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Wednesday, June 12, 2013
Grand jury gets Mike Goodson case

By Jane McManus

MORRISTOWN, N.J. -- Mike Goodson's criminal case, with charges stemming from a May arrest for possession of a semiautomatic handgun and marijuana, will be sent to a grand jury.

The grand jury will look at the evidence and decide whether or not the New York Jets running back's case should be sent to trial.

Goodson's appearance at the Morris County Superior Court lasted less than a minute Wednesday morning.

Wearing black-rimmed eyeglasses, a black suit and designer sneakers, Goodson has pleaded not guilty to the charges during another proceeding before the case was moved to Superior Court. A plea deal is not yet on the table for the Jets running back or for Garant Evans, who was driving the car that was stopped in the middle of Interstate 80, prompting the arrest.

The charges, particularly for an illegal weapon loaded with hollow point bullets, are serious. Peter Foy, an assistant prosecutor for Morris County who represented the state in the matter, said the potential sentence in the event of a finding of guilt was five to 10 years. Foy also said the investigation was ongoing. He said during the hearing before Judge Mary Gibbon Whipple that his office would continue to communicate with Goodson's attorney's about "the potential of resolving this matter."

Both Goodson's attorney Al Gellene and Goodson declined to comment as they left the courtroom after the hearing. The Jets are in the second day of their mandatory minicamp at Florham Park.

Goodson was a free agent when the Jets signed him to a three-year, $6.9 million deal. On May 17 he was arrested with Evans when they were both found intoxicated in a car stopped in the highway. Goodson was taken to the hospital, and the gun, hollow-point bullets, drug paraphernalia and two partially-smoked marijuana cigars were found in the car. Both men were charged with possession of those items.

New Jersey has stringent laws regarding hollow points, which are particularly damaging and can pierce the vests police use for protection. The ownership of the gun has not been officially determined, although Goodson attorney Anthony J. Fusco said that Evans claimed ownership of the gun on the night of the arrest. Police spokesperson Lt. Stephen Jones later said both men were too intoxicated on the night of the arrest to determine ownership of the loaded gun.

Goodson was not selected for Morris County's Pre-Trial Intervention, which can be an option for first-time offenders and keep a defendant out of jail. Last year, then Jets-linebacker Bryan Thomas was enrolled in the program after an arrest for marijuana and criminal assault charges.

No further court dates have been set in the matter.

"With this I knew he had the court appearance today but as far as anything else, it's a legal matter," Jets coach Rex Ryan said Wednesday.

Ryan said he has been impressed by what he has seen from Goodson on the field.

"The thing that jumps out at you is his speed and acceleration," Ryan said. "It's unusual at that position. Kind of like, and I'm not comparing him to Reggie Bush, but that kind of explosive speed. You think you're in position but he outruns you."

Goodson missed practice Wednesday due to a meeting with his attorneys but was expected to be at meetings later in the day, a Jets spokesperson said.