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Archive for Thursday, September 27, 2007

QB Vick tests positive

Marijuana use violates condition of release

September 27, 2007

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— Michael Vick is now likely one misstep from jail.

The disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback tested positive for marijuana earlier this month, a violation of the conditions of his release as he awaits sentencing in federal court on a dogfighting charge that already jeopardizes his freedom and career.

Now, he has incurred the ire of the judge who could sentence him to up to five years in prison in the dogfighting case. On the day of Vick's guilty plea, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson warned that he wouldn't be amused by any additional trouble.

Hudson, who will sentence Vick on Dec. 10, on Wednesday ordered him confined to his Virginia home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. with electronic monitoring. He also must submit to random drug testing.

If Vick fails another drug test, he likely will wind up like co-defendant Quanis Phillips - incarcerated since his Aug. 17 plea hearing. Phillips failed a drug test when he had the electronic monitoring and random drug-testing requirements.

Vick's positive urine sample was submitted Sept. 13, according to a document by a federal probation officer that was filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

Because Vick violated the conditions of his release, Hudson could take that into consideration during sentencing, said Linda Malone, a criminal procedure expert and Marshall-Wythe Foundation professor of law at the College of William and Mary.

"Every judge considers pretty seriously if they feel that the defendant has flaunted the conditions for release," she said. "It's certainly not a smart thing to do."

Especially not when his behavior is being watched so closely, not only by the court that allowed him to remain free, but by the public whose forgiveness he's seeking.

The former Virginia Tech standout was placed under pretrial release supervision by U.S. Magistrate Dennis Dohnal in July. The restrictions included refraining from use or unlawful possession of narcotic drugs or other controlled substances.

The random drug testing ordered Wednesday could include urine testing, the wearing of a sweat patch, a remote alcohol testing system or any form of prohibited substance screening or testing. Hudson's order also requires Vick to participate in inpatient or outpatient substance therapy.

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