|Suspended cornerback settles last criminal charge, gets probation|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 15 February 2008 08:25|
Jones was charged with obstructing a police officer two years ago in Georgia
``It is clearly a conviction,'' District Attorney General Scott Ballard said. ``When his criminal history is run, he'll be a convicted felon. It'll show he's got a felony conviction for obstruction of a police officer.''
Jones' attorney and agent, Manny Arora, called the plea the equivalent of no contest.
Jones was sentenced to three years of probation for the run-in with police on Feb. 6, 2006, outside the family home of his pregnant girlfriend in Fayetteville, Ga. He also paid a $500 fine.
nduct was criminal,'' Arora said.
Ballard disagreed. He said Jones pleaded guilty under an Alford plea to a felony charge, which cannot be expunged from his record. Under an Alford plea, a defendant acknowledges there is enough evidence for a conviction without admitting guilt.
The prosecutor said Jones' attorneys thought it was overkill to call the incident a felony, but he refused to treat Jones as a first offender.
``I got exactly what I wanted,'' Ballard said.
Jones had been parked in a Bentley with his girlfriend and a friend outside her home in Fayetteville. Police noticed the car and approached Jones to talk with him.
They charged him with one felony count of obstruction of a police officer and two misdemeanors after they accused him of throwing a punch and biting an officer's hand. Ballard said the skin was not broken, but Jones was hindering an officer.
``Pacman bit him. If you open up your hand, that space between the thumb and pointer finger, that little skin there, that's where the officer was bit,'' Ballard said.
News of that arrest and another the following month on a misdemeanor charge of marijuana possession did not surface until March 2007, after Jones had been questioned by Las Vegas police about a strip club fight and triple shooting.
The marijuana charge was dismissed for lack of evidence in January 2007.
This case had been delayed repeatedly, with Arora arguing his client did nothing wrong. But Arora said they agreed to the no contest plea to settle the case and avoid going to trial.
A Tennessee judge last month dismissed public intoxication and disorderly conduct charges stemming from August 2006. With a no contest plea deal in Las Vegas in December, the Titans cornerback now has no further charges pending from his six arrests since being drafted into the NFL in 2005.
It's uncertain whether clearing the charges helps his push to return to the NFL.
``We have no comment on today's developments or the timetable for a decision on his status,'' league spokesman Greg Aiello said in an e-mail.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Jones in April 2007 for the season and repeatedly told him he wanted to see proof through the cornerback's actions, not words, that he understood the privilege of playing in the league.
Goodell, who was asked about Jones' punishment before the Super Bowl, said he was disappointed with Jones' decision-making. The commissioner said he would give Jones more time, if needed, to understand what the NFL expects of him.
The Titans are expected to try trading Jones, their top pick in 2005, once he is reinstated.