SEARCH WARRANT TO BE ABANDONED?
Something stinks in Surry County, Virginia. It might be the rotting flesh of dogs buried on property that Mike Vick previously owned or still owns, depending on whether the abrupt sale of it at less than half its appraised value has been finalized.
But we won't know for sure whether that's the case, because investigators apparently will not be pushing the issue of whether a search warrant will be issued, and executed, to search for dog carcasses and other evidence of illegal dog fighting.
Updating reports from earlier in the day, Patrick Terpstra of WVEC-TV reports that there are no plans to seek the re-issuance of a search warrant that was rejected by Surry County prosecutor Gerald Poindexter. Per Terpstra, investigators believe that they already have enough evidence to proceed with charges.
But, even so, why not search the land for the bodies of dogs that either died in the pit or were killed after losing? If there was/is a problem with the warrant, a judge won't pitch the evidence that was previously obtained on that basis. The only evidence that would be barred is the stuff found the second time around. If there's already enough other evidence to proceed, there's no down side to looking for more proof.
At a minimum, we think that Poindexter and, to the extent that he truly agreed with Poindexter's position, Sheriff Harold Brown need to explain to the media in detail the reason(s) for nixing the warrant after it had been issued.
POSTED 9:56 p.m. May 29, 2007
LEAGUE INSIDERS EXPECTING VICK INDICTMENT
Though it still might not come for weeks, we're hearing that an increasing number of league insiders expect that Falcons quarterback Mike Vick eventually will be indicted for dog fighting.
"There's too much local pressure," said a league source.
We also suspect that the league is applying, in subtle yet real fashion, its own brand of pressure to the situation, since it will be hard for Commissioner Roger Goodell to impose punishment under the Personal Conduct Policy unless Vick is at least charged with a crime.
As an industry source reminded us on Tuesday, the revised policy states that, "[u]nless the case involves significant bodily harm, a first offense will generally not result in discipline until there has been a disposition of the proceeding."
But, as we see it, the key word is "generally," and we believe that Jeff Pash or some other legal heavy-hitter made sure to insert that word in order to preserve for Goodell the ability to make an exception where, for example, a player's alleged off-field misconduct has been extremely detrimental to the integrity of, and public confidence in, the game of professional football.
Still, we think that Goodell will have a hard time securing victory in the court of public opinion if he tries to punish Vick without even an arrest.
A big part of this equation, we believe, is whether Goodell concludes that Vick lied to him when they met in New York last month. If Vick tried the "I never go there" routine with Goodell and if it later becomes clear that Vick was at the property on a routine basis, Vick's effort to cover up his actions is no different than Pacman Jones' failure to report his two arrests in early 2006 to the Titans.