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Your Summer Legal News

Ahh justice. This is my wheelhouse.
The primary mission of this notebook has been stated many times, and rests at the bottom of any e-mail I issue from my blog address at the right. It is and will always be, as stated in the original construction of this blog by Matt “The Glaude” Glaude, “to chronicle the daily disaster that is Syracuse University Athletics”. There certainly is an awful lot to chronicle, just not over the summer months. That is usually when one of the many secondary missions, more of my own construction, take over. That would be to chronicle the legal issues facing current, future, and former opponents of Syracuse, as well as any rocking the sports world or have a substantial nexus to the Big East and Syracuse. In other words, we’ll dish some legal dirt on other schools and people that have been naughty in the eyes of the law, all for the delicious delight of Syracuse’s high moral fans, players, and students alike. And occasionally we look on ourselves if someone in orange does something stupid as well. But this has been quite a period of legal prevalence as of late.

You may have read, directly below this article, of former UConn star Diana Taurasi, now of the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, and her brush with the police after having a bit too much to drink on July 2nd of this year (and the subsequent debate over standards of decency at women’s basketball events). Subsequently, Phoenix Police have charged Taurasi with three charges including “Extreme DUI”. New York State refers to this crime as “Aggravated DUI” which is a DUI that is some statutory limit above and beyond the standard legal limit of a blood-alcohol content (BAC) of .08. In Taurasi’s case, she was found to have had a BAC of .17, over twice the legal limit. She was original pulled over for speeding and was pulled over after drifting across the center line on the road. She has since been suspended by the Phoenix Mercury two games without pay. All $125 of it (Editor’s Note: Actual sum may vary). The official reason for the suspension is “conduct detrimental to the team." She will return after this Wednesday’s game. She should have a suspension and I suppose this punishment is about right as her next scheduled court date is Wednesday and she is innocent until proven guilty. If she is found guilty either by admission or finding I would hope she would catch a couple more games, but I doubt that will happen. If you really want some strong feelings on the matter, check out ESPN’s Mechelle Voepel commentary here. Also, our friends at had an article about the DUI that easily has the worst video of any female athletes ever in the history of the medium. Check that out here.

As a secondary UConn story I’ll cut them a break and point out the legal troubles of a student, rather than another athlete. In a fitting bit of irony, a UConn Law student is in trouble with the law. This is right up my alley. John Belanger of Hartford, a third year law student, was arrested as part of a $1 billion marijuana ring, originating in, of course, Canada. According to the DEA press release, Belanger, along with the others, is being charged with conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, conspiracy to import more than 1,000 kilograms of marijuana, and conspiracy to launder monetary instruments. “In addition to acting as a courier himself, Belanger was responsible for recruiting, employing, and coordinating couriers, who typically used rental vehicles and traveled in tandem with ‘blocking’ vehicles which scouted ahead for law enforcement, communicated potential problems to couriers, and intentionally violated traffic laws to protect couriers. The organization transported the marijuana in heat-sealed bags inside large duffle bags labeled with a number and customer identification or destination.” Most law school students are too busy reading and studying, or at least drinking, to get into this kind of trouble. Then again, law school is expensive. Either way a big tip o’ the cap to UConn Law’s admissions staff. Good work. Makes me feel reassured that I never wanted to apply there. The full blog article on him, including some inside tips on him that are entertaining if you are into that sort of thing, can ge found here.

Finally, we round out our legal coverage with news on an incoming Cincinnati Football player, Lance Stephenson. This upstanding citizen, along with a friend, were accused in October 2008 of groping a 17-year-old girl near their high school according to and was charged with sexual assault. According to reports to the New York Daily News, the 12th ranked recruit in the ESPN Top 100 will plead guilty to disorderly conduct and seek a sentence of counseling and disorderly conduct. A sweet deal to go from sexual assault and possible sex offender registry to a good old DisCon. Cincinnati gets a good freshman and a concern for public safety and the ladies of the campus. H/T to Orange::44 correspondent John Brennan for the news.

Now you don’t have to watch an hour of TruTV. You are sufficiently caught up on all the legal areas that touch you as a Syracuse/Big East fan. Also, if you dislike UConn, which I know you do. Sorry for all the flowery language, but if you couldn’t tell I miss writing. Back at the blog full time starting soon. Finally, some good news. Congratulations to Erin and Alex on their engagement this past weekend. They are fine Syracuse alumni, loyal blog readers, and most importantly good friends. Congratulations and best wishes to you both!

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