|I miss Joel McHale's "The Soup" with the "Gavel Bangin'" segment|
It's been a while since we've posted a lawdog article here on Orange::44. Last February, to be exact. And that was regarding the self-imposed postseason ban for the basketball team. The last lawdog article about SU Athletes being involved in a crime was October 30, 2013, when Ryan Norton was arrested on Marshall Street during the football team's bye week. By and large, Syracuse student-athletes have kept it clean since then, which has been a welcomed relief for Brian and I so we can focus on writing about sports instead of crime. But, here we are.
The dot com is reporting that former Syracuse DB Naesean Howard was charged Saturday with Assault in the Second Degree and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree stemming from a stabbing incident on campus. Today, we learned that not only were the victims SU students, but they are members of the football team -- defensive backs Chauncey Scissum and Corey Winfield. Neither are reported to have life-threatening injuries, which is the good news. However, their exact status and how that will factor into their ability to play this fall remains to be seen, so please keep Chauncey and Corey in your thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.
As for the suspect, Naesean Howard, he had been making a pitch to be able to walk on to the football team this fall, after having been dismissed from the team in 2014 by former head coach Scott Shafer, leaving school, and then reenrolling at Syracuse this year. The school has indefinitely suspended Howard, so I think it's safe to assume -- especially given that the victims are members of the football team who figured to be starters this fall -- that new head coach Dino Babers won't be looking to allow Howard to walk on, even if he somehow remains in school once this case works itself through.
What can Howard expect, from the legal perspective? Well, as of this writing, he's in the Onondaga County Justice Center. If he hasn't been arraigned, I'm sure that will happen Monday morning, bail will be set, he'll have a lawyer, and a preliminary hearing will be scheduled. He's charged with a felony and a misdemeanor -- Assault being a Class D violent felony, and the weapons charge being a Class A misdemeanor. On the felony charge, Syracuse City Court has limited jurisdiction, so it only has the legal ability to set bail and to hold a preliminary hearing to determine whether there is sufficient evidence to continue Howard held on bail pending a presentation of his case to the Grand Jury.
With the assault charge being the more serious of the charges, what happens on that charge will likely control what ultimately happens in this case. If convicted, Howard could face up to seven years in prison. However, there is no mandatory state prison sentence, though because some incarceration is mandatory, he could receive a local jail sentence (and the time he's in right now would count towards that). He could also receive probation along with whatever jail sentence he receives (up to six months).
If I'm Howard's defense attorney, I'm investigating the circumstances in which this stabbing occurred. What other people were around during the incident? Was there an argument or fight that occurred? Did either of the players who were stabbed possess any type of a weapon? Did Howard act in self defense? As more details about this incident are released, we'll get a better sense of what direction the legal case will take.
In the meantime, let's hope Chauncey & Corey have a full and speedy recovery.