Justin Chaisson: Should He Be Allowed in Norman?

Tim BondCorrespondent IMay 2, 2009

Should athletes who have a criminal history, convicted or not, be allowed to play college football?

Should Bob Stoops and the University of Oklahoma continue to honor Justin Chaisson's commitment to play for the Sooners?

Justin Chaisson has pleaded no contest to charges stemming from a March 19, 2009, arrest.

He is accused of holding a screwdriver to his ex-girlfriend and threatening to kill her. As of right now, he has been ordered to one year of probation, where he must attend some sort of domestic violence class.

He still has a court date on May 6 in the Eighth Judicial District Court, where he could still be sentenced to some jail time.

With that said, it is obvious that the District Attorney of the county he lives in agrees to the plea. If the D.A. did not, then there would be no plea and Justin would be headed to trial soon.

Here is what I found on a No Contest Plea:

"However, while the person charged with the crime is not pleading guilty or contesting the charges, he or she is often considered guilty when pleading no contest. If sentencing for a crime is immediate, then the plea does not carry any special weight when a judge considers sentencing.

In fact, a person who wants a trial to defend his or her innocence would probably not use a no-contest plea. Sometimes a court can be petitioned for a change of plea, but this is not always allowed.
Instead, the no-contest plea is almost always used when the plea results in immediate sentencing. Additionally, a person convicted of a crime who pleaded no contest is just as guilty as if he or she pleaded guilty.

In some cases, however, clients who feel they would not win at charges but assert their innocence are convinced to plead no contest since this will result in a plea bargain.
If the case really seems unwinnable in a trial by jury, a shorter sentence option may be more attractive. Yet the person still wants to somehow not make an absolute statement of guilt.
In this case, one may plead no contest to suggest that one is resigned to accepting punishment for the charges but is not making an assertion of guilt.

This may not always be an effective strategy, particularly if the person asserting innocence may also be facing civil court for behaviors for which he or she is pleading no contest.

In fact, a no contest plea is often looked at as a plea of guilty by the civil court, and thus the person is likely to lose lawsuits in civil court that result from damages incurred by the alleged crime.

The no-contest plea does not keep the court from finding the person guilty. In fact, it almost always results in conviction." View Source

Maybe Chaisson does not want to get bogged down in the court. Maybe he wants to move on with his life and get to OU? That, I do not know.

Maybe there are other reasons behind it. Maybe some of what was reported is true, but most of it is blown out of proportion? That too, I do not know.

But what I do know is this: The DA and Justin Chaisson has agreed to a plea bargain, meaning his charges were greatly reduced.
I also know this: the two families are close friends.

Maybe they just wanted to allow both children to get on with their lives and hope that both have learned a valuable lesson?

Hell, maybe the Chaissons (not poor by any stretch of the imagination) decided to give the girl's family some money or whatever? I do not know that, just speculation on my part.

With all that BS said, Since Chaisson has reached an agreement with the D.A., it seems he will only be serving probation time. I think the kid deserves a second chance to make good in his life.

Remember a few years back, the Defensive Lineman for OU (Dusty Dvoracek) that beat the crap out of one of his "friends?" He damn near killed that friend of his. The case was more violent than the one Justin Chaisson is going through.

Since they were such close friends, the guy he put in the hospital and his family did not want to press charges.

Nothing happened to Dvoracek except that Bob Stoops kicked him off the team indefinitely.

Well, Dusty Dvoracek decided to make the best of it. He decided he had a problem. He checked himself into rehab and AA. He cleaned himself up and Bob Stoops gave the young man a second chance.

Needless to say, Dusty Dvoracek, as far as I know, has not been in trouble since then.

So why is it so hard for some of us to give a young person a second chance? It does not matter what team he decided to play for. If he was headed to Austin or Stillwater, I would still feel the same way about it.

He made a mistake. I hope to God he does not make another similar to the one he has already made. No, I hope he learns from this and becomes a very good role model for people.

However, my mind is still reserved for change. If he does it again, or gets into any type of trouble, I think OU needs to kick him off campus and say "see ya" to him.

So again, I ask:

1.) Should athletes who have a criminal history, convicted or not, be allowed to play college football?

2.) Should Bob Stoops and the University of Oklahoma continue to honor Justin Chaisson's commitment to play for the Sooners?