Vick co-defendant pleads guilty

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photo by Adam Sorensen
Only four days after pleading not guilty, Tony Taylor– a co-defendant of Michael Vick– returned to federal court in Richmond today to plead guilty as part of a plea deal, CNN reports. The 34-year-old Hamptonian has reportedly agreed to fully cooperate with the investigation of the dogfighting ring in which Vick and his two co-defendants allegedly participated. He will be sentenced December 14.

At Vick's arraignment on Thursday, Judge Henry Hudson set a trial date for November 26. Tensions ran as thick as the Richmond humidity that day, as hundreds of protesters camped out across the street from the Lewis F. Powell Jr. Courthouse for hours to express their outrage at Vick in person. The Hook was there to capture the spectacle and has made it available in a slide show.


Sort of - you have to take with a grain of salt testimony from a co-defendant who flips. Doesn't mean he's lying, but a good defense attorney can certain cast a cloud of doubt on what he has to say. And have you seen the evidence? How do you know it's overwhelming? Just curious.

Excellent. Now we've got overwhelming physical evidence AND eyewitness testimony from a key insider on Mr. Vick's involvement.

Rumor has it that this involves many more people than just Vick and his co-defendants...and we're talking BIG names in sports. But then again, this is all just rumor.

Good point - it's interesting the way Emmitt Smith and Deion Sanders came to his defense. Neither offered the "he's innocent until proven guilty" defense. Instead, both offered the "dog fighting isn't that big of a deal" defense. Substitute "Bank robbery" for "dog fighting" in Smith's statement and the absurdity s clear: "Now, granted he might have robbed a bank a time or two, maybe five times, maybe 20 times, may have taken some money, but he's not the one you're after. He's not the one you're after, he's just the one whose going to take the fall -- publicly." That's not a statement defending Vick, it's a statement defending dog fighting.

From the text of the federal indictment ("break" sticks, "rape stand," treadmills, "slat mills" etc.), widespread news reports of carcasses removed from the ground of Vick's property, and the beaten, scarred, and malnourished 54 American pit bull terriers recovered and placed in the care of the American Humane Society. To be indicted on a federal felony charge requires a grand jury to view the evidence and then recommend that charges be brought. This isn't a case of a district attorney deciding on his own that charges are warranted based on hearsay or even one person's testimony. This is a substantial process. The fact that there are so many apologists out there is eye-opening to me. They currently say, there's no evidence, the evidence is specious, his friend is "lying," etc. In essence, give him his "due process." He's not guilty until convicted. So I'll be very interested in seeing how those arguyments change upon his conviction. Will these same folks say the process is flawed? The jury was rigged? The evidence was fabricated? If you like him no matter what and you just don't care about animals, that's fine. But be honest with yourself.

Make no mistake - I'm definitely NOT a Vick apologist. Never liked him, don't like him now, don't anticipate liking him in the future.

However, I am one of those people who actually think that the presumption of innocence is one of the bedrock principles of America. This concept is not a Constitutional typo.

But I have to ask: how does "you have to take with a grain of salt testimony from a co-defendant who flips" (which is courtesy of by longtime best friend, who is a trial-certified PD in Florida who gets juries to ignore such testimony on a regular basis) and "Have you seen the evidence? How do you know it's overwhelming?" qualify me as a Vick apologist? Is this one of those "if you don't agree with everything I say and think you're obviously a (pick one: [Republican] [Liberal] [Hokie] [Cavalier]) and I'm going to detract from your message by making stupid statements such as "But be honest with yourself"?

If he's guilty as charged, I hope they burn his ass at the stake and I'd be happy to volunteer to light the freaking match. But until that point there has to be a presumption of innocence. If not, why bother with a trial? Let's just burn him at the stake now and save a lot of time. In fact, let's do that with anybody accused of any crime, Why bother with the formality of a trial? Heck - if you look at just the prosecutor's evidence they're all slam-dunk convictions.

With the Attorney General lying his ass off to Congress and with local US Attorneys being sacked for not toeing the GOP party line and not granting political favors do you really think I'm out of line to treat with skepticism a Federal indictment? One hopes the Feds are more cautious in their approach, but CLEARLY that's not always the case.

Getting closer to understanding the process. Now, try to find out why many prosecutors decide not to prosecute many indictments and why many defendants are determined to be "not guilty" of many indictments (which often has nothing to do with whether they committed an act or not) and why many charges are dismissed why brought before a trial judge. Part of the answer lies in the fact that the grand jury has to decide based only upon the "evidence" that has been presented by the prosecution team; the defendant has not representative there. Part o the answer lies in the definition of indictment.