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No Charges Coming for Harrison

From: Pro Football

Prosecutorial discretion is one of the most expansive and powerful concepts in the law. With that authority, the representatives of the public decide who gets charged with the commission of crimes.

And who doesn’t.

In Philadelphia, the fact that a gun owned by Colts receiver Marvin Harrison fired up to six bullets at another man in April 2008 has yet to prompt District Attorney Lynne Abraham to pursue charges against Harrison.

And Abraham said at a Tuesday press conference that no charges will be pursued.

She explained that she does not believe there are credible accounts of the events that resulted in the shooting of the gun owned by Harrison at David Dixon, who previously was charged with making false statements to police, after he apparently offered up a different explanation for his injuries — possibly in order to avoid “snitching” on Harrison.

In other words, Abraham does not believe that a jury would find that Harrison was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. Or, perhaps more accurately, she’s not inclined to take on the risk of a high-profile courtroom butt-kicking — regardless of whether the facts (and common sense) suggest that Harrison was something more than an innocent bystander.

That said, the notion that, sometimes, the victim and the eyewitnesses wouldn’t be believed even if they are telling the truth supports the conclusion that taxpayer money shouldn’t be devoted to an ultimately unsuccessful prosecution. Nevertheless, Pennsylvania law seems to make Harrison responsible for the fact that his gun escaped from his custody and was fired at another person, regardless of whether Harrison’s finger pulled the trigger.

If, in other words, Plaxico Burress faces a mandatory sentence of three-and-a-half years for accidentally blowing a hole through his own leg in Manhattan, Harrison should at least face some criminal liability in Philadelphia for allowing his gun to get into the hands of someone who then tried to blow a hole through someone else with it.

Until the applicable statutes of limitations expire, Abraham has the ability to revisit the case, if/when other evidence becomes available. And with a civil action pending in which any decision to invoke the Fifth Amendment by Harrison can and will be used against him before the civil court jury, it would be very wise (as we pointed out for in October) for Harrison to settle the case quickly and quietly, before it leads to the development of any evidence that then could be used against Harrison by Abraham.

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