Bengals Defensive Lineman Sam Montgomery was arrested a couple months back in South Carolina; his only offense speeding. As we’ve discussed before on Crimcourts, that’s not enough for a criminal charge in Florida, as when Dodger Yasiel Puig was arrested for high speed on Alligator Alley. However, speeding alone can bring a reckless driving charge in Virginia, and that will land you in a jail for a few days, if you get popped in a town that’s far enough away from civilization. Apparently, arrest for speed is within an officer’s discretion in South Carolina… and that’s not what got the trooper in hot water.
Sam Montgomery Arrest Video
The trooper ended up losing his job for unprofessionalism. The video is jarring. He asked Montgomery if he was military, and when Montgomery responded that he was in the NFL. As soon as Madison told him that he played football, he put him under arrest, apparently the fact that he plays in the NFL made him more arrestable. It actually goes down from there, as the trooper pulls out his taser and threatens to use it on Montgomery. Montgomery, to his credit, is nothing but polite with the trooper.
I don’t think Montgomery got arrested for being in the NFL; I think the cop just had a personal policy for arresting people, as he says, “25 over, you get arrested.” I don’t think he needed to threaten a Taser: Madison was as compliant as anyone I’ve ever seen stopped. And while the officer has the discretion to arrest, it should only be reserved for special circumstances, not mere speed (perhaps extreme speed, or someone who doesn’t have their license or ID on them). An arrest escalates the tension of the encounter. It is substantially more taxing on resources, as it involves jail personnel, booking, and it takes the trooper off of his patrol probably at least a few hours each arrest. All over a $300 ticket. It’s not necessary to arrest someone for a misdemeanor more of the time, much less for a simple ticket.
Also, I’m biased. I’m a Bengals fan… though Montgomery is not projected to end up making the team.
Ex-Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
We’ve been busy around these parts and haven’t gotten to keep the blog as current as I’d like. I did want to take a brief moment and update on a case that we’ve followed extensively on Crimcourts, that of former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones. In addition to the criminal case related to the affair she had with one of the students she taught, she also had a defamation case against theDirty.com and its proprietor, Nik Ritchie. She was awarded a $300 thousand-plus judgment at trial, but this week an appellate court ruled that Mr. Ritchie was not liable for the postings of outside commentors. This is an important protection of Freedom of the Press for all websites, this one included, that mean that the publisher is not liable for the defamation of outside/ 3rd parties. The court confirmed that Ms. Jones was defamed by the comments on theDirty, but since theDirty did not post them, they were not liable.
Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones successfully sued theDirty.com publisher Nik Richie for rumors posted on his website. She was awarded over $300,000 by a Kentucky jury on the civil suit. The case will be heard today by the Federal Appellate court in Cincinnati. What’s at issue, and why the case is being watched by internet publishers everywhere, is the liability of the website for content that was not posted by theDirty, rather by internet commentors. The appellate decision will have far-reaching implications for internet publisher’s potential liability for third-party contributors. A decision probably won’t be handed down for several months.
Jones also made news for her relationship with a student for whom she was a teacher. She was convicted of a related misdemeanor in that case. Crimcourts has had extensive coverage of the Jones cases: https://crimcourts.wordpress.com/category/ohio/sarah-jones/
UPDATE: Cincinnati.com has more on the 1st Amendment implications of the court’s decision on this case.
Posted in Civil, Criminal Law, Federal, First Amendment, Ohio, Sarah Jones
Tagged bengals, cheerleader, cincinnati, defamation, kentucky, nik richie, sarah jones, sexcrime, thedirty
Adam Jones on Video
Cincinnati Bengal Adam Jones (formerly known as “Pacman”) was acquitted today at a trial on his charge of assault from last June. Shannon Wesley had accused Jones of punching her, but he argued that he was acting in self-defense because she had first dumped a beer on him. The judge agreed, saying she was the initial aggressor with the beer bottle, and found Jones not guilty. The entire incident was captured on video. He faces no further criminal sanctions for the incident.
Former Bengals Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones, (a cheerleader for the Cincinnati Bengals), won her defamation suit today in Federal Court in Northern Kentucky. The jury awarded her $338,000.00 for the harm to her reputation. The case is extremely noteworthy from a tech and journalistic point of view, because the judge ruled that thedirty.com and operator Nik Richie were not immune from liability for third-party comments. The judge distinguished the site because Richie solicited the comments and responded with more of his own. Essentially, the court found that he could be liable since he was involved in the comments, and the jury found him liable as well. However, the jury did not award Ms. Jones the multimillion-dollar verdict that Jones’ attorney Eric Deters asked for with the intent of putting the website out of business. Collecting on this judgment will still be a challenge for Jones and Deters.
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
The jury deadlocked after their second day of deliberation in the former Bengal cheerleader Sarah Jones’ defamation case against TheDirty.com and it’s owner, Nik Richie. According to wcpo.com, the jury was 9-1 in Jones’ favor, though this would only indicate liability, not what amount would be awarded. I have previously speculated that even if TheDirty is found liable, the 11 million dollars requested seems exhorbitant. Jones’ attorney, Eric Deters, has previoiusly indicated he would try the case again if the jury deadlocked. The results of this trial will have little to no bearing on any retrial of the case.
The jury is now deliberating whether TheDirty.com is liable for defamation for the posts about her. She is seeking $11 million in damages. The jury could be back this afternoon, or it could continue late this evening or even another day.
UPDATE: The jury has not reached a verdict today, and has broken for the night. They will be back to deliberate tomrrow:
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones
TheDirty.com blogger known as Nik Richie testified today, as did Ms. Jones. Regardless whether he is liable for the comments of others, Ms. Jones will have a difficult time proving damages, as today she testified that she did not lose either job after the post was made. She is almost certainly a public figure, providing Mr. Richie more leeway for commentary, and a higher burden on her to prove her case. Also, she could come across as greedy for asking for 11 million dollars. She may be entitled to some money for the harm to her reputation, but not 11 million dollars. This case is essentially unrelated to her criminal case for sleeping with her student.
Former Bengal Cheerleader Sarah Jones
Former Ben-Gal Sarah Jones, who earlier entered a guilty plea in her criminal case, is going to trial this week on a civil case: for defamation. Her earlier case was covered extensively by Crimcourts. The defamation case actually predates her criminal case, going back a few years to come things posted on website TheDirty.com. On that site, she was accused of several things she disputes, including sleeping with one or more Cincinnati Bengals, contracting STDs from her former boyfriend, and having sex with a man in her classroom.
The case is interesting from a defamation standpoint. She is suing the website, and its owner ‘Nik Richie’, for making statements that harmed her reputation. The legal twist is that most of the offending comments were not generated by Richie, but by commenters on the website. Generally, websites are not responsible for content posted by others. That’s why Facebook doesn’t get sued every time anybody posts something libelous. However, Jones is claiming that since TheDirty exercises editorial control over the comments, that they are more akin to a newspaper that publishes defamatory statements. Richie counters that the only thing he personally posted is that she is a ‘freak’ in bed, and is claiming truth as a defense. To back it up, the defense is prepared to share some of the steamy text messages from Jones’ criminal case.
As a blogger, I hope that Richie is not found liable for the comments of others. TheDirty is probably going to see a surge of hits thanks to publicity for this trial: Crimcourts has already seen a surge thanks to our coverage of the earlier case. I am not a fan of Richie’s site, but I don’t think he should take an 11 million dollar hit for outside commenters. Even if liable, Jones will have difficulty proving damages. She already hurt her reputation immensely due to the illegal relationship she had with her student. She’s claiming this caused her to resign her job, but she was teaching until charges were brought in her criminal case. She has indicated an interest in law school, so she may end up earning more there than she would have in her teaching job anyway. I wish her luck as she pursues her law degree, and she is not likely to win retirement money in this suit.
Bengal Andre Smith was arrested, at the Atlanta Airport. He had a gun in his carry-on that he forgot to take out and carried it in with him. While it sounds shocking at first, it actually happens with some frequency. I had a client who didn’t realize his pistol was in his bag, and did the same thing a few years ago. I deposed the airport officer, who indicated it happens several times a year at our little airport. Local American Idol celebrity “Baby V” Vonzell Solomon was charged for it a few years ago. She had a carry permit, but that doesn’t let you take it to the airport! If you are an NFL player, carrying a gun is a recipe for trouble. Just ask Plaxico.