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Cleveland Browns

Attorney expects Stallworth to serve less than 30 days; league action next

By Marla Ridenour Published: June 16, 2009

An NFL source said commissioner Roger Goodell is expected to discipline Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth before the start of training camp after he pleaded guilty to DUI manslaughter Tuesday.

The Browns report to camp July 31 and hold their first practice on Aug. 1.

According to a release from the Florida State Attorney's office, Stallworth pleaded guilty in front of Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Dennis Murphy after the car he was driving on March 14 stuck and killed pedestrian Mario Reyes, 59, in Miami Beach. Stallworth's blood alcohol level was .126, according to an April 1 affidavit submitted when charges were filed.

Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 10 years of probation. His attorney, Chris Lyons, said the first two years will be community controlled, but there will be no electronic monitoring or home detention. Lyons said he expected Stallworth to serve about 23 or 24 days in jail, getting out early for ''gain time'' service.

Janelle Hall, a spokesman for the Miami-Dade County Corrections Department, said gain time involves work around the facility and good behavior.

''But I can't say that will be offered to him,'' Hall said. ''I'm not sure it will be offered to him because of his status. We have to review his charges and figure out if he's qualified for gain time.''

Tere Chavez, spokeswoman for the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office, said, ''As far as we're concerned, his sentence is 30 days.''

Hall said Stallworth would be remanded to the Turner Guilford Knight Correctional Center. She said their county does not have a minimum security facility.

Lyons said Stallworth was immediately taken into custody, as they had requested. According to the State Attorney's release, Stallworth will also lose his driving privileges for life and must perform 1,000 hours of community service. He must donate $2,500 to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, $2,500 to ''Parents of Murdered Children,'' and pay $1,842.88 to the Miami Beach Police Department, $813.14 to the Miami-Dade Police Department and $583 in court costs.

''We're very pleased,'' Lyons said. ''The four-year mandatory sentence was waived by the court. The judicial range is over 10 years for this type of charge.'' The maximum sentence was 15 years.

Lyons confirmed that Stallworth reached a confidential financial settlement with the Reyes family that prohibits them from filing civil charges or a wrongful death suit. Stallworth was scheduled to receive a $4.5 million roster bonus from the Browns on March 13.

''The Reyes family wanted closure,'' Lyons said. ''In court they read letters from the family expressing that.''

Under the league's personal conduct and substance abuse policies, Goodell could continue to wield a heavy hand. If a player is convicted or admits to a violation of the law regarding alcohol, the substance abuse policy gives the commissioner more leverage when there are aggravating circumstances, which include serious injury or death of a third party.

The Philadelphia Inquirer reported two years ago that Stallworth was part of the league's substance abuse program. Players in Stage Two face at least a four-game suspension for violations of the program and those in Stage 3 are banned from the league for a year.

Rams defensive end Leonard Little pleaded guilty to voluntary manslaughter in 1998 when his blood alcohol level was twice the legal limit during an accident that killed the driver of the other vehicle. Leonard was suspended for eight games.

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