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Stallworth's attorney addresses backlash

By Marla Ridenour Published: June 18, 2009

Christopher Lyons, the attorney for Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth, disputed the public consensus that Stallworth's fame and weath allowed him to get off easy after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter.

With his plea bargain Tuesday, Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail and 10 years probation, the first two years under community control, and the loss of driving privileges for life. He will be allowed to work without electronic monitoring during the first two years and can apply for a hardship license after five years.

Stallworth was driving with a blood alcohol level of .126, above the state limit of .08, when he struck and killed pedestrian Mario Reyes, 59, in Miami Beach on March 14. Signed to a seven-year, $35 million contract in 2008, Stallworth had just received a $4.5 million roster bonus from the Browns on March 13.

''The fame and wealth, I was concerned that would be a hindrance,'' Lyons said during a radio appearance Wednesday on 790 The Ticket in Miami. ''What we're hearing is if Joe Blow had the same case, he would have come out with a different result. And I take issue with that. I think the spotlight being on the case made it more difficult to reach this result.''

When show host Dan LeBetard suggested that Joe Blow can't afford Lyons, a former prosecutor, Lyons laughed and said, ''I'm getting a few of those calls today.''

Asked if an average attorney for a poor person could get the same result for his client, Lyons said, ''If they did the same things we did, they would get the same result.''

Lyons said the Reyes' family pushed for a quick resolution.

“The Reyes family throughout this process, and their attorneys, were great,'' Lyons told 790. ''They certainly did not want to see this case be relived with a trial. Obviously I think the prosecutor in the case (Tuesday) informed the judge that this case had a unique set of facts and evidence, like every case does in our system. Part of that was obviously about the fault issue in this case which some people called the causation element, and certainly among many factors that was an issue.''

Lyons would not say if he was referring to the fact that Reyes was not in the crosswalk when he was struck.

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