Minnesota Vikings star Adrian Peterson avoided jail time Tuesday in a plea agreement reached with prosecutors to resolve his child abuse case. Peterson pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor charge of reckless assault under the deal that Montgomery County state District Judge Kelly Case approved during a court hearing. A no contest plea isn’t an admission of guilt but is treated as such for sentencing.
The All-Pro running back was indicted in September on a felony charge of injury to a child for using a wooden switch to discipline his 4-year-old son earlier this year in suburban Houston.
Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is represented by 73 year old Houston Defense Attorney Rusty Hardin. Rusty is the "attorney of choice" for Texas athletes. He has gained acquittals for Roger Clemens, Steve Francis, Rudy Tomjanovich, Vernon Maxwell and Calvin Murphy. The month-long Murphy trial involved charges of molestation by Calvin to his five daughters.
In 1996, Hardin won an acquittal for former Houston Oilers quarterback Warren Moon, who was accused of spousal abuse. Hardin argued that it was a private family matter didn't belong in court. "This is a love story, folks. Not an assault," he said then.
Hardin has made a similar argument in the Peterson case: This is a family matter involving a father who loves his son.
It is easy to see why the prosecution would accept a plea deal from Adrian Peterson. The punishment of a $4,000.00 fine and 80 hours of community service is deemed reasonable by District Judge Kelly Case. The alternative may have been another acquittal for Rusty Hardin at the scheduled December 1st trial.
The motto for the Rusty Hardin's law firm(RH&A) is "We practice ethically, aggressively
and with passion.”
Let us hope that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell adds one more attribute to Rusty's motto. That would be compassion. Not for Adrian Peterson, but for the four year old boy who had to sit through this sham of a trial.
The domestic violence initiative that has been added to the new NFL personnel conduct policy calls for a six game suspension for the first offense, and a lifetime ban for the second one. Roger should accept the plea bargain from Adrian Peterson to sit out the rest of this season.
"I love my son more than anyone of you could even imagine and I’m anxious to continue my relationship with my child." Take all the time you need, Adrian.
Paul Murphy is a freelance writer from New Hampshire.