Marcus Morris criminal case

Imbricus

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Sports Illustrated on the fly in the ointment with Marcus Morris. The trial is scheduled for Aug. 21:
The incident followed a youth basketball game. Hood, who was approximately 35 years old at the time, was walking out of the gymnasium and intending to go home when someone came from behind and whacked him. The hit caused Hood to fall to the ground. Hood then tried to run to his car but was stopped and attacked by five men.

Hood, who in October 2016 filed a civil lawsuit against the Morris twins and the three other men, says he’s known the Morris twins for years. The Morris twins, however, not only say they had nothing to do with the incident but they also deny having previous ties to Hood. Law enforcement officers believe the attack was premeditated and retaliation for Hood texting an “inappropriate” message to the mother of the Morris twins.

If convicted, the Morris twins would not only face possible jail time but also minimum 10-game NBA suspensions.
 

maufman

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Sports Illustrated on the fly in the ointment with Marcus Morris. The trial is scheduled for Aug. 21:
This sounds like the sort of case that would normally be disposed of with a misdemeanor plea and some sort of agreement to provide restitution to the victim, but you'd think that would have happened by now -- the charges have been pending for more than two years.

I don't think Silver is going to feel compelled to hand down a long suspension to a player who beat the shit out of some guy who allegedly sexted his mother (Collison got 8 games for pleading to a misdemeanor charge in a domestic case; I'd expect Morris to get less than that), so as long as Morris avoids jail time, I'm not too worried about losing his services for an extended period.
 

pappymojo

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This sounds like the sort of case that would normally be disposed of with a misdemeanor plea and some sort of agreement to provide restitution to the victim, but you'd think that would have happened by now -- the charges have been pending for more than two years.

I don't think Silver is going to feel compelled to hand down a long suspension to a player who beat the shit out of some guy who allegedly sexted his mother (Collison got 8 games for pleading to a misdemeanor charge in a domestic case; I'd expect Morris to get less than that), so as long as Morris avoids jail time, I'm not too worried about losing his services for an extended period.
I dont think two years to go to trial is that significant or unusual, sadly.
 

Rovin Romine

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This sounds like the sort of case that would normally be disposed of with a misdemeanor plea and some sort of agreement to provide restitution to the victim, but you'd think that would have happened by now -- the charges have been pending for more than two years.

I don't think Silver is going to feel compelled to hand down a long suspension to a player who beat the shit out of some guy who allegedly sexted his mother (Collison got 8 games for pleading to a misdemeanor charge in a domestic case; I'd expect Morris to get less than that), so as long as Morris avoids jail time, I'm not too worried about losing his services for an extended period.
Some more facts:
http://www.azcentral.com/story/sports/nba/suns/2015/04/21/phoenix-suns-markieff-marcus-morris-charged-felony-assault/26139693/

I'd agree that this seems to be most likely a plea to a lesser/restitution scenario. If the amount money sought in the civil suit is the hold-up, a skilled defense attorney could do something with that at trial. Once the victim has a motivation to lie/fabricate, you're often looking good. And here, there seems to be an unusual back story - was there actual sexting, what is the victim's relationship to the twins, etc.
 

maufman

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I dont think two years to go to trial is that significant or unusual, sadly.
I agree that a two-year wait is not unusual. My point (which I made poorly) was that you would expect the Morris brothers to be eager to plead to a misdemeanor, cut a seven-figure check to the victim, and put this nasty incident behind them -- but they've had more than two years to get that done, and it hasn't happened. Such a resolution is still the most likely outcome, but I'm at least a little worried that this case is actually going to go to trial.
 

maufman

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You can follow the case on the Maricopa County Superior Court website: http://www.superiorcourt.maricopa.gov/docket/CriminalCourtCases/caseInfo.asp?caseNumber=CR2015-001671

The page states that trial is set for 9/12/17 but this is second or third time that a trial date has been listed.
Thanks. I figured this existed, but I couldn't find it. I imagine sportswriters have been similarly unsuccessful, and no one wanted to pay a local lawyer (or call in a favor from one) to get info on two peripheral NBA players, only one of whom appears to be in significant jeopardy. (From what's been written in the press, I expect Markieff will be acquitted if this goes to trial.) That probably explains the lack of coverage.

The original trial date was in September 2015, which I'm guessing everyone assumed would get pushed. It appears the only other trial date was the widely-reported August 21 date, which has now apparently been pushed to September 12. That's a pretty minor postponement, which suggests (to me, anyway) that Morris probably won't be able to kick the van down the road beyond the 2017-18 season -- either he works out a plea deal, or this case is likely going to trial fairly soon.

Would love to get @Rovin Romine to weigh in, but I'm guessing he has bigger fish to fry right now.
 

maufman

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Two co-defendants pleaded guilty on Wednesday to two counts apiece of aggravated assault. Those are the crimes for which they were charged -- they didn't plead to a lesser offense. None of the reports I have seen mentioned anything about an agreement with the prosecution on sentencing.

Perhaps those two are willing to take the fall for the others and will testify in a way that would help exonerate them, but that's pure speculation on my part.
 

maufman

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Recap of the trial's first day.

https://www.yahoo.com/news/openings-begin-trial-nba-players-accused-assault-072814216--spt.html

Prosecutor Dan Fisher said it was a coordinated mission and "orchestrated attack" after the victim sent text messages to the Morris twins' mother that angered them.

Defense lawyers insisted the twins did not participate in the attack and questioned the reliability and financial motives of the man who was beaten. The lawyer for Marcus Morris, Timothy Eckstein, said witness statements that form the basis of the case are "entirely inconsistent and incompatible with the truth."
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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HowBoutDemSox

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Here's the AZCentral account: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/09/18/nba-marcus-markief-morris-twins-aggravated-assault-trial-phoenix-opening-statements/678767001/

Defense attorneys said Kane and Melendez [two associates of the Morris twins who pled guilty to their charges] will testify that only they attacked Hood. Eckstein said the beef with Kane and Hood stemmed from years earlier, when Hood failed to pay up after losing some bets.
Sounds like they took Cris Carter's advice.

Edit: not saying what did or did not happen, but two other guys to take the fall seems pretty helpful to their case.
 

Rovin Romine

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Here's the AZCentral account: http://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2017/09/18/nba-marcus-markief-morris-twins-aggravated-assault-trial-phoenix-opening-statements/678767001/

Defense attorneys said Kane and Melendez [two associates of the Morris twins who pled guilty to their charges] will testify that only they attacked Hood. Eckstein said the beef with Kane and Hood stemmed from years earlier, when Hood failed to pay up after losing some bets.
Well, the usual strong caveats apply from trying to get a read on a trail through reporting, plus the fact this is AZ law, so there may be local quirks.

The potential testimony seems a huge plus for the twins. However, the prosecutor is entitled to a cross and to impeach if possible - so there's really no good option for Kane and Melendez to only testify that they alone did the beating. And even if they successfully stonewalled 100%, a jury could simply disregard their testimony on that ground. The burden is still on the prosecutor though - to show beyond a reasonable doubt that the twins committed the crime they're charged with.

Absent some physical or third party evidence (video, bystanders, etc.), a defendant's chances for an acquittal in a classic "he said, she said" battery case are usually very good, provided the defense attorney is at least competent.

(If the defense attorney is not competent, sometimes juries will lose sight of the proof beyond reasonable doubt standard and fall into a 50-50 civil trial scenario, where they feel they must find in favor of one party or another (or "determine the truth of what happened"), and try to break the perceived deadlock by giving independent evidence inappropriate weight - for example, convicting in a 50-50 scenario by relying on a hostile text message from the twins to Hood. While the tie breaker approach is tempting, because that's how most of us make decisions, it's far beyond a jury's mandate and responsibility. A good defense attorney will sink those kinds of arguments, overt or implied, and remind the jury that if the prosecutor does not give them the truth, gift wrapped and glittering, they must acquit. I write this mostly because newspaper reporting tends to focus on a tit-for-tat, plus and minus approach, instead of looking at the big picture of "is there reasonable doubt here?")

Another wrinkle - if not involved in the attack, the twins may have exposure to accomplice liability of some form, basically if they orchestrated the attack (or under AZ law, perhaps if they encouraged the attack or failed to report it.) However, there may be a procedural bar to the AZ prosecutors changing the charges or theory of prosecution after the jury is sworn.

Assuming all details balance out (less than perfect testimony from both sides), I have to say the twins have an excellent chance of acquittal. (Usual caveats applied, of course.)
 

HomeRunBaker

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A testifying witness (and friend of Hood's) said she saw one of the Morris brothers participate in the attack, but she couldn't say which one. The defense introduced texts between Hood and the witness discussing a potential civil suit.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/amp.azcentral.com/amp/690633001
NBA fans saw one of the Morris brothers participate in the NBA playoffs following an injury that appeared to be fairly significant.....but they couldn't say which one.

#conspiracy #flatearth #whatisreal
 

Rovin Romine

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This is a bit long, but interesting.

Just played this in the background. It has some good clips of witnesses testifying. (And yes, no matter how scintillating the information, it usually comes out that flatly and slowly.)

Anyway, it looks fantastically good for the defense:

One of the eyewitnesses testified that he was asked to give a false statement re: the beating, implicating the twins, whom he did not see on site when he arrived. It wasn't too clear who tried to induce the witness to lie (a guy named Hickerson?), but the witness was basically offered a kickback out of any settlement/payout to the victim, which he refused. That's gold for the defense - solid gold. I don't know why the prosecutor would have proceeded to trial if they knew about this testimony ahead of time; this is grounds for a nolle pros, even if it comes up mid-trial.

Additionally, Hickerson apparently didn't show up for the trial and there were some questions that suggested the state didn't involve the lead detective in the case in an attempt to locate him for trial. Which may not be entirely fair but looks bad.​

Also, the victim filed a civil suit asking for 7mil for his broken nose, which apparently the jury got to hear about.​

Nothing is guaranteed, but these facts (in a classic he-said, she-said) would tempt nearly any defense attorney to ask the prosecution: "You're seriously going to try this piece of shit? Do we even bother with voir dire? Let's just put the first six in the box and get this finished today."

(IMO, it was exceptionally bad form for the prosecutor to object to the testimony re: tampering as he did in the clips. The objections weren't improper, but the juror takeaway is that it looks like the state is trying to cover up/impede testimony about witness tampering in order to hang a celebrity scalp on the wall.)