Felony charge against Marshon Lattimore dropped, Pro Bowl CB sentenced to probation

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New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore had his felony charge of possession of a stolen gun dropped, per Amy Dash of League of Justice. Per Cuyahoga County Clerk of Courts, Lattimore pled not guilty to possession of a stolen weapon and entered a guilty plea for the lower misdemeanor charge of carrying a concealed weapon per Section 2923.12 (B)(1) of Ohio State Code. In exchange for the lesser charge plea, prosecutors struck a deal with Lattimore that ordered him sentenced to probation for one year.

When Lattimore was first arrested back in late March of 2021, he was charged with receiving stolen property – a fourth-degree felony – and failure to notify officers of a weapon in his possession. He does have a valid concealed carry license, per records. Ohio law states that under the charge of receiving stolen property, one cannot receive, retain or hold, or dispose of property of another knowing, or having reasonable cause to believe, that the property was obtained through theft.

As the weapon was found to be stolen in 2018, there was no evidence Lattimore knew, or should have reasonably known, which is the standard for civil cases in example for negligence, that he was in possession of a stolen gun. At the time, his attorney publicly said this was a misunderstanding.

Failure to notify is a first-degree misdemeanor in Ohio that carries a max possible 180-day jail sentence and $1k fine. In his plea deal, the sentence is suspended if he pays the necessary fine and complies with his probation terms. The stolen property charge, however, was a fourth-degree felony with a max possible 18-month prison sentence, a minimum stay of 6 months per Ohio law, and a fine up to $5,000.

At the time of his arrest, I speculated Lattimore may plead guilty to the lesser misdemeanor; often individuals plead guilty to the lower offense in exchange for dropped greater charges. And it’s important to remember a plea deal doesn’t make him guilty of the felony charge here. From the beginning, this genuinely read like a misunderstanding with no reasonable ability to prove Lattimore’s knowledge of a gun stolen more than two years prior.

In Ohio, there are no requirements for individuals to trace and confirm previous ownership in compliance with a lawful gun purchase through a private sale or store. Moreover, Lattimore immediately told officers he had a gun on his person when asked, and that he indeed had a valid concealed carry license. That burden to notify, however, is on the individual; released video shows little time if any for Lattimore to pre-inform officers before asked.

Now that the conviction is simply a misdemeanor, an ultimately harmless one at that, Lattimore is unlikely to face NFL disciplinary action. A suspension would not be in line with the previous handling of gun-related charges, which Lattimore aided with his compliance and calmness displayed in the body cam video. Any suspension or fine from the NFL head office would break precedent from how they’ve handled these situations before.

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