When can I tell “my side” of the story and who should I tell? New Orleans Saint Alvin Kamara pleads no contest, settles a civil suit, and will meet with NFL commissioner.
Recently NFL running back Alvin Kamara reached a no contest plea agreement with prosecutors in Nevada after he originally faced felony charges following a fight, which occurred prior the Pro Bowl in February 2022. While this occurred over a year ago, it is not unusual for criminal cases to take this long to resolve either through a trial or some type of non trial disposition in the form of a plea or a diversion program such as ARD in Pennsylvania or PTI in New Jersey.
What happened in the Alvin Kamara case in Nevada?
According to the terms of plea, Kamara pled no contest to a misdemeanor charge of breach of the peace. There is a substantial difference between a criminal conviction for misdemeanor and a felony. While a felony charge subjects someone to a likely jail and potentially state prison sentence, a misdemeanor will likely result in some form of probation but jail is still a possibility.
In Kamara’s case, he was sentence to 30 hours of community service, and ordered to pay the victim’s medical bills which totaled over $100,000. In addition to this criminal penalty, Kamara also reached a civil settlement with the victim for an undisclosed amount.
Why did Kamara plead no contest?
Following his arrest, a Nevada grand jury indicted Kamara on the felony charge but the agreement with prosecutors reduced it to a misdemeanor no contest plea. No contest is procedurally the same as a guilty plea except that the accused person does not accept responsibility for what occurred. A no contest plea is advised where a likely civil suit will be brought following a criminal action. It is important to keep in mind that the civil and criminal courtrooms have two different standards for liability and a criminal conviction. In a civil court, the burden is on the plaintiff to persuade the court by a “preponderance” whereas the burden is on the prosecution in a criminal court to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.
Kamara was indicted on the felony charge. Nevada, like New Jersey, maintains an indictment system of justice whereas Pennsylvania utilizes a preliminary hearing system for most of its criminal cases. The burden of proof to obtain an indictment is very low compared to what a prosecutor needs to obtain a conviction at a criminal trial
Did Kamara get a good deal?
Kamara received a very standard penalty following his plea and it is likely that he could have his criminal record expunged at some point. This was a very good result given that it was likely that Kamara would have been convicted at a trial and received a much harsher sentence which could have included a jail term.
When should Kamara “tell his side” of the story?
Following this criminal case and settling the civil case, it appears that Kamara will tell “his side” to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. On the correct advice of his criminal and civil lawyer Kamara correctly did not make any statement to media or NFL representatives regarding what allegedly occurred. If Kamara had made a written on verbal statement to anyone but his lawyers, all communications would have been admissible in court against him!
If you’re arrested and charged with a crime in Pennsylvania or New Jersey, it is important to NOT speak with anyone about what occurred except your criminal defense lawyer.
Regardless of what happened in the criminal or even the civil cases against Kamara will likely face fines and a possible suspension from the NFL. According to the NFL’s league rules under its Collective Bargaining agreement with players any player found to have engaged in this type of conduct is subject to discipline even if there is no criminal conviction.
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