ATHENS — From all accounts, Isaiah Crowell is facing up to five years in prison and/or probation on the felony weapons charges that landed him in jail this past Friday.
The Georgia running back was dismissed from the team by head coach Mark Richt approximately 15 hours after an unregistered handgun was found under the driver’s seat of his car at a road block. Crowell was taken to Athens-Clarke County jail and was charged with possession of a weapon with an altered identification, possession of a weapon in a school zone [UGA] and possession of a concealed weapon. The first two charges are felonies.
As of Monday, Crowell did not have a court date and has not filed a notice of legal representation, according to court records and officials.
“I’m not aware of any court date at all at this point; I’m not even aware that it has been assigned to a judge yet,” said Ken Mauldin, district attorney of the Western Judicial Circuit, which covers Oconee and Athens-Clarke counties. “We’re just in the process of gathering all the reports and creating a file. We’ll review it and assess it and see where we’re at with everything.”
According to criminal defense attorneys contacted by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday, Crowell likely will get probation since he does not have a previous criminal history.
“It depends on if they want to make an example of him,” said Tom Kemp, a criminal defense attorney in Atlanta who was a prosecutor in DeKalb County for six years. “The prosecutor could seek some prison time, but I doubt they will. They may seek some combination of probation and maybe some county time, six months, 30 days, something in that range.”
Kim Stephens, a criminal defense attorney in Athens, agrees.
“He could probably enter a first-offender plea and and get probation so that he could transfer somewhere else that would agree to let him come in,” said Stephens, an All-SEC offensive lineman for the Bulldogs in the 1980s. “They would probably dismiss the possession on school property charge because of the questions of the constitutionality of it and use a first-offender plea on the other two, would be my guess. But with no criminal history it’s probably a probation case.”
Both lawyers believe Crowell will be looking to resolve his case as quickly as possible in order to get on with his life and career rather than vigorously fighting the charges.
“That charge of possession of a weapon with a filed-off serial number is a problem,” Stephens said. “So realistically he could use first offender on it if he was trying to get rid of it quickly. That would keep him from having a felony conviction on his record and more than likely result in probation and he could get it behind him sooner rather than later. Otherwise, if they don’t indict him for six months or more, all the sudden he’s got it hanging over his head to a point that it could keep him playing a year from now.
“If he’s going to move his life forward he needs to try to get it over with.”
Unless a pretrial deal is struck, it’s not likely Crowell’s case will be adjudicated anytime soon.
“There’s no typical timeline,” Mauldin said. “It’s just a matter of reviewing it and making the prosecution decision. You’d think basically it’d be in the next month or so.”
There’s still no word from Crowell’s camp. Members of his family declined comment again on Monday.
Crowell is the fifth starter on Georgia’s football team that is expected to miss playing time due to arrests or internal disciplinary issues this coming season. The others are safety Bacarri Rambo (failed drug test), cornerback Sanders Commings (domestic violence arrest), linebacker Alec Ogletree (team rules violation) and Branden Smith (marijuana arrest).
Crowell, a rising sophomore, was Georgia’s leading rusher with 850 yards last season and was named SEC freshman of the year.