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Published: Wednesday, 9/26/2007

Vick tests positive for marijuana; judge adds restrictions

ASSOCIATED PRESS

RICHMOND, Va. A federal judge placed tighter restrictions on Michael Vick today after the Atlanta Falcons quarterback tested positive for marijuana.

Because of the result, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson placed special conditions on Vick s release, including restricting him to his home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. with electronic monitoring and ordering him to submit to random drug testing.

The urine sample was submitted Sept. 13, according to a document by a federal probation officer that was filed in U.S. District Court today.

Vick, who has admitted bankrolling a dogfighting operation on property he owns in Surry County in his written federal plea, is scheduled for sentencing Dec. 10. He faces up to five years in prison.

Because Vick violated the conditions of his release, Hudson could take that into consideration during sentencing, said Linda Malone, a criminal procedure expert and Marshall-Wythe Foundation professor of law at the College of William and Mary.

Every judge considers pretty seriously if they feel that the defendant has flaunted the conditions for release, Malone said. It s certainly not a smart thing to do.

On Tuesday, Vick also was indicted on state charges of beating or killing or causing dogs to fight other dogs and engaging in or promoting dogfighting. Each felony is punishable by up to five years in prison.

The 27-year-old former Virginia Tech star was placed under pretrial release supervision by U.S. Magistrate Dennis Dohnal in July. The restrictions included refraining from use or unlawful possession of narcotic drugs or other controlled substances.

The random drug testing ordered today could include urine testing, the wearing of a sweat patch, a remote alcohol testing system or any form of prohibited substance screening or testing.

Hudson s order also requires Vick to participate in inpatient or outpatient substance therapy and mental health counseling, if the pretrial services officer or supervising officer deem it appropriate. Vick must pay for the treatment.

Vick s attorney, Billy Martin, did not immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.

In January, Vick was cleared by police of any wrongdoing after his water bottle was seized by security at Miami International Airport. Police said it smelled of marijuana and had a hidden compartment that contained a small amount of dark particulate.

Lab tests found no evidence of drugs, and Vick explained that he used the secret compartment to carry jewelry.

The federal dogfighting case began in late April when authorities conducting a drug investigation of Vick s cousin raided the property and seized dozens of dogs, most of them pit bulls, and equipment commonly associated with dogfighting.

Six weeks later, when the local investigation seemed to be dragging and a local search warrant was allowed to expire, federal agents arrived with their own warrants and started digging up dog carcasses buried days before the first raid.

Vick has admitted helping kill six to eight dogs, among other things. His three co-defendants also have pleaded guilty. One of them, Quanis Phillips, failed a drug test and was ordered jailed after his plea.

Phillips and co-defendants Tony Taylor and Purnell Peace were placed on electronic monitoring at the time of their arraignments because they had prior criminal records.

Vick had no prior criminal record, so monitoring is the next step for him, the U.S. Attorney s Office said. Another failed drug test likely would land him in jail.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com



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