Special conditions placed on Vick after positive marijuana test

Updated: September 27, 2007, 12:46 PM ET
Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. -- Michael Vick is now likely one misstep from jail.

The disgraced Atlanta Falcons quarterback tested positive for marijuana earlier this month, a violation of the conditions of his release as he awaits sentencing in federal court on a dogfighting charge that already jeopardizes his freedom and career.

Now, he's incurred the ire of the judge who could sentence him to up to five years in prison in the dogfighting case. On the day of Vick's guilty plea, U.S. District Judge Henry Hudson warned that he wouldn't be amused by any additional trouble.

Hudson, who will sentence Vick on Dec. 10, on Wednesday ordered him confined to his Virginia home between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. with electronic monitoring. He also must submit to random drug testing.

If Vick fails another drug test, he likely will wind up like co-defendant Quanis Phillips -- incarcerated since his Aug. 17 plea hearing. Phillips failed a drug test when he had the electronic monitoring and random drug testing requirements.

Vick's positive urine sample was submitted Sept. 13, according to a document by a federal probation officer that was filed in U.S. District Court on Wednesday.

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," she said.

"It's certainly not a smart thing to do."

Especially not when his behavior is being watched so closely, not only by the court that allowed him to remain free, but by the public whose forgiveness he's seeking.

In Atlanta, Vick's one-time teammates tried to distance themselves from his latest troubles.

"That's the last thing I'm worried about," linebacker Keith Brooking said at the Falcons' suburban practice facility. "We're 0-3. We're trying to get a win."

Safety Lawyer Milloy agreed.

"I just want to play ball," he said. "I'm so tired of talking about everything else, stuff we can't control that has nothing to do with us."

The failed drug test is just the latest legal trouble for the 27-year-old Vick.

On Tuesday, Vick 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. His arraignment on that is set for Oct. 3.

The 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 Wednesday 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.

"This is a very difficult time for Mr. Vick," Vick's attorney, Billy Martin, said in a written statement. "He will comply with the court's new conditions regarding release."

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 Vick owns in Surry County and seized dozens of dogs, most of them pit bulls, and equipment associated with dogfighting.

Vick initially denied any knowledge of the enterprise, then pledged after he was charged that he would fight to clear his name. After Phillips and two other co-defendants pleaded guilty, Vick followed suit and admitted in a written plea to bankrolling the enterprise and helping to kill eight dogs that performed poorly.

Vick was the only defendant not placed on electronic monitoring at the arraignments because he was the only one with no criminal record, the U.S. Attorney's office said.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press