BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) – It did not take long for Joe D. Guerriero to feel like he had a winning case for his clients. The Ouachita Parish defense attorney represented Alabama offensive tackle Cam Robinson and defensive back Hootie Jones after they were arrested on marijuana and gun charges on May 17th.
“One look at what happened, at the incident, was quick enough to tell anyone there weren’t sufficient grounds to prosecute,” said Guerriero.
On Monday the Ouachita Parish Defense Attorney, Jerry Jones, agreed. “I want to emphasize once again that the main reason I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and teenage years, working and sweating, while we were all in the air conditioning to play football,” Jones told KNOE, the CBS affiliate in Monroe, LA.
Guerriero emphasized several times that there was no law in the state of Louisiana against carrying a hand gun in open view.
“In this particular case Mr. [Laurence] Jones was the one who called the attention of the gun to the police officers so he would not get in any trouble about it,” the defense attorney explained. “Once they saw it that’s what prompted the first arrests. After the first arrests were made anything that happened subsequent to that was not appropriate.” Guerriero also pointed out that while the park in which the two were arrested was closed, being there does not carry a punishment, saying, “They should not have been there after the park closed but that is not a crime.”
As for the second handgun found in the car that led to felony charges against Robinson for illegal possession of a stolen firearm, Guerriero said, “It is my understanding and belief that the handgun was legally purchased [by Robinson] not knowing it was stolen.”
Louisiana law states, “It shall be an affirmative defense to a prosecution for a violation of this Section that the offender had no knowledge that the firearm was the subject of any form of misappropriation.”
Absent from the police report was the fact that there were two other passengers in the car at the time of Jones’ and Robinson’s arrests. District Attorney Jones confirmed the presence of four people in the car.
“That’s one of the most significant things,” said Guerriero. “They arrested and handcuffed all four people. Then they did some checking and at some point I’m sure they found out two of the people were Alabama football players, and at that point they unhandcuffed and unnarrested the other two and sent them on their way.”
Guerriero expressed outrage and confusion at the internet claims of preferential treatment for athletes. “In this case, in my opinion, it was [the] two men released and sent home that got the preferential treatment,” he said empathically.
The charges against the two players were not dropped, so the prosecution could choose to pursue it as long as the various statute of limitations allow. Guerriero does not see that happening.
“There will be no new evidence because no new evidence can surface down the road,” he said. “There’s nothing else to surface.”
CBS42 reached out to Alabama for comment, but was told head coach Nick Saban had none.