Morsels to Chew On and Questions to Ponder
Prosecutors announced Monday morning that charges of attempted aggravated robbery were being dropped against Janzen Jackson, 18 and Marie Montmarquet, the woman accused of acting as a getaway driver in a botched holdup Nov. 12 outside the Pilot convenience store on Cumberland Avenue. Charges against two former players, Nu’Keese Richardson, 18, and Mike Edwards, 18, still stand, according to Randy Nichols, Knox County district attorney general. Also, the charge against Ms. Montmarquet for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia will proceed.
The investigation and careful review of all relevant evidence failed to show … Ms. Montmarquet or Mr. Jackson had prior knowledge that the attempted robbery was going to take place and were unaware something had occurred until after they pulled out of the Pilot store. Therefore, there is an insufficient legal basis to continue a prosecution against them… Both Ms. Montmarquet and Mr. Jackson cooperated with the Knoxville Police Department from the time they were pulled over and voluntarily responded to police questioning. Their statements assisted the investigation and were consistent with the other evidence developed… It is an ethical obligation and the standard practice of district attorneys to dismiss charges at the earliest stage of the criminal justice process once investigations reveal the evidence.
– from the Knox County District Attorney’s statement.
Tiffany Carpenter, public relations director for UT athletics, indicated that no timetable had been set for a decision on Janzen Jackson’s playing status. Chris Low of ESPN.com indicates that the decision on Jackson’s playing status this weekend will ultimately be left up to Tennessee athletic director Mike Hamilton, who would consult with the university president on such an issue. Austin Translation, a GVX blog, reported Monday that “sources indicate Jackson could return to practice as soon as Tuesday.”
Here are some morsels to chew on.
- Jackson’s lawyer, Don Bosch, said Jackson never left the back seat of Montmarquet’s car at the Pilot station. Where’s the store’s surveillance video? Where is Rose Mary Woods?
- Didn’t Cory Zickefoose, the driver of the parked car, and one of the people held up, say that a third male (presumably Jackson) came over to his car to tell the two robbers former Vol players to leave? Again, where is that surveillance video? Where’s Rose Mary’s Baby? Where’s Pete Rose?
- Didn’t Zickefoose also say that he looked over at the car that the players exited from (a Prius – remember, this was a green robbery) and saw a woman laughing in the driver’s seat? The DA said that charges of robbery against her were being dropped for the same reason they were being dropped against Jackson – she had no prior knowledge that the attempted robbery was going to take place and was unaware something had occurred until after she pulled out of the Pilot store. What was she laughing about? Did Jackson tell her a funny story from the back seat?
- Montmarquet’s lawyer described her as a pre-law student. Now there is a ringing endorsement. The Weed Queen is soon to be a Torts Twat. Some of the sidebars of this story are the best parts of it, aren’t they?.
- When Jackson was arrested, he had been suspended from playing the previous Saturday (against Memphis). Were there any lingering strings attached to Jackson’s Memphis game suspension other than not being able to play in the game itself (e.g., probation requirements?). If so, did he violate those by being out at 2:00 am four days later, even though he will not be found guilty of breaking any law? [There is no team curfew for nights other than the eve of a game.] Or was he just exercising poor/stupid/dumb/moronic judgment? Or does he just need a mentor? Wouldn’t that be good for most players? Wouldn’t that be good for most of us?
- If what the DA said is true – that Jackson did not know about the robbery attempt until after the car pulled away from the store and was on the way back to Gibbs Hall – did Jantzen Jackson “do anything wrong”? Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear…?
My gut feeling is that this whole thing was a moronic prank – “let’s go out and punk some rednecks – better yet, let’s punk these yahoos sitting in that car over there.” All work and no play make Jack a dull boy. I’m bored.
Except that it wasn’t exactly just your typical moronic prank. It involved black pullover hoodies and guns (I don’t care what they’ve been called – they’re guns. Weapons that can inflict bodily harm.) The hoodies and guns didn’t just fall from the sky. Premeditated, dumbass, moronic, criminal behavior. Full stop.
Richardson and Edwards are history as far as the Vols are concerned. The question now is: What did Jackson know and when? And, did he have pot on him and/or was he smoking?
Another question: Did the university perform another drug test on Jackson after the robbery arrests?
Once again, if we are to believe the DA’s statement as factual (that Jackson, and Weed Queen, didn’t know what was happening around them until after the fact), then what should be done with Jantzen Jackson? Right now. For the Kentucky game. This Saturday night.
I think the University’s decision on Jackson’s immediate eligibility will have a lot to do with the circumstances of his original suspension (which we still don’t have confirmation from anybody with authority).
And, with the results of a drug test if one was performed after Jackson’s arrest.
So, if his original suspension was indeed a failed drug test, and if he really did not do anything illegal at the Pilot station (a DA dropping charges means there is not enough evidence to bring a conviction, which is different from saying he did not do anything illegal), then:
- he failed a drug test;
- was suspended one game for it;
- four days later was out riding around in the early hours of the morning and was in the same car with people who apparently were smoking pot (or were going to or at least had it on them) and likely committed aggravated robbery with weapons and camouflage; and
- did not play in the last two games while information/evidence was being gathered by the University as well as the participants in the legal process.
Thus, is the “time already served” (see #4) sufficient considering all at play here?
What if he failed a drug test that might have been performed after his arrest?
Jackson’s immediate fate will likely will not be Lane Kiffin’s sole decision. However if Jantzen is allowed to play this Saturday, the pot shots at Kiffin (pun intended) will begin from the four corners of the college football earth.
Lane, keep your head down, but don’t fall on your sword, and have your story straight, true, and facts laid out.
Article by Matt Lakin posted Nov 23, 2009 at 8:58 am ET/updated 2:24 pm ET on GVX.
Article by Chris Low posted Nov 23 at 11:54 am ET on ESPN.com.
Blog post at Austin Translation (on GVX), posted Nov 23 at 9:19 am ET.