BY: The Exoneration Project

Justice or Preferential Treatment?

Two months ago, two University of Alabama football players were arrested in Louisiana for openly carrying a stolen gun in a car while possessing a small amount of marijuana. One of the arrestees is perhaps the best Offensive Lineman in college football and projected to be one of the first players selected in the next NFL draft.

Although an assistant district attorney told the court weeks later there was insufficient evidence to move prosecute, Ouachita Parish District Attorney Jerry Jones spoke more openly about his true rationale for dropping charges:

The main reason that I’m doing this is that I refuse to ruin the lives of two young men who have spent their adolescence and their teenage years working and sweating while we were all home in the air conditioning.

Some have decried the preferential treatment received by star football player, calling it a “joke” and “laughable.” As for me, I am standing up and applauding D.A. Jones.

I applaud not simply because he dropped charges, but I applaud his statement as to why.

Here is a man who seemingly recognizes the incredible power he holds as a prosecutor. He is cognizant that churning a young man through the criminal justice system has the potential to “ruin the[ir] lives.” He examined other aspects of their character—how they have spent their “adolescence and their teenager years”—in making a decision of whether to prosecute them at all. He didn’t use the criminal justice system to teach them a lesson for this error; he’s accepting that these young men may have made a mistake, but let’s give them an opportunity to not let this mistake define them for the rest of their lives. Good for D.A. Jones.