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Arenas avoids jail time

Mar 26, 2010, 4:53 PM EDT

UPDATE 7:08 pm: Gilbert Arenas’ lawyer, Ken Wainstein, released this statement:

“Judge
Morin’s decision was fair and measured; it reflected a deep
understanding of the relevant facts … Mr. Arenas is grateful to the
court and looks forward to serving the community and once again being a
force for good in the District of Columbia.”

4:53 pm: The Washington Wizards released a statement on the Arenas sentencing:

“We are confident that he has learned something significant from the experience and we now look forward to moving on and focusing on building this team into the contender that our outstanding fans deserve.”

4:40 pm: WTOP.com has up some of the details from inside the courtroom.

“You have demonstrated genuine remorse and you’re basically a good
person,” Morin told Arenas.

Before his sentencing, Arenas cried to the judge and apologized for the
incident.

“I am very sorry. Every day I wake up, I wish it didn’t happen. I
thought by lying, I could protect those I consider family by taking a
fall. I know it wasn’t right. What I did that day was stupid.”

4:02 pm: If this had been an NBA game, Gilbert Arenas would have been jumping around at half-court, mobbed by teammates.

He won.

His sentence on gun charges in the District of Columbia is 30 days in a halfway house and two years probation. No jail time. It’s not like he gets off scott free, he also has to donate $5000 to a victims of violence fund, do 400 hours of community service and registration as gun offender.

However, Superior Court Judge Robert E. Morin is not sending Arenas to jail.

Prosecutors had sought jail time, while Arena’s attorneys and the court’s probation office had argued for just probation. In the courtroom Friday, Arenas’ attorneys went on for more than half an hour, making a last second case to the judge. Morin split the difference between the requests with 30 days in the halfway house. If he violates his parole, Arenas would spend 18 months behind bars.

This is a lighter sentence than some observers expected. Arenas had a prior gun charge in 2003 in California, plus may have conspired with Javaris Crittenton to cover up the incident. That led some to think Morin would come down harder.

The punishments stem from the charges that Arenas brought guns into the Wizards locker room at the Verizon Center on last Dec. 21 to confront teammate Crittenton over a gambling debt. Arenas pled guilty in January to carrying a firearm without a permit, which is a felony.

There had been speculation the Wizards would use jail time as an excuse to void the four years, $80 million remaining on Arenas’ contract. That may be moot as the halfway house sentence does not appear to give the same pretext for voiding a deal. If the Wizards do try it (whether or not he had gone to jail) there will be an intense legal battle between the team and the Players Union.

NBA Commissioner David Stern has already suspended Arenas for the remainder of this season.

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