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Ronnie Wilson was at Ely all last season and Patrick Johnson still went to LSU?

GAINESVILLE -- As you know, The Miami Herald broke the news last night of Ronnie Wilson's marijuana arrest and the lucky break he got from the state attorney's office in Gainesville. (If you or I are on probation for a felony (reduced to misdemeanor), and we get pinched for marijuana, do you think the DA overlooks that? Uh, no.)

Here's a link to my story in The Herald. CLICK ME!

Here are some more interesting details from the case that I uncovered during the reporting phase of the story. You won't read this stuff anywhere this morning other than on Gator Clause.

GermanshepardIn case any of you canine lovers out there are wondering, Grady of the Alachua County Sheriff's Office is the drug dog that busted Wilson on Jan. 6 for possession of an illegal substance, according to the police report. The arresting officer [that would be Grady] also found drug paraphernalia, according to records. Grady is a German shepherd and a fine a police dog of impeccable record. (Good thing Grady wasn't an American bulldog; otherwise we might have to launch a formal investigation into the Alachua County Sheriff's Office for planting evidence. We kid because we can here on Gator Clause.) As we all know, German shepherd's are the undisputed king of all dogs. I know this as fact and it is not even open for discussion or argument. If you travel to Gainesville on game day this fall, rest assured that Grady will be working hard to keep you safe! [That's not Grady in the picture.]

--The terms of Wilson's plea bargain were spelled out in the official Judgment and Sentence. The court document reads: "Live and remain at liberty without violating any law. If you fail to complete the terms of your probation as required, you will be arrested ..." In the words of Napoleon Dynamite, "Lucky."

--According to the Judgment and Sentence, the court ordered a mental evaluation of Wilson.

--Wilson had to pay $578 in fines.

--The court ordered Wilson to meet with the victim of the 2007 incident and apologize. Bet that was fun.

Ronniewilsonpv9--While the state attorney's office didn't notice that Wilson was arrested while on probation, the state attorney's office was aware of Wilson's arrest. On April 1, the state attorney, William Cervone, dismissed all of the charges against Ronnie Wilson. Cervone, no stranger to Florida football, is out of office until Thursday. An assistant state attorney, Jesse Smith, signed off on the case action report, ordering all of the evidence against Wilson to be disposed of in accordance with Florida statutes. WHOOPS!!!

--The Alachua County judge who terminated Wilson's first probation (the one for the misdemeanor that ended on April 22, 2008) is no longer on the bench. Wilson is still on probation for the original felony charge until April 2009.

--This next bit might be even more interesting. According to official court documents, Wilson completed his 100 hours of community service as an assistant offensive line coach at his old high school, Pompano Beach Blanche Ely. Beats trash detail. A defensive backs coach, Anthony Wiggins, signed off on the student volunteer service program forms. Wiggins is a long time Ely assistant. He was on staff when Wilson played for the Tigers when Steve Davis (Now the head coach at Plantation.) was at Ely and Wiggins was on staff last year when James Jones was the head coach at Ely.

WilsonelyAccording to the volunteer service forms signed by Wiggins -- forms that list every day that Wilson apparently was at Ely and span nearly two months but which have that unmistakable look of something that was filled out all at the same time -- Wilson was at Ely nearly every day from August 22 to October 10. I spoke with Jones to verify this. According to Jones, Ely's head coach, Wilson was only at the Tigers' practice "twice a week."

--I asked Wiggins about the discrepancy and he said that Jones didn't know that Wilson was at Ely nearly every day during the 2007 football season.

--Jones played football for the University of Florida.

--Jones is no longer the head coach at Ely, but Wiggins was retained by the new staff. Lawal McCray is the new head coach at Ely.

--According to Wiggins, Wilson served as a role model to Ely's team and even spoke in front of the team several times.   

--Wait, wait, wait. So, let me get this straight: Wilson was apparently at Ely's practice every day last season and coached in every game and cornerback Patrick Johnson still snubbed Florida for LSU? Wow!

--OK, OK. All jokes aside, here's my opinion on the matter: Should Ronnie Wilson be allowed back on the Gators' football team? Yes. Florida coach Urban Meyer is doing the right thing in giving Wilson another chance despite the drug arrest. Kids smoke pot. Kids make mistakes. I know my life needed a few breaks from some nice people. Meyer cares about winning football games but he also cares about the lives of young men. Football is an important thing in Wilson's life and it's important to Wilson's development as a young man. Just taking a guess, but I'm assuming this is Meyer's logic in keeping Wilson around. It probably doesn't matter to Meyer at all if Wilson ever plays a down of football for the Gators. If Wilson graduates, then it was all worth it.

--I'm happy to report that Wilson is taking EXTRA hours to get caught up in school! If Wilson makes it, then this could be one of the most important stories of the Meyer Era. 

SOME MORE NOTES
--Percy Harvin didn't participate in 7-on-7 drills yesterday.
--Maurkice Pouncey is running extra for his traffic citation, open container in a motor vehicle.
--Only one practice today, this afternoon. Check back for live updates!

-jo-   

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Okay, I understand your sarcasm and glee at breaking this 'big' story. But at least get your facts straight. Ronnie Wilson was never charged with a felony, discharge of a firearm is a misdemeanor in FL. So go back to the computer and keep running public records checks on each and every student at UF to see if you can find, oh my gosh, a college student with dope, it can't be can it??? Good thing you write for that Miamuh paper, where all the college kids are living the clean life...

Did you even read the post?

-jo-

And I did report about the plea bargain. That means a felony arrest is reduced to a misdemeanor.

Look, I know "journalists" by and large aren't very smart -- a journalism degree isn't exactly as hard to come by as a chemical engineering degree -- but even your dim Herald coworkers (dwindling in numbers though they are) must feel a twinge of embarrassment when they glance at your goofy picture on this page.

Keep up the mediocre work, though. It must be painful to know that lawyers and doctors and other real professionals do in their spare time what you've devoted your life to (sports blogging, evidently), and do a considerably better job at it. I guess that's why all newspapers are going to be dead in five years and you're going to be (thankfully) out of a job.

MNGator, maybe you should read the article before you complain about it.

No, he shouldn't be allowed back on the team. But our good old coach will allow it, I'm just waiting for an NCAA investigation into this program. Hopefully all is good.

Jo: keep doing what your doing. I like your practice reports and as much Gator info as I can get. You give us the good, and . . . sometimes the bad. To those bashing Jo... give him a break. These were public incidents its not like he got the info on an incident and betrayed someones trust. He got it off of his computer. Go Gators

UF 52
Scum 14

You're being too generous to scUM BullGator. Those clowns won't sniff the endzone. Marve will be trying to figure out what the hell is going on all night. Two field goals for those paper thin high schoolers.

UF 48

UM 6

Wow, Hugh must be a very unhappy and disgruntled person waking up from a long night of drinking and domestic abuse. Don't let your wife beat on you, your better than that Hugh. Joe keep up the good work. Loving the inside scoop.

Easy there Hugh. Don't blame the messenger. You're essentially right about print media Hugh but I guess you didn't notice that Jo is posting on a BLOG ! No need to go all Bissinger on Jo, he didn't smoke weed or fire his AK. It's not like Jo is reporting on sensitive national security matters, its FOOTBALL. Lighten up. I enjoy reading all the stuff he posts regardless of it's importance and he's courteous enough to reply to peoples inquiries unlike some other reporters. What's your beef man?

just thought that I should point out that your hat is on the front page of the Gainesville sun sports section today.

Hugh,

Full disclosure. My brother IS a chemical engineer, another brother is starting grad school in theology and I'm not even mentioning my smart brother (Well, guess I just did, kinda). So, you're right. I'm the dumb one who loves to write. Also, I was two classes shy of a minor in chemistry when I changed my studies to journalism and English. Go do a public records search and look it up.

Oscar,

Thanks for the head's up. I'll go buy a copy of The Sun before practice this afternoon and see how the hat looks in newsprint.

-jo-

goody, if ron wilson was named Anthony Reddick or Geno Hayes? how would the story go? would you be saying that it is ok for him to be on the team? Probably not. The guy fired an AK 47. not even just a pistol, A fully automatic weapon. And your blog just proves the corruption with the Gainsville police. Wilson was not lucky, he was given special treatment by the obviously pro-gator officers, and district attorneys. Urban is not looking out for his players. He is looking out for himself.

On a side note. We know of around 20,000 reasons why Patrick Johnson went to LSU.

Alex,

Technically, an AK-47 is a semi-automatic assault rifle.

-jo-

Ah...the Canes Clause, I just canceled my subscription to the Miami Herald by the way. I wonder if the Canes other beat writer checks the criminal records of Canes players each week. Oh no, he is probably too busy reporting on practice.

Jay: does anybody buy the paper anymore? aside from the morning testimonial it seems to be a waste of money.

Would you please cite the actual felony that Wilson that was, as you allege, part of his plea bargain? Because my understanding is that he had no felony charges pending at the time of his plea. GPD had recommended an aggravated assault charge, bumping the firearm charge up to a felony as a result, but the state attorney's office didn't think the circumstances supported it and those charges were dropped before any plea agreement was reached. The actual charges were one count of battery and one count of discharging a firearm in public, both misdemeanors. This was before the agreement was truck. Wilson's plea bargain didn't reduce the charges pending against him, it merely dealt with the sentencing.

Jay,

If you have a subscription to The Miami Herald, then you should know our paper cuts the Canes no slack when it comes to arrests. How do you think the world came to nicknaming the University of Miami Thug U? By reporters at The Miami Herald bringing all those stories to light.

-jo-

Hankgator,

Pretty sweet deal, huh?

-jo-

And for crying out loud, people, he did NOT fire an AK-47. It was a .22. This myth has just been repeated so many times so-called "journalists" take it as a matter of faith and throw it in their stories on the subject.

An Kalashnikov fires an 7.62 mm round. What Wilson had was an RPK-22 training rifle, a .22 caliber knock-off.

And it was a semi-automatic and he only fired one shot

Jo,

Uh, no. A guy he'd had a fight with followed him from the club where they'd had the altercation, and he stopped the car, pulled out the rifle, and fired a shot into the air to get him to back-off. Charging him with aggravated assault and discharge of a firearm in commission of a felony would have been absurd, and the state attorney realized it.

There was nothing "sweet" about that deal. If Wilson could have afforded a halfway decent lawyer, he'd have beaten the rap altogether. Hell, I could have beaten that rap, and I don't even practice criminal law. Nobody was hurt, the guy was stalking him, following him--firing a warning shot to scare someone away is better than physical violence. It's deterring violence, not causing it. Pick the right jury, he's acquitted.

Beat the rap, right. Good point. He had an AK-47 for keeping the peace? That's your defense? What jury outside of the Sunni Triangle is going to agree with that?

Let me drop some knowledge on ya': "Always like to keep a glock/'Cause [suckas] like to leak a lot."

I'd love to take credit for that one, bu you can thank Luda for that little nugget of gangta' poetry.

-jo-

did you seriously just respond with that? nice strawman though, gotta give you credit

That Ronnie is now a walk-on must be mentioned. He has to pay for school, food,no training table scraps...If he makes it, it will be a Hell uva turn around. He could easilly be on scholly at Bethune or others.

I don't know Jo, the more I read the more confused I get. I don't know what prompted you to do this research (maybe a story on Ronnie's return that led you down this path perhaps?) but I just don't get how you can go from insinuating that Ronnie did not do what was required of him (even going as far as contacting his former school to find out if he did or didn't) to the innuendo of possibly something deeper going on (the reference to the Judge no longer working as a judge. Did you try to find out why? did he retire? were you stonewalled? no mention just left for interpretation)

and then you conclude, after going through all this work of digging this stuff up and many insinuations of something deeper going on, that Meyer is doing in the right thing by letting him back. Then why bother writing all that stuff if you feel he is doing the right thing? why bother digging up stuff that eventually was dropped/dismissed in an effort to lead readers that maybe there is more to the puzzle only to conclude "ah shucks, he is just a kid, he deserves another shot"

just say what you truly feel dude. No need to paint a rosie picture at the end. It just seems very disingenuous.

My personal feelings on whether another shot at football could help Wilson's life and hopefully impact his future and what I found out while reporting the story have nothing to do with each other. There's nothing disingenuous about that. Don't look for any connection. I'm a reporter and the paycheck I get every two weeks is from The Miami Herald.

-jo-

How dense are you? What part of, "he didn't have an AK-47" don't you understand? You seem to obsess over details in the public records in an effort to play "gotcha" with this kid and UF, but are blissfully content to remain ignorant regarding the way you characterize the initial incident. It was an RPK-22, not a Russian Kalashnikov. Initial reports described it as an AK-47, but that's just because it looks like one and the people reporting didn't know any better. An actual Kalashnikov is a 7.62mm, the RPK-22 is a friggin' semi-auto plinking rifle, firing a .22 long-rifle cartridge. You're talking about the difference between a butter knife and a Ka-Bar.

Jeez-Louise, some people cling to whatever supports their chosen viewpoint no matter what.

It seems I remember Miami fans were more interested and upset about Patrick Johnson's choices rather than Florida. Miami fans are the ones who were talking payoffs and if you knew of Miami's past knows that was a joke in itself.

Additionally, the Thug U didn't come from the herald's reporting but the actions the Miami players themselves displayed on a continuous basis without any coaches trying to intervene. The most memorable being the championship game against Penn State with the fatigue wearing and not being able to eat pregame meals with the other team. A tradition that had always shown good sportsmanship before this Miami display.

Yes, yes. Warren Sapp and Army fatigues. We know. Keep the Miami memories back on the other blog.

The Herald was responsible for uncovering all the questionable behavior by the U? Really? Yeah right, anytime a game between Notre Dame and Miami is dubbed, "Convicts vs Catholics" my guess is that public perception raises an eyebrow to the "scholars" Miami recruits.

So let him tear on the states flagship University, after all, this is why he is a beat writer for the herald. Keep up the, good? work.

Jo,

So what is it? Was the weapon an AK-47 or an RPK 22? I'm curious now that several posters have made this an issue. What's the actual scoop here? And if so what is the major difference?

The difference is, an AK-47 is a Russian assault rifle, firing a 7.62mm round at around 2,320 fps. The RPK-22 is a training rifle that looks similar, but is only .22 caliber and has about half that muzzle velocity. It's a semi-automatic plinker, good for target practice and shooting cans. Much smaller bullet, much less power. Like saying someone was threatening someone with a Ford F-350 when they were really driving a Ranger.

The best part about the story is the quote, "it's tough to prove constructive possession." While that's true when there are 2-3 people in the car, when one rides solo, that's actual possession, quite easily proved."

plus, probation officers and DA's can violate someone, thus triggering a VOP hearing for an arrest, even if charges are never filed, or filed and dismissed. If the charges are never filed, a violation is unlikely to be found, but if the charges were filed and nolle prossed later, you can get sentenced for the original crime.

Prosecutors have been known to refile charges just for a VOP hearing. Ronnie didn't get lucky, he got an orange and blue break.

JO, you mentioned in a story that Wilson was to apologize to the "victim". That never materialized, do you know why? I'll tellyou. He was in jail. Why did you not report that. Tell the whole story.

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