Just weeks ago, ex-National Football League star Darren Sharper faced the prospect of spending the rest of his life in prison as a convicted serial rapist, with prosecutors in four states accusing him drugging and assaulting nine women. Now it appears he will be out of prison before he turns 50, having negotiated a”global resolution” to all charges that will see him spend 10 years behind bars on all charges in criminal cases in California, Nevada, Arizona and in state and federal court in Louisiana, says the New Orleans Times-Picayune. “I looked up this morning and saw the news, and I was like ‘Oh no,'” said Ebony Tucker of the Louisiana Foundation Against Sexual Assault.
“That is a sweetheart deal,” said veteran New Orleans defense lawyer Tim Meche. “There is something out there we don’t know. Clearly. Any other defendant would get life.” What led to the seemingly lenient sentence could have been any of a number of factors. Sharper reaped the benefits of having the cash to hire top-notch lawyers in each jurisdiction, and his status as a popular former star athlete, likely made prosecutors concerned about swaying a jury to convict him, Meche said. Unknown to the general public, Meche notes, is whether the case against Sharper might also have suffered from factors that can work against any prosecutor bringing a rape case to trial: reluctant witnesses; hazy memories; or shaky evidence.