As previous posts have discussed, any criminal conviction, from a misdemeanor to a felony, has the potential for long term consequences. A criminal history makes it harder to get a job, rent an apartment and obtain custody of children. Further, sometimes mere criminal allegations, particularly for public figures, can cause substantial reputation damage. For public figures or high profile cases, often the court of public opinion can do as much damage as the legal system.
Recently, former Houston Rockets forward Jordan Hill was charged with third-degree felony assault. Authorities allege Hill choked his girlfriend of two years while the two were in his Houston apartment arguing over his cell phone. Prosecutors say that Hill could face as much as 10 years in prison for the domestic violence charge if convicted.
Hill was recently traded to the Lakers, and it appears this may have been putting stress on other factors of his life, including his relationship. Unfortunately for Hill, while he has not been prosecuted, some of the damage may have already been done. The very public discussion of these allegations puts his reputation in an unfavorable light. As news spread, messages appeared on Hill’s twitter account, indicating the shock some experienced after hearing of the charges.
Vigorous criminal defense may be necessary in any case involving serious charges. While public figures may not be able to escape media damage which results from accusations alone, they can work to fight against the charges in a pursuit of regaining favorability with the public. Additionally, private individuals can avoid serious consequences when their case is properly defended.
Source: Yahoo! Sports, “Lakers center Jordan Hill charged with assault for allegedly choking family member,” Dan Devine, April 30, 2012