Exclusive: Marshon Lattimore Felony Charge Dropped. Receives Probation For Failure to Inform Police He Was Carrying a Weapon.
New Orleans Saints cornerback Marshon Lattimore is in the clear, after prosecutors decided to drop the felony charge accusing Lattimore of possessing a stolen gun and instead charge him with a misdemeanor for not telling police he had a gun on his person. Lattimore struck a deal and was sentenced to probation for one year. League of Justice wrote back in August, that the felony charge would likely be dropped because it would be extremely hard to prove Lattimore knew that he had legally purchased a stolen gun.
Lattimore’s attorney told a local station that the Saints player had no knowledge that the gun he validly purchased had been stolen and there are no requirements to trace previous ownership of a gun that is purchased lawfully through a store or private sale.
The fourth degree felony charge originated back in March when police pulled over a car in Cleveland and Lattimore happened to be riding in the passenger seat. The Saints star was legally carrying a concealed weapon and had a valid license for his gun. However, when police traced the gun it came up “hot” aka stolen.
While prosecutors decided to drop the felony charge, they did charge Lattimore with a misdemeanor for failing to promptly notify officers that he was carrying a gun. Lattimore, who has no prior record, pled guilty to that charge last week. His attorney says it was not worth it to spend the resources and time fighting the charge. Lattimore was sentenced to 180 days in jail but the sentence is suspended and he will never have to step foot in jail as long as he pays a fine of about a thousand dollars and complies with the terms of his probation.
The probation which will last a year is not supervised and only requires Lattimore to not get arrested or charged again. So long as Lattimore stays out of trouble with the law for the next year, his attorneys can apply to seal the record and apply to have the conviction expunged, which is unlikely to be contested given Lattimore’s lack of criminal history.
The misdemeanor conviction is pretty misleading. In fact, when asked by an officer whether he had a gun, Lattimore immediately said he did and that he had a valid concealed carry license.
The law in Ohio however, requires a person carrying a concealed weapon to promptly inform an officer that he or she is carrying a concealed weapon and has a license. The law is interpreted as placing the burden on the person carrying the gun to notify police before being asked.
If you watch the video below, Lattimore has very little time to do that. His attorney says the situation was shocking to him. The officer asks Lattimore pretty quickly whether he has a gun on him, before Lattimore even has time to volunteer the information. It’s unclear if Lattimore knew that the law required him to tell the officer about his gun before he was asked. However, his attorney Marcus Sidoti admits that despite being a criminal defense attorney in the state, even he had no idea that the law required a passenger in a car to inform about a concealed carry weapon prior to being asked by police and thought it only applied to drivers.
The misdemeanor conviction should have little to no impact on Lattimore’s career and is unlikely to prompt any suspension from the NFL, which does not treat gun related charges as seriously as domestic violence, sex assault and other violent crimes. Furthermore, since the felony charge was dropped and Lattimore’s conviction is based on a technicality of not volunteering information about his gun, despite being forthcoming to officers when asked, any suspension would be tacky and unnecessary.
On a positive note, Lattimore’s demeanor when he was questioned by police was exemplary. The NFL player stayed calm and compliant and neither he nor police escalated the situation. Bodycam video (inserted below) shows Lattimore staying patient as officers retrieve a loaded Smith & Wesson 9mm from inside his pants and jokingly suggest he buy a holster so he doesn’t accidentally shoot his private parts off. The football star even offers to show his valid concealed carry weapons permit for the gun when asked.
A first round draft pick, Lattimore has starred as New Orleans’ starting cornerback for the last four seasons. He was AP Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2017 and has made the Pro Bowl three times. Lattimore is set to earn $10.244 million in 2021.
For more on Lattimore’s original arrest and the legal oddities that make it easy for every day people who own guns to find themselves in the same situation, click here: Marshon Lattimore Facing Felony Charge that’s Hard to Prove, Likely to be Dropped