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Stealthy justice

So Marcus Vick went stealthily into Suffolk General District Court Monday and copped a plea to the north Suffolk McDonald’s charges.

He pleaded guilty to one count of disorderly conduct. He was fined $500 and sentenced to six months in jail. The jail sentence was suspended on the condition of good behavior for one year and payment of the fines.

That seems fair, I guess. He didn’t hurt anybody.

What troubled me about the incident was the way it was handled.

This was a high-profile case. The News-Herald had filed papers and received judicial permission to have a photographer in the courtroom at Vick’s trial, which had been scheduled to start Monday, March 13. We did not find out about his court appearance on Monday until after it was over.

I think the media should have been notified.

I know that sounds arrogant, like the national pressfolk who were so bent out of shape because Vice President Cheney chose to notify the Corpus Christi Caller-Times that he had shot someone in the face instead of them. That’s not the case.

A big criticism I’ve often heard of Suffolk jurisprudence is that anybody who is a wealthy or prominent citizen, or their children, can be hustled through the system on the Q-T, with names not appearing on dockets, going in and out of side doors and stuff like that. If the press ever finds out about such cases, it’s purely by luck, particularly in the case of the News-Herald. We have two reporters and cannot keep them just hanging out at the courthouse all day.

That’s just a rumor, of course, and I’ve got no evidence to support it, but judging by the way the Vick plea deal was handled, it lends the rumors some credence.