Former Chicago Bears quarterback Bob Avellini was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months in prison for aggravated DUI, according to prosecutors.
Avellini, 61, negotiated a guilty plea to the felony drunken driving charge in exchange for the prison sentence.
Judge Daniel Guerin ordered Avellini surrender December 1 to begin serving his sentence. Additionally, until he surrenders, Avellini is ordered to wear an anklet that can detect any alcohol in his system.
Avellini was arrested for felony DUI and probation violation in September 2013 when Roselle police stopped him near his home. According to police, Avellini’s blood alcohol level was nearly twice the legal limit. He was only nine days into a sentence for an earlier DUI conviction, which included a suspension of his license.
Since 2002, Avellini has been arrested six times for DUI; according to court records, he beat charges three times.
According to David Spada, one of Avellini’s attorneys, the former footballer has been diagnosed with depression and concussion syndrome after numerous football-related brain trauma injuries. Spada alleges Avellini’s depression lead to his problems with alcohol abuse, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Avellini recently filed suit in California against the NFL team, attempting to get compensation for combined injuries he sustained throughout his career. California allows former athletes to make compensation claims, no matter where the injury was sustained.
Avellini faced up to seven years in the 2013 DUI case. Marvin LaScola, another one of Avellini’s attorneys, attributed his client’s clean record as the reason he received less time in prison on his current charges.
With good time credits, Avellini is expected to serve less than a year in prison, said LaScola.
“The idea is to move on past this, and move on in a positive manner. I know that’s what Bob wants to do,” LaScola added.
Avellini played for the Chicago Bears from 1975-84. In his nine years as Bears’ quarterback, Avellini passed for over 7,100 yards with 33 touchdowns and 69 interceptions.
Realty TV Baker, “Cake Boss” Buddy Valastro has been arrested on a drunken-driving charge, according to New York City police.
Bartolo Valastro, or Montville, New Jersey, was seen driving his yellow 2014 Corvette in near Penn Station in Manhattan around 1am on Thursday. Valastro was allegedly driving erratically and swerving between lanes.
Officers on the scene noted Valastro’s eyes were bloodshot and watery; additionally, they smelled alcohol on his breath and found him to be unsteady on his feet when he exited his vehicle.
When Valastro failed more than one field sobriety test, he was arrested and taken to central booking in Manhattan. He is expected to appear in court today for arriagnment.
At age 11, Valastro began working at his family’s business, Carlo’s Bakery. He took over the bakery in 1994 at age 17 after the death of his father Buddy Sr.
Valastro and Carlo’s Bakery rose to fame due to the TLC reality series “Cake Boss,” which follows the operation of the bakery. The show focuses on the process of baking and projects they undertake, as well as interpersonal relationship among family members and staff.
The original bakery is located in Hoboken, New Jersey. As a result of the popularity of “Cake Boss,” Carlo’s Bakery opened five more New Jersey locations, one café in Manhattan, and one restaurant in Las Vegas. Valastro also operates an event planning and catering company, Buddy V’s Events.
In addition to “Cake Boss,” Valastro’s talent has spurred several variations of television shows, such as “Kitchen Boss,” “The Next Great Baker,” and “Buddy’s Bakery Rescue.”
Valastro, 42, and his wife Lisa are parents to four children. The family resides in East Hanover, New Jersey.
Valastro’s attorneys have no comment at this time, according to CBS New York.
The Hoboken bakery did not immediately return calls to media and issued no statement.
Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps was arrested for DUI in Baltimore on Tuesday morning, according to the Maryland Transportation Authority.
The 18-time Olympic gold medal winner was pulled over around 1:40am in the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 when an officer clocked him driving 84 mph in a 45 mph zone.
Officers realized Phelps was intoxicated and gave him a field sobriety test, which he failed. He was also seen crossing double lane lines. Authorities say he was cooperative through the incident and he was released soon after he was taken to a transportation station.
Phelps, 29, acknowledged the arrest and made an apology on his Twitter account Tuesday afternoon:
“I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I know these words may not mean much right now but I am deeply sorry to everyone I have let down.”
This is Phelps’ second DUI charge; his first DUI charge was 2004 and was also in Maryland. Phelps received 18 months’ probation and a monetary fine. He was required to speak at three area high schools regarding alcohol awareness.
In 2009, Phelps came under fire when a photograph emerged of him allegedly smoking marijuana from a bong. He was suspended from competitive swimming for three months and lost Kellogg Co. as a sponsor.
“I’ll make a million mistakes in my life but as long as I never make the same mistake again, then I’ve been able to learn and grow,” Phelps said to CNN in 2012.
Phelps is the most accomplished Olympian of all time with 22 Olympic medals in a myriad of swimming events. He first won an Olympic gold medal in Athens in 2004 and competed most recently in the 2012 London Olympics.
Phelps retired after the London games but has alluded to a comeback in the 2016 Brazil games. He says he is taking the decision “one step at a time.”
Actress Amanda Bynes was arrested for driving under the influence in Los Angeles this Sunday, according to the California Highway Patrol.
Bynes, 28, was stopped around 3:30am when a CHP officer noticed her vehicle stopped in the middle of an intersection. She was arrested at 4:10am.
Officers examined the former child star at a local police station and determined she was under the influence of an unidentified drug. TMZ and Fox News report Bynes had taken Adderall that night, which had been prescribed by a doctor.
A press release states that Bynes was cooperative while she was in police custody. She posted $15,000 bail at 7am the next day and was let go on her own recognizance.
This arrest is the latest in a string of legal troubles the former Nickelodeon star has faced in recent years.
Bynes is still under probation from a 2012 hit-and-run case involving a Los Angeles County sheriff’s patrol car; she was arrested for DUI and pled no contest to alcohol-related reckless driving in February. Bynes was sentenced to three years of probation.
In May 2013, Bynes was charged with criminal possession of marijuana and reckless endangerment after accusations that she threw a bong out a window of her 36th floor Manhattan apartment. A judge dismissed the case in June 2014 and Bynes agreed to seek counseling.
On July 22, 2013, Ventura County sheriff’s deputies apprehended Bynes after she allegedly started a small fire in a stranger’s driveway in Thousand Oaks, California. Bynes entered a psychiatric care facility shortly after until December of 2013 when she was released to the custody of her parents.
She has recently been attending the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising.
Bynes is best known for her roles on late 90s Nickelodeon shows “All That” and “The Amanda Show.” She starred in The WB sitcome “What I Like About You” in the mid-00s.
She also starred in feature films including “What a Girl Wants” and “She’s the Man.” After her 2010 role in “Easy A,” Bynes announced she was retiring from acting.
On August 14th, former Saturday Night Live comedian Chris Kattan was sentenced to three years probation for driving under the influence and crashing into a Department of Transportation vehicle this past February in Southern California.
Kattan, 43, made an open plea in court on the misdemeanor DUI charge. He was ordered to attend a three-month alcohol education program, 104 Narcotics Anonymous meetings and ordered not to drive with any drugs in his system that were not prescribed by a doctor, as stated to Los Angeles Daily News by City Attorney representative Frank Mateljan.
A restitution hearing will be held September 16th to determine the damages owed by Kattan regarding the DOT vehicle. This fee will be in addition to a $500 fine he was ordered to pay during his sentencing.
Kattan was arrested around 2am on February 10th on the 101 Freeway near Encino, CA. According to California Highway Patrol, Kattan was slowly weaving across the freeway when he drove through construction cones and collided with a DOT vehicle. No workers were hurt at the time of the crash.
After his arrest, Kattan wrote on Twitter: “I just got back from a 15hr flight after touring out of the country. I was exhausted. The police were so kind. I’m lucky nobody was hurt.”
According to TMZ, law officials stated Kattan had been driving after taking Ambien, which is a prescription medication used to treat insomnia and some brain disorders.
Kattan is best known for his work on Saturday Night Live; he worked on the sketch comedy program from 1996 until 2003. His noted characters include “Mango” and Doug Butabi, one half of the Butabi Brothers. The sketch lead to 1998 feature film A Night at the Roxbury.
Kattan most recently worked on ABC sitcom The Middle and was a contestant on Food Network’s Rachael vs. Guy: Celebrity Cook-Off.
Singer Justin Bieber’s attorneys have accepted a plea deal in his Miami DUI case from January 2014.
Bieber, 20, was taken into custody early this year on charges of driving under the influence, driving with an expired license and resisting arrest without violence. Prosecutors dropped the drunken driving charge when Bieber agreed to careless driving and resisting arrest.
Bieber did not attend the court hearing. His attorneys agreed the singer will attend 12 hours of anger management classes and donate $50,000 to charity. Bieber will also attend classes that teach about the effects of drunk driving and how it impacts victims, according to CNN. The charitable donation was not legally required in his plea agreement, so it was made previous to the judge’s acceptance.
“I hope that he realizes that his actions not only lead to consequences that affect him, but they lead to consequences that affect others who are looking up to him as a role model,” said Judge William Altfield at the August 13th hearing.
The case is said to have several problems, including the arresting officer’s false report that Bieber was racing rapper Khalil topping out at 60 mph. The officer also stated he could smell alcohol on the singer’s breath, yet Bieber’s blood alcohol level registered at .014. According to TMZ, Bieber maintained he was not drunk at the scene, but police state he failed a field sobriety test.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle: “The strengths and weaknesses of the case motivated everyone to seek this appropriate resolution. The ultimate purpose of the Miami Beach Police Department’s initial traffic stop was to end some rash, juvenile-type conduct before a tragedy occurred.”
Bieber, a Canadian citizen, can face “possible immigration consequences of accepting [the plea] agreement…The Immigration and Naturalization Service will consider this conviction in any deportation decision,” according to the written deal.
This plea follows several previous legal incidents, including assault, vandalism, and alleged possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
By Mary Ann Gorman
After being arrested on March 1st for a DUI in New Zealand, Chris Pines has plead guilty to the charge.
Pines had been at a wrap party for his newest movie, Z for Zachariah, just before his arrest. Pines admitted to having 4 drinks and registered a .11 percent when his blood alcohol level was tested.
Pine’s punishment is a 6-month suspension of his New Zealand driver’s license and a $93 fine, which is about $79 US dollars.
By Mary Ann Gorman
Back in April of 2012, Amanda Bynes was facing a driving under the influence charge in Los Angeles after side swiping an L.A. County Sheriff’s Department cruiser.
The charge was lowered to a wet reckless driving charge, which is a lesser offense. Wet reckless is a common plea bargain in DUI cases, mainly for offenders with a very strong defense, and often first time offenders.
In court on Monday, Bynes, via her attorney, entered a peal of no-contest to the reduced charge.
The sentence attached to this plea in Bynes’ case is three months of alcohol-education classes and three years probation.
By Mary Ann Gorman
Chris Kattan, from “A Night at the Roxbury” and “Saturday Night Live” was charged with a DUI Monday night near Van Nuys, California.
On Ventura Freeway in Los Angeles, Kattan’s car crashed into a highway construction truck.
Kattan failed field sobriety tests and was charged with a DUI. He was released without bail and will appear in court next month. This is his first offense.
On his Twitter account, Kattan posted Monday afternoon, “Those concerned or just adding gossip: I’m fine, passed all tests, released without bail, have drivers license, cop offered to drive me home”
By John Clark
The son of indicted former football coach Jerry Sandusky was arrested for drunk driving in Fargo, North Dakota, last month, according to a report from ESPN.
Sources say the son, Jon Sandusky, who is an executive with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, pleaded guilty in court to refusing to take a breathalyzer test after he was pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving.
This plea, sources say, is not the same as admitting guilty to the drunk driving charge, and thus if Sandusky is able to steer clear of legal trouble for a while, the charge will likely be dropped from his record. The DUI charge was also dismissed.
The 36-year-old football executive, however, received a suspended sentence this week in Fargo Municipal Court, and will have to serve an unsupervised probation, as well as complete a chemical dependency evaluation, according to his local DUI attorney.
According to his DUI attorney, Sandusky is “genuinely sorry for the incident,” and “takes full responsibility for his actions and he’s glad to put this matter behind him.”
The director of player personnel for the Cleveland football team was reportedly pulled over by police for making an illegal turn on a downtown street. According to the police report, Sandusky crossed over three lanes of traffic to make a dangerous turn.
Police suspected the son of Jerry Sandusky was intoxicated when they had him take a series of field sobriety tests. And a Browns source said the executive has been disciplined by the team, in addition to his criminal punishment.
Sources speculate that Sandusky was in North Dakota to scout football players from the team at North Dakota State, which reportedly has several players that are regarded as professional prospects. The athletic department at the school, however, did not comment on Sandusky’s arrest.
According to reports, Jon Sandusky has served as Cleveland’s director of player personnel for four years after working for the Philadelphia Eagles for nine years. His job is to scout college prospects and available NFL players. He also played safety at Penn State under the tutelage of his now infamous father from 1996 to 1999.
Sandusky has had a difficult year after watching his father, a former assistant football coach at Penn State, go through a lengthy and disturbing trial. Recently, Jerry Sandusky was found guilty of sexually abusing 10 boys and is currently serving a prison sentence that could last as long as 60 years.
By John Clark
The National Basketball Association has suspended New Jersey Nets head coach Jason Kidd for two games, according to a report from the Associated Press. The suspension stems from Kidd’s drunk driving arrest this spring.
According to sources, Kidd crashed into a utility pole on Long Island on July 15, 2012, shortly after being named the head coach of the Nets less than a year after retiring from basketball.
After he struck the pole, police suspected that he was under the influence of alcohol, and a series of blood alcohol tests showed that Kidd was indeed driving while intoxicated. The accident also prompted Kidd to be treated at a hospital for minor injuries, sources say.
When his case was up for trial, Kidd pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunk driving charge. He filed his guilty plea after finishing his court-mandated community service. The service helped him reduce his crime to driving while ability impaired, which is a lesser offense in New York.
In response to Kidd’s guilty plea, the NBA suspended him for the first two games of the season, which include a road game at Cleveland and a home game against the Miami Heat, widely regarded as the best team in the league. Kidd is eligible to return to the team for its game at Orlando on November 3.
And the team does not plan to challenge the suspension. According to Nets general manager Billy King, the decision was “consistent with what the league has done in the past.” King also said the team was looking forward “to Jason leading our team versus Orlando and the rest of the year.”
After a recent team practice at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, Kidd acknowledged that he and everyone else knew the suspension “was going to come at some point,” according to reports.
“You have to be responsible and the league came down with the suspension, and I accept that. If a player’s out, guys have got to step up. … My coaching staff is more than capable of stepping up,” said Kidd while talking to reporters.
Sources say Kidd has yet to pick an assistant to fill his void during the two games, but his top assistant is Lawrence Frank, and he is expected to take the reins, as he has had several lengthy stints as a head coach in the NBA.
In the meantime, Kidd will continue to serve his punishment for his crime. But thanks to a $500 fine, a 90-day license suspension, and several lectures to Long Island high school students about the dangers of drunk driving, Kidd has paid his debt to the criminal court system.
By John Clark
After her DUI attorney made an unusual request, a California judge has agreed to move the DUI trial of former child star Amanda Bynes to a mental health court, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times.
Sources say Bynes was arrested for a DUI in April 2012 after she allegedly drove into a sheriff deputy’s police cruiser while trying to speed past in the middle of the night in Los Angeles.
The drunk driving accident in April came on the heels of several car-related troubles experienced by Bynes while she lived in Los Angeles. The actress reportedly moved to New York recently.
In addition to the car troubles, Bynes also acted in a bizarre fashion for several months, as her strange diatribes on Twitter made her a growing target for gossip magazines.
But what first appeared as a celebrity going through growing pains eventually turned much darker. In July, Bynes reportedly lit a small fire in the driveway of a house in Thousand Oaks, California.
After this incident, authorities placed Bynes in involuntary psychiatric custody for a sentence of 72 hours. But after three days passed, authorities believed that Bynes was not ready to leave the facility, and she reportedly spent nearly a year in custody, sources say.
Of course, while Bynes appears to have serious psychiatric issues that will require extensive treatment, she also has practical legal concerns to deal with, including her pending DUI trial.
But Bynes may have caught a break after her DUI attorney successfully argued that she was incapable of understanding the proceedings brought against her, which makes her eligible to move the case to mental health court.
This court, however, is simply tasked with determining her “competency to stand trial,” according to her DUI attorney. If Bynes is found competent to stand trial, she will likely be placed back in a regular state court for her DUI case.
Her recent behavior, however, does suggest that she may be experiencing a sort of psychiatric breakdown, which could lead to a determination that she is unfit to stand trial for her DUI charges. Her next scheduled court date is not scheduled to take place until this January.
In the meantime, Bynes’ mother, who has won a temporary conservatorship over her daughter, will continue to manage her daughter’s personal finances and make important decisions for her, reports indicate. She likely hopes that this difficult task will not last in perpetuity.
By John Clark
Thomas Ravenel, the former treasurer of South Carolina worth millions of dollars, was arrested and charged with drunk driving this week in New York, according to a report from The Wall Street Journal.
Sources say the 50-year-old land developer was arrested at 2:30 in the morning in East Hampton Village after police saw him crossing a double yellow line and driving on the shoulder of Montauk Highway.
When the arresting officer first encountered Ravenel, he reportedly smelled alcohol on his breath, and said he was “unsteady on his feet.”
The police report also says that Ravenel failed a number of field sobriety tests before refusing to take a breathalyzer test, according to sources.
In a statement released shortly after the arrest, Ravenel said he had indeed been drinking on the night in question but that he was not intoxicated. He was released on a $650 bond and intends to fight the charges, according to his statement.
Sources report that the potential drunk driving started a term as South Carolina’s state treasurer in 2007, but resigned after being in office for only six months.
The resignation was particularly interesting because it came on the heels of Ravenel’s guilty plea on charges of buying cocaine. After his conviction, Ravenel served a 10 month sentence in prison, sources report.
The arrest seemed to spell the end of Ravenel’s political career, which had been aided by his father’s stint in the U.S. Congress a few decades ago, but reportedly plans to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham in the 2014 election, sources speculate.
And Ravenel’s unique experiences with the law have apparently colored his political views, making the multimillionaire an unlikely spokesperson for drug law reform.
This week, he said in a statement that he “never believed recreational drug use within one’s home to be something worthy of criminalization,” according to sources. He did, however, also note that he took responsibility for his past drug crime.
In addition, during the 2012 presidential debates, Ravenel said his prison sentence for recreational drug use made him a strong opponent of the government’s “war on drugs,” and cited his opposition to current drug laws as a reason for his endorsement of Republican Ron Paul, sources say.
So while Ravenel’s recent troubles with the law seem to spell doom for his political future, the former state treasurer seems savvy enough to spin them into positives. Of course, it may be harder for him to gain forgiveness for his DUI, which certainly isn’t a victimless crime.
By John Clark
Joe Morgan, a veteran wide receiver for the New Orleans Saints, was arrested in Jefferson Parish this weekend for driving under the influence, according to a report from NBC Sports.
Sources say the 25-year-old NFL player was charged with a DWI and driving without a license, according to local police reports.
The incident occurred in the wee hours of Saturday morning, when a witness called police to report a stalled car on a local expressway.
When the responding officer arrived at the scene of the disabled car, which was resting on the shoulder of the highway, he found Morgan behind the wheel, and the football player was allegedly asleep.
The officer gave Morgan a rude awakening, and asked him to step out of the car. When Morgan stumbled out of his vehicle, he reportedly appeared drunk, as he had difficulty staying upright and had bloodshot eyes.
When Morgan took the field sobriety test, he didn’t offer the officer any proof that he was sober, so the police official arrested the wide receiver and transported him to the Jefferson Parish Correctional Center, according to sources.
The officer’s instincts proved correct, as Morgan reportedly blew a .218 during his breathalyzer test. This blood alcohol level is more than twice the legal limit in Louisiana, sources say.
To make matters worse, Morgan does not have a valid driver’s license, which will only heighten his legal troubles, and could lead to a larger fine or a longer jail sentence, depending on the unique circumstances of Morgan’s arrest.
And while Morgan has a long road ahead as he attempts to clear his name, he was able to leave jail later that day after posting a $1,150 bond, according to reports.
Morgan’s arrest comes after a relatively quiet spell for the NFL, which has had numerous players arrested for drunk driving over the last 12 months. League officials have grown concerned that the spate of arrests could diminish the league’s popularity.
But professional football remains the most popular sport in the United States, and fans seem willing to look past such incidents.
Sources say Morgan is expected to be his team’s third-best receiver this year, and is coming off a successful season in which he scored three touchdowns.
The young receiver took an uncommon route to NFL success, as he was signed as an undrafted free agent by the Saints in 2011. When contacted by reporters, both Morgan and a team spokesman declined to comment on his recent arrest.
By John Clark
Reese Witherspoon dropped a few points in the race for America’s Sweetheart this weekend after she was booked for disorderly conduct following her husband’s DUI arrest, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
Sources say the Oscar-winning actress was in the passenger seat of a Ford Focus when her husband, Jim Toth, was pulled over by Atlanta police after they saw Toth driving on the wrong side of the road.
When police saw Toth, they suspected he was driving under the influence of alcohol, and promptly arrested Witherspoon’s husband, a high-powered Hollywood agent.
The night, however, was far from over for Witherspoon, who may soon have to reprise her role as the sharp attorney she portrayed in “Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde,” a harrowing tale of greed, lust, and political intrigue.
According to reports, Witherspoon was less than delighted with her husband’s troubles, and started “mouthing off” to the arresting officers.
While Toth took a field sobriety test, Witherspoon, who remained seated in the vehicle, reportedly “stated that she was a ‘U.S. citizen’ and that she was allowed to ‘stand on American ground,’” according to the police report.
As Witherspoon embarked on her soliloquy, her husband was failing a Breathalyzer test, as reports indicate that he had a blood alcohol content of .139, which is well above the legal limit.
But the night continued to devolve for the successful actress, who continued to pester officers by asking if they knew who she was. According to the police report, she told the officers they would soon “found out who I am” and would find themselves on the “national news.”
Witherspoon’s prediction proved accurate, as the police officers did find themselves part of a national news story, but the focus of the tale has been on Witherspoon’s odd behavior, not the arrest itself.
After verbally abusing the officers, Witherspoon was charged with disorderly conduct, and she and her husband were briefly jailed before they posted bond early Saturday morning, according to sources.
Sources say Witherspoon and Toth were in Atlanta to start filming for their independent movie, “The Good Lie.”
And to offer further proof that Witherspoon lives a charmed life, she reportedly flew to New York after her release from jail to see the premier of her new movie, “Mud.”
At the premiere, however, Witherspoon wisely refused to talk to reporters, who were undoubtedly curious about her adventurous weekend.