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Quick Hits on Johnny Manziel’s Indictment

On March 10, I wrote about pending grand jury proceedings against former Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel, following a domestic violence incident with his ex-girlfriend, Colleen Crowley. On Tuesday, April 26, 2016, it was announced that the Dallas County grand jury had decided that there was probable cause to indict Manziel. A few thoughts on Manziel’s indictment:

  • According to the indictment, Manziel has been charged with assault causing bodily injury. This type of assault is distinguishable from the assault that involves merely threatening another with imminent bodily injury. The latter is a Class B misdemeanor, whereas the type of assault of which Manziel has been accused is a Class A misdemeanor.
  • Additionally, the indictment makes clear that Manziel’s offense constituted “family violence” because he and Colleen Crowley had a “dating relationship,” as defined in the Texas Family Code.
  • Speaking of Crowley, the indictment indicates that she was one of the two witnesses that testified before the grand jury. This is by no means surprising since she was the victim and primary witness to Manziel’s alleged offense. However, I thought it might be possible that Crowley was refusing to cooperate with the investigation for two reasons: (1) the Fort Worth Police Department’s report indicated that Crowley “became increasingly uncooperative” during the officer’s’ investigation on the night of the incident in question; and (2) a source told ESPN that Crowley initially stopped cooperating with police because she feared Manziel was suicidal.
  • Manziel’s first court date is scheduled for this Thursday, May 5, at 9:00 a.m. before Judge Roberto Canas, Jr. of Dallas County Criminal Court No. 10. Judge Canas set Manziel’s bond at $1,500. Judge Canas’s court handles only cases of domestic violence. In 2015, he led an effort to implement a program that requires domestic batterers in Dallas County to turn over their firearms at a local gun range. See here and here for additional information on Judge Canas.
  • Because Manziel has now officially been indicted, a warrant has been issued for his arrest. This doesn’t mean that police officers are now actively pursuing Manziel’s arrest wherever he may be (like a Justin Bieber concert, for example). Rather, Judge Canas has granted permission to Manziel to turn himself in sometime this week before the hearing on May 5. One of Manziel’s lawyers, Robert Hinton, told reporters that Manziel would turn himself in either the day before or the day of the May 5 court date. Hinton suggested that, in order to avoid a “media circus,” officials may allow Manziel to turn himself in somewhere other than the jail near the Dallas County Courthouse.

About John Sigety

John lives in Frisco, Texas and works as a commercial litigator for Hiersche, Hayward, Drakeley & Urbach, P.C., a full-service firm located near Dallas, Texas. John graduated from Tulane University Law School in 2012 with a certificate in Sports Law. He also served as a managing editor for The Sports Lawyers Journal and published an article in the Willamette Sports Law Journal entitled The Cost of Fair Play: An Examination of How Salary Cap Proposals Have Affected Past Collective Bargaining Agreements and Will Affect the Coming NBA Bargaining Negotiations. John graduated from Brigham Young University in 2008 with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science.

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