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Darren Sharper, a man once known for his greatness as an All-Pro and Super Bowl-winning NFL safety, has, in recent years, become known for being accused as a serial rapist. Sexual assault accusations became convictions on March 23, 2015, when Sharper reached plea agreements in Los Angeles and Arizona. Sharper has also agreed to plead guilty to one count of attempted sexual assault for attacking two women in Nevada. Additionally, Sharper still faces federal drug charges and allegations of aggravated rape in Louisiana.

Plea negotiations between Sharper’s attorneys and the prosecutors have reportedly resulted in a global resolution that will end all of his cases in each of the four states. Reports indicate that Sharper will be sentenced in each state, but those sentences will run concurrently. This means Sharper will serve a total of nine years in federal prison, even though he has already been sentenced to serve nine years in both California and Arizona.

Sharper’s sudden and drastic fall from stardom is unprecedented.In 2009, Sharper (ironically) played for the Saints alongside Roman Harper, winning a Super Bowl as one-half of arguably the greatest safety duo ever whose last names end in “Harper.” Over his 14-year NFL career, during which he played for the Packers, Vikings, and Saints, Sharper was a six-time All-Pro and five-time Pro Bowler, compiling 63 interceptions and 942 tackles—sure-fire Hall of Fame numbers. Sharper was a superstar named to the NFL 2000s All-Decade Team. Following the 2010 season, Sharper retired and became an analyst for the NFL Network.

With such an impressive on-field resume, Sharper’s 2014 arrest in California on sexual assault allegations sent shockwaves through the sports world. This was arguably the most high-profile athlete arrest since O.J. Simpson. With similar allegations subsequently popping up in Arizona, Nevada, and Louisiana, Sharper’s future and legacy looked destroyed.

Although Sharper’s legacy has irreversibly transformed from “one of the greatest ever” to “sexual predator,” the global resolution his attorneys reached with prosecutors in all states has saved his future. The nine years Sharper will serve in a jumpsuit is nothing compared to the exposure he faced on all counts. In Louisiana alone, Sharper still faces a possible sentence of life in prison. Similar penalties were likely possible in each of the other three states. Even with lesser sentences, Sharper still could have been ordered to serve each sentence consecutively rather than concurrently, meaning his nine years in California would begin after his nine years in Arizona were up, followed by his sentence in Nevada, followed by his sentence in Louisiana. For all intents and purposes, Sharper’s life as a free man would essentially be over.

Instead of the life-ending doom Sharper faced, his attorneys brokered an almost impossibly great deal for their client. Sharper will not serve an insurmountable time in prison for his separate crimes in each state. Instead, the nine years he will serve will cover his prison sentences for each state. Furthermore, despite these deplorable convictions, Sharper is even still eligible for the Hall of Fame. Joe Horrigan, the Executive Vice President of the Selection Process for the Pro Football Hall of Fame told TMZ Sports that it is possible the Hall of Fame voters will take Sharper’s convictions into account when voting, but they are not supposed to.Depending on the way Hall of Fame voters decide, perhaps Sharper will even get to hold his bust in Canton, as crazy as that sounds. Sharper should thank his lucky stars.

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About The Author

Los Angeles-based, celebrity criminal defense attorney, Lonnie McDowell, Esq of McDowell & Associates, Attorneys recognized with the Top 100 Trial Attorneys Award; shares his insight into the legal system in this series of commentaries.

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