There have been no shortage of opinions on Nikolai Khabibulin. Khabibulin's been a controversial figure since the day he was signed - with some arguing that the Stanley Cup-winning goaltender was the solution to Edmonton's goaltending problems (a veritable "fix for a generation") and others arguing that the money and term made no sense for an aging and injury-prone player in a buyer's market.
Now there's speculation as to what the outcome of Khabibulin's DUI trial will be, and a lot of it shows a lack of understanding of Arizona's criminal justice system.
That's where we at The Copper & Blue come in. Dealing with all of these misconceptions, Derek Zona did the logical thing for someone with questions about DUI convictions in Arizona: he talked to a lawyer at the leading DUI defence firm in the state. That lawyer, David Maletta, now a defence lawyer but once a prosecutor, was able to make some things clear: an Extreme DUI conviction includes a manadatory minimum of 30 days in prison, with the possibility of up to six months in prison, and in Maricopa County those sentences are spent in Tent City.
Sadly, it seems The Copper & Blue isn't on the reading list of at least one Edmonton-area radio host. From yesterday, a Twitter conversation between Dan Tencer of 630 CHED and Oilers' blogger (and lawyer) Tyler Dellow, sparked by the Oilers' signing of Martin Gerber:
- TENCER: "There you go...Nick Kypreos confirms 500/200 on a 2 way for Gerber. Depth and insurance. Good move."
- DELLOW: "How does he make sense as insurance? If Khabby can't go, they still have two guys on one way deals."
- TENCER: "I still assume one of the others will be dealt. If not, pushes them in TC and on the farm if they clear waivers."
- DELLOW: "I would guess the market for them will be lousy when Cup and Hart Trophy winning goalies don't have jobs. Seems to be the pissing away of a few hundred K. Guess it doesn't matter when you can just demand a few hundred mil $ from city."
- TENCER: "As was just pointed out to me...Tamby wasn't lying when he said he wouldn't go to camp with 3 goalies. Lol"
- DELLOW: "You sound pretty optimistic that Khabby's going to be there and not roasting in an AZ prison."
- TENCER: "Too many cases of people doing worse and getting no jail time or flexible sentences..."
- DELLOW: "See, this pisses me off. Have you bothered to learn anything about how it works in Arizona? YOU COVER THE TEAM FOR MONEY."
- TENCER: "All caps, eh? Geez, it's Friday man! Chill. We'll see how it plays out. If warranted, yell after. I'm betting on Khabby at camp."
- DELLOW: "You're "betting on Khabby at camp"? Based on nothing? Does it trouble you in the slightest to express opinions with no rationale?
- TENCER: "You're saying that it's 0% to analyze the situation and come to that as a logical conclusion?"
- DELLOW: "If your rationale is "...no jail time or flexible sentences," yes. That's actually insane in a situation where plea bargain looks exceedingly unlikely and there's a mandatory minimum jail sentence. God, even bloggers do research: http://bit.ly/dd3S5I"
The last link in the conversation leads us back to Zona's talk with David Maletta.
It's funny, because the one point that mainstream media people still consistently have over bloggers is their ability to talk to people involved, but over the last few years their stranglehold over that access has weakened. More than that, however, access isn't any good if the media guy in question chooses not to use it. Tencer certainly could have arranged to talk to an Arizona-based attorney to clarify the issue, as Zona did, but instead chose to go with his instincts, based on a lifetime of experience with the Alberta system.
Either that, or he could simply have read The Copper & Blue. His failure to do so doesn't leave me feeling slighted in the least, since it puts us in the company of The Hockey News and McKeen's, but it does leave Tencer looking rather uninformed.