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Judge awards McPherson jury trial

Posted: Thursday May 15, 2003 6:19 PM

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Former Florida State quarterback Adrian McPherson's misdemeanor gambling trial will be heard by a six-person jury instead of a judge as prosecutors had requested, a judge ruled Thursday.

In a two-page order, Judge Tim Harley noted the seriousness of the allegations against McPherson, who was dismissed from the Seminole football team in November after being charged with stealing a blank check and receiving stolen goods after the check was cashed. Those charges are being tried separately from the gambling charge.

Police charged McPherson with the gambling charge in December following an investigation in the stolen check case.

McPherson's attorney, Grady Irvin Jr. of St. Petersburg, argued Tuesday for a jury trial during a two-hour hearing before Harley.

"I believe in our jury system," Irvin said Thursday. "I believe those who are accused should be judged by a jury of their peers."

Prosecutors argued there was no need for a jury in a misdemeanor case where they were not seeking have any guilty verdict placed on McPherson's record or jail time.

By going before a jury, McPherson could have a guilty verdict placed on his record and face imprisonment -- albeit unlikely in a misdemeanor case for a first-time offender.

It's a risk Irvin will take for his client, who stands to lose his remaining two years of collegiate eligibility if convicted on a gambling charge.

Assistant state attorney Georgia Cappleman did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment Thursday.

Jury selection is scheduled May 30 with the trail to begin June 2.

McPherson faces a separate trial beginning the week of July 14 on felony charges in the check case as well as for writing several bad checks last year.

A former "Mr. Football" and "Mr. Basketball" in Florida -- given to the state high school player of the year in those sports -- McPherson is the only person to capture both honors in the same season in the Sunshine State.

He appeared in nine games for Florida State last season, completing 80 of 155 passes for 1,017 yards with 12 TD passes and only one interception. He went 3-1 in his four starts, losing 17-7 at North Carolina State in November when the offense failed to score.


 
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