As the Michael Vick dog-fighting saga captured the attention of the nation, two professors from William & Mary's Law School provided some of the country's top media outlets with expert insight into the legal proceedings that recently landed the suspended Atlanta Falcons quarterback a 23-month prison term.
Linda Malone and Paul Marcus, both experts in criminal law, have been among the media's top legal sources and have been quoted in local, national and international press stories about the case since Vick was indicted in July.
In the last week alone, Malone was quoted in the Washington Post and the Associated Press, as well as front-page stories in the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Daily Press. The AP story ran across the world, including The New York Times, Sport Illustrated online news site (SI.com), MSNBC.com and the International Herald Tribune. A recent Google news search revealed more than 90 news outlets where the stories had run in the past few days.
Malone, the Marshall-Wythe Foundation Professor of Law and Director of the Human Rights and National Security Law Program, commented on Vick's Dec. 10 sentencing in a Washington Post article, saying that Vick got a tougher sentence than what was first expected because prosecutors and the judge believed he had violated the terms of his plea agreement. "They obviously didn't feel that he was fully forthcoming and cooperative," she said in the article.
Malone has been so heavily quoted on the case that her name came up even as The Sandy Post, a small newspaper from Sandy, Ore., did a Google search for their town mayor, who shares Malone's name. In an article about the search, the College's Linda Malone was noted as someone whom the nation's media sought "to provide educated commentary regarding the legal woes of Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick."
"I enjoy and benefit from talking to reporters about high profile cases and issues, in addition to seeing it as something of a public service responsibility," said Malone. "The best reporters often have important behind-the-scene information which they can share that add to my own understanding of the issues."
She's not alone in coverage. Marcus, Haynes Professor of Law and Kelly Professor of Teaching Excellence, has also been heavily sought after for insight on the case. Earlier this year, Marcus' comments about the case were featured in a story in the L.A. Times, among other publications, "I have spoken to quite a number of reporters, several at considerable length," said Marcus. "Some of the interviews become part of published stories; many do not -- they are used for 'background.' Many of the contacts are from national organizations; some are purely local."
The media blitz shouldn't die down. Vick also faces state charges related to the dog-fighting ring so expect this case to continue to grab national attention. And through every legal twist and turn, expect to see Marcus and Malone putting the case into context for readers and continuing to provide media with insight.