MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Adrian Peterson could face up to two years in a Texas jail if found guilty on felony charges of negligent injury to a child.
With so much at stake for Peterson, a local defense attorney, who is not affiliated with this case, weighed in on how the prosecution and defense will move forward.
“I think it’s a questionable case for both sides,” said Eric Nelson of Halberg Criminal Defense.
When a grand jury indicted Adrian Peterson on charges of child abuse, corporal punishment also became a key factor in the case.
“You’ve got a right under the law, both in Minnesota and Texas, to use reasonable corporal punishment,” Nelson said.
Prosecutors will argue the star running back’s actions went beyond reasonable. They’ll likely use Peterson’s own statements, text messages and pictures as evidence.
The images show the 4-year-old boy’s injuries, taken after he left his dad’s Houston home.
“The fact it leaves a mark is clearly a factor that favors prosecution,” Nelson said.
But Nelson also sees location as a challenge for the prosecution.
In Texas, corporal punishment is more socially acceptable than in Minnesota. Spanking or paddling are allowed in schools.
Nelson believes Peterson’s attorneys will focus on the boy’s misbehavior, which Peterson said led to the discipline.
“He acknowledged his son had pushed someone off a bike, put a pillow on someone and used foul language,” Nelson said. “All that were unacceptable in his home.”
But at a Saturday press conference, Montgomery County prosecutor Phil Grant said even members of the community believed Peterson went too far.
“A grand jury indicted this case and looked at injuries inflicted on this child and determined that discipline was not reasonable,” said Montgomery County prosecutor Phil Grant.
While the courts will decide Peterson’s legal fate, it’ll be up to the NFL to decide his professional future.
“I’m sure he wants to get on the playing field and the team wants him on the playing, but the NFL will have its discipline as well,” Nelson
Peterson’s next court date has not been set.