Originally Posted by Red in Atl
I personally wonder how much of the Anti-Leake comments stem from this one silly episode?
He was cleared of the shoplifting charge. He bought the wrong size shirts, took them back and swapped them out for what he wanted. Anyone who's gone into Macy's or any other department store during the day knows there are not enough staff on the floor. So he got tired of waiting for someone to show up and took care of the problem himself. Problem was he got caught, and he didn't have his receipt with him.
Bad decision - yes. Does it make him "an immature headcase"? No.
I can't buy this expanation. Why? Because it is fed to shoplifting defendants. I have prosecuted multiple shoplifting cases and every single one of them claimed the same defense. It is the equivalent of the DUI defense that you were in an accident and then started drinking while you were waiting for the cops. Shoplifters claim it because it is hard to disprove. Unless you have video of them entering the store empty handed, the claim can sow doubt. In one case we actually showed the guy entering empty handed and his explanation was that he had entered earlier in the day with the jersey he wanted to exchange and hung it on the rack and then left the store, so our video was him re-entering the store. Amazingly, the judge bought that. One of only two cases I ever lost... It still rankles.
Macy's has no real incentive to push the issue, so their decision to settle carries no weight with me. Our judicial creed is that the government must treat someone as innocent until they are proven guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. It does not limit the opinions and actions of private citizens, however. I believe Mike Leake was caught while stealing.
That said, this has no affect on how I view him as a pitcher. He was an immature kid put into the limelight overnight. Shoplifting does not tell me much about the person. Shoplifting is not the type of crime that exposes severe character flaws; at least not if you only have evidence of one occurrence.