MIKE HART in 2009...

Of course, I guessed wrong on the verdicts in both the O.J. and Casey Anthony trials, but from what I can gather, Mike Hart (accused of fraud for adding weights to his daily U.S. Open catches in 2010) will not face the kind of retribution widely being called for on the web.

And that’s not all that speculative on my part.

Despite the outrage being voiced on the matter, the recently published December 16 “court date” is likely a preliminary hearing only, and that’s where you can expect a plea bargain of some kind.

According to my sources in Nevada, without a criminal history, Hart has virtually no chance of prison time, unless, I was told, “if it gets political.”

As outlined to me, the more likely scenario is the case “eventually [be] negotiated to a misdemeanor with a fine and some community service.” And while the public upheaval over this unpleasant situation is strong now, in the courts it is likely to go away with little more than a whimper.

At worst, my source repeated, that without a criminal record by the defendant, “I wouldn’t expect more than a gross misdemeanor with a suspended sentence and a fine, etc.”

Of course, that doesn’t mean a message won’t be sent regarding tournament cheating–if the conviction holds. But what bothers me–and I’ve said this before–even with a guilty verdict, it does not “fix things” for the sport. Those with a disposition to cheat or mislead don’t look at the Hart’s legal issues as a form of crime deterrent, rather armed with knowledge of latest “unsuccessful” methodology, they’ll just entertain other elicit means.

We have to be watchful.



9 Responses to “Jail time unlikely for U.S. Open perpetrator”

Criminals already know the odds. The majority of anglers don’t think like criminals…thank God! That’s what makes competitive angling stand above most other sports.

Laypeople to the court system always seem to invision this sword of justice to “fix” criminal behaviors whether by deterrent penalties or the swing of the sword with punitive sanctions.

The message has been sent by a mere criminal complaint filing. The court process you describe awaiting our now national cheater is indeed dead nuts on, that’s the wheels of justice. In the big picture, peanuts compared to the other matters awaiting trial. No doubt all the players of the courtroom chuckle as they pass it along the conveyor belt.

The scarlet letter placed upon Mike Hart is the justice- don’t look to the courts, look at ourselves.

The bell curve of life will always offer the criminogenic few. When they come to play in a derby, they will be caught. Beat them all with sticks and move along…much better for the face of our sport.



Rory Franks
Grassrooted tournament director 10yrs – Probation Officer 15…

He may not get prison time, but he knows full well that we all know what went down and he knows how it turned his life upside down. Glad to see this is still in the news. Still mind baffling that he attempted it. Enjoy the rest of your life cheater.

I agree with Rory… this guy can never show his face again anywhere near a tournament, which is the perfect punishment for any competitive cheater. He’s a complete disgrace in the eyes of every legitimate bass angler out there- no need to waste the time and money of a trial.

I’m ready for the 2012 LaDue series 😉

PJ Filipowicz

You’re crazy to think that he isn’t going through pure hell. He has been disgraced, and now he is going to Las Vegas criminal court on a feleony charge that has a sentence of 1-10 years. Whether he gets off or not it is a sobering and terrifying experience. The Las Vegas court and jail is mostly filled with gang bangers and inner city hoods and he is faced with joining them and probably paying a criminal defense atorney a lot of money to avoid joining them. DA’s and judges are not friendly guys and will gladly give you the maximum sentence if you don’t fight back, and that cost lots of money. I bet his life is in pretty messed up and will be for some time, even if he “gets away with it”.

John, I don’t think I said it would be pleasant. But come Dec. 17, I think my assessment from a legal perspective will look pretty close. If not, however, it only removes one apple from the barrel.

I’d put my money on what you said George.

You are totally right George. It’s a big deal in our tiny world, but in the big picture the courts will do nothing more than give him a misdemeanor and fines.

Leave it to a damn twin. We even post at the same time! Lol

by George Kramer

In the end, if justice (for our sport) is served, then that will be good. I don’t care if I’m right or wrong on this one; just trying to be real about this. Think about it, though. We never started out to fish the PTS (Polygraph Truth Serum) circuit. Looks like that’s where we are today. 🙁