NORMAN — Three weeks have passed since Joe Mixon allegedly clocked a co-ed in the face.
Still, the investigation continues.
For anyone who loves Oklahoma football, it likely seems this is taking forever. How long do the police need to figure out what happened in the early morning hours of July 25? How much time will the district attorney need to determine if charges can be filed over the incident at a popular Campus Corner hangout?
On Thursday, Norman Police said it hoped to turn over the case involving the ballyhooed freshman running back to the district attorney by week’s end, but in our society, we aren’t very patient. Not when we’re driving to work. Not when we’re making popcorn. Not even when the justice system is working.
But this isn’t an episode of “Law & Order”.
Everything isn’t going to be investigated and tried in an hour. Everything isn’t going to be solved before the credits roll and the bong-bong bells toll.
Talk to people who know their way around the courthouse in Norman, and you’ll discover that law enforcement officials there are known for their expedience. Charges in Cleveland County are normally filed within a couple days if they’re going to be filed at all.
Does that mean Mixon won’t be charged?
This, after all, is a complicated case.
For starters, Mixon’s attorney has indicated that Mixon was acting in self-defense when he hit Amelia Rae Molitor in the face after an altercation at Pickleman’s Gourmet Cafe. Molitor, on the other hand, has said Mixon was harassing her and some friends before punching her.
Video of the incident exists, but outside of investigators, it’s anyone’s guess what it contains. Maybe the images are clear. Maybe there is sound. Maybe not.
Other circumstances complicated the case even more.
Molitor was facing charges in a separate and unrelated case, so that had to be dealt with.
She also needed surgery to repair the bones broken in the incident. Facial surgery. Fairly serious stuff. She went home to Texas for the procedure.
And then, there were a few knuckleheads who claimed to have been witness to what happened between Molitor and Mixon but weren’t even there. Police have had to weed out the liars from the folks who were actually there.
So, just because three weeks have passed and the police are still working on the investigation and the district attorney has yet to receive the case, it would be foolhardy to assume anything. A lengthy investigation implies neither guilt nor innocence.
All of this reminds me of the Chris Collins case. You remember the situation involving the Oklahoma State linebacker from Texarkana, Texas. He was charged with aggravated sexual assault of a child, a case involving a 12-year-old girl.
More than three years passed before the case went to trial.
Quite a few folks had the same reaction — “If it’s taking this long, the police must not have anything and the DA must not have a case. He must be innocent.” But the delay was in no way a reflection of guilt or innocence. Collins pleaded guilty on the day that his trial was supposed to start and received a five-year prison sentence that a jury recommended be served on probation.
He had played a season-plus for the Cowboys by that time and was booted from the team mid-season. It was a mess.
Believe it or not, though, the criminal justice system doesn’t operate with an eye on the sports calendar. Judges don’t look at the football schedule and say, “Oh, we’d better get this wrapped up before the opener” or “His coach needs to know if he’ll be available for the game against Rivalry U”.
Sooner Nation wishes that were the case, but if you want quick resolutions to police investigations or legal proceedings, you likely need to look elsewhere.
Perhaps a syndicated episode of “Law & Order”.
Jenni Carlson: Jenni can be reached at 475-4125. Like her at facebook.com/JenniCarlsonOK, follow her at twitter.com/jennicarlson_ok or view her personality page at newsok.com/jennicarlson.