LiAngelo Ball, UCLA players could face serious prison time if convicted
LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill picked a really bad country to get into trouble.
The three UCLA Bruins basketball players were arrested in China on suspicion of shoplifting from a Louis Vuitton store near their hotel in Shanghai. They are in China to face Georgia Tech in their season opener this weekend.
Following news of the arrests, Yahoo Sports’ Dan Wetzel did some analysis of the potential legal consequences. He was told the athletes could face 3-10 years if convicted.
Here’s what China’s criminal law code says about theft:
Those who steal relatively large amounts of public or private property and money or have committed several thefts are to be sentenced to three years or fewer in prison or put under criminal detention or surveillance, in addition to fines; or are to be fined. Those stealing large amounts of property and money or involving in other serious cases are to be sentenced to three to 10 years in prison, in addition to fines. Those stealing extraordinarily large amounts of property and money or involving in especially serious cases are to be sentenced to 10 years or more in prison or given life sentences, in addition to fines or confiscation of property. Those falling in one or more of the following cases are to be given life sentence or sentenced to death, in addition to confiscation of property:
(1) Those stealing extraordinarily large amounts of money and property from financial institutions;
(2) those committing serious thefts of precious cultural relics.
The legal expert with whom Wetzel spoke obviously believes the potential theft could fall into the second category for “large amounts of property”, leading to 3-10 years in prison. If their alleged left falls in the first category, they could be sentenced to three years or fewer and fined; or they could be fined.
Another issue is that the players could be detained until prosecutors decide whether to press charges. That process reportedly often takes 30-37 days.
Representatives from UCLA or the US government, or any involved lawyers would have to work to free the athletes from being detained and resolve the case.