When sophomore tight end Dion Sims was sentenced to a year of probation Monday morning in Detroit’s 36th District Court, there was a smattering of applause.
Sims pleaded guilty on Sept. 30 to charges of receiving and concealing stolen property in relation to an organized operation to steal and sell about 104 computers valued at $158,000 from Detroit Public Schools. The laptops were distributed via websites such as eBay and Craigslist to places as far away as Canada, Florida, Arizona and the United Arab Emirates.
Sims’ lawyer, Steve Fishman, said Sims was not directly involved in the alleged stealing and selling of the laptops, but played a part in introducing several of the men charged with stealing and selling the laptops.
“It wasn’t him stealing computers,” Fishman said. “It was him connecting Person A with Person B.”
Under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act, if Sims follows the terms and conditions for his probation the incident will be cleared from his record, Fishman said. The terms include 15 hours of community service talking to student athletes in Detroit Public Schools and not purchasing or consuming alcohol or drugs.
The act allows a person ages 17 to 20 who has pleaded guilty for a crime to be placed in prison or on probation without conviction to avoid a criminal record.
“He’s a young kid and he’s a good kid and he made a mistake,” Fishman said. “(With the act) he can write on (future) applications that he doesn’t have a record.”
The incident was initially reported to the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in February 2010. MSU Athletics Director Mark Hollis was aware of Sims’ legal issues since about that time.
Sims has been suspended from the MSU football team since mid-September, but 36th District Judge Kevin Robbins stated during the sentencing that he will support Sims regaining an active status on the team if Sims completes his probation.
“I will go up (to East Lansing) myself or do it by letter,” Robbins said. “Whatever it’s going to take.”
MSU Associate Athletics Director John Lewandowski told the State News in September that no action will be taken with Sims’ current status on the team until he is sentenced. Lewandowski was not immediately available for comment Monday morning.
Lymann Briggs sophomore Nicholas Tisdale also was involved in the incident. He pleaded guilty for charges of receiving and concealing stolen property in September.
Continue to check statenews.com for updates.