Ex-Colts quarterback Art Schlichter sentenced for cocaine possession

Indianapolis Star Nearly a year after former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Art Schlichter was found unresponsive in a Hampton Inn hotel room, charged with possession of cocaine, and found guilty of the crime, he has been sentenced to one year probation, according to court records. The sentence issued by a Franklin County, Ohio, judge last week is the latest in 63-year-old Schlichter's encounters with the law, which through the decades have mostly stemmed from illegal gambling and Ponzi schemes. Ron O'Brien, the former Franklin County prosecutor who fought to keep Schlichter in prison due to his perpetual criminal offenses, said in legal terms the sentence of one year probation is appropriate.

"Under Ohio law, even with his terrible record, a fifth-degree felony possession of a small amount of drugs," O'Brien told IndyStar, "the presumption is for community control, a fancy name for probation. " In the state of Ohio, probation is now called “community control” and "provides for terms and conditions (offenders) must comply with in order not to go to jail," according to the Office of Justice Programs. "The system requires (the offender) to work with a probation officer for a given period of time as set by the court.

" However, O'Brien said Schlichter's cocaine possession taking place while he was on parole could have further ramifications. "The bigger question is what a felony conviction does to his federal supervised release (parole) -- a primary condition of which is compliance with all state and federal laws," O'Brien said. "A felony conviction while on parole is a basis to revoke the parole and send him back to prison.

" After a run of prison sentences that spanned two decades -- brought on by a gambling addiction that led to financial fraud, theft and shattered an NFL dream -- Schlichter was released from prison in June 2021 after serving more than a decade for federal fraud charges related to a massive ticket scheme that bilked millions of dollars from his victims. Less than a year later, Schlichter was located inside an Ohio hotel room where police officers found a substance they believed to be cocaine. According to court documents, police responded to a report of an overdose at the Hampton Inn on Lyman Drive in Hilliard, Ohio.

Officers could not get Schlichter to respond. He was resuscitated with the help of Narcan, a nasal spray used for the treatment of a known or suspected opioid overdose that includes signs of breathing problems. Schlichter was then taken to the hospital.

The substance found inside Schlichter's hotel room was later tested and found to be cocaine. A former Ohio State star quarterback, Schlichter was picked fourth overall in the NFL draft by the Baltimore Colts in 1982. But his dreams of a professional football career were soon sidelined by his run-ins with the law.

In 2010, NFL Network listed Schlichter as the No. 4 draft bust of all time and a top 10 quarterback draft bust of all time. In 2011, Schlichter pleaded guilty to a massive ticket scheme in which he promised college and NFL game tickets to buyers, but never delivered the tickets despite being paid for them.

He was sentenced and released on bond. Four months later, in January 2012, Schlichter's bond was revoked due to drug use. According to court records, Schlichter was charged with violating the terms of his house arrest, testing positive for cocaine twice and then refusing to give urine samples.

He was taken into custody. In May 2012, Schlichter was sentenced to nearly 11 years in the Federal Correctional Institute in Florence, Colorado, and 10 years in an Ohio penitentiary. The two sentences were to be served concurrently, and with good behavior Schlichter was to be released Aug.

18, 2020. But from inside the walls of prison, just months before his scheduled release, Schlichter was having women outside the prison place bets for him, O'Brien told IndyStar at the time. 'It's sad and it's tragic': Ex-Colts QB Art Schlichter's life behind bars He was also betting with other inmates, O'Brien said.

Prison officials found out through emails and phone calls Schlichter was gambling from inside. He was banned from email for 90 days due to his gambling, according to prison records. In 2020, IndyStar spoke exclusively with Schlichter from behind bars at the Federal Correctional Institute in Florence, Colorado.

He said he had been diagnosed with Parkinson's disease and dementia and that he had been treated "unfairly" by the courts and prosecutors. .

Dana Hunsinger Benbow
Filed 09.20.2023

Players Mentioned in This Article

Chris Schlichter

Bill O'Brien

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