With the NFL draft less than two months away, former LSU running back Jeremy Hill is no longer under court supervision.
Over a prosecutor’s objection, state District Judge Mike Erwin granted an early termination Wednesday of Hill’s two-year probation stemming from an April incident outside a Tigerland bar in which Hill punched a man.
Rob Rang, a draft analyst at CBSSports.com, said Erwin’s decision is positive news for Hill and for the NFL teams considering him.
“The biggest knock I had on him was off-field concerns,” Rang said. “Today’s news does potentially boost his draft stock.”
CBSSports.com has Hill listed as the No. 75 draft prospect, meaning a second- or third-round pick.
Hill’s probation wasn’t set to expire until July 2015, but Marci Blaize, Hill’s attorney, asked Erwin to release the former star tailback from his court supervision because Hill has completed the conditions of his probation.
Those conditions included paying a portion of the victim’s medical bills, writing a letter of apology to him, performing 50 hours of community service and attending an anger management class.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said afterward that he has much respect for Erwin as an experienced and fair judge but disagrees with the early end to Hill’s probation.
“The court’s reduction is certainly within his discretion but I feel that the reduction surely sends the wrong message, especially in this case, under these circumstances,” Moore said.
In the April 27 incident, a cellphone video released by the District Attorney’s Office last year shows Hill and Robert Bayardo — both 21 at the time — punching a 20-year-old man and then giving each other high-fives in front of the victim after he fell to the ground in the parking lot of Reggie’s Bar on Bob Pettit Drive.
Hill was suspended from the LSU football team for three months following his April arrest.
“Jeremy has learned from the mistakes he made that night and is ready to move on,” Blaize said Wednesday outside Erwin’s courtroom. “I wish him well.”
Blaize noted that probation for a simple battery conviction can range from 90 days to two years, and she said it is not unusual to ask for an early termination of probation.
“This is a routine request I make. It is certainly nothing out of the ordinary,” she stressed.
Hill and Bayardo pleaded guilty in July to a misdemeanor simple battery charge stemming from the April incident. Bayardo’s one-year probation is scheduled to expire in July.
Hill was on probation for another offense at the time of his April arrest.
In January, state District Judge Bonnie Jackson terminated that two-year probation stemming from a 2010 sexual incident when Hill was at Redemptorist High School.
Hill served that full two-year probation. Hill had completed the conditions of the probation Jackson ordered before the April punching incident, so Jackson later added a special condition of 40 hours of community service.
Several days after Jackson ended Hill’s probation on Jan. 10, Hill announced he would make himself available for the 2014 NFL draft in May and would not return for his junior season at LSU.
Assistant District Attorney Sue Bernie argued to Erwin on Wednesday that the judge should not terminate Hill’s probation early because Hill violated his probation in Jackson’s court by virtue of the incident outside Reggie’s.
“The state would object to any early termination,” she told the judge, who nevertheless granted Hill’s request.
Jackson put Hill on probation in January 2012 after he pleaded guilty as a high school senior to a misdemeanor charge of carnal knowledge of a juvenile. The incident involving the juvenile occurred in December 2010. Hill was accused of engaging in a sexual act with a 14-year-old girl in the Redemptorist locker room.