Embattled former LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson spent Tuesday afternoon and night in East Baton Rouge Parish Prison, sent there by a judge for violating the terms of his bond release in a 2011 simple battery case by being arrested last week on a marijuana charge.
Jefferson, 22, who walked in and out of the 19th Judicial District Courthouse on Tuesday morning dressed in a suit and tie, is expected to be dressed in a prison jumpsuit Wednesday morning when he appears again in front of state District Judge Chip Moore.
Moore, who ordered Jefferson to undergo a substance abuse evaluation, is expected to set new conditions that Jefferson must follow if he wants to be released from jail.
Jefferson had been free on a $5,000 bond for more than a year in his misdemeanor simple battery case, and Tuesday’s scheduled status hearing in that case was expected to be routine — that is until he was arrested Thursday afternoon on a count of simple possession of marijuana and released early Friday on a $500 bond.
Jefferson was arrested along with three other former LSU football players — ex-Heisman trophy finalist and All-American cornerback Tyrann Mathieu, Derrick Bryant and Karnell Hatcher — after 10 bags containing 18 grams of “high-grade marijuana,” a marijuana grinder and a digital scale were found inside Mathieu’s West State Street apartment, Baton Rouge police have said.
East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore III said one of the conditions of Jefferson’s bond release in the simple battery case was that he remain arrest-free.
A none-too-pleased Chip Moore, no relation to the district attorney, got right to the point after calling a somber Jefferson to the lectern. Jefferson’s attorney, Lance Unglesby, stood beside him.
“I have one way of doing things. I try to be fair,” the judge said. “I have a problem with someone who’s out on bond being re-arrested. … I have a real problem with what’s going on.”
At that point, Chip Moore remanded Jefferson to the custody of the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office and ordered him to report to Parish Prison by 2 p.m. Tuesday. Hillar Moore said afterward that the judge’s actions were not unusual.
“We respect the decision of the court. We expected this decision,” Unglesby said outside the courthouse with Jefferson at his side.
“My opinion of Jordan Jefferson remains the same. He is a fine young man,” Unglesby added.
Sheriff’s spokeswoman Casey Rayborn Hicks said Jefferson, accompanied by his attorney, surrendered to a deputy who transported Jefferson into the prison. Jefferson was not given special treatment by not having to walk through the main gate, she said.
Moore set a Dec. 12 arraignment on the drug charge.
The simple battery charge, to which Jefferson pleaded innocent in February through an attorney, stems from an Aug. 19, 2011, fight outside a Baton Rouge bar.
An East Baton Rouge Parish grand jury indicted Jefferson on Sept. 28, 2011, accusing him of simple battery on Andrew Lowery.
Lowery’s attorney, Michael Bienvenu, has said Lowery suffered a fractured jaw and was kicked unconscious. Lowery and Jefferson testified before the grand jury.
Lowery told police officers that Jefferson and then-teammate Joshua Johns were among a group of people who attacked him outside Shady’s, a bar at 623 E. Boyd Drive, south of the LSU campus.
Jefferson and Johns were arrested Aug. 26, 2011, and booked on one count each of second-degree battery, a felony. The grand jury chose to indict Jefferson on a lesser charge of simple battery, a misdemeanor. The panel did not indict Johns.
Lowery and three other men who claim to have been injured by Jefferson and Johns filed a lawsuit in May against the two former players and DBJ Interests LLC, doing business as Shady’s.
While Jefferson sat Tuesday in the back of the courtroom waiting for court to begin, a man walked in and served Jefferson with a copy of the suit.
Jefferson and Johns told police they were at Shady’s that night but denied involvement in the fight, according to affidavits of probable cause for search warrants of their homes.
Police have said the fight started when a man in a truck blew the horn to try to clear a crowd in the bar’s parking lot. Some witnesses, however, have said the fight was already in progress when the truck approached the crowd.
In Louisiana, a simple battery conviction carries up to six months in jail and up to $1,000 in fines.