The attorney for suspended LSU running back Jeremy Hill will appear in Baton Rouge court Monday for a status review of probation conditions imposed after an April arrest stemming from an attack outside a bar in Tigerland.
Marci Blaize told The Advocate she will appear before state District Judge Bonnie Jackson to update the court that Hill, a sophomore who pleaded guilty to misdemeanor battery in July, has remained out of bars and completed a substance abuse evaluation. Those terms were part of modified conditions of probation imposed after Hill pleaded guilty as a high school senior to misdemeanor carnal knowledge of a minor.
The proceeding is unlikely to clear up whether Hill faces jail time for violating the conditions of that plea agreement, which stipulated he avoid contact with police and imposed a six-month suspended jail sentence. The original hearing date for reviewing the conditions of Hill’s probation was set for Aug. 16 — a date Blaize said she wanted to move up because of a conflict in her schedule.
“We’re going to report to the court that we have completed some of the conditions she asked him to do,” Blaize said. “That date on the 16th will not happen because I’m hoping to do that a little bit earlier for scheduling purposes.”
If Jackson agrees to conduct a review of those conditions Monday, she could theoretically lift the most constraining provision: a curfew between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m., which did not contain exceptions for football-related activities and made it difficult for Hill to participate fully in the Tigers program. LSU’s players reported to campus Sunday and begin practice Monday.
East Baton Rouge District Attorney Hillar Moore III said it’s within Jackson’s discretion to determine whether Hill’s probation should be revoked and a jail sentence imposed, but he deemed the chances remote.
“I would doubt it,” he said. “From what I understand, the defense lawyer is just asking for a status conference. I would doubt that any action would be taken on the revocation hearing. Anything’s possible, but I doubt it.”
The aim, Blaize said, is to simply change the date of the hearing and potentially lift the curfew as a condition of Hill probation.
“We’re going in to hopefully amend those conditions and change that date,” she said.
On May 10, Jackson imposed the new restrictions after Hill, 20, had been arrested April 27 in connection with attacking LSU student Connor Baldridge outside Reggie’s Bar on Bob Pettit Drive. The curfew was set to expire in January 2014, when Hill’s two years of probation for the earlier case was set to end.
In the April incident, a cellphone video shows Hill and Robert Bayardo, 21, punching Baldridge in the parking lot. The video shows Hill and Bayardo giving each other high-fives in front of the victim after he fell to the ground.
On April 29, LSU coach Les Miles suspended the running back indefinitely from all team activities and in a statement said the program would not comment further until a resolution was reached in the sophomore’s case. On Sunday, Miles reiterated that Hill, who led LSU with 755 rushing yards last season, had been cut off from the team and not allowed in the Charles McClendon Practice Facility.
The implications of a change in Hill’s probation status remain unclear, considering the possibility of Hill serving jail time remains undecided.
After Hill pleaded guilty July 12, District Judge Mike Erwin ordered him and Bayardo to pay $375 apiece to the victim, write letters of apology to him, perform 50 hours of community service and attend an anger management class. The judge also ordered the pair to have no contact with the victim and not to post anything on social media about the incident or talk to the press about it.
Later that day, Moore’s office filed a motion to revoke Hill’s probation. Court records Sunday indicated an order seeking a revocation hearing for Aug. 16, but Jackson didn’t sign the document. Meanwhile, Blaize said no date for a revocation hearing has been set.
“That date could be set far down the road,” Blaize said. “Or we could walk in (Monday), and the judge could say, ‘Let’s deal with all of it.’ I really don’t think that’s going to happen, and that’s not usually how it happens.”
If Jackson were to decide to set Monday’s proceedings as a hearing to revoke Hill’s probation, Blaize said she would ask for continuance to a later date.
“She could also say, ‘Enough is enough; I’ll just add some more conditions to probation,’” Blaize said. “That would be great, but it would only be speculating as to what she’ll do.”