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Judge unlikely to postpone Pittman's hearing

By GREG AUMAN, Times Staff Writer
© St. Petersburg Times
published July 8, 2003

The prosecutor handling Bucs running back Michael Pittman's probation case in Arizona said Monday it's unlikely the presiding judge will allow a hearing scheduled in two weeks to be postponed until after the season.

"That would seem to be way against what she would normally allow," said Robert Hubbard, city prosecutor for Tempe Municipal Court, where Pittman's probation revocation hearing is scheduled for July 21. "There's no way she's going to do that."

Judge Lorraine Arkfeld, who gave Pittman a three-year probation in 2001 after an altercation with his wife, Melissa, likely will hear the case. Pittman was arrested in May on felony assault charges after police said he used his Hummer to ram his wife's Mercedes-Benz with her, their 2-year-old son and an 18-year-old babysitter inside.

If Arkfeld determines that act violated language in Pittman's probation that calls for him to remain a law-abiding citizen, he could be sentenced to up to six months in jail. Pittman's attorney, Joel Thompson, said Monday he would seek a continuance until after the season.

Pittman's hearing is two days after the Bucs open camp, and he has a pretrial conference on the assault charges July 30, the day after the team leaves for a preseason game in Tokyo.

Hubbard said Pittman likely would be granted a waiver of his required personal appearance, allowing him to stay with the Bucs. Doing so, however, could come at his defense's expense.

"The downside to waiving your appearance is you can't testify," Hubbard said. "If you plan on saying, "I didn't do this, it didn't happen that way,' you're losing your right to do that."

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