No bail for Gooden after latest arrest

Published March 16, 2006

TAMPA - Former baseball star Dwight Gooden will remain in jail with no bail after he was arrested Tuesday and charged with violating the terms of his probation by using illegal drugs.

On Tuesday, he admitted to a probation officer that he had used cocaine, officials said. Gooden, 41, was sentenced to three years of probation in November after he pleaded guilty to reckless driving, opposing a police officer without violence and felony fleeing and eluding a law officer.

The night of Aug. 22, 2004, Gooden drove off after an officer stopped him for driving erratically in South Tampa. His breath smelled of alcohol, the officer said.

At Gooden's first appearance in Hillsborough Circuit Court on Wednesday, Judge Walter Heinrich told him his case will be heard by Judge Daniel Perry in the court's new probation violation division, designed to streamline probation cases that clog dockets.

Gooden's attorney, Peter Hobson, said Gooden's admission of drug use is a sign that he is still in rehab and that despite the slipup, Gooden is on the road to recovery.

"We think that one of the things that is often forgotten about drug rehabilitation is it's not a destiny; it's a day-to-day journey," Hobson said. "Many of his friends and those of us that know him well understand, and we're more interested right now, as everyone should be, in his well-being and his health."

Gooden could face up to five years in prison for violating his supervision, said Pam Bondi, a spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office.

"We realize that drug addiction is a sickness, but it's also a crime," Bondi said.

Alexandra Zayas can be reached at 813-226-3354 or azayas@sptimes.com