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Judge John E. Turner (Ret.)

NFL prospect facing domestic violence charges

Football fans in Washington and around the country are likely looking forward to the upcoming NFL draft. Former Michigan Wolverines standout Jourdan Lewis is seen as a top prospect by many pundits, but a misdemeanor domestic violence charge has raised questions about the promising 21-year-old athlete's future. Lewis is accused of assaulting his girlfriend during a heated domestic dispute, and he faces a $500 fine and up to 93 days in jail if he is convicted.

Reports indicate that Lewis' girlfriend called Ann Arbor police at about 1:10 a.m. on March 12. The woman is said to have been emotional and unresponsive on the phone, and officers were subsequently dispatched to the couple's home. The woman told the arriving officers that Lewis had walked out after grabbing her by the throat and dragging her across the floor, but officers say that they saw no visible marks on her neck.

Officers then called Lewis and arranged a meeting. While Lewis was not taken into custody at that time, he did tell officers his side of the story while sitting in the back of a police vehicle. He is said to have told officers that he did not assault his girlfriend and only put his hands on her when she grabbed him to prevent him from leaving. Lewis was release on personal recognizance during a March 16 arraignment hearing and is scheduled to appear in court again on April 12.

Domestic violence allegations can ruin reputations and careers, and experienced criminal defense attorneys may urge prosecutors to bear this in mind and dismiss charges quickly when the evidence at their disposal is unlikely to establish guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. Attorneys could also advise their clients to not speak to police officers without legal representation even if they feel that they have done nothing wrong.

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