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COUNTYWIDE : Athlete May Enter No-Contest Plea

An attorney for basketball player Allan Leavell said Friday that his client will probably plead no contest to punching a referee during a minor-league game.

Leavell, the first professional athlete ever to be arrested for striking a referee, did not show up in Ventura Municipal Court for his arraignment on a battery charge Friday.

However, defense attorney Louis Samonsky Jr. asked the court for a continuance, which Judge Herbert Curtis III granted. Leavell is expected to enter a plea on May 29 to a charge of battery, Samonsky said.

Samonsky said Friday that Leavell “said he’d be up here, but I said there was no need to. He gave me the authority to come up and represent him.”

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Samonsky said Friday that he planned to contact Leavell in Houston and tell him that Judge Curtis expects to sentence him to a period of probation and a $500 fine. The misdemeanor charge of battery carries a maximum penalty of six months in jail and a $2,000 fine.

Leavell was arrested after a Continental Basketball Assn. game between his team, the Tulsa Fast Breakers, and the Santa Barbara Islanders at Ventura Community College on March 30.

According to the police report, Leavell punched referee Peter Quinn, knocking him to the floor, after Quinn made a call against the Fast Breakers in the final seconds of the game. Quinn pressed criminal charges.


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