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Baton Rouge battery blamed on Louisiana college cornerback

A criminal history can haunt a Louisiana defendant long into the future. A felony charge will close a lot of doors, even before a defendant has had the opportunity to try the door knobs. Educational advancement, career success and housing options may be in jeopardy.

An athlete at Louisiana State University recently was charged with second-degree battery, a crime carrying a potential fine of $2,000 and up to five years behind bars. The 20-year-old college football player was arrested more than a month after he allegedly punched a woman. Baton Rouge police said Jalen Mills' arrest was delayed because investigators required time to gather sufficient facts and evidence.

Authorities reported a woman visited the player's apartment complex near LSU. The woman was searching for a friend and knocked on the athlete's door around 1 a.m. Mills shut the door on the visitor, but she knocked a second time.

After getting no response, the woman started to walk away. The visitor turned around when she heard someone speaking and was punched in the mouth, causing a lip wound that later required several stitches. The injured woman fell to the ground and passed out for a short time.

After the early May incident, police spent several weeks reviewing evidence and talking with the woman and witnesses. The alleged victim and one witness apparently identified the cornerback's picture among five other photos in a line up. Mills was contacted by police at the end of May, but didn't respond right away.

Eventually, the student athlete surrendered and was booked into jail on the battery charge. The starting player was released after posting $10,000 bond. The defendant, suspended indefinitely from the university's football team, had no criminal past.

A criminal defense attorney will attempt to have a defendant's charges dismissed before moving on to other options, like negotiations for a reduction in charges. The goal is to prevent long-term consequences.

Source: The News Star, "LSU's Mills charged with 2nd degree battery of a woman" Glenn Guilbeau, Gannett Louisiana, Jun. 12, 2014

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