Probation before judgment restored Student must enroll in drug treatment in three weeks


A 20-year-old Francis Scott Key High School student was granted probation before judgment yesterday and ordered to enroll in a drug rehabilitation program within three weeks.

Circuit Judge Luke K. Burns Jr. ordered Steven E. Lewis of Westminster released from the Carroll County Detention Center, where he had been since Nov. 4 for failing to complete terms of his probation in another case.

Lewis was initially granted probation before judgment in November 1995 on charges involving a breaking and entering and an assault on a man in Westminster.

When Lewis was arrested on those charges in August 1995, police said they found 1.2 grams of cocaine in Lewis' possession and charged him with possession of cocaine.

Burns set aside the original verdicts in those cases last month and found Lewis guilty of violating probation. Lewis had failed to attend court-ordered drug rehabilitation.

Yesterday, Burns reversed that decision, reinstating the verdicts probation before judgment, provided that Lewis comply within three weeks by enrolling in a private drug program.

Richard G. Berger, a Baltimore attorney representing Lewis, said his client made an error in judgment and never intended to wantonly violate his probation.

Berger told the judge that a criminal record would jeopardize his client's opportunity to earn a college scholarship to play basketball.

The judge was shown three letters from college recruiters apparently interested in having Lewis play basketball for them next year.

His attorney sought to have Lewis enrolled in a private drug rehabilitation program because a county-run program could interfere with his practice time for basketball.

Lewis, a part-time player at Francis Scott Key last season, is too old to play for the Eagles' varsity this season, a school official said.

Pub Date: 12/03/96

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