Judge Lets UM Signee Williams Go to Prom

By Jorge Milian, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Thursday, May 20, 2004

FORT LAUDERDALE -- Despite a "series of breaks" from his electronically monitored house arrest, University of Miami football recruit Willie Williams was given permission Wednesday by a Broward County judge to attend his high school prom.

But Broward County Circuit Court Judge Michael Kaplan warned Williams that further violations of his house arrest could result in jail time.

Williams, 19, was in court Wednesday for a status hearing regarding an allegation that he violated probation after a controversial recruiting trip to the University of Florida in January that led to felony and misdemeanor charges. Williams is on probation as the result of felony burglary charges two years ago.

On Wednesday, Kaplan was informed that Williams violated the terms of his house arrest Tuesday by going outside his home without permission. The conditions of Williams' house arrest stipulate that he can leave his home only to attend classes at Miami-Carol City High School.

"I really don't have any major problems with Mr. Williams," said Sandra Estenoz, Williams' house arrest officer. "I just can't get get him to stay in his house."

Jose Izquierdo, Williams' attorney, told Kaplan that "occasionally there is a four- or five-minute break or a 10-minute break when Willie takes out the garbage or sees somebody out front." Izquierdo also said that Williams left his home Tuesday to deliver jumper cables to a neighbor and to buy medicine at a pharmacy.

Kaplan warned Williams that if he didn't abide by the terms of his house arrest, "the other option would be to keep you in custody. Do you understand?"

"Yes, I understand," Williams said.

Kaplan then approved a request from Izquierdo to allow Williams to attend his high school prom Friday. Under conditions set by Kaplan, Williams must be transported to and from the prom by Carol City linebackers coach Andre Stafford. Williams will be allowed to leave his home at 7 p.m. and must return by 1 a.m.

Kaplan also said he had "no problem " with Williams attending his high school graduation June 10.

Asked outside the courtroom about Kaplan's decision to allow him to attend the prom, Williams said: "I feel great about it. It's a great relief for me."

Next on Williams' legal docket is a June 7 court appearance in Gainesville for a case management conference to address felony and misdemeanor charges for allegedly setting off fire extinguishers at a hotel during the recruiting trip.

Williams will head back to Gainesville on June 15 for a pretrial conference on a misdemeanor battery charge.

UM Athletic Director Paul Dee said Wednesday the school will not decide whether to admit Williams until all his legal issues are resolved.