Recruit Allowed to Attend Prom

Willie WilliamsBy Jon Burstein
Staff Writer
Posted May 20 2004

Fort Lauderdale · Miami football recruit Willie Williams received a judge's permission Wednesday to attend his high school prom despite being under house arrest.

Broward Circuit Judge Michael Kaplan allowed the Carol City High School linebacker to go to Friday's dance over the objections of the Broward State Attorney's Office. Williams has been wearing an electronic ankle monitor since February after he was accused of violating his probation in a burglary case while on a recruiting trip to the University of Florida.

He faces three criminal charges in Gainesville after authorities alleged he set off three fire extinguishers in a hotel and grabbed a woman against her will in January. His attorneys said Wednesday they hope that case will be resolved within the next month, but they didn't detail how.

Kaplan ordered that one of Williams' high school coaches must drive him back and forth to the prom and he must be home by 1 a.m.

Kaplan's ruling came after the judge issued a stern warning to Williams to not leave his home without permission or risk awaiting trial in jail. Williams' house arrest officer told the judge that the football player has been abiding by all conditions of his pre-trial release except that sometimes he will briefly walk outside his home.

Jose Izquierdo, one of Williams' attorneys, said that the 19-year-old has gone outside for a matter of a few minutes to talk to friends or take out the garbage. Williams told Kaplan he won't do it again.

Assistant State Attorney Spencer Multack argued Williams shouldn't be allowed to attend the Friday event because of his problems staying inside his house coupled with his legal troubles.

"The prom is really the last place we think Mr. Williams needs to be," Multack said. "He's going to have plenty of time in his life to be celebrating. I think that he could forgo this one occasion on this one time due to the nature of the circumstances."

Williams said he didn't have a date for the dance.

UM has put Williams' scholarship on hold pending an admissions hearing, which won't take place until his legal matters are resolved.

Jon Burstein can be reached at jburstein@sun-sentinel.com or 954-356-4491.