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Canseco jailed for violating probation

Posted: Tuesday February 18, 2003 2:47 PM
Updated: Tuesday February 18, 2003 6:45 PM
  Jose Canseco Jose Canseco is led away after his hearing and could be held until March 17. AP

MIAMI (AP) -- Jose Canseco was sent to jail Tuesday after violating his probation for a 2001 nightclub brawl.

The former major league slugger could be held until a scheduled March 17 hearing, Judge Leonard E. Glick ruled.

"I understand that I have to take responsibility," Canseco said. "I ask for the mercy and understanding of the court."

Shortly after, Glick ordered Canseco into custody.

"No bond," Glick said.

Wearing a dark double-breasted suit, the 38-year-old Canseco handed his wallet and a thick silver necklace to his lawyer before being led out of the courtroom, his hands cuffed behind his back.

Glick issued a warrant for Canseco's arrest Friday after being told the six-time All-Star had failed to begin anger control classes and community service, and that he had left Florida for longer than 30 days.

Those were among the conditions of his three-year probation, as well as the payment of court costs and sending monthly reports.

Canseco ranks 26th in baseball history with 462 career homers. He retired in May, finishing with .266 batting average, 1,407 RBIs and 200 stolen bases in 1,887 games with seven clubs.

He and Mark McGwire teamed in Oakland as the "Bash Brothers," leading the team to three straight World Series appearances from 1988-90 and the 1989 title. Canseco won the 1988 AL MVP award.

"The subject does not appear to take probation seriously," probation officer Ileana Ortiz told Glick in a report filed last week and prompting the arrest warrant. Ortiz said Canseco had been in Los Angeles since Dec. 20.

Canseco's attorney, Gustavo Lage, said his client was involved in a custody battle in California and wasn't able to arrange the anger control classes. Lage also said Canseco misunderstood the conditions of his community service, believing those hours could be served at any time during the three-year probation period.

"He knew he was running the risk that he would give up early termination of his probation," Lage said.

Canseco and his twin brother, Ozzie, fought with two men at a nightclub in Miami Beach on Oct. 31, 2001. Jose Canseco pleaded guilty in November 2002.

Ozzie Canseco, in court with his brother Tuesday, has complied with the terms of his probation.

Jose Canseco pleaded guilty to felony aggravated battery and two counts of misdemeanor battery. His brother, who played briefly in the majors, pleaded guilty to felony battery and misdemeanor battery.

Prosecutor Jonathan Granoff said sending a probation violator to jail was "standard procedure." In a case heard just before Canseco's hearing began Tuesday, Glick sent a probation violator to jail for 366 days.

Jose Canseco Sr. said his son has been mistreated by the court system.

"He's been treated very badly," Canseco Sr. said. "He's a nice guy. He's done very good things in this country."

Lage asked Glick to not send Jose Canseco to jail, saying the six-time baseball All-Star is a highly visible public figure.

"He's not going anywhere," Lage argued, to no avail.

Canseco admitted last year that he used steroids during his baseball career. He claimed that up to 85 percent of all major leaguers took muscle-enhancing drugs during the years he played, and said he planned to tell all about the alleged steroid abuse in baseball in a still-unpublished book.

Canseco was born in Cuba and raised in Miami, the city he still calls home.

He is still considered a celebrity in his adopted city, and has received star consideration in at least two of his previous Miami jail stints.

In 1997, corrections officials investigated if Canseco received special treatment when guards snapped Polaroids of each other with him inside the jail. Canseco was awaiting a bond hearing on a domestic violence charge.

And in 1992, officers who arrested Canseco on aggravated battery charges for allegedly trying to run his first wife off the road asked for and received autographs from the slugger.


 
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