Former NFL quarterback Ryan Leaf facing possible punishment in two states

By By Danny O'neil

The Seattle Times (MCT)

Published: Tuesday, April 3 2012 5:01 p.m. MDT

SEATTLE _ Two drug-related arrests in the span of a little more than three days have Ryan Leaf facing potential punishment from two different states.

Leaf, the former Washington State quarterback, remained in a Montana jail Tuesday, waiting to learn if he will be released on bail after he was arrested first on Friday afternoon and again early Monday morning in his hometown of Great Falls, Mont.

Those arrests could trigger trouble in Texas. James Farren, the district attorney of Randall County, said Tuesday that his office received copies of the incident reports and charging documents from the recent arrests. Farren was preparing a motion that would have the effect of revoking Leaf's probation in Texas and subjecting him to a potential prison sentence there. Farren said he expected to file the motion late Tuesday or early Wednesday.

Leaf is serving a 10-year probation sentence in Texas stemming from a case that involved his illegal acquisition and use of painkillers while he was at West Texas A&M as an assistant coach. He pleaded guilty to eight drug-related charges in Texas in April 2010, entering deferred adjudication. He submitted a guilty plea, but that was not officially filed, and if he completed the 10-year probation period he would not have a conviction on his record. If he did not comply with the terms of the probation, he could face a sentence of up 20 years.

Farren said his office will file a motion to proceed to adjudication, essentially asking the judge to accept the guilty plea that Leaf had previously entered. The end result is the probation would be revoked, and Leaf would face a punishment that's at the discretion of the judge. Farren said his office would recommend prison.

"We wanted to give him a chance," Farren said. "And he frittered that chance away."

It's too early to put a timeline on when Leaf would be called to Texas court and whether it would be before his current cases in Montana are adjudicated. Farren said the allegations in Montana are reminiscent of what happened with Leaf in Texas.

"Eerily similar," Farren said. "The allegations in Montana that ... he burglarized more than one place in Montana. That's like what he was accused of here, and eventually admitted here."

Leaf was arrested Friday in Montana after he was found in possession of 29 painkillers for which he did not have a valid prescription, according to the police affidavit submitted to Cascade County District Court. The police investigation concluded that 15 of those pills came from an associate of Leaf's whose house Leaf had entered without permission.

Leaf was released Friday after posting bail. He was arrested again after midnight on Monday morning. A police investigation identified him as the suspect who had entered a house and left with three bottles of medication. According to a court affidavit, officers found 89 pills in the pocket of a bathrobe at Leaf's house.

He has remained in Cascade County Detention Center since that most recent arrest, placed on a 72-hour hold by the Montana Department of Corrections. The Department of Probation and Parole faces a deadline Wednesday to decide whether Leaf can be released on bail or if he will remain in jail on a 30-day hold.

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