Glenn Guilbeau / Gannett Louisiana
BATON ROUGE East Baton Rouge Parish District Attorney Hillar Moore is defending his office's decision on Monday to reduce LSU defensive back Jalen Mills' felony second degree battery charge to a misdemeanor simple battery charge and is bringing up semantics.
'We will file a misdemeanor bill sometime today charging the offense of simple battery. Technically my office has not reduced any charges,' Moore said in an email to reporters at 8:20 Monday morning. 'This is the charge that we believe is appropriate after reviewing the evidence and reports. It is what the law calls for under these circumstances and facts. The police made an arrest of Second Degree Battery. That was an arrest charge only and not a formal charge by our office. That arrest charge served to only set a bond. Had we formally charged him with second degree battery and later reduced it to a misdemeanor, then we would have reduced the charge.'
In order for Mills' second degree battery charge to stick, Moore said his office had to prove that Mills had a desire to inflict serious bodily injury to the female victim.
'I have to prove that any defendant has the specific intent to cause anyone of those injuries or conditions,' Moore wrote. 'In this case, similar to the Jordan Jefferson case and hundreds of other fights/batteries, I cannot. There is no specific provision for man versus woman except for Domestic Violence or family situations, which this is not.'
In 2011, then LSU quarterback Jordan Jefferson was charged by police with felony battery of a man and was immediately suspended by LSU coach Les Miles before that was also later reduced to misdemeanor battery. And Jefferson was immediately reinstated to the team by Miles.
Miles has not yet updated Mills' status with his team. The Tigers begin practice at 9:30 a.m. today.
Moore said Mills will have his arraignment in court, where he will enter a guilty or not guilty plea, in the near future.
'The court will set this date,' Moore said. 'Following an arraignment, the matter will be set for motions or status conferences. Mr. Mills is presumed innocent.'
Mills, 20, was indefinitely suspended by Miles shortly after being arrested on June 10 on the charge of felony second degree battery. A junior from the Dallas area who started the 2012 and '13 seasons at cornerback, Mills allegedly punched a woman in the mouth on May 4 at his apartment complex on Highland Road near LSU, according to Baton Rouge Police. Mills spent that night and part of the next day in jail before his parents bailed him out on June 11 for $10,000.
Mills' attorney Brent Stockstill said witnesses said another woman hit the victim and Mills did not.
Mills moved to safety during spring drills and was expected to start there in the 2014 season.