Dukes Will Head Back to Court April 24

By Barry Svrluga
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, April 5, 2008

ST. LOUIS, April 4 -- Washington Nationals outfielder Elijah Dukes is scheduled to be back in court later this month in his home town of Tampa to deal with a probation issue stemming from a case last year.

Dukes was sentenced last September to a year's probation after being charged in January 2007 with a misdemeanor account of possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana. According to court records, Dukes is due in court April 24, when the Nationals host the New York Mets, to answer charges that he violated that probation.

However, sources familiar with Dukes's case said the issue of whether Dukes violated probation was actually resolved when Dukes was in court on another matter last week, but a procedural matter extended the case.

Dukes missed the Nationals' last Grapefruit League game March 27 so he could answer charges that he violated a domestic violence injunction originally filed last year by his ex-wife. That case, to which Dukes had pleaded not guilty, was dropped that day.

The judge who had heard most of Dukes's various legal matters, Nick Nazaretian, was not in court that day. According to sources familiar with the case, Dukes asked that his probation end early, but the judge preferred to let Nazaretian hear the matter, and the new hearing was scheduled.

That hearing, which could be moved to a day the Nationals are off, should resolve whether or not Dukes remains on probation. Dukes is on the disabled list because of a strained right hamstring. Washington officials expect him to miss the entire month of April.

Dukes's primary attorney, Grady Irvin, declined to comment Friday. Neither Dukes's agent, Scott Pucino, nor Nationals President Stan Kasten returned messages seeking comment.

Young Back in D.C.

First baseman Dmitri Young returned to Washington Friday to have his ailing back examined. An MRI exam taken Thursday revealed only "a little bit of inflammation," according to Manager Manny Acta. Acta said Young is not expected to return to St. Louis this weekend.

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