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April 25, 2008 at 12:02 am ET
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Judge Ends Elijah Dukes’ Probation Early, Cites Community Service At Zoo, Quotes Spiderman

Yet another feel good chapter in The Redemption Of Elijah Dukes:

Thursday, Hillsborough County Judge John Conrad has allowed former Tampa Bay Devil Ray Elijah Dukes to end his probation on a drug charge six months early.

Dukes pleaded no contest to the possession of marijuana charge in September, and was sentenced to 12 months of probation and 50 hours of community service. Conrad also said Dukes could end his probation six months early in return for community service.

So, Dukes, currently on the disabled list with his new team the Nationals, performed 25 hours of community service at Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo from April 17 to 20.

Lowry Park Zoo was ranked the number-one family-friendly zoo in America by Child magazine.

What did Dukes do at the zoo?

“He did everything from helping to erect a fence to landscaping to tidying up the janitorial closet,” said Dukes’ attorney, Grady Irvin. “He took lunch with the guys. Sweeping. He did all of those things. He didn’t have a plush job where he’d sit here and tell people where the bathroom is.”

The St. Petersburg Times reports he was “cleaning out cages and mopping.”

Judge Conrad’s inspiring motivational words:

Judge ConradYou are in a wonderful position to be such a positive influence on so many young people that these are the kinds of things that prevent you from being that example. With great gifts I think you have great responsibilities as well. I’m hoping this experience, albeit for six months … will at least set a positive turn for your future.”

Dukes’ courtroom stylings and demeanor:

Dukes appeared in a Tampa courtroom Thursday morning but did not speak.

Dukes removed large diamond stud earrings and tucked his silver chain under his T-shirt before standing before the judge. The former Hillsborough High standout kept his head down throughout the hearing, looking up and smiling only after the judge granted his request.

The original arrest and allegations:

In January 2007, Tampa police stopped Dukes’ 2006 Dodge Charger because of loud music. As they walked up to the car, they could smell marijuana, police said. A drug-sniffing dog also alerted the officers to the presence of an illegal substance.

Dukes and a friend were cited for possession. Officers quoted Dukes as saying, “Are you really going to arrest me over a little sack of weed?”

Irvin and a team official for the Nationals, who traded for Dukes in December, said the slugger also passed weekly drug tests for six months.

[Compiled from reports from The Tampa Tribune (from the url, it appears The Trib story originally misidentified Dukes as a former Tampa Bay Buccaneer) and St. Petersburg Times. The Tribune also ran a feature on Dukes’ road to redemption in February.]

Dukes is expected to return from the disabled list in a week or two.

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2 Responses to “Judge Ends Elijah Dukes’ Probation Early, Cites Community Service At Zoo, Quotes Spiderman”
  1. Those are some pretty lame looking tats. Did he have an accountant do that Excel ink on his left arm?

  2. Still trying to get my head around this story — unbelievable. And what was interesting is that here in DC there was almost complete silence in the media here about what was going on with Dukes since he headed south to Tampa ahead of the team to supposedly rehab his bad hammy a little over a week ago. Best kept secret ever. Or maybe the Nats organization paid people off to keep it quiet…

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