Ex-NFL player Chad Johnson released from Florida jail after just seven days
McHugh accepted Johnson's apology for his earlier lack of courtroom manners and reduced his original 30-day sentence to the one week he’d already severed a Florida jail. The NFL player formerly known as Chad Ochocinco has often been the subject of several controversies due to his flamboyant behavior and a long list of off-field issues. On Monday, Johnson said that he took the time in jail to reflect on how his lack of seriousness on the issue was wrong considering he was already in court due to a domestic violence case.
"I just wanted to apologize for disrespecting the court last time," said Johnson, while sporting the full prison gear, including hands shackled at the waist. "I apologize. I did have time to reflect on the mistakes I made in this courtroom."
Johnson was initially brought to court for violating his probation in a domestic violence case after he head-butted his then wife Evelyn Lozada, which left her with a three-inch gash on the forehead needing eight stitches. The judge called those injuries horrific. Although the defense had reached agreement on a plea deal that would keep Johnson out of jail, judge Kathleen McHugh threw out the plea deal after Johnson butt-slapped his attorney in response to McHugh inquiry that was he satisfied by his lawyer.
Although Adam Swickle, Johnson’s attorney, maintained that the rear-end slap was just a football player's way of saying thanks, McHugh was offended by Johnson’s lack of seriousness. She noted that in a previous hearing Johnson put his arm around a female prosecutor and needed to be reminded twice to by her to correct his posture. She also pointed out that Johnson had failed to appreciate "the gift of probation" after pleading no contest to battery in the domestic violence case. Johnson was in court since he had failed to meet his probation officer for three straight months.
"I find that's an arrogant disregard for a court order," said Judge McHugh.
McHugh ordered Johnson to perform 25 hours of community service and attend domestic violence counseling at least twice a week during the probation period, while also his probation an extra three months through mid-October.
Walking out of jail on Monday, Johnson said that McHugh’s tough love approach opened his eyes to the life he had been leading.
"No one has been able to do it, not even my parents," said Johnson. "I thank her. Everything she did was justified."
His attorney said that Johnson intended to fulfill all terms of his probation, and with the legal issue out of the way he will now be able to focus on his comeback to NFL.
"He understands that this is the kind of situation that can derail a person's career," said Adam Swickle. "We're very confident he will do what he should do.”