Chad Johnson sentenced to 30 days in jail after slapping his lawyer’s butt in court

Doug Farrar
June 10, 2013

Former NFL receiver Chad Johnson was all set to avoid jail time with a plea deal in a Broward County, Fla., courtroom. He and his attorney were on the verge of striking a plea deal with Judge Kathleen McHugh that would have Johnson avoiding the slammer despite probation violations. Last August, Johnson pleaded no contest last August to a domestic violence charge after he allegedly head-butted his then-wife, reality TV star Evelyn Lozada, during an argument. Johnson was arrested in May for failing to meet with his probation officer.

Johnson had his day in court Monday morning, but things went south very quickly just after he playfully slapped his attorney on the butt on Judge McHugh's time. McHugh accused Johnson of failing to take the proceedings seriously after the entire courtroom broke out in laughter, sentenced him to 30 days in jail, and extended his probation to Dec. 21, 2013.

From the Miami Herald:

"I don't know that you're taking this whole thing seriously. I just saw you slap your attorney on the backside. Is there something funny about this?" McHugh said, slapping the plea deal document down on her desk. "The whole courtroom was laughing. I'm not going to accept these plea negotiations. This isn't a joke."

Johnson tried to apologize, to no avail. "This is your courtroom. I have no intent to make this a joke. It's not funny," Johnson told McHugh. "My life is in a shambles right now, and I try my best to laugh and keep a smile on my face."

Johnson told ESPN last Friday that he understood the gravity of his current situation, and that there was no room for error.

"I'm going to be OK," he said. "I'm OK now, but I put myself in this situation and I have to deal with everything. With life, I'm at peace with everything. I would love to finish my career off the right way. If it happens, I'm not sure. But I would like to."

Johnson played for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2001 through 2010, and for the New England Patriots in 2011. He was signed by the Miami Dolphins in June of 2012, but was released in August after his arrest. Johnson's release from the Dolphins was captured by NFL Films cameras for the "Hard Knocks" series.

"I let you down a little bit -- a lot," Johnson told Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin. " I understand what you're doing -- you got the message across loud and clear the first day we met. I [understood] what you wanted out of me and what you expected of me. I apologize for embarrassing you and this organization."

Now, Johnson has weightier issues to deal with.