VAN NUYS, Calif.—In an emotional 80-minute hearing in Los Angeles Superior court on Wednesday, Judge Thomas Rubinson postponed his ruling on former major league baseball player Milton Bradley’s motion for early release from jail, pending the judge’s receipt of a more complete “plan” for the post-prison life of Bradley, who was convicted on domestic abuse charges in June 2013.
Bradley, who was found guilty of nine misdemeanor counts of physically and emotionally abusing his wife, Monique Bradley, had been seeking a reduction in his 32-month jail sentence based on his professed need to help raise his sons, who are nine and seven years old, respectively. At a similar hearing last month, Judge Rubinson indicated that he was open to considering early release, and asked Bradley and his attorney, Harland Braun, to submit a detailed plan as to “what Mr. Bradley’s life would look like” should he be freed from L.A. County Jail five months into his 32-month sentence.
“What is he going to do if and when I release him,” Rubinson had asked. “I'm not just talking about laying around the house. I'm not talking about going back to some aspects of the life that he had before which was cars and Vegas trips and fancy this and fancy that … No, no.”
This morning, Rubinson declared that the plan submitted by Bradley and his counsel, which the judge said he received only yesterday, was “insufficient” and “not nearly what I had in mind.” He asked for a new submission “that is much more detailed and comprehensive than this.”
Assistant City Attorney Michelle Lim, who has prosecuted the case since it was first filed nearly four years ago, stated at last month’s hearing that her office was open to considering early release, based on the well-being of Bradley’s children, who were described by Bradley in September as undergoing emotional, mental and developmental distress due to their missing father. (Monique Bradley died of an unrelated liver illness in September 2013, a few weeks after the guilty verdict against her estranged husband.) This morning, Lim reversed field and said that she now “vehemently opposes” Bradley’s early release, based on new evidence—filed by Bradley in juvenile dependency court—that depicts the Bradley children as “doing just fine.”
“The court is being misled,” Lim said. “He is using his children as a tool to gain his early release … This not a man who has changed his ways.” Lim added that Bradley has repeatedly resisted the efforts of Monique’s parents, Roger and Judith Williams of Akron, Ohio, to obtain custody of the children or to even visit them.
Bradley, wearing an orange jail-issued jumpsuit and scruffy beard, spoke briefly on his own behalf and denied trying to mislead the court.
During the hearing letters from Monique’s friends and relatives were tearfully read aloud by local anti-domestic abuse advocates and Monique’s friend, Christina Lee, the wife of former major league player Derrek Lee. At the close of the hearing, Rubinson asked Bradley and his counsel to submit by Oct. 28 a more complete plan for the retired outfielder’s post-jail future. The next hearing on the matter is scheduled for Dec. 9, 2015.