Former NBA player remains jailed on gun charges

Updated: August 18, 2006, 7:05 PM ET
Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- Former NBA player Lonny Baxter will remain in the District of Columbia jail on felony gun charge at least until next Wednesday, in part because of a request from his attorneys.

Baxter's lawyers asked a D.C. Superior Court judge Friday to delay a bond hearing so they could challenge aspects of the city's new crime emergency legislation that presumes anyone charged with carrying a pistol without a license to be dangerous.

Richard Finci argued that Baxter's classification as dangerous person, which can be used to deny him bail, violates his constitutional rights.

"He should not be presumed to be a dangerous person just because he had a gun in his possession," Finci said. "To extend the law to the mere possession of a firearm, without a violent crime goes too far," he said following the hearing.

Baxter, the former University of Maryland star who played with the Charlotte Bobcats last season, was taken into custody about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday after a person on the street flagged down a Secret Service officer and reported shots were being fired from a white sport utility vehicle.

Officers stopped the vehicle, which Baxter, 27, was driving a few blocks from the White House.

Officers allegedly saw two spent shell casings on the floor of the vehicle and recovered a handgun from the vehicle's center console.

The Secret Service charged Baxter and his passenger, Irvin Martin, 35, with carrying a handgun without a license and other firearms charges, which could lead to up to seven years in prison. Martin was released Wednesday.

Baxter is being held in solitary confinement because of his celebrity status, pending the outcome of next Wednesday's hearing.

"Anytime you're incarcerated inside the D.C. Jail, that's not the most pleasant of circumstances," said Harold Martin, who is also representing Baxter.

Baxter was drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the second round in 2002. He is a native of Silver Spring, Md., just outside of Washington, and played for Maryland from 1998 to 2002. He also played briefly with the Washington Wizards.

Baxter signed a one-year deal earlier this month with an Italian pro team.

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press