Sophomore running back Maurice Washington appeared in Santa Clara County Superior court this afternoon, where he filed a formal waiver of arraignment, according to Benjamin Rada, a spokesperson for the court.
In legal terms, a “formal waiver of arraignment” means a defendant (Washington, in this case) acknowledges that they are aware of the charges facing them and are entering an initial plea of not guilty. In most cases, this is used for defendants who aren’t readily accessible to the court, so someone like Washington who lives in Nebraska but has to appear in California.
Formal arraignment procedures include having the indictment read aloud to you before having you vocalize your not-guilty plea on the record. Waiving arraignment accomplishes that without you having to go to court and go through those procedures.
A second court date has been set for Washington on May 13 at 9 a.m. for identification of counsel. Washington’s current attorney, John C. Ball, was not present with Washington Wednesday afternoon in court and does not have a license to practice in the State of California. An attorney with the Santa Clara County Public Defender's Office appeared with Washington as stand-in representation Wednesday.
“Mr. Washington did appear in court in California today, continuing his active and responsible role in bringing this matter to a close,” Ball said in a statement to Hail Varsity. “He will continue to be fully cooperative, and recognizes that this process will take time and requires patience and persistence. He is grateful that all of his family, friends, and supporters are also committed to standing with him to the conclusion of this matter.”
It’s possible Washington might not have to attend the May court date.
The running back is accused of sending a video depicting an alleged sexual assault of his former girlfriend to that girl in March of 2018. Because the video was taken two years prior, while the girl was under the age of 18, and Washington sent the video while legally deemed an adult, he is facing a felony charge of distribution of child pornography as well as a misdemeanor charge under California’s “Revenge Porn” law because, it’s alleged, he sent the video to inflict emotional damage on the victim.
He has been a “limited participant” in spring practice so far with the team and will not play in Saturday’s spring game.
“I've been coaching the team so this isn't news to us,” head coach Scott Frost said Wednesday. “We knew this whole process would have to play out and like I said before, we're going to wait until everything happens to make any lasting decisions for Maurice.
“He's been doing well. … Overall, I think Maurice has done a good job trying to stick to the norm and what practice he has done, he's looked good. We're just going to sit back and let the process play out."
Derek is a newbie on the Hail Varsity staff covering Husker athletics. In college, he was best known as ‘that guy from Twitter.’ He has covered a Sugar Bowl, a tennis national championship and almost everything in between (except an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game… *tears*). In his spare time, he can be found arguing with literally anyone about sports.