Montee Ball, the former UW-Madison running back sentenced to probation in 2016 for domestic battery and disorderly conduct, won’t finish his probation as planned on Monday because he hasn’t completed a court-ordered domestic violence program or paid any of the restitution he owes, both required as part of his sentence, the state Department of Corrections said.
Instead, DOC spokesman Tristan Cook said Thursday that DOC has “stopped time” on Ball’s probation, freezing it where it stands while the agency considers what to do about the outstanding issues. That means Ball’s probation won’t end on Monday as originally set, Cook said.
“The department is following (up) with Ball to determine the appropriate response to his current non-compliance with the conditions of his probation,” Cook said. “Potential options could include extension of his probation or revocation.”
The idea that Ball’s probation was to expire on Monday without completion of the domestic violence program or payment of restitution had prompted the Dane County judge who sentenced Ball to lash out at DOC in a letter on Wednesday. Circuit Judge William Hanrahan questioned why Ball’s probation agent waited to try to extend Ball’s probation when the agency should have known earlier that he wasn’t complying with his sentence.
Ball, 27, of Sun Prairie, who played professionally for the Denver Broncos, pleaded guilty in August 2016 to disorderly conduct for a 2016 incident involving one girlfriend, and battery and disorderly conduct for a 2014 incident involving another. Hanrahan sentenced Ball to 18 months of probation, with 60 days in jail as a condition of probation, and ordered that Ball complete a certified domestic violence program and pay $1,409 in restitution to the victims.
In a letter sent to Hanrahan on Tuesday, Ball’s probation agent, Sarah Othmer, said DOC had no record that Ball completed the domestic violence program and said he hasn’t paid any of the restitution. Othmer asked Hanrahan to schedule a court date to extend Ball’s probation for up to a year.
But in a letter responding to Othmer, Hanrahan wrote that given his full court calendar, and given the fact that Ball has a right to have a hearing, with proper notice for that hearing, “this case cannot be scheduled before the expiration of the term of probation.”
Hanrahan wrote that in November his office had reminded DOC that Ball’s probation would end soon and that DOC was to contact the court at least a month before Ball’s discharge date to schedule a hearing to extend or modify his probation, should it want to do so.
“It is unclear why you failed to follow the explicit directive of the court,” Hanrahan wrote.
Aside from that, he wrote, “it is appalling that, knowing of the defendant’s alleged failures to comply with some basic terms ordered by the court, nobody in your department over the past 18 months of probation sought to revoke the defendant’s probation, or even bothered to request a hearing of any sort, in order to coerce the defendant into complying with the orders of the court.”
Hanrahan wrote that he is “extremely dismayed” that it appeared DOC had “no idea” whether Ball completed the domestic violence program.
“This particular order was a fundamental component of the defendant’s sentence,” Hanrahan wrote. “Additionally, it appears that the defendant has not paid one thin dime toward restitution that was ordered. This is an utterly unacceptable state of affairs.”
Ball’s lawyer, Erika Bierma, said she hasn’t been involved in the correspondence between Hanrahan and Ball’s probation agent.