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Broward judge orders actor Brad Renfro into treatment program

By CATHERINE WILSON Associated Press Writer

A judge put jailed  Brad Renfro into a three-month substance abuse treatment program Thursday(7/02/02) and told him he faces a nine-month sentence if he fails it.

Renfro, was jailed Jan. 31 for violating his probation for trying to steal a yacht. He violated the probation when he was arrested Jan. 14 and charged with driving without a license and public intoxication near his hometown of Knoxville, Tenn.

"I'm going to put you into this program, which I think will have some reasonable probability of success," Circuit Judge Ronald Rothschild told Renfro. "I'm going to ask you to put some energy into this."

The Broward County Sheriff's Office runs the program as part of its jail operations.

"Up till this point he probably did not realize the seriousness of his offense," prosecutor Sharon Mullane said outside court. Her office is recommending a nine-month jail term if Renfro doesn't complete treatment.

Renfro's aunt, Julie Pyshzka, whispered to Renfro across the courtroom and said afterward, "He says it'll be very good for him." She said he suffered from running with the "wrong crowd" and having "too much, too soon."

A hearing was set March 7 on the probation violation, but defense attorney Bart Heffernan said it may be waived. He is trying to avoid having the judge adjudicate Renfro guilty of a felony in the yacht case because it would hurt Renfro's acting future.

"A felon cannot step foot on a studio lot," Heffernan said, citing bond and insurance issues. "He's a resilient young man, and he recognizes his problems, and he wants to deal with them."

Heffernan said Renfro was attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings in Tennessee before his Jan. 14 arrest.


February 7, 2002

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