HOUSTON — Green Bay Packers defensive end Johnny Jolly appeared briefly in a Houston courtroom Tuesday to answer refiled charges he illegally possessed at least 200 grams of codeine.
Jolly, 26, whose hometown is Houston, was indicted by a Harris County grand jury for a second time last week, five months after prosecutors dismissed a similar charge stemming from a traffic stop a year and a half ago.
The charges were dropped in July so lab technicians could become proficient with a new piece of equipment that measures codeine, Harris County district attorney officials said.
Jolly, who has posted $10,000 bond, has said he is innocent.
In court Tuesday, Jolly, wearing a dark sweater over a red shirt, dark pants and athletic shoes, answered “here” when State District Judge Mike Anderson read the names of defendants on his docket for the morning. He said nothing else in court.
Asked outside the courtroom if he had anything to say, Jolly told The Associated Press: “Have a nice day.”
Jolly’s attorney, Brian Overstreet, said there were “real preliminary” discussions on a possible plea deal and the next step in the case would be another hearing. No date was immediately set.
A prosecutor read a brief summary of Jolly’s arrest after 1:10 a.m. on July 8, 2008, in the parking lot of a Houston club known for drug and gun use. A police gang unit pulled over his car because of excessive noise coming from amplified bass music.
Authorities said Jolly acknowledged there was a gun in the car when questioned by officers. Police found a handgun on the floor on the passenger side. A man in that seat was arrested on a gun charge and one of two people in the back seat was arrested on a marijuana possession charge. The other person in the back seat was not arrested.
Jolly was arrested after police “smelled the strong odor of codeine” in cups in the vehicle, according to the police report. Lab tests subsequently confirmed the codeine.
Anderson found there was probable cause to continue the case and ordered pretrial procedures to begin.
Conviction on the drug charge carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison.
Jolly attended high school in Houston and played for Texas A&M. He was selected by the Packers in the sixth round of the 2006 NFL draft.
Packer players are off Tuesday, allowing Jolly to be in court and not be absent from practice.
He would be the first active Packers player to stand trial on a felony charge in more than two decades.