Former high school and junior college star quarterback Emmanuel Lewis pleaded not guilty to drug charges Tuesday morning in Fresno County Superior Court.
Lewis, 21, faces three felony charges of selling or offering to sell a controlled substance -- cocaine and Ecstasy. A record-setting quarterback when he was at Tulare High, Lewis faces a maximum of seven years in prison if convicted.
Lewis spent the past two seasons at Fresno City College.
David Washington, a Stockton attorney representing Lewis, sought to have Lewis released from jail on his own recognizance as the case works its way through the courts. The request was denied by Judge Jonathan Conklin.
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Outside of court, Washington said Lewis, a Fresno resident, is a student, is from the central San Joaquin Valley and has no criminal record -- criteria that usually are enough to earn a release.
"He has family and ties to the community," Washington said.
But prosecutors opposed the request, saying that Lewis has been selling Ecstasy for a year and a half.
Conklin didn't totally shut the door on releasing Lewis on his own recognizance, but said he needed more information. Conklin said he will further consider the matter at another hearing Tuesday.
The judge also set a preliminary hearing for Dec. 29. The date likely will be pushed back if Lewis is released from jail.
In the meantime, Washington said, Lewis' family will try to come up with bail set at $45,000.
Clovis police arrested Lewis on Thursday after a four-month investigation. A news release from Clovis police said undercover officers purchased nearly an ounce of cocaine and 25 Ecstasy pills from Lewis during the past four months.
Police also said Lewis' 2-year-old son was in the car when he allegedly sold drugs to officers. The boy has been placed with Fresno County Child Protective Services. Washington said Lewis is married.
Washington said he has not spoken with Lewis' parents but described other family members -- some of whom were in court Tuesday -- as shocked, saddened and surprised by the allegations.
"It's not consistent with his conduct," Washington said.
Lewis played at Tulare from 2003-05 and holds the Central Section career passing record with 8,667 yards. This season, as a sophomore at Fresno City, he threw for 2,227 yards and 21 touchdowns for the 7-4 Rams.