Artest's hearing postponed 3 weeks

AUBURN, Calif. -- Ron Artest's court hearing on misdemeanor domestic battery charges was postponed three weeks Thursday.

The Sacramento Kings forward did not attend the brief proceeding in Placer County Superior Court.

"Both sides continue to talk and pursue their independent investigations," Artest's attorney, William Portanova, said. The matter was continued to April 26.

Artest was charged March 21 with battery and corporal injury to a spouse, false imprisonment and dissuading a witness from reporting a crime. Each carries a maximum penalty of a year in county jail. He has pleaded not guilty.

The charges stem from a March 5 disturbance at Artest's estate in Loomis, 25 miles northeast of Sacramento. A Placer County sheriff's report said Artest grabbed a woman and pushed her down, slapped her face and took a phone from her the first time she tried to call 911. The woman was not named in the report, but the charges against Artest are for spousal abuse.

Artest must continue to comply with a judge's order to stay at least 100 yards away from his wife and children until further notice, said assistant district attorney Dan Quick.

Artest was suspended for 73 games and pleaded no contest to misdemeanor assault after a brawl with Detroit Pistons fans in 2004, when he played for the Indiana Pacers.

Although Artest did not appear in court Thursday, he and a teammate visited a Sacramento elementary school to help honor a teacher-of-the-year winner. Artest told students to study hard, respect their teachers and always do the right thing.

"Don't let anyone tell you you can't do what you want to do," he said.