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August 25, 2009

Five years on probation for Chris Brown in high-profile domestic violence case

As detailed in this LA Times update, singer Chris Brown was sentenced today for assaulting his former girlfriend.  Here are the details:

Pop singer Chris Brown was sentenced today to five years of probation and 180 days community labor — to be personally supervised by the chief of police in Richmond, Va. — in connection with his attack on former girlfriend Rihanna.

Brown reached a plea deal with L.A. prosecutors in June that was expected to limit his sentence to probation and no jail time.  Under the agreement, Brown, 20, will serve five years' probation and take a yearlong domestic violence prevention class.  L.A. County Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg also ordered him to stay at least 50 yards away from Rihanna, 21, for the next five years.

Brown was arrested in February for beating and threatening Rihanna, also a pop singing star, during an argument in a rented Lamborghini. The incident occurred as the couple drove home from a pre-Grammy party.

As always in these high profile cases, I am curious to hear reader reactions to the sentence itself and to the broader message this kind of sentence sends.

August 25, 2009 at 05:55 PM | Permalink


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If anyone happens to know how onerous probation actually is, I'm curious. Does this just mean that some dude from the police department might call you sometimes, or is it more serious?

I have no sympathy for people who did what Chris Brown did, but this doesn't seem to be more lenient than similar situations. As this blog and others have documented, LA is basically on the honor system when it comes to celebrity drunk driving (I recall the single-digit-hour "jail" sentences). The requirements here seem reasonable, though.

Posted by: anonymous | Aug 25, 2009 6:42:34 PM

No doubt, this lenient sentence was driven by the lack of interest in prosecution by the victim. Coupled with Mr. Brown's ability to pay attorneys with boundless enthusiasm for motion practice, it is not surprising the the LA DA said, "No Mas!"

Posted by: Jameson Johnson | Aug 26, 2009 12:43:17 PM

A probationary sentence for a first conviction of DV is not unusual. I dont know if Mr. Brown had other criminal history so this seems like a resolution that non famous people might get.
Also, 5 years of probation is a long time. depending on the conditions, probation can be a pain in the *#%@. It also makes a big difference who you get assigned as your probation officer. If he/she doesn't like you you are in trouble. Imagine being required to check in and get approval from someone who thought you were a no good loser and could throw you in jail if you didn't follow the letter. 5 years of that is not fun.

Posted by: KRG def attny | Aug 26, 2009 1:38:33 PM

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