R&B singer Brown escapes jail for assault on Rihanna

By Calvin Palmer

R&B singer Chris Brown pleaded guilty to assaulting pop star Rihanna but escaped jail under a deal reached with prosecutors two hours before the hearing this afternoon. The criminal threats charge against him was dropped.

Brown, 20, has been orderd to do six months of community labor. He will serve five years’ probation and take a year-long 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.

At public events where both stars may appear Brown will be required to stay only 10 yards away.

The judge said Brown can complete his sentence in his native Virginia, where he owns a home.

“I think it’s commendable you took responsibility for your conduct,” Schnegg told the singer.

Outside the court, Rihanna’s lawyer Donald Etra, said she “did not object” to the deal when informed of it this afternoon in the L.A. County district attorney’s office.

“She was fully prepared to testify. She would have told the truth about what happened that night,” Etra said.

A spokeswoman for the district attorney’s office said the agreement was “similar to those in other cases where the defendant is charged … with this type of felony.”

Brown would be required to perform about 1,400 hours of trash pickup, graffiti removal or similar tasks.

“The sentence is not an easy task,” the spokeswoman said.

It will be interesting to see if Brown actually performs his community service or pays some flunkey to stand in for him, especially as he been allowed to complete the community service in his native state.

I take it ID is checked when people report to do their community service? And just how closely does the penal system in California liaise with authorities in Virginia to see that the sentence is being carried out.

The full weight of the law has really been brought to bear, hasn’t it?

[Based on a report by the Los Angeles Times.]

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