Saturday, October 27, 2012

Chris Brown's Sentence: Wake Up Call Needed?

Community service has become an accepted part of alternative sentencing. It’s often part of a probationary sentence that keeps someone out of prison.

When one stops to think about this, however, it’s deeply odd. Serving the community by speaking to school groups or picking up trash on public land should be considered a privilege, not a burden. Indeed, it’s a privilege millions of people embrace voluntarily, usually through the nonprofit group of their choice.

Those people are rarely written about in the media. But the media — particularly the entertainment media — makes sure we know about wayward celebrities like Chris Brown.

Brown is the young singer who physically assaulted his then-girlfriend Rihanna in 2009. After pleading guilty to a felony assault charge, he began serving a 5-year probationary sentence. The sentence included a court-ordered requirement to perform at least 1,440 hours of community service.

For the past three years, he has been doing several different jobs in the Richmond, Virginia, area. These include cleanup work in police stations and janitorial duty at a daycare.

But the judge in Los Angeles County who is responsible for signing off on Brown’s sentence completion is not so sure his records are accurate. The number of hours Brown has racked up in the last seven months is supposedly 701, according to the Richmond Police. Yet as media reports pointed out, it previously took him 28 months to reach that number.

Plus, during the seven months when Brown has purportedly been putting in all that time picking up trash, he’s also been taking ample time to sing before large audiences and (the tablids speculate) maybe even start romancing Rihanna again.

There seems to be something wrong with this picture. The judge in Los Angeles has therefore ordered a further review of Brown’s records to determine whether he has violated his probation.

Chris Brown’s most well-known song is perhaps Don’t Wake Me Up. It is quite possible, based on the record review, that someone — probably his attorney — will need to wake him from the delusion that his sentence for beating up Rihanna is over so soon.

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