McCready Gets 1 Year Sentence

Country singer Mindy McCready was sentenced Friday to a year in jail after she violated probation on a 2004 drug charge by getting charged in a domestic dispute in Florida.

The singer has been in jail in Tennessee since July, when she returned to Nashville after being accused of scratching her mother in a scuffle and resisting sheriff’s deputies in her hometown of Fort Myers.

McCready, who has had several legal problems in recent years, had received a three-year suspended sentence in 2004 after illegally obtaining painkillers with a false prescription.

The singer sobbed as she asked for leniency from Circuit Judge Jeff Bivins.

“Your honor, I can honestly tell you this: This has been the longest two months of my life … not being able to hold my son … has been excruciatingly painful.”

“I could only say I’m sorry,” she said. “Please give me a chance to make things as right as they can possibly be.”

Bivins sentenced her to a year in the Williamson County jail with credit for 75 days of time served. After her release she will face another two years of probation, plus 200 additional hours of public service.

The judge said McCready has repeatedly violated the conditions of her probation and has shown no evidence of seeking drug or alcohol treatment or counseling.

Deputy District Attorney General Derek Smith, who had asked Bivins to sentence McCready to two years in jail, said she would have had a chance to have her record expunged had she completed her probation as required.

“Ms. McCready was given the largess of not only probation, but judicial diversion,” he said. “She was given a chance initially.”

McCready’s attorney, Lee Ofman, could not immediately be reached for comment. But during the hearing, he told the judge she had served enough time in jail and asked him to sentence her to probation.

In her plea for leniency, the singer said, “I realize when I was given the opportunity to have judicial diversion on my charges I was given a gift that I took for granted.”

Her manager, John Brunson of Tampa, Fla., told the court that McCready has a recording contract pending with Denver-based Iconic Records that’s structured in a way that would require her to get help for her problems and straighten her life out.

She was scheduled to sign the contract the day she was arrested in Florida, he said.

“The label wants her healthy. They are looking at her as a long-term investment,” Brunson said.

McCready had a hit in 1996 with “Guys Do It All the Time,” but has struggled with legal and personal problems that included a beating by her then-boyfriend and suicide attempts. She gave birth to her son in 2006.

Michael Fancher, owner of Iconic Records, said the label is convinced that with help, including a physical trainer and medical evaluations, she can regain her singing career. He also said her story could inspire other women dealing with domestic violence.

“She was meant to sing, and anyone who hears her sing can understand that,” Fancher said.

But Smith questioned whether publicity from the singer’s legal troubles led to her record deal.

“There wasn’t a record contract in 1998 or 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004. Only after she receives publicity from this criminality does she suddenly have an opportunity to receive an economic boon. I don’t think anybody should benefit from crime,” Smith said after the sentencing.

Still pending for McCready is a charge of violating her probation for driving on a suspended license in 2006. She pleaded guilty to the driving charge, but her attorney has since sought to withdraw the plea, citing new evidence.