Chris Brown’s On Garbage Duty

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg says she wants Chris Brown to pay for his crime with some dirty work.

Right before a preliminary hearing was supposed to start, Brown pleaded guilty yesterday to one count of felony assault against fellow R&B singer and former girlfriend Rihanna. He was handed a punishment of six months of community labor and five years of supervised probation.

Brown will likely be allowed to complete his community service in his home state of Virginia but Schnegg wants him to rough it like criminals in California – cleaning up graffitti or roadside trash rather than working in churches or community centers.

He will be required to return to California to check in every three months in addition to attending domestic violence counseling.

Brown was arrested Feb. 8 for beating up Rihanna during an argument while driving home from Clive Davis’ pre-Grammy Awards party. The 20-year-old singer was accused of punching Rihanna, 21, biting her, putting her in a headlock and threatening to kill her, according to detective’s notes from the scene of the assault.

Brown had previously pleaded not guilty April 6 after being charged with two felonies – assault with force likely to produce great bodily injury and making criminal threats. If he had followed through with yesterday’s preliminary hearing and then been convicted, Brown faced jail time up to nearly five years in prison.

Photo: AP Photo
Jingle Ball, Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.

The judge also issued a stay-away order. Brown and Rihanna must stay at least 50 yards away from one another, except at industry events where they must maintain a distance of 10 yards.

Donald Etra, attorney for Rihanna, told Entertainment Weekly the stay-away order lasts for five years.

“The judge said that after Chris is sentenced in August, she would consider reducing the full stay-away order to a limited protective order. Rihanna requested that there only be a protective order, namely that Chris be ordered not to annoy, molest, or harass her. Rihanna did not feel that a stay-away order was necessary in this case,” Etra said.
Etra said Rihanna “had no objection to the plea” and that she “feels it’s a fair and just resolution to the case.”

And how did other fellow artists in the biz react?

“Violence is never the answer — even if provoked,” Aubrey O’Day, the former Danity Kane member and “Making the Band” star, told MTV. “But with bigger issues like war, we just need to let go and forgive. Let people move on. … [Brown is] incredibly talented. Regardless of his personal decisions, I will always support his music.”

All-American Rejects guitarist Nick Wheeler wasn’t so pleased with the case’s outcome.

“If it was just a regular dude, would [the sentence] have been the same?” Wheeler said to MTV. “No one should turn a blind eye to [abuse]. He should get what he gets.”

Brown will be formally sentenced on Aug. 5.

“I think it’s commendable you took responsibility for your conduct,” Schnegg told Brown after he entered his plea and waived his rights. She said she hoped “the terms and conditions of your probation will have some meaning.”

Click here for the AP article.

Click here for the Entertainment Weekly article.

Click here for the MTV article.