Tuesday, June 23, 2009

No Jail Time for Chris Brown

After pleading guilty to assaulting girlfriend Rihanna with the intent to cause bodily harm, Chris Brown will serve no jail time. Instead, he will spend five years on probation, serve six months of community service, and undergo courses in domestic violence.

Perhaps more surprising than the lenient terms of this plea are the comments made by Judge Patricia Schnegg of the L.A. County Superior Court. Judge Schnegg said, "Mr. Brown, I think it's commendable that you took responsibility for your conduct". Apparently, pleading guilty to avoid jail time means that Brown has taken responsibility for brutally beating Rihanna.

Why isn't he being commended for "taking responsibility" for his actions? Why isn't he being properly chastised and punished for committing this crime? Sure, he is still on probation and doing community service, but that hardly stands as a substitute for jail time. What kind of message does this send to other perpetrators of domestic violence?

Unfortunately, the mishandling of this case doesn't stop with the attorneys and the judge. The media has contributed by sensationalizing this crime. By releasing pictures of a badly bruised Rihanna and by speculating loudly about whose fault the attack was, the media fueled a firestorm of gossip around the relationship between these two celebrities. One thing that has been largely ignored is how this type of violence is so prevalent in our society, and that Rihanna hardly stands alone as a victim of domestic partner abuse. Here's hoping that future domestic violence cases will be treated - by the legal system and the media alike - with the seriousness that they deserve.

1 comment:

Jenna said...

I am outraged by the results of this case. Thank you for writing this article.