Felony Probation + New Felony Assault = Potential New Criminal Problems for Chris Brown

Get ready. These dated jokes will probably be making the rounds again: “What do you say if Chris Brown is your blackjack dealer and you need another card?” Or how about this one: “I was going crazy trying to remember Rihanna’s ex boyfriend’s name. Then it hit me.”

The reason why Chris Brown is back in the news is that early today, he was arrested in Washington after a fight broke out near the W Hotel. Police charged Brown with felony assault. According to police, the Grammy Award-winning singer was allegedly involved in a physical altercation, which resulted in the victim sustaining injuries. Brown was arrested along with his body guard. The victim went to the hospital with significant enough injury to justify police charging this as a felony.

TMZ provided more specifics on what Brown allegedly did. They claim that the alleged victim told them that he and a friend were simply hanging out at the W when they saw two woman about to take a photograph with Brown. The victim alleges that he and his friend photo bombed the two woman and that Brown became enraged, striking the victim in the nose, causing a fracture. According to TMZ, the victim claims that just before striking the victim, Brown yelled, “I’m not into this gay sh*t, I’m into boxing.” The victim further told TMZ that he may need surgery tomorrow.

As you may recall, Brown was placed on probation in Los Angeles in 2009 after beating his ex-girlfriend Rihanna. His probation was revoked earlier this year after he was involved in a hit-and-run crash, resulting in his receiving an additional 1000 community service hours to perform. Brown is expected back in court on Nov 20th in L.A. to provide the judge with an update on his probation. Unfortunately, the report may not go as positively has Brown had hoped. Brown faces up to four years in prison on his probation case alone. (Based on previous high profile cases, it appears that four years in prison in L.A. seems to equate to about 16 hours)
O.k., so how would I defend this case? Well, first, I would speak at length with my client, as I always do initially, and ask him the same question I’d ask Shelly Long after leaving the hit show “Cheers” at the height of its popularity, only to pursue box office bombs like “Troop Beverly Hills.” The question would be, “What the hell were you thinking?”
He would probably tell me what TMZ heard from sources “connected with Brown,” which is that the alleged victim is full of it. Brown alleges that the alleged victim was trying to get on Brown’s tour bus and that Brown was simply attempting to stop his trespass.
Well, those two are very different stories. If I could show that Brown reasonably feared harm from the alleged victim who was attempting to sneak on to Brown’s mobile castle (a better way to refer to his tour bus under these circumstances), then things wouldn’t look as bleak for Brown as they now appear, based on what the alleged victim is claiming.

If what the victim is alleging is true and can be corroborated by witnesses, then I wouldn’t be surprised if this matter gets resolved privately between Brown and the alleged victim. While the alleged victim doesn’t control whether charges are brought by prosecutors, he does have a significant amount of influence over the case. With a civil suit being reasonably forseeable, I suspect Brown’s attorneys may seek to work out a “global resolution,” wherein they resolve the civil case for “an undisclosed amount,” resulting in the criminal case going away.

One other possibility is that both the alleged victim and prosecutors want the book thrown at him. Under that scenario, charges would be brought in Washington, and L.A. would seek to violate Brown’s probation. He could see some jail and/or prison time as a result. We’ll have to wait and see what the facts are and how the case is defended. The challenge is to give Brown the presumption of innocence until you’ve heard all the facts. I know that will be difficult in light of his blemished past.