Did yet another celebrity get preferential treatment because of fame?
After pleading guilty to a felony assault charge on Monday, the Chris Brown plea deal allows the singer to avoid going to jail for being up Rihanna.
He agreed to five years' probation, 52 weeks in an anti-domestic violence program and 180 days of labor service, and must stay clear of his ex.
Did the music star receive a light sentence considering what he did? The consensus among criminal defense attorneys seems to be ... yes and no.
According to some, Brown's fame may have worked against him in crafting the plea bargain, despite the way he fervently annihilated Rihanna's face.
Typically, first-time felony assault offenders avoid jail time, just like Brown. But many simply do probation and domestic violence counseling and then move on, without donning an orange jumpsuit and picking trash off of the highway.
In general, plea bargains usually involve a defendant choosing between a mix of hard labor, community service, probation and jail. If a defendant chooses jail, then the sentencing period usually shrinks by a factor of two or three to one.
In other words, Chris Brown sought to avoid jail time, which he could have faced given the severity of the charges, so his work sentence was harsher.
Had he agreed to jail, he may have only had to do a few weeks or a month, which would suck, but would hasten his return to singing, dancing and making lame Youtube videos with Bow Wow. Right now, he's got a job for six months.
Compared with overall sentencing statistics, Brown's punishment appears a bit harsher than average. But factoring in the worldwide notoriety of the incident and the vulnerability of the victim (a woman), he probably got lucky too.
So basically ... what do you think? Was the punishment just?