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Chris Brown to Remain Free, Judge Sees 'Great Strides'

The prosecution wanted Brown in custody because he had “increasingly demonstrated his violent outbursts."

Chris Brown is still dealing with the aftermath of his assault on singer Rihanna. Patch file photos.
Chris Brown is still dealing with the aftermath of his assault on singer Rihanna. Patch file photos.

By ELIZABETH MARCELLINO
City News Service

A Los Angeles judge today denied a request by prosecutors to take Chris Brown into custody because of an alleged violation of the singer's probation, ordered as a result of his 2009 assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge James R. Brandlin cited a probation officer's report that the 24-year-old singer was doing well in a court-ordered substance-abuse and anger-management program and “making great strides.”

All narcotics tests have come back negative, according to the report, which noted Brown's willingness to comply with the conditions of his probation and described him as having “a more serious and responsible demeanor.”

He has completed 191 hours of community labor as of Jan. 30, according to his probation officer.

Deputy District Attorney Mary Murray had asked that Brown be taken into custody, saying he had “increasingly demonstrated his violent outbursts, and they are increasing in severity and frequency.”

Brown was arrested in Washington, D.C., last October for allegedly punching a 20-year-old man who was trying to get a photo with Brown. Murray said her office had only recently been able to reach the man  and witnesses to the alleged run-in, and that evidence amounted to a change in circumstances warranting Brown's incarceration.

But Brandlin disagreed, finding no new information in the case. The judge said he would follow the probation report recommendation that Brown “should still remain in the community,” adding that the residential rehab program provided “an adequate safety net.”

In addition to a no-drug policy, the program includes cognitive behavioral work, mindfulness training, brain fitness, nutrition and sleep hygiene, according to a letter from the treatment center.

However, any negative change in behavior “could dramatically change your custodial status,” Brandlin warned Brown, reminding him that he has been ordered not to use medical marijuana.

“Just look at him,” said defense attorney Mark Geragos of his client. “I've known him for five years. He looks as good as he's ever been.”

Clad in a dark blue button-down shirt and dark jeans, Brown sat quietly in the courtroom, flanked by his mother and his on-again, off-again girlfriend, Karreuche Tran. The singer's bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy -- who along with Brown is charged with a misdemeanor count of assault in the  Washington, D.C. incident -- sat in the row behind him.

Brown's next scheduled appearance in Washington, D.C., is on Feb. 20, when the goal will be to set a trial date, according to Geragos.

A police report dated Oct. 28 in that case says Brown's bodyguard was taking a photo of the singer and two fans when Parker Adams “moved in and tried to take a picture of himself with (Brown)” and the other two. Brown allegedly said to Adams, “I'm not wit that gay (expletive),” and told him, “I feel like boxing” before landing a punch.

One of the two fans alleged that she witnessed Brown punching Adams. Her friend said the bodyguard then punched Adams, an allegation to which the bodyguard admitted, saying he was just doing his job.

Brown himself denied he had a confrontation with Adams, telling police, “I was on the (tour) bus when I guess someone tried to get on and my bodyguard handled it.”

He and Hollosy declined plea deals at a Jan. 8 hearing on the matter.

Brown pleaded guilty in June 2009 to assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury for assaulting Rihanna during an argument that began about 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 8, 2009, while the singers were in a rented Lamborghini in Hancock Park after attending a pre-Grammy Awards party.

Brown was sentenced to five years’ probation, a yearlong domestic violence program -- which he completed -- and 180 days of community labor.

Brown's probation was first revoked over the summer after he was charged with a pair of misdemeanors and an infraction stemming from a May 21 traffic crash in Toluca Lake. Those charges have since been dismissed, despite a city prosecutor's objection to a “civil compromise” in which attorneys said no money was exchanged between the parties.

His probation was then reinstated last August, when Brandlin ordered the
singer to perform an additional 1,000 hours of community labor.
   Brown is due back in Los Angeles Superior Court on Feb. 28, when a date
will be set for a hearing on the alleged probation violation.

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