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Judge Suspends Drug Sentence for Actor Sizemore

October 18, 2005|Robert W. Welkos | Times Staff Writer

Actor Tom Sizemore was handed a 16-month suspended prison sentence Monday by a Los Angeles judge who warned him in blunt terms that the choice to remain free on probation or wind up behind bars is now in his own hands.

Sizemore, 44, who appeared in such hit films as "Saving Private Ryan" and "Black Hawk Down" and the CBS police series "Robbery Homicide Division," found his probation revoked July 11 after he admitted violating numerous drug tests while on probation for methamphetamine possession.

Superior Court Judge Paula Adele Mabrey reinstated Sizemore's probation after noting that his latest medical reports show he was drug-free while living at a Pasadena drug rehabilitation facility for the last three months.

"I have seen remarkable improvement," Mabrey told the actor. "I believe that you know what you need to do to stay out of prison, sir, and I believe you can do it."

Sizemore avoided reporters as he left the courtroom, but his attorney, Michael J. Rovell, described the judge's sentence as a "carrot-and-stick" approach to justice.

The carrot, he said, is that Sizemore's drug charges will be wiped clean from his record if he can successfully complete the requirements of his probation. But the judge's sentence also includes "quite a potent stick" -- a 16-month term in state prison -- should the actor violate any of terms of his probation, the attorney added.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Sean Carney said Mabrey's order means that "if there is another violation, the judge has already determined what the sentence for that violation will be."

Rovell said that his client knows he faces an uphill battle as he struggles to regain control over his life, but said Sizemore is confident that he can overcome his addiction.

Sizemore was sentenced in October 2003 to six months in jail and three years' probation for beating his one-time girlfriend, former Hollywood madam Heidi Fleiss. He later was ordered to enter a court-mandated drug-treatment program after violating his probation; two searches of his former Benedict Canyon home turned up amphetamines and hydrocodone, the generic form of the painkiller Vicodin.

Sizemore failed repeated drug tests that followed, and even used a device called "the Whizzinator" to provide probation officers with clean urine samples.

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