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Snoop Dogg pleads no contest to felony drug charge, gun possession

He receives a suspended sentence and probation and must do 800 hours of community service.

April 12, 2007|Andrew Blankstein | Times Staff Writer

Rapper-actor Snoop Dogg will avoid jail time after pleading no contest Wednesday to two felony charges -- but he might be legally allowed to continue smoking marijuana.

The entertainer, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, entered the plea to a charge of gun possession by a convicted felon and a marijuana-related drug charge, prosecutors said.

Dogg, 35, appeared before Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Terry Smerling in Pasadena clad in a leather jacket, black jeans and a T-shirt.

As part of the agreement, he received a three-year suspended sentence and five years' probation and will have to perform 800 hours of community service, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.

Of those hours, half can be completed through his nonprofit Snoop Youth Football League. The county Probation Department will decide how the rest of the hours are spent, prosecutors said. The agreement also places restrictions on Dogg's entourage and employees.

He is prohibited from hiring anyone as a security guard or driver who has a criminal record or is affiliated with a gang.

Marijuana smoking has become one of Dogg's trademark bits in movies and music videos.

Defense attorney Donald Etra said his client had medical certification to use pot to control migraine headaches. An initiative, known as the Compassionate Use Act and approved by voters in 1996, allows limited use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. Even with the plea agreement, Dogg could continue to use pot for his medical condition if he meets all the state qualifications.

"He will adhere to the parameters of what the law allows," Etra said.

The charges stem from Dogg's arrest Oct. 26 at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank on suspicion of transportation of a controlled substance. Burbank police later executed a search warrant at the rapper's home in Diamond Bar, where they discovered the gun. He was arrested again Nov. 28, just after he finished taping an appearance on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno."

"It was a very satisfactory resolution to the case," Etra said. "Snoop is pleased he will be able to continue his career without interruption as a world-famous musician and film star and that he will be able to continue his work with community youth."

Dogg was convicted in 1990 of felony drug possession and possession for sale, prosecutors said.

The rapper still faces charges from an incident at John Wayne Airport in September, when a collapsible police baton was found in his computer bag. A hearing will be held May 15, Etra said.

In February 1996, Dogg and his bodyguard, McKinley Lee, were acquitted of murder charges in the August 1993 shooting death of a young man in a Palms park.

andrew.blankstein@latimes. com

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