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Rapper avoids jail for baton at JWA

Snoop Dogg gets probation, community service for carrying a police weapon.

September 21, 2007|Christine Hanley | Times Staff Writer

Rap singer and actor Snoop Dogg was sentenced Thursday to three years' informal probation and ordered to serve 160 hours of community service after agreeing to plead guilty to carrying an illegal police baton in his luggage while boarding a plane at John Wayne Airport last year.

The deal was struck shortly before a preliminary hearing to determine whether there was enough evidence to bring the artist, whose real name is Calvin Broadus, to trial on a felony count of knowingly possessing a deadly weapon.

That charge carries a maximum penalty of three years in state prison.

The two sides said the agreement was cemented after Orange County Judge Erick L. Larsh said he would allow the felony count to be reduced to a misdemeanor after a year if Broadus did not break the law or the conditions of his probation.

Under the deal, Broadus cannot work with gangs, children or his nonprofit youth football league to fulfill his community service obligation "because the spirit of the community service offer is for him to do the work in a manner in which he isn't glorified in the eyes of children," Deputy Dist. Atty. Andre Manssourian told the court.

Broadus also agreed to donate $10,000 to the Orange County charity Right Trak, which helps troubled children, and to pay more than $1,000 in fines and court fees.

Broadus appeared at the courthouse with two bodyguards and his attorneys, Donald Etra and Al Stokke, after arriving from Spokane, Wash.

His spokesman said he was in Spokane filming a romantic comedy called "The Golden Door."

He left the courthouse without speaking to reporters.

Etra said he did not want his client to plead guilty because he was prepared to prove that the baton was used as a prop in a South African show in which Broadus had performed months earlier.

Etra said Broadus simply wanted to put the case behind him and focus on his career.

"He wants to make music, not court appearances," Etra said.

The case dates to July 27, 2006, when Broadus arrived at the Orange County airport for a flight to San Francisco. Security screeners noticed a cylindrical object in his computer bag that they could not identify on the X-ray scanner.

They discovered the baton that can extend from 8 to 21 inches and is illegal to possess.

The resolution comes five months after Broadus pleaded no contest in Los Angeles County to two felonies -- gun possession by a convicted felon and transportation of marijuana -- stemming from an arrest last year at Bob Hope Airport in Burbank.

In that case, Broadus received a three-year suspended sentence and five years' probation. He was also ordered to perform 800 hours of community service, half of which can be completed through his Snoop Youth Football League.

After attorneys met behind closed doors to work out the last-minute deal, Broadus told the judge he had only one question.

"Why can't I work with kids and gangs, when that's what I do?" he asked.

Larsh responded that prosecutors and the court wouldn't consider it punishment if he was allowed to do something he enjoyed.

"There has to be the pound of flesh, so to speak," he told Broadus. "There has to be pain in the punishment."

Asked by the judge whether that would change his decision about the plea agreement, Broadus said, "No."

Broadus and his attorneys must submit a community service proposal by Oct. 4.

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christine.hanley@latimes.com

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