Chris Brown's Cross-Country Incarceration Trips: An Explainer
Chris Brown isn't getting out of jail anytime soon, but he is ready to embark on another cross-country tour of the wrong sort.
Ensnared in a tangled legal web, Brown has been shuttled from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., and now is heading back again — in the custody of federal officers.
On Wednesday, Brown's assault trial in Washington, D.C., was put on hold as prosecutors wrangled with the singer's bodyguard, Christopher Hollosy, who's a key witness and is being tried separately for his own involvement in the incident.
Hollosy's lawyer says that unless his client is granted immunity, he will not testify in Brown's case until he has exhausted the appeals process, which could take six months to a year. Hollosy is expected to take the fall for his boss, accepting responsibility for attacking 20-year-old Parker Adams, who tried to jump into a photo with Brown outside of a Washington hotel.
D.C. Superior Court Judge A. Franklin Burgess Jr. set a status hearing for Brown for June 25, the same day as Hollosy's sentencing.
Meanwhile, on Wednesday afternoon in Los Angeles, Judge Victor Greenberg denied the request of Brown lawyer Mark Geragos to let the Grammy winner out of custody while he awaits trial in a separate probation-violation case. Brown's next hearing in L.A. is set for May 1.
Brown has been on probation since accepting a plea deal in the 2009 attack on his ex-girlfriend Rihanna. He was jailed without bail in mid-March after violating the rules of an anger-management rehab center, which he was assigned to by the court. The D.C. case could lead to additional penalties in the probation-violation case.
Taxpayers have been footing the bill as U.S. Marshals escort Brown to and fro. If he's still in custody in L.A. in June, the federal officers will once again shunt him back to Washington for the trial there.
Indeed, it's not unusual for a detainee who faces charges simultaneously in two different states to be flown back and forth on the public's dime.
"I'm quite sure that Chris Brown would actually love not to be transferred via U.S. Marshal Service," says Darren Kavinoky, a Los Angeles-based criminal defense lawyer who's not affiliated with the Brown case.
"I'm sure he'd much rather fly under his own power — via private jet, or even on a commercial flight in coach for that matter."
Kavinoky says that transporting prisoners via the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (better known by the nickname "Con Air") is quite commonplace. JPATS transfers more than 350,000 prisoners and illegal aliens a year. The jets are owned or leased by the government.
Yahoo has reached out to the Department of Justice, which oversees JPATS, to request information about the costs and means of transporting Brown but hasn't yet received a response.
"The defendant has a right to be present at any important stage in his trial, so this is not an uncommon phenomenon," Kavinoky continues. "So since he's in custody, this is standard operating procedure. It's a common occurrence also with witnesses who are flown from one jurisdiction to another for cases other than their own."
In other words, Brown is not getting accommodations commensurate with his Q Score.
Kavinoky continues, "This is not any sort of special celebrity treatment. Actually, I'd say that what's happening is the anti-celebrity treatment. I think this is an example of Chris getting a worse deal because the judge knows that the eyes of the world are upon him… I think Chris is in a worse situation because he's Chris Brown."