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Chris Brown is one of the most recent cases of celebrity-goes-to-rehab-to-avoid-jail-time. But before Chris, there was the unforgettable tale of woe that is Lindsay Lohan’s life. Back and forth, between, jail, rehab, and being left to her own devices, I honestly can’t tell you all of the details. I only know that the latest development resulted in LiLo, as she has come to be called by gossip magazines, going back to a rehab facility in lieu of jail time. This has people once again abuzz about ‘celebrity justice.’

“Celebrity Justice”

So, does going to rehab mean a “get out of jail free” card for celebrities who get pinched for their antics? The theory behind the term, celebrity justice,’ is that a celebrity can seemingly commit a crime and avoid prison while the average person can commit the same crime and find themselves behind bars. I don’t know if that theory holds water but, it certainly seems to have some credibility. Lots of celebrities seem to be able to avoid going to jail but on the other hand, my impression of the penal and judicial system is that they are fond of making examples of people, too. Therefore, someone with a high-profile (read: celebrity) is the perfect type of person to make an example of. This is because the celebrity is already well-known to the public and more than likely has some sort of fan base.

Rehab vs. Jail

There are a lot of factors at play anytime someone steps before a judge. If overcrowding is an issue, as it is in many prisons across the United States, a judge is far less likely to sentence someone to prison for a non-violent crime. If the accused doesn’t have a criminal record, jail is also unlikely for a non-violent crime. The person’s attitude in court can also play a role. Finally, if the crime is obviously substance abuse related in some way, judges will proscribe rehab over jail or prison in hopes of solving the underlying problem. Is that the case for all of the celebrities who avoided jail by going to rehab? Of course not; for every example of a celebrity who should have gotten more than a slap on the wrist or a fine, there is an example of a celebrity who went to jail. In truth, there are lots of celebrities who have gone to jail.

Chris Brown Chooses Rehab

Chris Brown’s arrest Sunday in Washington for allegedly punching a man in front of the W Hotel resulted in a self-imposed stint in a California treatment facility.  His lawyer, Mark Geragos, said rehab was not an admission of guilt, but that Brown may have been sobered by his unexpected stay in a D.C. holding cell.

Chris Brown entered a rehab facility for anger management issues presumably to deal with his temper problems and to avoid a possible prison sentence. The rehab move could also show a measure of good faith and contrition on Brown’s part.

The L.A. County probation department is investigating in order to determine if Brown violated his probation in the Rihanna case by getting arrested in D.C. over the weekend. There’s a likelihood that the Probation Department will determine that Brown violated his probation, and a judge could sentence him to as much as 4 years in prison.

Geragos told the Daily News. “People have realizations at various times. Maybe sitting in a jail cell for 36 hours for something you didn’t do is enough to rock you a bit.” The lawyer said he talked to Brown Tuesday and that he wanted “to take some time and do a little introspection and understand everything that’s going on around [him].”

Whether this impresses judges in D.C. and L.A. is unclear — but we’ll find out in his court dates next month.


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