LOS ANGELES — Their penance can range from scrubbing toilets to helping cheer up cancer patients at a hospital.
Most times, when celebrities behave badly and are held accountable in a courtroom, they are ordered to perform community service. The latest: Snoop Dogg, who was sentenced to five years’ probation and 800 hours of community service after he pleaded no contest Wednesday to felony gun and drug charges.
Superior Court Judge Terry Smerling said the 35-year-old rapper, born Cordozar Calvin Broadus Jr., could spend 400 of those hours working with the youth football league he started several years ago. The remainder of his time will be spent working with nonprofit organizations approved by the county’s Probation Department, according to court documents.
He should consider himself lucky. Not all celebrities get choice gigs; some are even treated like average citizens.
Naomi Campbell swept floors, mopped hallways and scrubbed toilets for five days at a New York sanitation facility last month as part of her court-ordered work for assaulting her maid.
Boy George also worked for five days at the same sanitation plant in August after pleading guilty to falsely reporting a burglary at his Manhattan apartment. Responding police officers found cocaine instead.
Community-service assignments vary by jurisdiction and have been employed in U.S. courts for decades. In Manhattan, all offenders receive manual labor.
In Los Angeles, defendants with minor offenses usually are given trash duty with the state Department of Transportation. Those with more serious offenses and who are processed by the Probation Department are usually referred to a volunteer center where they are told what kind of work they will do.
While Snoop Dogg’s service will likely be limited to nonprofit organizations, his attorney said it’s possible the rapper could pick up trash on the side of a freeway as part of his punishment.
“That would be a possibility, but hopefully not a probability,” attorney Donald Etra said.
Other celebrities have been fortunate not to get their hands dirty. Winona Ryder completed 480 hours of community service at the City of Hope medical center in Duarte after she was convicted of shoplifting in 2002.
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Stars, however, shouldn’t take their community service lightly. If they don’t complete their obligation over the term of their probation, a judge can order more community service or sentence them to prison.
Ryan O’Neal’s son, Griffin, received an 18-day jail sentence for not performing 400 hours of community service after he was found guilty of reckless boating in a 1986 accident that killed Gian-Carlo Coppola, son of Francis Ford Coppola.
If Snoop Dogg violates probation, he could be sentenced to three years in state prison.
His attorney said having the rapper work with nonprofits shouldn’t be a stretch. Snoop Dogg has been involved with Make-A-Wish Foundation and often gives anti-gang speeches to children.
“Usually the probation officer will have him do something different than he’s done before,” Etra said. “Our hope is that he can continue with his anti-gang work.”
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