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Rapper Eminem Sentenced to Serve Two Years Probation

Aired April 10, 2001 - 13:39   ET


NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Right now in a Michigan courtroom, controversial rapper Eminem is about to learn his sentence in a case where he faces a felony weapons charge. He did enter a plea of guilty to carrying a concealed weapon. In exchange, prosecutors dropped the charge of assault. So today he will learn if he gets the maximum 11 months jail time or probation. And we'll listen.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sentence in the range of 120 to 180 days in jail.

JUDGE ANTONIO VIVIANO, MACOMB COUNTY CIRCUIT COURT: All right, have you checked the new sentence guidelines if the courts relieves the misdemeanor charge?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes, Your Honor, if you take in (OFF-MIKE). That would be changed to zero. That would change the guideline range from zero to (OFF-MIKE).

VIVIANO: All right. I am going to accept the position of the defense in this particular manner, not that I understand what the prosecution said. I understand that it was -- the defense does indicate that the sentencing disposition -- she does show that he was -- he was found guilty.

However, that apparently was an error. I did -- was shown the transcript in chambers, and that does appear to be an error. So I am going to have to accept that, and will then correct the sentence guidelines to zero to three months. All right?

LEGGHI: Thank you, Your Honor. With that, Your Honor, there are no other additions or deletions or corrections that need to be made to the report. It's completed in this case.

VIVIANO: All right. Mr. Prosecutor?

LEGGHI: Nothing beyond what I have already said, judge?

VIVIANO: All right. Probation officer have anything to add in this particular manner?

LEGGHI: No, Your Honor. VIVIANO: OK. There was no victims impact sentence in this particular manner. However, the court has received a sentence memorandum from the prosecution, which is read and considered, a sentence memorandum from the defense in this particular manner, which it has read and considered. Does the defense -- who will speak on behalf of the defendant?

WALTER PISZCATOWSKI, MATHERS' ATTORNEY: I will initially, Your Honor. If it appease the court.

Your Honor, based on the fact that there have been significant discussions between the court and the prosecution and the defense in had case, and the fact that the court has indicated generally what its intentions on in this case, I will be fairly brief.

Basically, Your Honor, I think that one thing that needs to be seed in said in this case and one thing that the defense and the prosecution would agree on are the words that Mr. Marlinga (ph) quoted back on (UNINTELLIGIBLE) March 14th in 2001, and that is, both the prosecution and the defense agree that Mathers' wealth and fame have nothing to do with these case. Those factors should not help him nor should they hurt him.

It's unfortunate to be in front of the court that has those same feelings and there have been, obviously, strong feelings on either side of this case. And based on Mr. Mathers, shall we say, career path. And his success in that career path.

But what I think that it's important for this court to realize is that from the outset of that incident, Mr. Mathers has told the truth, he has not hidden behind anything, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and the detective from Warren who has had significant contact with Mr. Mathers and I think that his feelings are similar to that and that the court found in fact -- that he had no problem of a lesser plea in this case.

But the fact is, that he understands and feels that Mr. Mathers has told the truth from the outset of this case. And he feels that he has fully cooperated with the police and that's an important fact for the consideration in the sentencing.

And then, judge, I have talked to him in the past 10 months on a number of occasions and he's asked me to tell the court that he does not take this matter lightly and he's never taken it lightly, he's never taken it as a joking matter. He knows that it's a serious matter by which he's brought before the court and he's also very concerned, obviously, for one thing in his life and that is his daughter's career and her future.

And he is very concerned about her welfare and what this case might and -- and how it might impact on his daughter and for that reason, he has asked me not to -- asked me to convey to the court, his sincere belief that this is a serious matter, that he does take it seriously. That's important.

Additionally, Your Honor, the fact is that Mr. Mathers has been on probation already, if you will, for the past 10 months and he has been before this court, and he has been on bond. And he's had no problems whatsoever with the law. And he stands before the court as someone who has never had any prior convictions, albeit this case will be his first.

Mr. Mathers is a self-made man, Your Honor. He has overcome many obstacles and he has the ability -- and I think that this court feels the same way -- that he has the ability to overcome this problem as a minor setback, as a ding, if you will, in his armor. And as an individual, who has sought success, you have to start at the bottom of the ladder to get to the top of the ladder.

And he has gone through a lot in his life, both on his personal side and certainly on his, if you will, professional side. And he has overcome many obstacles and I don't think there'd be any question that he is able to overcome this particular bump in the road if the court gives him the opportunity which it indicated that it would.

And very simply Your Honor, Mr. Mathers looked forward to getting this case behind him and focus on what he does best and that is make music, to entertain his fans. We (UNINTELLIGIBLE) without the recommendation, of the pre-sentence report in this case, with respect to the probationary sentence. There are certain other conditions in which the court has indicated it will also impose and Mr. Mathers is aware of those. He will do everything he can to comply. We ask that in addition, Your Honor, allowing Mr. Mathers to travel for work- related purposes. Whether that be performances or interviews or for promotional purposes or for award shows or presentations and with respect to that, Your Honor, we would request, obviously, worldwide travel for Mr. Mathers.

And I don't know if the court will ultimately do that and I asked the court to consider that fact when imposing the probation. With that, Your Honor, we simply asked the court to recommend -- I am sorry, adopt, the recommendation that has been previously made in this case (UNINTELLIGIBLE) and asked the court.

VIVIANO: Mr. Mathers, do you have anything to say before the court imposes?

BRIAN LEGGHI, MATHERS' ATTORNEY: Your Honor, as I indicated to you in chambers and no disrespect to the bench or to His Honor, we've instructed Mr. Mathers to make no statement here in court because there are other pending cases that are at collateral consequences and we want the court to understand that it's not out of any disrespect, but we have no other statement at this time.

VIVIANO: All right. Thank you, counsel.

PISZCATOWSKI: Judge, I would ask the court if Mr. Mathers is waiving his right of allocution if he would so indicate.

VIVIANO: You are waiving your right to allocution. All right. Once an individual has been convicted of a crime, the court must impose a sentence. It's probably the hardest thing that the court does. The limits of this sentence are imposed. Has imposed are set forth in the law that prohibit the conduct that brought the person to the court in the first place.

It is important for the judge to focus on the judicially determined objectives in imposing a sentence. The law requires the judge to impose the sentence that is designed to accomplish the following four objectives: First of all, to protect society. Secondly, to discipline or punish the wrongdoer. Thirdly, to defer the offender or other people from committing offenses in the future. And finally, for any rehabilitation, if it's possible of the offender.

Note that the three objectives are in -- the three last objectives that I have just mentioned are in one way or another a form of deterrence. Since the purpose of deterrence is to protect the public from future criminal exploitation, all of the objectives have the same purpose. And that is, to protect the public. Requiring retribution and providing for rehabilitation are specifically aimed at deterring the offender from future conduct, criminal conduct.

The court's duty is to individualize the sentence to this defendant and the offense committed. I am quoting from the case of People v. Chapa 407 Michigan 309, 1979 case, where it says, "it's incumbent on the sentencing judge to exercise his discretion so as to individualize the sentence to the particular circumstance of the case and the offender. The sentencing judge is not permitted to advocate his discretion to individualize the sentence to either the local policy or his own preconceived notions."

In the case that states that in our law is people v. Muson (ph), 109 Michigan appeals, 39, 1981 case. "Our law requires the judge to individualize the sentence to the particular circumstances of the case in the background of the offender. The judge who allows local policies or the judges own or anyone else's preconceived notions to influence the sentence imposed is not fulfilling the duty of fairness required of all judicial actions. The law requires the judge to impose the sentence that is fair in relation to other sentences imposed on persons of like and similar backgrounds who committed like and similar offenses.

By backgrounds of the offender, we mean the criminal history and not the multitude of factors that make us all different from one another. It is easy to see that it's unfair for persons of like and similar backgrounds who have committed like and similar offenses to receive vastly different sentences. We have been striving to eliminate race, ethnic background, religion, gender, and all other considerations such all other -- all such other considerations in the evaluation of people. The same applies to a person's position as a celebrity."

In this case, the defendant is convicted of carrying a concealed weapon in an automobile. All offenses involving weapons are serious because of the dire consequences to human life that could result. And in this case, the weapon was not loaded, and there was no direct threat to human life. The defendant in this case is 20 years old -- 28 years old, he is married; the father of one child; and has no prior convictions. The court is aware that there was a prior altercation in 1994 -- that was 7 years ago -- in St. Claire (ph) Shores. In that matter, the defendant's plea was taken under advisement and the charges dismissed after one year. The court, therefore, feels that justice will be satisfied in this case and the objectives of the court -- of the law be satisfied by following the probation recommendation. I am going to sentence the defendant to two years probation with the following special conditions.

First of all, that the defendant shall refrain from all excessive use of alcohol and any controlled substance, unless specifically proscribed for the defendant by a physician. The defendant shall comply with the requirement alcohol and drug testing over ordered by the probation officer or the law enforcement at the request of the probation officer. With the minimum frequencies determined by supervision standards.

The defendant shall not make any attempt to submit fraudulated samples for testing and the defendant should not hinder, obstruct, tamper or otherwise interfere with the testing procedures. The defendant have no contact with John Gera (ph) during the probation period. The defendant shall not engage in the assaulted behavior. The defendant shall participate in counseling as directed by the supervising probation officer, and the court is specifically requesting that Carla Molly be assign to this case as the supervising probation officer. She has done the pre-sentencing report and is familiar with the background of this defendant and what is necessary in this case.

The defendant shall not own or possess firearms during the term of probation -- firearms or other weapons. Or other weapons. The defendant shall pay a $5,000 -- shall pay $5,000 in court costs within the next 30 days and the defendant pay $30 a month, for the supervision fee. And the defendant shall pay $2,500 of fine to the Macomb County clerk in the next 30 days. The defendant shall pay a $60 to the crime victim rights fund in this particular matter.

With that sentence, the court feels that, in this particular matter, this offense is at an end. I will tell Mr. Mathers in this particular court, is not (UNINTELLIGIBLE) then to put the probation terms. I consider probation to be a punishment for an offense. I don't know think that it's a lark and I don't think it's a slap on the wrist. I considered it is a very serious matter.

In the next two years I would advise you to pay very close attention to what is your responsibilities under these probation terms and carrying them out. If you come back before the court, you are subject to a sentence of up to 5 years in the state prison. The court considers any violation of probation extremely serious.

With that, I want to hand to you your advice of a rights form in this particular matter that does specifically state in detail your rights to appeal, any convictions in this particular matter and the sentence.

ALLEN: Controversial rapper, Grammy-winning rapper Eminem sentencing to two years probation in the Michigan courtroom. He could have served a few months in jail for the charges of felony weapon's charges -- he had already entered a plea of guilty to carrying an concealed weapon. And in exchange, prosecutors dropped the charges of assault with a dangerous weapon and would have carried the four-year sentence.

These charges that you are hearing about in this courtroom stem from the incident last summer outside a bar in Michigan. Mr. Mathers accused of clubbing another man with a handgun, and again, he could have received jail time and today he is getting the probation. He stood there in coat and tie, solemned faced and occasionally glanced at the judge; chose not to speak.

And rapper Eminem gets two years probation there in Michigan, as you heard, and told by the judge to stay out of trouble.



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