Thursday, January 24, 2008

5026: Busting Loose with Busta.

From The New York Post


What is it about rapper Busta Rhymes that brings out the dumb in judges?

Manhattan Criminal Court Judge Larry Steven yesterday gave Rhymes a no-jail deal in exchange for guilty pleas on a remarkable collections of charges amassed over the last several years—including two assault charges, DWI and driving with a suspended license.

Steven gave Rhymes three years probation and 10 days of community service.

Rhymes even gets to pick his own “community service.” (Wouldn’t celebrity-perp trash-picker-uppers Boy George and Naomi Campbell have loved that deal!)

If this were anyone else, leniency for a couple of misdemeanor assault charges might be understandable.

But this is Busta Rhymes.

• He previously got probation for a ‘99 illegal-weapons charge in New York and a 2004 assault charge in Massachusetts.

• He conspicuously refused to cooperate with Brooklyn DA Joe Hynes in the investigation into the 2006 slaying of Rhymes’ bodyguard, Israel Ramirez. The murder of the father of three remains unsolved.

In a city where the judiciary actually served justice, full cooperation with Hynes would be the minimum requirement for a no-jail plea bargain.

But Judge Steven handed down a sentence even lighter than the no-jail wrist-slap offered by his colleague, Judge Tanya Kennedy, last February.

Kennedy yanked that deal when Rhymes walked out of her court—and was picked up on the suspended-license charge less than 48 hours later. How’s that for respect?

Obviously, Steven learned nothing from the episode.

Still, justice may yet be done.

Rhymes is to be formally sentenced in March—and, under the deal, any violation over the three-year probation period could mean a year in jail for Rhymes on outstanding charges.

The rapper seems an even-money bet to be back in court—but what are the odds that New York’s mush-brained judiciary will do the right thing even then?

Pretty long, we’d guess.

Busta Rhymes is doubtless laughing at New York’s ridiculous bench today.

And who’s to blame him? It’s absurd.

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