Bobby Brown's Prerogative Is Community Service

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Every little step singer Bobby Brown takes these days seems to land him in trouble. 

The ex-husband of singer Whitney Houston appeared in a Brockton, Mass. court this week, where he faced criminal charges stemming from a December 1 incident in which police found a small amount of cocaine in Brown's possession. Instead of issuing a complaint, the Judge ordered the current star of the CMT (VIA.B) reality show “Gone Country,” to volunteer for one year, potentially as a youth mentor. “Over a period of a year he has to do a year’s worth of community service,” says Jeff Denner, Brown's attorney. “There is nothing specific yet about his hours. It is being worked out with probation.”

Brown, 39, has the free time. “Gone Country”—the most insanely ridiculous show that you’re not watching, in which seven musical celebrities, including Dee Snider, Sisqó, Julio Iglesias Jr., Diana DeGarmo, Carnie Wilson, and Brown, move into a Nashville mansion together to become country stars—ends March 7. The show has already completed production and Brown has no new projects in the pipeline. But, if Brown does land work after he starts his service, his attorneys will have to negotiate his schedule. Entertainers often work odd hours, including weekends, so Brown's potential work would probably conflict with his service hours. “If you make $5 an hour or $500 an hour, when you are doing your community service you aren’t working," says Denner. "Whatever he will be earning at the time of his service he won’t be making while he is serving.” Other professionals who work around the clock also take a financial hit when they are ordered to perform community service. “If a lawyer makes $400 an hour and has to serve 40 hours of community service that will cost him $16,000,” says Michael Premisler, a New York attorney. There can also be additional fees. “An agency that runs a community service program will be put in charge of supervision," says Premisler. "The defendant will also have to pay the agency something like $150."

Despite potential schedule conflicts, it appears Brown did not want to serve jail time instead of his year of community service. “It’s a shorter time in jail than the extended time community service lasts," says NYPD Deputy Commissioner Paul Brown. "But generally people prefer community service.”

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