Kanye West Gets Probation for Paparazzo Attack

By Jenny Tsay, Esq. on March 18, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

A Los Angeles judge sentenced Kanye West to two years of probation for a misdemeanor battery attack on a paparazzo.

The scuffle occurred in 2013 at Los Angeles International Airport after Daniel Ramos, the paparazzo, started engaging the rapper. The incident was caught on film, according to Reuters.

West entered a no contest plea to the battery charge.

What Are 'No Contest' Pleas?

Pleading "no contest" to a criminal charge is similar to pleading guilty but with some significant differences. In this case, CNN reports that West's "no contest" plea will be treated the same as a guilty plea for sentencing purposes.

Submitting a "no contest" plea generally means that you will admit to the criminal charge without admitting guilt, and you won't be presenting a defense. What sets a "no contest" plea apart from a guilty plea is that West needed to get a court's permission before he could plead "no contest." For example, if it appears to court from the facts presented that the defendant didn't commit the crime, the court should not allow a no contest plea.

For West, it may have been advantageous to plead "no contest" because this way, he can avoid a trial on the battery charge. A trial could mean unwanted media attention that the celebrity rapper may wish to avoid. Further, since the attack was caught on tape, West's video-recorded exploits would resurface in a public trial.

Misdemeanor Battery

In California, a misdemeanor battery is punishable by a fine of up to $2,000 and up to six months in jail. The Golden State defines battery as a willful and unlawful use of force or violence on another person. Generally, this sort of harmful touching must be without consent. So a boxer who gets injured in a match can't typically claim criminal battery because he consented to the fight.

The video of the attack shows West rushing the paparazzo after the rapper told him to stop instigating him, according to CNN. It also shows West trying to wrestle the camera out of the photog's hands. Although West initially claimed that he lunged at the paparazzo in self-defense, the footage shows that the photographer was provoking him, but the annoyance probably didn't cause the rapper to fear for his safety.

The probation terms requires West to attend 24 anger management sessions, perform 250 hours of community service, and pay restitution to the photographer, Reuters reports.

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