Model of the Week
DMX Back In Jail
Despite last-minute efforts by his lawyer to keep him out of jail, rapper
DMX will be forced to surrender Friday to the Erie County Correctional Facility in Alden,
New York, to serve a 15-day-sentence for driving without a license almost a year
after he pleaded guilty.
U.S. District Court Judge Richard Arcara on Thursday (February 8) denied DMX's appeal for
a stay of sentence, which would have allowed the rapper to stay out of jail while the
judge reviews a petition filed by his lawyer on Tuesday in Buffalo, New York. Defense
attorney Mark Mahoney had asked for a writ of habeas corpus, a request for the federal
court to justify its detention of DMX and review alleged constitutional violations in
state court proceedings.
Mahoney's request to appeal to the New York Court of Appeals was denied last week. Last
month, State Supreme Court Justice Joseph P. McCarthy upheld a prior ruling based on the
rule that when a defendant pleads guilty, he or she waives the right to appeal the
legality of the conviction or challenge the harshness of his or her sentence.
"Honestly, in my 30 years in law, I have never seen a traffic matter go to federal
court," Erie County District Attorney Frank Clark said. "I am amazed by all of
the legal churning I have seen over such a minor offense."
DMX was arrested March 3 on the Kensington Expressway for traffic violations, driving with
a suspended permit and possessing marijuana (see "DMX Arrested On Driving,
Drug Possession Charges"). He later pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of driving
without a license, and Cheektowaga, New York, Town Justice Ronald E. Kmiotek ordered the
maximum 15-day jail term and $400 in fines.
Clark said that under state routine, DMX (born Earl Simmons) will only have to serve nine
to 10 days if he is well behaved.
Arcara did not rule on the petition for a writ of habeas corpus and will continue to
review it, though it is unlikely a decision will be made before DMX has finished his
sentence. Therefore, according to Clark, Thursday's denial of a stay signaled the end of
Mahoney did not have a statement from DMX, but said, "I am disappointed because I
feel that if we could get a judge to actually hear us on the main issue, that of the
harshness of the sentence, we should win. We are caught by the application of a rule
established by the New York Court of Appeals that presumes that one who gives up the right
to appeal their conviction means also to give up the right to appeal the sentence that has
not yet been imposed."
DMX, a brash rapper from Yonkers, New York, has a long history in the courtroom. A
Westchester County, New York, grand jury indicted him on two counts of criminal possession
of a weapon in the third degree and unlawful possession of marijuana last summer. He was
cleared of a stabbing charge by Denver authorities in 1999, and was exonerated of a rape
charge by the Bronx district attorney in 1998.
The rapper, whose 1998 debut album, It's Dark and Hell Is Hot, entered the charts
at #1 and featured the singles "Ruff Ryders Anthem" and "Get at Me
Dog," was recently nominated for two Grammys, including Best Hip-Hop Album for 2000's
... And Then There Was X. Unless he is released from jail early, the rapper will
miss the Grammy ceremony February 21 in Los Angeles.