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People Top 5
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PEOPLE Top 5 are the most-viewed stories on the site over the past three days, updated every 60 minutes
- July 06, 1987
- Vol. 28
- No. 1
First He Lost His Temper, Now He's Lost His Freedom: Sean Penn Is Going to Jail
The volatile actor was sentenced last week for violating probation, after pleading no contest to yet another brawling charge, as well as reckless driving. Madonna was winging homeward from a tumultuous tour of Japan when Sean, in blue suit, blue shirt and gold wedding band, rose to face the music in municipal court. Commissioner Juelann Cathey didn't quite throw the book at him—with time off for good behavior he may serve only 30 days—but she did order him to undergo counseling for his violent conduct after he goes to jail on July 7.
Penn's first pertinent misbehavior occurred in April 1986, when he lost his now-legendary temper in an L.A. nightclub. Spotting songwriter David Wolinski bussing Madonna, an old friend, Penn attacked with punches, kicks and a chair. He was fined $1,000 and given a year's probation. Then last April he was charged again, this time for assaulting Jeffrie Klein, a scrap metal dealer moonlighting as an extra in Penn's latest movie, Colors. Presumably unaware that cameras often trigger Penn's rage, Klein was trying to take some snapshots of the star when he too was attacked. This unscheduled one-rounder was reported to the L.A. city attorney's office.
In May, Penn found more trouble when police picked him up for speeding and running a red light; a blood test revealed an alcohol content of .11 percent, slightly above the legal limit. Though the charge was later reduced to reckless driving, it represented still another probation violation.
In court Sean appeared penitent, and his lawyer, Howard Weitzman, promised that Sean would learn self-control. "He feels this is an unfortunate experience," the attorney said. "He has to learn that people are going to attempt to goad him into situations where he may act inappropriately." On release Penn will face another two years of probation, and a further transgression could earn him a stiffer sentence. Penn's latest movie role may be pointing him in the right direction: In Colors, he plays a cop.
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