Chris Brown passes a milestone, asks court to lift protective order


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Chris Brown‘s life got a whole lot easier Friday, as a judge congratulated the R&B singer on finishing a domestic violence education program -- a milestone that means he will no longer have to be present in court for progress hearings every three months.


Brown finished the 52-week course in December, proudly posting his certificate online. He was sentenced to five years’ probation and 180 days of community service, plus the class, after pleading guilty in August 2009 to the felony assault of then-girlfriend Rihanna after a party the night before the Grammy Awards in February 2009.

A five-year protective order requiring Brown to stay 50 yards away from Rihanna, or 10 yards if they were both at the same industry function (say, on the Grammys red carpet), was also put in place.

Given Brown’s progress and no incidents related to the two crossing paths, Judge Patricia Schnegg on Friday seemed inclined to change it to a ‘level one, do not annoy’ order, but acting in what she called ‘an abundance of caution,’ she said she’d consider the change after Rihanna’s attorney was consulted. Rihanna had said previously through her attorney that the order wasn’t necessary.

Brown is nominated for two Grammys, including best contemporary R&B album for ‘Graffiti.’
Rihanna is up for best dance recording for ‘Only Girl (In The World),’ as well as a number of other Grammys for ‘Love the Way You Lie,’ her collaboration with Eminem. The Grammy Awards will happen in L.A. on Feb. 13. RELATED:

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Chris Brown proud of completing 52-week domestic-violence education program


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-- Christie D’Zurilla

The Associated Press contributed to this report.