As HipHopDX first reported back in February, currently incarcerated rapper Shyne is patiently awaiting his release from the custody of the New York State Department of Correctional Services [click to read]. After serving eight-and-a-half years of a 10 year sentence for his role in the infamous Club New York shooting on December 27, 1999, Shyne finally knows the day he will once again become a free man: October 6, 2009. That release date has already been confirmed by the parole board, but a hearing tomorrow will outline the parameters of ‘Po’s parole, details that could determine whether or not the former Bad Boy Records artist will be able to resume his recording career free of stifling restrictions.
“What happened was when they sentenced him [in March of 2001 to ten years] they didn’t sentence him to any parole – post release supervision, which was mandatory. So the Correction Department has asked the court to re-sentence him – under the law they can do that,” explained Shyne’s attorney, Oscar Michelen, to HipHopDX. “And so the judge will decide whether to give him the maximum parole, which is five years, or the minimum parole, which is two-and-a-half years. Shyne will automatically have to do at least a year-and-a-half, which is how much of [the] 10 year [sentence remains]… [Shyne] still owes the balance to the 10. But, [the district attorney] also [has] been looking to add to that [time] as well…”
“The same D.A. [from 2001] is on the case,” continued Michelen, “that’s Matt Bogdanos. He’s in Iraq… And, it’s being handled by the D.A. who’s in charge of all post-release supervision. When they enacted mandatory sentencing, determinate sentencing, they said that you also had to have mandatory parole. Most judges just assumed that parole would be added automatically. They didn’t realize that they had to actually sentence the person to it. So now a new law was passed that allows the Correction Department to address that by asking the judge to re-sentence the inmate…”
Shyne will appear in New York County Supreme Court tomorrow for that re-sentencing in front of the Honorable Charles Solomon, the same judge that sentenced Shyne to his 10-year term back in 2001. Tomorrow morning’s hearing will mark Shyne’s first time being present in court in years.
Having been transported from his longtime housing at Woodbourne Correctional Facility in Sullivan County, New York, Shyne has been at Rikers Island since July 21st – the original scheduled court date - in preparation for tomorrow’s appearance in front of Judge Solomon. Once his parole is determined, Shyne will be sent back to Woodbourne to complete his term until October 6th.
“It’s tough, because it’s a violent crime [that Shyne was convicted of] and the safest thing for a judge is just to do what the D.A. wants in these cases [regarding the parameters of parole],” said Michelen. “It was on July 21st when this was last in court, that we basically convinced the judge to think about it a little bit and take some time to review the sentencing memoranda we submitted. And he’ll give us his decision [tomorrow].”
As Mr. Michelen revealed to DX back in February, there was anticipation six months ago that the parole board would advance Shyne’s release date to April based on the situation at that time at Woodbourne, but if that didn’t happen a parole hearing date was still scheduled for June. That hearing did in fact take place in June, at Woodbourne, but became merely a formal confirmation of the October 6th release date as the parole board decided that Shyne would not be released early and due to determinative sentencing would have to max-out ‘til his previously set October release.
So while Shyne’s October 6th date to be released from prison is set, tomorrow is the day that he will learn if he will be paroled to post release conditions that will allow him to easily resume his recording career, or parameters that might prevent him from performing all of the duties necessary of a nationally-known recording artist.
“[We’re] trying to say [to the judge] ‘Enough is enough. Five years [post release supervision] is overly harsh and unnecessary,’” Michelen explained. “What I said in court on the 21st and I’ll say again [tomorrow] is the court needs to take into consideration how a person needs to make a living. And that punishing someone to five years post release supervision hampers people differently [based on] the way they’re going to make money…"
If Shyne is sentenced tomorrow to the full five-year parole term, he might not be able to leave the State of New York to tour, and would have to get approval to conduct almost every aspect of his activities as an artist.
“He’d need permission for everything,” Michelen explained. “And so that would really be a problem and be very restrictive on him."
UPDATE: Shortly after 2:30 p.m. eastern standard time today (August 4th), Shyne learned that he will only be receiving the minimum parole term that he could have been sentenced to.
“The judge sentenced him to the minimum [time] of post release [supervision], which is what we wanted,” Shyne’s attorney, Oscar Michelen, told HipHopDX this afternoon. “He gave him two-and-a-half [years], which was the minimum. The D.A. had requested the maximum, five years… [Shyne] got a chance to address the court today. He did address the court and asked the court to consider not giving him any post release supervision at all. But the court said that it was obligated to do so. And [the judge] pointed out that he agreed with our argument [and so] he’s gonna give us the minimum… And we’re just thankful that the court read our sentencing memorandums and agreed with our position. We now wait for his release, which should be October 6th.”
Mr. Michelen further explained that while Shyne now will not have to deal with the much more lengthy five-year parole term, he may still have to contend with some restrictions that might be placed on him for the next two-and-a-half years.
“[The] parole [board] will decide [any restrictions],” he noted. “The usual parameters are you can’t leave the state without prior permission. If you change your address you have to give them notice. You can be randomly drug tested. They could even search your home randomly without notice. And the most important [parameter of parole] is if you were to commit a crime, or get re-arrested for anything, you can face jail for the full two-and-a-half years of your PRS [post release supervision].”
Even with these restrictions placed on him, Shyne will at least now be able to resume his recording career free of the heavy weight of a five-year parole term resting on his shoulders. Unfortunately, ‘Po’s attorney does not have any information at this time to confirm or deny the rumor currently circulating about where Shyne will sign to begin recording again upon his October release.
“I have no information about a rumor that Jay-Z has gone to visit him,” said Michelen. “We’re all hearing all the same type of rumors, but I don’t really have any information that I can give on that. I mean, I guess that’s to be announced. If anything happens, it’ll happen…”