STP Singer Scott Weiland Sentenced To Year In Jail

Judge admonishes singer as bandmates, family and friends watch from the back of courtroom.

LOS ANGELES — Sobs broke out in the courtroom when Los Angeles

Superior Court Judge Larry P. Fidler sentenced Stone Temple Pilots singer

Scott Weiland to one year in jail Friday (Sept. 3).

Despite attempts by the singer's attorney, Michael Nasatir, to prove

through a series of letters and testimonials from drug counselors that

the troubled singer had turned a corner in his attempts to clean up,

Fidler was unmoved.

The singer, sporting dark hair and an orange jail-house shirt and pants

set, appeared calm. He occasionally looked at loved ones in the courtroom and smiled weakly. He appeared to get teary-eyed as he looked down at

the ground during the judge's ruling.

"I understand what you've provided," Fidler told Nasatir, "but you have

to keep in mind that the people of California have chosen that this

sickness is also a criminal activity."

Weiland was sentenced for violating his probation on an August 1998

conviction for heroin possession. The 31-year-old singer has been jailed

in the hospital ward of Los Angeles County Jail since admitting to the

violation in court on Aug. 13. If the sheriff approves, Weiland will be allowed to serve his time in the county jail's Biscaluz Treatment Center.

A crowd of more than 20, including Weiland's STP bandmates, family members

and friends, sat in the gallery during the proceeding. Several sobbed

when the judge's decision was handed down. Weiland, who has been battling

drugs for several years, appeared healthy. He glanced at the gallery

repeatedly during the half-hour proceedings.

Fidler ordered Weiland to immediately begin serving a one-year sentence

in Los Angeles County Jail. He will be given 35 days of credit for time

served over the past year. The judge ordered three years probation for

the singer following his release.

Nasatir described Weiland as "an enormously talented, personable, terrific

guy who's got an enormous problem." He argued that the singer is a sick

man and that his sickness should not be viewed as only a crime.

Deputy District Attorney Norm Montrose, arguing for the one-year sentence,

said, "basically, your honor, Mr. Weiland is on the road to killing himself.

If I were in your position, I would have run out of patience too."

STP, who have played three surprise shows since regrouping last year,

will release their fourth album, No. 4, Oct. 26. The album includes

the single "Down," which is currently receiving radio play on rock stations

in Los Angeles and New York.

A label spokesperson could not be reached for comment on the sentence or

tour plans at press time. STP guitarist Dean DeLeo, the band's manager, Steve Stewart, and Weiland's

mother, Sharon Weiland, all declined to comment on the sentence. Nasatir

and Weiland's New York lawyer Bob Kalina, who attended the hearing, also

would not comment.

Weiland has admitted in court to violating the terms of his probation

three times since his conviction. The first time was in January, following

his dismissal from the drug-rehab center Impact House for failing to

comply with the terms of their program.

After his second violation, in April, he was allowed to enter another program. That clinic kicked Weiland

out over the July 4 weekend. According to Montrose, Weiland also overdosed

on heroin around that time. The Associated Press reported that

the STP frontman was hospitalized for the overdose.

Weiland also pleaded guilty to a heroin-possession charge in New York in

February. The case stemmed from his June 1998 arrest on the afternoon

he was scheduled to perform a sold-out show in support of his solo debut,

12 Bar Blues (1998).

The arrest brought an abrupt end to the tour. His drug problems had

previously also derailed STP's plans to tour behind their most-recent

album, Tiny Music ... Songs from the Vatican Gift Shop, featuring

the song "Big Bang Baby" (RealAudio

excerpt).

(Senior Writer Gil Kaufman contributed to this report.)