After delays due to dental surgery and a courthouse fire, Lil Wayne has finally been sentenced and will begin his one-year prison term stemming from a 2007 gun arrest on Monday (March 8). But, according to a prominent New York lawyer, barring any major disciplinary issues, the MC (born Dwayne Michael Carter) should be free in eight months.
"In New York, any sentencing to a year or less requires the time to be done in a county facility, and based on good-time credit in that kind of facility [such as Rikers Island, where Wayne is expected to be imprisoned], people only usually do two-thirds of their time," said Scott Leemon, a New York attorney who is not involved in the Wayne case but who has represented a number of other rappers in legal issues, including 50 Cent, Tony Yayo and Remy Ma. "Basically, all he needs to do is stay out of trouble, and it's an automatic thing. But if you're having disciplinary problems, they can take away good time."
Leemon said it takes a "substantial" violation for that good time to be revoked, such as getting into a major fight or having large amounts of contraband. Wayne's lawyer did not return requests for comment at press time.
Though Leemon did not know what kind of sentencing guidelines Judge Charles H Solomon would impose on Weezy, he said that if the rapper did good time and earned an early release, he could walk out of Rikers Island in early October without having to see a parole board. "The only question is if he will be sentenced to some post-release supervision, which depends on what the judge gives him."
Wayne was originally scheduled to be sentenced last month, but his attorney requested a delay due to dental surgery the rapper required. Judge Solomon agreed to the last-minute request and rescheduled the proceedings for March 2. The New Orleans MC has had more time than he requested to recover from a reported eight root canals in one day. "I don't want this to get pushed back anymore," Judge Solomon told the rapper's lawyer during his last appearance. "This is the last adjournment." Then, just hours before he was set to appear before the judge on Tuesday, a fire broke out at the Manhattan Criminal Court Building. At the first sign of smoke, the building was evacuated and all appearances were postponed. The next day, Weezy's court date was once again rescheduled.
Wayne appeared in court on Monday and turned himself in immediately to begin his prison term.
The rapper reached a deal with prosecutors in November to plead out to a lesser sentence, and in return he is expected to be released from prison as early as October of this year. In 2007, Lil Wayne was arrested for gun possession following his first headlining performance in Manhattan at the Beacon Theatre. A gun-possession charge in New York could have landed the Cash Money superstar behind bars for up to 15 years if he was convicted.
Wayne has been working feverishly in recent weeks to complete a number of videos and songs to stay relevant during his physical absence. That pace he's gotten accustomed to, however, will come to a screeching halt, according to a New York corrections officer who spoke to MTV News.
Once the rapper lands behind bars, his days will be as regimented as his recording schedule — but will be maintained by the prison warden, not Lil Wayne. "He'll be housed with inmates who are classified in his category, and he'll be able to be a regular inmate," the guard said. "He'll be able to watch television, go into the day room and congregate with people of his classification.