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Pennsylvania Senate Introduces Bill That Adjusts Amount Of Time One Can Be On Probation

The state's senate publicized a bill that will grant no more than five years on probation "for felonies and three for misdemeanors."

On Tuesday (Jan. 29), a new legislation was presented that aims to alter the course of those within Pennsylvania's probation system. According to KYW Newsradio, the state's senate publicized a bill that will grant no more than five years on probation "for felonies and three for misdemeanors."

In an address, Sen. Sharif Street highlighted rapper Meek Mill's legal situation as the inspiration behind Senate Bill 14. "The time he served because of technical violations greatly extended the amount of time he would have served," Street said. "When we have high-profile cases that draw our attention to circumstances that should not apply to any Pennsylvanian, it's up to us to address those circumstances." For those with good behavior on probation, their length of state supervision can get reduced under the legislation.

In 2017, Meek Mill faced a two to four year prison sentence for a probation violation, a moment that sparked a national conversation on the criminal justice system which eventually inspired his new initiative, REFORM. After rumblings of the bill broke, the "What's Free" artist took to Twitter to share not only the news but his current plight.

"I've been on probation 11 years and sent to prison 3 times without committing crime...," he wrote. "This will directly effect people growing up in bad environments going in and out of prison for minor mistakes 'not crime.' " His time on probation stems from a gun and drug charge ten years ago.

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette revealed that over 44,000 people in Philadelphia are on probation. Across the state, 269,000 people are in the probation system.

Meek Mill's case also inspired Jay-Z, his fellow REFORM organizer, to write an op-ed for The New York Times. "What’s happening to Meek Mill is just one example of how our criminal justice system entraps and harasses hundreds of thousands of black people every day. I saw this up close when I was growing up in Brooklyn during the 1970s and 1980s," he wrote. "Instead of a second chance, probation ends up being a land mine, with a random misstep bringing consequences greater than the crime. A person on probation can end up in jail over a technical violation like missing a curfew."

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Former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick watches a Women's Singles second round match between Naomi Osaka of Japan and Magda Linette of Poland on day four of the 2019 US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on August 29, 2019 in Queens borough of New York City.
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Colin Kaepernick To Suit Up For Workout Invite From NFL

Since 2016, Colin Kaepernick has remained on his toes despite opting out of his contract with the San Francisco 49ers. The decision followed a season where he kneeled during the national anthem as a means of protesting police brutality and social and economic injustice.

While keeping in shape for the day an NFL team adds him to a roster, the 32-year-old pro-athlete has shared videos of him training so that he's good to go once that day arrives. Now, it looks like he'll be able to, per his recent tweet. On Saturday (Nov. 16), Kaepernick will attend a private workout with NFL teams in Atlanta. According to ESPN, the details of the workout will include on-field drills, an interview, and other methods to determine Kaepernick's preparedness to return to the league.

"I'm just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday," Kaepernick shared with his 2.2 million Twitter followers. "I've been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can't wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday."

I’m just getting word from my representatives that the NFL league office reached out to them about a workout in Atlanta on Saturday. I’ve been in shape and ready for this for 3 years, can’t wait to see the head coaches and GMs on Saturday.

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) November 13, 2019

On Oct. 10, Kaepernick's legal team released a fact sheet to clear the air on his situation. Questions like offers from NFL teams, why he declined re-signing with the 49ers, and if him filing a grievance hindered his standing with the multi-billion dollar league. Per ESPN, the league later outlined in a memo its reason for hosting a workout after conversations with the quarterback's team.

"Earlier this year, we discussed some possible steps with his representatives and they recently emphasized his level of preparation and that he is ready to work out for clubs and be interviewed by them. We have therefore arranged this opportunity for him to work out, and for all clubs to have the opportunity to evaluate his current readiness and level of interest in resuming his NFL career."

Colin Kaepernick’s representatives released statements today to clear up some facts surrounding their client: pic.twitter.com/Wo86KTkKDM

— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) October 10, 2019

5am. 5 days a week. For 3 years. Still Ready. pic.twitter.com/AGczejA1rM

— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) August 7, 2019

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Nicholas Hunt

Eric B Arrested And Jailed On A 17 Year Old Warrant

Legendary hip-hop musician and actor Eric Barrier, known as Eric B, was released on bail Tuesday after spending more than two weeks in a New Jersey jail after surrendering voluntarily in connection to a warrant issued 17 years ago.

The 56-year-old was in jail since Oct. 28. This stems  from an incident that took place September 2001.

NJ Advance Media reports that Barrier pleaded guilty to aggravated assault and resisting arrest/eluding on Jan. 28, 2002 for the incident that took place in Ridgefield Park the previous year. After the veteran artists failed to appear in court, a bench warrant was issued for his arrest.

Barrier was released on bail Tuesday. He is due back in court Nov. 22.

According to NJ Advance Media, Barrier’s attorney at the time, Paul Bergrin of Nutley, told him “there was no need to appear on the sentencing date,” Barrier's current attorney Patrick Toscano said in a letter to the court last week.

Years later, in an unrelated case, according to the report, Bergrin himself was convicted of murder, cocaine, trafficking, racketeering and other crimes, for which he is serving six life sentences at a "supermax" federal prison in Colorado.

According to NJ Advance Media, Toscano wrote in a letter to the judge that “Mr. Bergrin told Mr. Barrier that his case was ‘dismissed’ because he was accepted into PTI (pre-trial intervention)" and that Barrier also said he received no notice from the court about his failure to appear.

Toscano described Bergrin's counsel as "flawed, fraudulent, unethical and deceptive, through no fault of Mr. Barrier.” Toscano says that punishing his client would be “draconian and unfair.”

Barrier came back to New Jersey, contacted an attorney about the warrant and has been in the Bergen County Jail since late last month, according to Toscano, who also says he met with Barrier recently and he “was literally at wits end and overcome with anxiety."

Barrier was part of the legendary rap duo Eric B. & Rakim and is currently an actor on the CBS series Blue Bloods.

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David Crotty

John Legend Reacts To Being Named People's ‘Sexiest Man Alive’

John Legend was unveiled as People magazine’s “Sexist Man Alive” on Tuesday (Nov. 12) and he's admittedly surprised by the honor. Nonetheless, Legend thanked the outlet for recognizing his sex appeal, especially after Idris Elba snagged the title last year.

Legend tweeted a split photo of himself in 1995 next to a current image of Elba along with a caption revealing that his younger self would be “perplexed” by the “Sexiest Man Alive” title. “Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed,” he added. “But thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it.”

1995 John would be very perplexed to be following 2018 @IdrisElba as #SexiestManAlive. Hell, 2019 John is about as equally perplexed but thank you @People for finding me sexy. I'll take it 🤓 pic.twitter.com/Gw1la5Ebv4

— John Legend (@johnlegend) November 13, 2019

Chrissy Teigen also found the humor in her husband’s new title and changed her Twitter bio to “currently sleeping with people’s sexiest man alive.”

The 40-year-old singer EGOT winner (Grammy, Emmy, Tony and Oscar) was “excited but scared” to add his People’s Sexist Man Alive to his list of accolades. “It’s a lot of pressure,” Legend told the magazine. “Everyone’s going to be picking me apart to see if I’m sexy enough to hold this title. I’m [also] following Idris Elba, which is not fair and is not nice to me!”

On a more serious note, the father of two credited his parents with teaching him humility and kindness, and beamed about his family.

“I’m so proud that I have a wife and two kids I’m so in love with and so connected to. I’m also so proud of my career. I love writing songs and performing on stage. I get a lot of joy from it and give a lot of joy to other people. I’m pretty at ease with myself now!”

[email protected] is PEOPLE’s #SexiestManAlive 2019 https://t.co/lxXce6dulv pic.twitter.com/YooHLW3vSM

— People (@people) November 13, 2019

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