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DMX'S BUSY SCHEDULE

Apparently the Cheektowaga town justice isn't buying DMX's rap, and neither are we. Grammy-nominated rap artist Earl Simmons, known as DMX, has skirted the law long enough. It's time to pay the piper. Or, he can rap to it. Cheektowaga Town Justice Ronald Kmiotek sentenced Simmons to a 15-day jail sentence for driving without a license last May, to which he pleaded guilty in addition to marijuana possession and two parking tickets. At issue, though, is the offense of driving without a license, which is a violation.

Problem was, it was his fifth arrest for driving without a license since September 1998. Apparently, Simmons has been too busy to bother with pesky details, such as renewing his license. Of course, he could have employed a licensed driver, but where's the fun in that?

After the rap artist failed to meet the court-ordered deadline to begin his sentence, the judge signed a warrant for his arrest. The reason he missed his court date? He'd been in California working on promotional material for a movie. He was supposed to start serving his sentence last May, but he had to record or perform that weekend. His lawyers started the appeal process and, in a year's time, Simmons had another production.

Apparently, Simmons has a really hectic schedule. What with music videos, movies and tonight's Grammy awards, for which he has two nominations.

He just hasn't been able to pencil in a jail sentence.

We admit, it would be convenient if all those convicted of breaking the law could schedule their jail time. And, according to one of the artist's lawyers, they can. People have received consideration when they have pressing matters to attend to, such as an undergraduate or law exam. Or even a wedding, said Mark J. Mahoney, Simmons' chief local attorney.

In fact, Mahoney said he's had clients who have made arrangements with the court. But this case is being treated differently, he said, possibly because of his client's race - Simmons is African American - and celebrity.

The judge did not show leniency, Mahoney argued, and he didn't show restraint. However, there's no reason he should have. Simmons has made a mockery of the judicial system.

Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark, who considers the rap star a fugitive, has promised to take Simmons' noncompliance seriously. Presumably, Clark will not be considering Simmons' production schedule when he seeks appropriate punishment.

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