Sometimes it pays to be good. Actor Sean Penn can breathe a sigh of relief this morning as it was announced at his court hearing that he would not receive jail time for a 2009 fight with a photographer.

Instead, the two-time Oscar winner will have to perform 300 hours of community service, 36 hours of anger management counseling, and 3 years probation. The hours Penn has spent on relief work in Haiti will count towards his community service.

"Prolonging this matter in the court system would not have been in Mr Penn’s best interests and would have distracted from his charitable commitments, specifically his work in Haiti,” said Penn’s lawyer Richard Hirsch. “Accordingly he has decided to accept the terms and move on."

Had the original charges of misdemeanor battery and vandalism not been dropped, Penn could have been sentenced to an 18-month jail term. Through a plea bargain, he was only charged with misdemeanor vandalism which could be further reduced to disturbing the peace if Penn complies with the court’s sentencing.
Penn has had run-ins with photogs before, once in 1987 where he was sentenced to 60 days in jail and once in 2006 at the funeral of his brother. –JOE GALBO

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