Corwin Brown four-year suspended prison sentence

Submitted by CincyBlue on August 21st, 2012 at 2:12 PM

Former Notre Dame assistant football coach Corwin Brown has been given a four-year suspended prison sentence for striking his wife and holding her hostage with a handgun in a seven-hour standoff with police last August.

St. Joseph County Judge Jane Woodward Miller agreed Tuesday to allow Brown to avoid prison after hearing from his wife, Melissa, who said taking her husband away from his family and the counseling he is receiving would be harmful. She also said she did not feel like a victim.

Let's hope Corwin gets heathly soon.  My thoughts go out to Corwin and his family as they get through this difficult time.  





August 21st, 2012 at 2:27 PM ^

Wow.  Unlawfully detaining someone with a deadly weapon, extreme spousal abuse and evading arrest just get's ya suspended sentence because they believe taking him away from family and therapy will be detrimental.  However, some idiot gets caught doing drugs (potentially a victimless crime) and the justice system doesn't hesitate to throw him jail rather than seek out the treatment he needs.  Not trying to get political (which I don't think is a possibility based on the OP), but man does this ruling and the inherent hypocrisy in our system piss me off.


August 21st, 2012 at 2:35 PM ^

I think there was substantial evidence of some significant mental illness along the lines of bipolar disorder that he's being treated for. I'm assuming continued treatment and therapy are a condition of the continued suspension of his sentence. Leaving aside the drug hypothetical, if this does prove to be a one time "break with reality" linked to bipolar disorder, and if he continues to seek treatment, I think this is an incredibly humane sentence.


August 21st, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^

What you just mentioned and the fact that his wife spoke on his behalf probably was the difference between prison time and the suspended prison sentence. Now, had he just lost his temper, not sought out help, and his wife had left him, he'd probably be going to prison.


August 21st, 2012 at 4:34 PM ^

I wasn't saying that this was necessarily the wrong decision.  Like you were saying, this is in fact in the option that most likely will lead to his rehabilitation.  What I was getting worked up about is that there are so many times where a non-violent crime is committed and the most reasonable and humane judgement would be for the state to invest in rehabilitation over hard time.  Yet, they get locked up, and in this situation, where the crime was violent and completely unacceptable regardless of the mental state of the criminal, the sentence is suspended.

Again, I'm not trying to say we need to lock him up.  I'm just saying why is our system willing to give some perpatrators of violent crimes a chance at rehabilitating themselves outside of prison when they're not willing to do the same for many non-violent offenders?


August 22nd, 2012 at 12:06 AM ^

I'd be interested to read the decision from the judge and review  their rationale for sentencing secondary to the concept of 'criminal responsibility' related to the mental illness finding. Most likely, Mrs. Brown's testimony was a contributor of the judge's decision but there would have had to have been expert clinical evidence related to the illness contributing to a limitation of criminal responsbility for C. Brown. 

I think the concept you struggle with is that some perpetrators of crime have a different level of adjudicated criminal responsibility. In this case, it is secondary to a finding of mental illness. In any humane society this is a reasonable and judicious approach in enabling individuals to receive appropriate and reasonable care/treatment and supporting them in making a contribution to society (naturally pending professional risk assessment and the like).

Non-violent crime, at least in the American context of drug crimes in many jurisdictions have been legislated at a sentencing level; the autonomy of the judge has been essentially limited. This, naturally, creates an imbalance in the system where judges have autonomy in dealing with one level of crime but not another. 

Quite sadly, this type of knee jerk sentence structuring seems to be moving North.


August 21st, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

The system isn't supposed to be consistent in sentencing. It can take into account many different issues. In this case, he pleaded guilty but insane. It sounds to me like the court took into account his mental state at the time. There are many things about the legal system that bother me, but a show of leniency in this one isn't one of them. I do agree, however, that drug sentencing is ridiculous, and that our "war on drugs" is doing nothing but sending generations of men to prison and killing thousands in Mexico and other parts of latin America. Is there hypocrisy--yes. That doesn't make this sentence misguided.


August 21st, 2012 at 2:40 PM ^

I was watching all these prison documentaries on Netflix. I think it was during one about Bernie Madoff where an ex-con says something to the effect of "steal a car and go to an overcrowded, dangerous cell in County, steal a couple hundred million dollars and go to a single bunk cell in a prison with gardens and big screen HDTV's".

Obviously this is getting close to the politics line, and I'm not saying that's what is at play here, but it's a pretty odd justice system we have at times (not that the rest of the world is any better).


August 21st, 2012 at 2:33 PM ^

I remember Corwin Brown as a Michigan defensive back. Starter for a couple years, and co-captain for one.  Thoughts and prayers for Corwin and his family.


August 21st, 2012 at 3:14 PM ^

corwin and i were friends in south quad taylor house 1988 freshman year, and was my intellivision playing  buddy... he was the only guy who could beat me at intellivison footballl... he had this trick play that i couldnt stop..... he was a cool guy, up until his redshirt junior year, that is,  when he had some success, i ran into him a few times and his ego was off the charts to the point of ridiculousness, as if he didnt know me. he'd wear sunglasses around campus and had this incredibly arrogant expression.  i thought then that its a shame that he became that way. so be it.


August 21st, 2012 at 3:30 PM ^

I can't stand the way judges rule each case so different yet there so much the same. I agree with his wife maybe prison isn't good but he's gotta go in a rehabilitation Center for at least 90 days to a year til they seem him fit to be with his family. Out-patient therapy. Is for non violent.people. I agree why a judge puts a drug addict in jail is stupid. I had a problem with drugs and I got help now I'm clean. I've had friends go to jail for months. And get out and still do it. Judges are corrupt ed they just Want money, not help people.


August 21st, 2012 at 3:40 PM ^

Pray for him to get better hope he gets help quick. I agreed he shouldn't go to jail but he needs help. This is way guns suck, get em off the streets. I hate seeing people (especially kids) being killed cause some idiot has a gun. Please Corwin do the right thing.

Sten Carlson

August 21st, 2012 at 5:11 PM ^

I went to junior high, high school, and Michigan with Melissa, Corwin's wife.  I remember when this all broke hoping that she was ok and that everything would work out for him and Corwin.  Her dad Billy Harris played at Michigan, and was on the coaching staff when we were growing up.  She was an all-state swimmer in HS, stunningly beautiful, and a heck of a nice girl.  I didn't see her much while we were at Michigan, although we had a writing class together.

Hope everything works out for them, my thoughts are again with them.

Sten Carlson

August 21st, 2012 at 8:03 PM ^

I live only three hours south of Dallas, and I doubt I am going to make it to the game.  I have a outside chance of getting in to a private box with a big Bama guy that I know, but I am having no luck getting in touch with him.  I don't feel like paying $80 for standing room only, $9 a beer, and $50 to park.

I went to the Sugar Bowl, which was awesome, and am going to try to get the Bowl Game this year as well. 


August 21st, 2012 at 4:58 PM ^

Corwin Brown needs help.  He is showing what are rapidly becoming "classic" symptoms of CTE. Between Michigan and the NFL, he took too many head shots.  It's time for both to step up to the plate and make sure that Corwin Brown gets the care he needs.  

How many of our fallen heroes have to commit suicide, "go postal," or stumble around like punch-drunk boxers until some kind of program for their care is put into place?


August 21st, 2012 at 5:40 PM ^

Maybe, just maybe the loss of the above is more the case. These guys go from dirt, to royalty, and back to dirt. That would be too much for me. I really can't believe they are blaming concussions. Every boxer and UFC fighter would have commuted suicide. Football players get more of the above goodies, and lose it quicker.