Hip-hop legend Eric B. received one-year probation stemming from a 17-year-old warrant for his arrest.
The charge related to an incident that occurred on September 27, 2001 in Richfield Park, New Jersey. The police arrested Eric B., whose real name is Louis Eric Barrier, when he drove off after being stopped by police for missing plates. After a chase in which he hit multiple police cars, he was charged with aggravated assault and resisting arrest.
The following year, he pled guilty to the charges. But as he never showed up for his sentencing, in which he would have received a year in prison, the court issued a warrant for his arrest.
Authorities finally caught up with Eric earlier this month when he crossed the border from Canada to the United States, and he subsequently spent two weeks in a Bergen County jail prior to his release last week.
During his sentencing, a number of Eric’s friends spoke on his behalf. He himself issued a brief statement to state Superior Court Judge James Guida, in which he apologized for his actions. He also insisted that he never showed up for sentencing because his attorney told him that he did not have to appear because he was accepted into a program that would allow him to avoid prison.
Interestingly, Eric’s lawyer at the time, Paul Bergrin, is currently serving multiple life sentences in prison as a result of a conviction for racketeering and for conspiring to murder a witness against another of his clients.
Ron McCormick, who is a Bergen County prosecutor, argued that Eric should serve time in prison. At the same time, though, he said that the original sentence “probably is not appropriate.”
After Eric was sentenced, as he left the courthouse, he said, “I’m glad it’s over.”
Eric B. was part of the popular hip-hop duo Eric B. & Rakim. In 2006, MTV called their 1987 album Paid in Full the greatest hip hop album of all time.