Charlie Brown voice actor found competent for sentencing in California

Reuters News
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Posted: Aug 05, 2015 5:04 PM

By Marty Graham

SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A San Diego judge found on Wednesday that a 58-year-old man who as a child actor voiced the cartoon character Charlie Brown was mentally competent to be sentenced for violating his probation in a stalking case.

A defense attorney for Peter Robbins had requested a mental health evaluation for the former actor after he shouted at the judge and bailiff at a court appearance in June.

San Diego County Superior Court Judge Steven Stone on Wednesday accepted the psychiatrist's opinion that Robbins is competent to be sentenced. He faces up to three years and two months in state prison.

Robbins pleaded guilty to charges of stalking and making threats in May 2013, after harassing and threatening an ex-girlfriend and the plastic surgeon who enhanced her breasts.

The judge ordered him to spend eight months in residential drug treatment and then serve five years on probation.

Robbins was arrested in February for probation violations that included drinking alcohol and cutting off his GPS ankle bracelet, prosecutors said.

Robbins, who has been held in jail since then, wore an unkempt beard and appeared subdued at the brief hearing on Wednesday.

Afterwards, San Diego deputy district attorney Brenda Daly said she supported the judge's decision to keep cameras out of the hearing, due to Robbins' outburst in June.

"I think the cameras are something he (Robbins) performs in front of," Daly said. "I think it's a planned performance."

Robbins was 9 years old in 1965 when he became the voice of the world-weary yet optimistic title character of "A Charlie Brown Christmas," a holiday classic marking its 50th anniversary and the first of many animated TV specials based on the popular "Peanuts" comic strip by Charles Schulz.

He went on to voice Charlie Brown in "It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown," "A Boy Named Charlie Brown" and other "Peanuts" animated specials that aired in the 1960s. He was replaced in later versions of the specials.

Robbins' sentencing date is scheduled to be set during a status hearing on Friday.

(Reporting by Marty Graham; Editing by Alex Dobuzinskis and Eric Walsh)