Distillers founder Brody Dalle defended herself in a speech to a judge Tuesday before he sentenced her to 60 hours of community service and a $1,000 fine for her criminal contempt conviction in her custody battle with Queens of the Stone Age frontman Josh Homme.
The sentence from Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff followed after Homme and his lawyers, who sought the misdemeanor prosecution, asked for a stiffer penalty of five days in jail that would be “stayed” and set aside if she completed 120 hours of community labor, such as highway clean-up or graffiti removal, as opposed to community service at a nonprofit.
“I’m relieved by the court’s decision. I don’t believe anyone should go to jail or pick up trash for protecting her children,” Dalle told Rolling Stone after the hearing. “As a mother, I will always put my children first and protect them at all costs.”
In her comments to Judge Riff before sentencing, Dalle said she accepted and respected the court’s finding that she “willfully” failed to deliver her five-year-old son to Homme in early September in violation of a court order. She was acquitted of a similar charge related to the couple’s older son after Judge Riff found that the 10-year-old boy decided on his own that he didn’t want to see his dad. The couple’s 15-year-old daughter was not a subject of the contempt trial after receiving a temporary restraining order against her dad in September.
“I didn’t withhold our children. Our children testified to that. Our children testified to the abuse they have experienced at the hands of their father and the reasons why they refused to go and continue to refuse to go,” Dalle said in her court statement Tuesday.
She said Homme himself “testified to calling me a cunt, a cow, and telling me to, ‘Fuck off forever.’ Does this sound like a person who wants to do the right thing by our children? He has taken no responsibility for his words and actions and the effect that they have had on our children.”
In his own statement to the court Tuesday, Homme said he was “willing to take responsibility for things that I do,” but he wanted “justice” and “one set of rules for both sides.” “I’ve suffered a lot of parental alienation in a short period of time,” Homme told Judge Riff. “This family is in grave danger and so fractured and ripped apart. All I want to do is see my kids. I want my mother to see her grandkids. I want my father to see his grandkids.”
Dalle disputed the accusation of “parental alienation,” calling it a “strategy used in family court by abusers to take the onus off the abuser and place it onto the victims.” She said the breakdown in their co-parenting left her “deeply saddened.”
As he issued his sentence Tuesday, Judge Riff urged both parents to find common ground to resolve their issues related to co-parenting. “What I’m hearing, I hope, is that (both sides) want the same thing. They want a healed family with three quite lovely children who need the benefit of two loving parents. Both sides want that,” Riff said.
Dalle, 42, filed for divorce from Homme, 48, in 2019 amid allegations he “headbutted” her while “highly intoxicated.” They reached a shared custody agreement for their three kids in October 2020, but new allegations of misconduct and dueling allegations of domestic violence surfaced over the summer.
The parties are due back in court Dec. 3 to determine where Dalle will fulfill her community service requirement. Future court hearings will center on remaining accusations of domestic violence and requested revisions to the couple’s 50-50 custody arrangement. Court-appointed monitors were hired to supervise each parent’s custodial time since Homme’s visits with his five-year-old son resumed in mid-October.