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double standard: the rich get ankle
braceletsand home arrest. The poor go to jail.
But, sometimes, rich bimbos go to jail, too.
If the Paris
Hilton incident proved anything it is that it sadly confirmed that
a double standard exists in this country with respect to the application
of justice. In the last few weeks we have callously been reminded that
some US citizensthe rich ones and their snotty, spoiled offspring
that were born with the silver spoonsare just a little "more
equal" than the rest of us. It is an inequity that does not square
well with the beliefs of the common manthe farmers and foundrymenwhose
sweat equity and shed blood molded the moral fiber of this country into
the greatest nation in the history of the world. Nor,
for that matter, can it be justified anywhere in Declaration of Independence
or the US Constitution.
Hilton saga began about 12:30 a.m. on Sept. 7, a year ago when 26-year
old Hilton was caught driving while intoxicated. She had an blood
alcohol level of 0.08. First arrest. The DMV suspended her drivers'
license and a judge placed her on probation for 36 months. Around 10:30
p.m. on February 27, 2007 LAPD officers stopped Hilton again. This
time, on Sunset Boulevard. She was speeding. And, her headlights were
When the LAPD
discovered her drivers' license was suspended, they impounded her $200
thousand Bentley. Second arrest. Hilton
claimed she had just come from a brightly lit parking lot and didn't know
her headlights weren't on. And, of course, she also claims she was not
aware that her drivers' license had been suspended when she pleaded guilty
to the first alcohol-related reckless driving on January 22, 2007.
any farther, let me parse a question. If you or I had been caught driving
recklessly at high speed while intoxicated with a blood alcohol level
of 0.08, had our driver's license suspended and were on probation, how
much jail time do you think we'd get? Three guesses and the first two
don't count. If that was one of us regular working class people, the original
sentencing judgeMichael T. Sauerwould reinstate the
jail sentence for which probation was granted. On
top of that, you can bet he would have added additional time for driving
on a suspended license. Total up the time and its a safe bet we wouldn't
get off spending a couple of weekends at the local Hilton Hotel. We would
be doing about one year less a day in the county lockup.
When is the
justice system going to understand that when a public figure (even a trampy,
completely-worthless-as-a-human-being spoiled, privileged socialite) breaks
the law, the court must make an example of that individual by sentencing
himor herto the maximum amount of jail time allowed by law.
privileged have an obligation to set "examples of quintessence"
for the impoverished classes in society to emulate so that society
understands that [a] no one is above the law, and [b] everyone
who commits a crime will do the timethe same time.
Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer sentenced the party girl
to 45 days in jail, with the sentence beginning on June 5. Lawyers for
Paris Hilton appealed Sauer's sentence, arguing to the appellate
court that jail time in the Century Regional Detention Facility
in Lynnwood, California was too harsh a sentence for the fragile diva
who, the lawyer said, would not cope well with jail. The appellate court
ruled that how Hilton served her sentence was solely up to the
When he issued
his ruling, Sauer wrote a marginal note on his decision stating
Hilton would not be allowed any work release time, furloughs, use
of an alternative jail, electronic monitoring in lieu of real jailor
confinement in the city jail. Had Hilton's lawyer not appealed
her sentence, its likely Judge Sauer would not have been able to
stop Sheriff Lee Baca from releasing her from jail after "five
credited " days of confinement. In
reality, Hilton served 74 hours of actual jail time2 hours
longer than three days. Hilton surrendered to the court at 11:30
p.m. on Sunday, June 3. She was released at 12:30 a.m. on Thursday, June
7. Hilton's 45-day sentence would have been a 23-day sentence with
time off for good behaviorand perhaps even less.
Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, who was reelected in June,
2006 with almost 67% of the vote, the politics of being Sheriff in one
of the nation's largest counties is a tough job. He noted he is constantly
pressured by elected officials from the some 40 communities that make
up the county. But, he added, he does not have the problems associated
by mayors and/or city councils who virtually control all of his decisions..
As an elected official, Baca said he has the flexibility to do
what needs to be done.
me wonder who pressured Sheriff Baca to violate Section 1203 of California
law and take it upon himself to negate a sentence imposed by a Superior
Court Judge? Baca has been sheriff long enough to know that only another
judge in a higher court can overturn a sentence imposed by a lower court
judge. Pundits who argue that the federal order to lighten the prisoner
load in the LA County jail system trumps Judge Sauer need to take
a refresher course in Law 101. Unless
Baca's already doling out political favors with his eye on his
next election, or was promised a better job when the voters finally turn
him out to pasture, its unlikely that he decided to "transfer"
Hilton from the regional women's detention center to her gated
home where she had planned a gala weekend party to celebrate her "early
release." It's more likely the pressure to send her home with an
ankle bracelet came from the country club elites who control the voting
apparatus in the county.
lawyer, Richard Hutton, suggested that she was so fragile that
her confinement might trigger an emotional breakdown. A psychiatrist whom
the family claims Paris was seeing "on and off" for about
6 monthsCharles Sophyhad previously submitted a statement
to Judge Sauer prior to her May 4 sentencing in which he said Hilton
was "...emotionally distraught and traumatized" by her fear
of going to jail.
Every day in
every State in the Union, ordinary citizens do stupid things, cross the
line, and end up in jail. For most people it's a terrifying experience.
To some, it is a very traumatizing one. Thousands of first time offenders
all over the country are emotionally distraught when the hollow, empty
sound of the steel doors clang shut behind them. Many of themmale
and femaleare brought to tears. Many of them relive the experience
in nightmares. But, once sentenced and jailed, none of them ask the guards
if they can go home because they don't like it there. And, none of the
jailers send them home with ankle bracelets because jail traumatizes them.
No jailer considers it a medical emergency because their psychiatrist
believes being jailed might cause the inmate'emotional stress, or that
the experience might be so overwhelming that he or she might have a nervous
breakdownor worse, because the prisoner forgot to get a couple of
prescriptions filled before surrendering to sheriff.
Sadly, our legal
system deliberately practices a form of class distinction in how they
administer punishment for "crime"particularly in the celebrity
capital of the world, Los Angeles County. Celebrities are accorded privileges
the rest of us don't get. And that, plain and simple, is just wrong! The
Constitution of the United Statesparticularly since the passage
of the Civil Rights Act of 1964requires our system of justice
be blind to both class distinctions and ethnicentricity. What that means
is the wealthy or the celeb cannot get less of a sentence for a crimewhether
felony or misdemeanorthan the poorest or lowest of our citizens.
minoritieswhether social or racialshould not be penalized
more because of their less prominent status in the community.
logic, when televangelist Jim Bakker, the founder of the PTL
Television Network and the Heritage USA Christian theme park
in North Carolina in the 1980sa celebrity by the yardstick society
measures peopleshould never have been sent to prison. Bakker
was found guilty of overselling his time shares and collecting donations
for one charity and using the money for something else. Bakker
was sentenced to 45-years in prison in 1989,
logic to Bakker, the evangelist should have been put under house
arrest, not dragged off to prison. After all, he was much more traumatized
by his ordeal than Paris Hilton was hers. Bakker, all his
problems with the legal system notwithstanding, at least accomplished
something with his life. That's more than can be said for Paris Hilton,
To date, her life adds up to zero.
Would it surprise
you to learn that this completely talentless 26-year old was the
85th best paid celebrity in 2006? It's true. The bimboette earned $6.5
million dollars last year. What did she do for that kind of money? Well,
she let the paparazzo take pictures of her as she slid, spreadlegged,
from her car sans panties. She did a marginally successful reality TV
show. And I guess she did whatever else that talentless bimboettes do
to earn money. Most of what she, and the rest of the bimbo-celebs, do
is generate sleezy tabloid headlines about themselves and then cash-in
from TV talk shows with no better use of airtime than to interview them.
Baca gave Hilton a "get-out-of-jail-free" card after
only 74 hours in the slammer, the public was rightly outraged. And LA
District Attorney Rocky Delgadillowho pushed hard for jail
time for the bimboette was outraged more than anyone elseexcept,
Michael Sauer who noted that he received a call from the Sheriff's
office on Wednesday from an undersheriff who said Hilton had developed
a medical condition that could influence the advisability of leaving her
in the lockup. He said he would submit the papers to the judge.
The papers never showed up. Delgadillo immediately fired off an
email to Baca saying, "My office was not advised of this
action. Had we been provided with the proper notification, we have opposed
the decision on legal grounds." He immediately petitioned the
court to revoke "transferring" Hilton to home arrest
to complete her sentence.
lawyers argued that Sauer's role in this decision was "...to
let the Sheriff's Department run the jail," confusing Baca's
federal mandate to lighten the Century Regional Detention
Facility's population with the judge's absolute authority over
sentencing. I can't help thinking such obfuscation, if it occurred, would
have been deliberate on the belief that once Hilton's lawyers gained
her release from the regional women's detention center the judgewho
might not like what happenedwould be stuck with it.
Attorney Dan Jeffries responded that Hilton's incarceration
was solely at the discretion of the judge. And, while he admitted that
Baca was under a federal court order to lighten the population
at the Century Regional Detention Facility" he noted
that the judge's ruling precluded any release program and/or electronic
monitoring of Paris Hilton by the sheriff, "Her release
after only three days," Jeffries said, "erodes confidence
in the judicial system." Hilton's lawyers, who very likely
convinced Baca he had the authority It was clear to anyone who
read the Judge's rulingand the handwritten addendum after the appellate
court turned down Hilton's appeal for home detention.
by his own admission, was a willing and very complicit partner in the
orchestration of Hilton's release. Previously Baca told
the Full Disclosure Network that be thought the LA Sheriff's
Department "...was a social service agency." (Perhaps the
voters will correct that misconception when Baca comes up for election
again in 2010unless he becomes head of security for Hilton Hotels
by that time.) Baca said he believed he was "...viewed
as a social service sheriff." He apparently believed he was performing
a "community service" by sending Hilton home. Had his
decision held, it is very likely that race riots would have erupted somewhere
in the county that weekend with the flames of discontent fueled by the
racial inequity hate-mongers like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton.
Instead, Sauer sent her back to the Century Regional Detention
Facility and circumvented what would likely have been a race riot
in Los Angeles because rich, white blonde bimbos don't get sent to jail
for their sins against society and poor black girls without expensive
white lawyers do.
Judge Michael Sauer ordered Paris Hilton to appear in his
court at 9 a.m the following morning. Sheriff Lee Baca was ordered
to appear two hours later. Hilton, stupidly, was a no-show because
her lawyers told her she could "appear" via telephone from her
palatial detention center. (I am convinced Paris Hilton's lawyers
did what they could to keep their client out of Sauer's grasp,
believing if she appeared in person she would be taken into custody and
remanded to the Century Regional Detention Facility. They
should have checked with the judge before advising their client to do
something that was guaranteed to make Sauer even more angry than
he was on Thursday when he ordered the appearances of the Sheriff and
his charge. They didn't. Sauer ordered Hilton into court,
at 12:00 noon. An hour earlier,. Sauer rained the riot act on Baca,
threatening him with a contempt citation. Sauer did not want to
antagonize the LA County's top lawman. And, if he was smart, Baca
didn't want to antagonize a judicial appointee, either.
in the end, Paris Hilton paid the price, Sauer sent her
back to serve her 45 day sentence. But, she's still eligible for good
behavior time. (California inmates receive credit for one day for every
four days they stay out of troublea 25% reduction in their sentence.
pronounced sentence, and ordered the Sheriff's deputies to take her into
custody, the defiant bimboette with tearstained eyes, shouted, "It's
not right!" Then, looking at her parents, she screamed: "Mom!"
Not even Momnot even a wealthy Hilton momtrumps Judge Sauer
in his courtroom. He's not elected. He serves for life. And he's not really
worried that someone would short-sheet his bed if he stayed at a Hilton
brief hearing in which Hilton appeared with disheveled hair and
no make-up, the diva sobbedplaying the judge for sympathy that wasn't
theredabbing her eyes conspicuously to make sure the magistrate
understood how repentant she was. When she was taken, handcuffed to the
county vehicle that would transport her back to the women's detention
center, Hilton was reminiscent of a contrite Jim Bakker.
Reporters snapped her picture, sobbing in the back seat as she was rushed
back to the Century Regional Detention Facility.
part of this ordeal for Paris Hilton was being treated like the
rest of us. This girl has lived the life of the rich and famous so completely
that when she was initially incarcerated at the women's detention center,
and her cell phone was taken from her, she had to get instructions on
how to use a pay phone.
What's my take
on the Paris Hilton flap? It was a sheer waste of media airtime
that would have been better used exposing crooked politicians. Spoiled
little rich kids like Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Nicole Ritchie
and the whole Hollywood culture are symptoms of a society that has lost
its moral compass. I can remember when I was just a young fellow and Hollywood
celebrities were role models you could look up to. Or, at least, their
publicists made them appear that way. Their deep dark secrets remained
in the closet because society was not forgiving of sex perverts and drug
addicts. Hilton is where she needs to be. Too bad California law allows
for early release. In my opinion, Paris Hilton needs to serve the entire
45 daysplus some.
again, you have my two cents worth on this subject.