Records Show Paris Hilton's Jail Sentence is Longer Than 80% of Others Similarly Situated

Yes, we're all grateful the news is no longer focused 24/7 on Paris Hilton. But this is worth noting. I've argued all along her 45 day sentence was unfair when compared with others on probation whose only violation was driving under suspension.

The Los Angeles Times has confirmed it. Out of 2 million jail releases in L.A. County, the paper found 1,500 for persons who committed an alcohol offense, were placed on probation and then violated probation by driving under suspension.

The results:

Had Hilton left jail after four days, her stint behind bars would have been similar to those served by 60 percent of those inmates. But after a judge sent her back to jail Friday, Hilton's attorney announced she would serve the full 23 days in jail. That means Hilton will end up serving more time than 80 percent of others in a similar situation.

Paris Hilton should not receive special treatment because of her celebrity or financial status, but neither should she be treated more harshly. As Patrick Fitzgerald repeatedly said during the sentencing hearing of Scooter Libby, when it comes to sentencing, "one's station in life does not matter."

Free Paris.

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    Stop sticking up for her (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Slado on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 03:23:28 PM EST
    She refused to obey the orders of the court, showed up late and made a mockery of the proceedings because she didn't think the law applied to her and her idiotic handlers and parents either wouldn't or couldn't get through to her how serios this was.

    Now she knows.

    If she had been like other celeberaties or anyone in this situation and shown up on time, said how sorry she was and that she would never do it again the judge would have gone easier on her.

    I would imagine 80% of the people in her situation took this more seriously and acted apologetic and that's why they received better sentences.

    She wasn't sentenced to death or public thrashing she was given a sentence that the judge is allowed to give because of her attitude.

    And frankly she deserved it.

    Disagree (4.00 / 1) (#1)
    by DA in LA on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 01:22:00 AM EST
    Yes, she received a higher sentence than 80% of other people who had committed the same offense, but did she receive the same sentence as people who show total disregard for the court.  Both her and her mother were completely disrespectful toward the court during the proceeding in which she was given the 40 day sentence.  Seems to me that is how courts work.

    Regardless of that, being a celebrity is a double edged sword.  When you fall, you fall hard and it is part of the game.  They are - and should be - punished more severely because they are in the public eye.  

    And, I'm sorry, but being pulled over three times while driving with a suspended license is such a blatant disregard for the law, that I have no sympathy for the girl.  

    I do have sympathy for her because of the awful job her parents did raising her but that's for the therapists to deal with.

    I tend to agree (none / 0) (#3)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 07:24:35 AM EST
     with DA, about the court considering her demeanor and evident lack of appreciation  for the need to at least pretend to accept responsibility and respect for the court. But, of course we will never know what sentence would have been imposed if she had behaved differently.

      I don't agree that people in the public eye should be punished more harshly because of their fame. It's true that one purpose of sentencing is to act as a deterrent for others and arguably  cases involving famous people by virtue of getting more attention might have greater deterrent of others effectivess, but that does not outweigh the need for justice to be impartial, fair, and even-handed.

       I can justify her harsher treatment on the basis of how she conducted herself but not on the basis of who she is.


    The wealth and powerful regularly (4.00 / 1) (#2)
    by yetimonk on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 04:48:07 AM EST
    prey on our sense of fairness while making full use of their privilege. Maybe Paris is not so much in this instance. I guarantee you that if this were really an unfair sentence, something that happens regularly to the non-wealthy and non-powerful, a sentence in the realm of years rather than days, every ounce of her formidable privilege would swing into action. Our sense of fairness would be invoked with the help of several PR-agencies conducting a 24/7 media campaign.

    So I'm not so much in favor of defending Paris. She has more than enough resources to fend for herself.

    Getr it right! (none / 0) (#4)
    by madmatt on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 08:23:58 AM EST
    She violated probation TWICE so why don't you go look up those statistics before whining about how unfair life is to the poor girl.

    Yes, thanks. (none / 0) (#10)
    by lilybart on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 10:27:19 AM EST
    I posted that below, didn't see your post.

    Grammar police (none / 0) (#5)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 08:37:18 AM EST
    The headline would more accurately read:

    Records Show Paris Hilton's Jail Sentence is  Longer Than 80% of Others Similarly Situated.

      The tables on the last page of the story indicate she is getting a sentence several hundred percent longer than many "similarly situated."


    Right (none / 0) (#6)
    by eric on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 08:46:04 AM EST
    I saw that, too.  It isn't that her sentence is 80% longer, it is that she is sentenced longer than 80% of others.

    Thanks, I fixed it (none / 0) (#7)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 09:23:51 AM EST
    Grammar Police are good things.

    Are we hearing a (none / 0) (#8)
    by Wile ECoyote on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 10:21:10 AM EST
    call from TL for standardized sentencing guidelines?

    This was her SECOND stop (none / 0) (#9)
    by lilybart on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 10:26:33 AM EST
    I believe that this last violation was the second time she was caught driving after the DUI suspension. AND she was going 70 in a 35 mph zone and had no lights on when it seems she should have.

    Just saying, she appears to intend to drive whenever she wants, at least, that is what she thinks.

    She was not driving to a job she needed or to a doctor or any other emergency. And she can easily afford a driver on call 24/7.

    I don't think so. (none / 0) (#11)
    by Deconstructionist on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 10:39:32 AM EST
      I think she believes that Hilton was more harshly treated because of her celebrity and that should not be a factor in determining punishment (positive or negative). I don't think it can be fairly asserted that her position is tantamount to support for sentencing guidelines.

      I think judge's should have broad discretion to tailor appropriate sentences to fit the offense and the offender. I also do not think that discretion should be unlimited and I  don't think celebrity is a proper factor for judge's to consider in determining a sentence. I do think being unrepentant, obnoxious, disrespectful, etc.   tends to support a conclusion that the person displaying those traits deserves harsher punishment than someone who did the same thing who does not.

      We'll all draw our own conclusions as to why this judge sentenced this defendant as he did. I'd suspect the celebrity was not totally  irrelevant but only secondarily as in "I'm not going to let this ___ get away with acting like that with everyone watching"  rather than I'm  going to use her to set an example about violating supervision terms by driving.


    But . . . (none / 0) (#12)
    by txpublicdefender on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 10:39:50 AM EST
    And it's equal to or shorter than 20% of those similarly situated.  I don't think that makes the case that she was treated unfairly.  She was stopped and warned twice, including signing an acknowledgment that she knew her license was suspended, and then she testified in court, under oath, that she had no idea she couldn't drive.  She also never even signed up for her alcohol class.  I think the sentence was a bit on the harsh side, but hardly so grossly unfair as to be some sort of outrage.  Also, I have a lot more sympathy for people who are still driving on a suspended license when they're doing it because it's the only for them to get to work or get their kids to school or daycare.  Driving your ass to clubs and parties, when you plainly can afford a cab or a driver, doesn't garner much sympathy with me.

    another sentence (none / 0) (#13)
    by zaitztheunconvicted on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 10:57:00 AM EST
    The judge could have said,

    You have a choice:
    30 days in jail,

    2 days in jail and we take your car and sell it.

    So she's in the 80th percentile? (none / 0) (#14)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 11:57:45 AM EST
    Probably the first time in her life she hasn't been in the 99.99999th percentile.

    btw, Jeralyn, I read your linked LA Times article last night just before I went to bed and today I notice that the article has been edited significantly since then.

    Anyway, one thing that did occur to me last night is that there is, according to CNN last night, no over-crowding at LA County Women's facilities, so I'm not sure comparing her sentence to a sample which includes men's sentences - which presumably are reflective of the overcrowding - sheds much light.

    Additionally, this quote in the linked article

    Most nonviolent female offenders sentenced to less than 90 days are released immediately
    implies further lack of appropriateness in comparing her sentence to a sample which includes men's sentences.

    [That there is such a marked difference between men's and women's sentences, men getting longer sentences, is, I'm sure, the subject of the ACLU's next lawsuit against our county.]

    Effecting change through sentencing (none / 0) (#15)
    by LimaBN on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 02:01:17 PM EST
    Wouldn't it be fair to conclude that Ms. Hilton needs at least thirty days away from her usual routine if there is to be any chance of revising her decision-making patterns?

    She has so many factors insulating her from the consequences of her acts: wealth; irresponsible parents; enabling friends; celebrity; and the diva
    habit of thinking rules are only for the little people.  

    I say hooray for the judge who took on the county sheriff as well as the celebrity spin and made it clear that chronic and mindless irresponsibility will not be tolerated.  Maybe a kid's life will be saved from death or disability due to careless, inattentive, or drunk driving.  Who knows?  Ms. Hilton may even choose to become a useful and consequential person.

    I agree Free Paris but with what priority (none / 0) (#16)
    by msobel on Thu Jun 14, 2007 at 02:32:41 PM EST
    As I look at the problems with our judicial system, starting from Scalito and running on down,  I agree to work on Freeing Paris after I do what I can on the other 987,348 more important problems.