It's about separation of powers, and not

about Paris living it up at home.

This whole situation is a lot more subtle and involved than merely the Sheriff saying:

"Paris' medicine isn't available to us to administer."

Set aside the issue of whether her sentence was too severe or not - we can chase around that one forever.  There's a more substantial issue in dispute here.

At its core is a serious issue of separation of powers, as those powers are defined in California's state Constitution and whatever organic acts (or whatever they may call them there) establishing the Court, the Sheriff's Department, and the City, together with their interplay.  The gist of it goes like this:

The Court enters an order, called a "sentence" as to Paris.  The sentence says whatever it says - I've heard it quoted as including "no electronic monitoring".

Once the sentence is entered, then the Sheriff is under a ministerial duty to carry out the order - by adhering to the terms of the sentence imposed by the judge.  If the judge said "no electronic monitoring" and the sheriff decides to go against that, then the sheriff is in contempt of court - he's violated a court order.  That's regardless of whether the administrative regulations of the jail (which, likely, the sheriff himself promulgates) permit the sheriff to do this, be it called "reassignment" or whatever.  The court order imposes a ministerial duty - the sheriff must follow the order.

The structure of the respective entities' powers as defined in the law set forth the parameters under which the respective parties must behave.  The lines have to be policed here, and that's at the core of the intra-system uproar.  

So, why did the judge not chew the sheriff out for doing this, or deny the motion or whatever - it was not like the judge didn't know it was coming?  Well, my feeling is there's likely more than a little inter-departmental rivalry and competing egos going on here.  The Sheriff is trying to show the judge who's boss, and the judge says sotto voce "violate my court order and see what happens".  Of course, there's no real dispute until (a) the Sheriff actually does something to violate the order and (b) the adversary party complains about it.  The judge doesn't go around hunting for violators of his order.  It's not the judge being the meany here;  that was the prosecutor asking for 60 days.  No, the Sheriff decided he wanted to remake the sentence for his own convenience rather than follow a court order.  But, there's no live controversy - regardless of whatever the Sheriff said - until he allegedly violated the court's order and someone complains about it.

The Sheriff's convenience was/is a function - legitimate, I might add - of trying to keep his jail from turning into a total three-ring circus beyond the normal level of circus-ness involved in housing, transporting, etc., thousands of criminals or accused, none of whom would be there but for their (at least) disturbing the police.  For, example, he has to deal with the paparazzi putting huge sums of money up for people who get them photos of Paris In Chains (or at least an orange jumpsuit).  That would require smuggling cameras - i.e., contraband - into and out of the jail and by itself would be and is a serious disruption to the jail anbd its routine.  So to his eyes, the sooner he can get her out from under his roof, the better.  It'll remove the temptation to his subordinates to take a bribe or try to play the paparazzo game themselves.

Of course, the sheriff will have to deal with every other inmate - and their lawyers - trying to get out of the jail on the same grounds Paris used.  The Sheriff should thank the Judge tomorrow if he gets smacked down, because in the long run he won't have to deal with special treatment demands, equal protection claims and all the rest.  

Enter her lawyers, trying to (a) get a better deal for their client and (you can't exclude) (b) working hand-in-glove with her PR folks and the paparazzi to create even more splash surrounding her name and notoriety.  She is a creature of PR and the media - everyone goofs on her for having nothing to her name but her name, no marketable skills save being blond, skinny and famous, and for raking in wheelbarrow loads of cash for it.  The only bad publicity is no publicity, and this is not it.   Everyone who makes money off Paris - including Paris - benefits from this furor.  As to the system - their attitude is f'em.

Of course, ordering out to have strawberry and mocha cupcakes delivered to the house from Mrs. So-and-so's Organic Cupcake World (I forget the name) - which Paris did this afternoon as the paparazzi swarmed outside her house - is not the kind of thing which would tend to endear one to the hoi polloi.  Or the judge.

As to Paris and her meds - I'm a lot more inclined to believe Paris was going through something which happens to lots of inmates.  The common name for it is "drying out" - from whatever substances (legal, prescription, OTC or otherwise) she may have been putting into her system.  A couple days in, once the chemistry has been withheld, all the demons the inmate has been "dealing with" through chemistry tend to come out.  IIRC, she's a tobacco smoker - a third-day nic fit is in and of itself bad enough to make one crazy.  Anyone who's been a smoker (like I was - pack a day for over 15 years) can attest to that.  Combine that with jail "food" and  confinement, and anyone's going to go nuts.  This happens every day - every day is some inmate's second or third day in - so there's no way the jail could have been unprepared or unable to deal with it.  A few years back, I worked a civil rights jail conditions case, where the plaintiff was s serious crackhead and recidivist.  You could chart the troubles he went through and the type of troubles just by putting it on a timeline - the real suicide attempts always came after about 30 days inside, when the crack was really washed out of his system and after he'd been a couple days in the hole - for the attempted assaults on personnel about 20 days in.  Like clockwork.

So, my opinion is that the judge lays down a 2×4 on the respective heads of the sheriff and her counsel tomorrow.

I'm currently consulting on a very similar case - the judge sentenced a defendant to periodic jail and the Sheriff does not want to do that - it's too inconvenient for the Sheriff to comply with the legal sentence the court passed.  The prosecutor decided to appeal the legal sentence, to make nice with the Sheriff.  It's all about who's the boss in the criminal justice system - the judge who sets the sentence depending upon the facts of the particular case, or the jailer who makes more money and gets more job security the more and longer he keeps people in his jail and cares not a whit about guilt or innocence.  In other words, separation of powers.

To cap off a perfectly strange day - as I write this - while lying at my feet my dog is barking in her sleep.  Sometimes she chases stuff in her dreams, too.  The perfect note for dealing with Paris.

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    I have to disagree (none / 0) (#1)
    by Jeralyn on Thu Jun 07, 2007 at 11:41:22 PM EST
    I updated my last Paris Hilton post to include a link to your diary and explain why I disagree:

    If you've ever sat through a criminal sentencing, you hear the words at the end, "I hereby commit you to the custody of the (take your pick) Attorney General, Department of Corrections, Sheriff of whatever County" for a period of x time."

    At that point, custody and jurisdiction over that prisoner and sentence is transferred to, in this case, the Sheriff. The Sheriff complied with the Court's order. He put Paris in custody in a county jail, not on electronic monitoring. But that doesn't mean he can't change the conditions of confinement later.

    When we as defense lawyers want to change the place of incarceration, the Judge tells us he doesn't have that authority, it's up to the Bureau of Prisons or the Sheriff where to place the prisoner. The best I've ever been able to do is file a motion I call "Relief from Conditions of Cruel and Unusual Punishment" and argue it as an 8th Amendment issue...not an issue of whether the custodial agency had the power to make the decision.

    The city attorney is arguing that in Paris' case, because she was on probation, the court retains jurisdiction over her. It's true he retains jurisdiction of her case. But I don't think it's true he retains jurisdiction for where or how she serves the sentence, once the Sheriff has complied with his initial order.

    I still think the Judge signed off on this in advance by agreeing the Sheriff didn't need his permission to change her conditions of confinement once he complied with the initial order.

    We'll know tomorrow morning, but I still think the Sheriff acted within his authority. The Judge may hang the Sheriff (and Paris) out to dry, but I think if he does, it's because he's catering to public opinion, not the law.

    i think since these type of issues (none / 0) (#2)
    by Deconstructionist on Fri Jun 08, 2007 at 07:40:07 AM EST
    vary widely from jurisdiction to jurisdiction that we need someone with direct knowledge of California law and practice in LA.

      One of the reasons you need local counsel when you have a cese in a different jurisdiction (beside it being a rule) is the familiarity with these nuts and bolts statutes and procedures.