Feds Investigating Paris Hilton Prosecutor and Wife

The LA Times reports that the feds are investigating LA City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo and his wife. The lengthy article doesn't mention that Rocky Delgadillo was the city attorney who insisted on hammering Paris Hilton, notwithstanding parallel conduct by his wife. But I did back when Paris was in the news:

Paris was sentenced for a probation violation for driving under suspension while on probation. Mrs. Delgadillo also drove under suspension and committed a traffic offense while doing so. She was not charged with driving under suspension, only the traffic offense, and was fined $186.00.

Paris got 23 days in jail for driving under suspension which was a violation of her probation. She wasn't charged or convicted of any traffic offense-- or of drunk driving-- on that occasion. She didn't cause an accident. Her only drunk driving charge was the one that led to her original term of probation. As I wrote here: [More...]

Meanwhile, the allegations against the City Attorney who asked for her jail sentence and his wife (who drove with a suspended license and no insurance but avoided jail even after being in an accident) continue to raise questions about "fairness and hypocrisy" in the LA criminal justice system.

While the federal probe appears to be about issues concerning Mrs. Delgadillio's conduct relating to her business and tax affairs, the publicity is re-raising issues about her other conduct and the sweet deal she got, compared to Paris. As the Times reports today:

Michelle Delgadillo also made headlines when The Times revealed that she had dented her husband's city car while driving with a suspended license.

Velasquez says a "political agenda" lies behind any allegations made against Delgadillo, who is said to be interested in seeking statewide office when his term expires next year.

"Any allegation of wrongdoing is nothing more than garbage being shoveled by the city attorney's political opponents hiding behind the cloak of anonymity," [spokesman]Velasquez said in one such comment. "This is a classic political smear."

Given how her husband asked the court to lower on the boom on Paris, I don't think it's either garbage or a smear. I think it's relevant.

On a related note, Delgadillo's office also insisted on a harsh deal with jail for Kiefer Sutherland. Sutherland was in his 4th year of probation for a DUI when he picked up a second DUI. Delagillo's office charged him not only with the DUI, but with the heavier offense of having a second DUI within 10 years and also sought to have his probation terminated.

Sometimes when you wield too heavy a hammer, it comes back to bite you. Celebrities shouldn't be above the law, but neither should they be treated more harshly than others because of their fame.

Delgadillo, being somewhat of a notorius celebrity himself these days, may come to learn that lesson first-hand.

Here's more from Take Back These Times about City Attorney Delgadillo:

[We] see here from the Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer, and the City Attorney, the frequently corrupt Rocky Delgadillo, a sordid desire to exploit a celebrity for their own purposes, which are publicity, career building and envy of those more successful than they are. Judge Sauer wants to be like Lance Ito in the O.J. Simpson trial without realizing this will never be as notorious a case.

...Delgadillo never sees a celebrity he is unwilling to waste the public's money on. His vendetta against Hilton reminds one of his disproportionate persecution of the actress Winona Ryder. His political career should be brought to a rapid end.

Another celebrity dragged through a trial in L.A. on shoplifting when almost any other defendant would have been offered a deferred judgment: Winona Ryder.

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    On the Other Hand (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by kaleidescope on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 10:44:26 AM EST
    I don't know what it's like down there in LA, but up here in Humboldt, ordinary people get over charged for DUI all the time.

    Injustice is how people are charged and prosected is rampant in California.  I was once sitting in court waiting for a civil motion to be heard and got to watch sentencing.  I saw a welfare mom whose sin was to have her case worker show up while her boyfriend was spending the night.  Since being arrested, the woman had gotten her life together, moved to Medford, OR and gotten a job working at Taco Bell.  The DA demanded, and the judge agreed, that the woman actually serve ten days in jail, which meant she lost her job at Taco Bell, lost her kids for the time being, and had her life went back in the toilet.

    She was no celebrity.  

    My cousin works as a volunteer in the jails in LA and she tells me tale after tale of ordinary working class women who are put away for trivial parole violations.  Unlike Paris Hilton, these are women with kids who have their kids dumped into the foster care cesspool.

    So Delgadillo's wife may have gotten unusually favorable treatment, and Paris Hilton may have gotten a slightly nastier sentence than many women who committed similar offenses.  But there are thousands of ordinary people who get the same treatment Paris Hilton did.

    And one complaint: It would've made the post more interesting if you'd gotten a little more into what they're investigating Delgadillo about.  According to the LA Daily News, the investigation is being run out of the ND Cal. USA office.  The ND Cal. USA is none other than Joseph Russianello, a Bush family political hack who the last time he was ND. Cal USA (under Daddy Bush) conducted politically-motivated prosecutions of leftist attorney Patrick Hallinan and Democratically-appointed District Court judge Robert Aguilar.  

    I'm no supporter of Delgadillo, a corporate Democrat.  I held my nose and voted for Jerry Brown for AG, mainly because Delgadillo was so pro-corporation.  But given the cast of characters, it isn't out of the realm of possibility that Russianello's investigation of Delgadillo IS politically motivated.  Delgadillo has been using Business and Professions Code section 17200 to crack down on some powerful and politically connected insurance companies lately, an uncharacteristic biting of the hand that feeds him, and a sign that Delgadillo's aspirations for higher office remain.

    Investigating someone and leaking that you're doing so is a nice way to knee cap that person's political career.

    Hear, Hear. (none / 0) (#2)
    by scribe on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 08:42:13 AM EST
    You beat me to all my points....

    It's been some time now since the (none / 0) (#4)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:41:19 PM EST
    Paris affair, but I believe the obvious answer for the disparity in Paris' and Michele's sentences is that Paris basically "gave the finger" to the whole legal process - failing to even show up for her hearing(s) as required, etc., and that, unsurprisingly, did not put her in the good graces of those who had the responsibility to decide  her sentence...

    Not that I think (none / 0) (#5)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Wed Aug 20, 2008 at 12:42:53 PM EST
    the Delgadillos should be absolved of responsibility for their own shenanigans...