Traveling the Globe With Probationer Paris Hilton
Update: Paris has left Japan.
Do celebrities get harsher treatment than others? With respect to Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, it seems that way to me.
The ink wasn't even dry on Paris Hilton's plea and sentencing documents when she flew from Las Vegas to Tokyo for legitimate and lucrative business reasons. Yet she was denied entry into Japan and told to wait at an airport hotel. She's now been asked to wait another day, while Japanese officials make up their mind whether to allow her entry. The two reasons I've seen given: They don't allow people on probation or people with drug offenses to visit Japan.[More...]
Fine, but other than the news media, how would Japan have known? It's quite unlikely the State Department notified Japan or even put an electronic note in her passport file. I doubt her plea and sentence were even entered in NCIC or criminal law enforcement databases by the time she reached Japan, and even with our government's obsession with sharing of law enforcement data, I doubt the policy extends to sharing it with Japan.
It's laughable to think the State Department cared enough about Paris Hilton to notify Japan she had been placed on unsupervised misdemeanor probation. So what gives? Some immigration officer in Japan saw it on the news and got star-struck and decided to detain her? Sounds like it.
Next up for Paris: Jakarta, where she's visiting seven of her stores, launching her fall line an opening a new store. It's a big deal there. The Grand Indonesia Mall held a Twitter contest and three winners get lunch with Paris at a benefit for the Children’s Oncology Foundation. At $240 US for a ticket, the event is sold out.
Paris designs and sells purses and accessories, perfumes, shoes and more that are manufactured and sold in many Asian countries as well as the U.S. If her businesses go kaput, so do a lot of jobs. What possible public policy is served by denying someone on misdemeanor probation the opportunity to conduct a legitimate business? If governments prevent people from engaging in lawful business activity, what's left? Criminal activity. Another lesson in how government (and this time not ours) can be stupid about crime.
As I wrote last week when the news reported her plea deal which requires her to serve a year in jail if she's even arrested for a crime in the next 12 months (no conviction required), Paris needs to step up her fleet of body guards and make sure no one gets the opportunity to set her up by planting something on her in exchange for their 15 minutes of fame. After using the excuse "it's not mine" twice in the last year, once in South Africa and once in Vegas, she'd be like the little girl who cried wolf that no one believes. And it would mean a year in the Vegas pokey.
Not to mention, if it happens in Jakarta or Kuala Lumpur .....
If Paris Hilton was not famous, her legal problems would be far less severe. No way would the average person charged with a gram of cocaine have been made to plead to two misdemeanors and agree to 12 months in jail in the event of a future arrest without a conviction. Nor would she have a target on her back.
And, maybe the media would stop referring to her solely as a socialite, and mention the fact that she's also a successful businesswoman. Even if her business is primarily based on marketing herself, she's both supporting herself and providing jobs in a variety of industries, from manufacturing to sales to transportation (limo drivers), fashion and beauty (personal stylists), security (body guards), media production (reality tv shows), public relations and law (contracts and criminal.)
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