Sunday, June 10, 2007

Tug-of-war Over Hilton
Raises Larger Questions

by Tami Abdollah and Megan Garvey - June 9, 2007 - Los Angeles Times

A sobbing Paris Hilton was shipped back to jail Friday, culminating a high-stakes legal showdown between a judge and Sheriff Lee Baca over who controls how long and where inmates serve their jail sentences.

The questions have loomed large over the Los Angeles County justice system for years as judges watched in frustration as the sheriff slashed the sentences they handed down, often by 90%, to alleviate chronic overcrowding in his jails.

Baca on Thursday allowed Hilton — who he had promised would serve 23 days in jail — to go home to West Hollywood to finish her time under house arrest after serving just three days behind bars for repeatedly violating probation.

He cited an undisclosed medical condition as the reason to allow the hotel heiress to switch from a tiny cell to home detention and electronic monitoring, noting that she had served the 10% of her sentence currently being served by most female inmates in the county.

But Friday, an irritated Judge Michael T. Sauer ordered Hilton back to court and said he alone had the power to decide how her sentence was served. Sauer criticized the Sheriff's Department for letting Hilton out without his permission and remanded the 26-year-old multimillionaire — who cried throughout the hearing — back to jail.

The title tries to imply this farce is based on an important legal question. The only real question is how much power does anyone have to fix a system that is a revolving door joke of arbitrary and capricious power plays by tyrants and bufoons?

We are not talking about murderers here. We are talking about Paris Hilton. In the article they talk about murderers that Baca has released who have killed again while they were supposed to be in jail. Why did that not justify this article? What is so important about Paris Hilton that she gets this article but the people who died were not important enough to make the front page?

That tells you much about the stupid choices of the press in our country. It tells you much about the judges too. Why did the judges not incarcerate Baca as an accessory to murder when it happened? Is no one in our corrupt court system of extortion and blackmail ever held accountable for anything?


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