After Brief Respite, Paris Hilton Goes Back to Jail
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel.
REBECCA ROBERTS, host:
And I'm Rebecca Roberts.
In Los Angeles today, a judge reversed the actions of the L.A. County Sheriff and sent Paris Hilton back to jail. Just yesterday, Sheriff Lee Baca sent Hilton home saying she could serve out her time in her Hollywood Hills mansion instead of behind bars. But at a hearing this morning, the judge said no.
Here's court spokesman Allan Parachini.
Mr. ALLAN PARACHINI (Spokesman, L.A. Superior Court): What I heard the judge say was remand for the remainder of her sentence, which was 45 days. How much time for it that have she's already got is an - issue, sorry, to ask the sheriff about. We don't - that's the whole thing here, we don't run the jails, the sheriff does.
SIEGEL: Hilton's sentence stems from a probation violation for driving twice without a license after a DUI arrest. Now, before we continue, we want to address some listeners who wrote us in anger after yesterday's Paris Hilton story.
ROBERTS: For example, Rudolf Peters(ph) in Kansas City, Missouri who wrote: for a second I thought I was listening to tabloid radio.
SIEGEL: Or Carlton Raime(ph) who wrote: I would appreciate not hearing news about his alleged famous person on NPR, unless she happens to find a cure for cancer, life on other planets, or has brokered the lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians.
ROBERTS: Nay-sayers you've been heard. But this case has drawn loud protests from prosecutors, civil rights leaders and many everyday people who felt she was getting star treatment.
NPR's Carrie Kahn was in the courtroom today and joins us now.
Carrie, how did Paris Hilton react?
KAHN: Well, the - throughout the hour-long hearing, she was shaking and quietly crying. She would turn her back and look at - back at her mother and her father in the courtroom and mouth I love you. Now - and at the end of the hearing, the judge gave his decision; it was really short and sweet. He remanded her back to jail to serve her 45-day sentence. It seemed to, sort of, take her by surprise how fast it was over, and she started sobbing. She stood up and cried Mom, Mom, it's not right.
Her mother then shouted back from the courtroom: don't. And Hilton was led out of the room. And once the doors closed behind her she let out a scream, and you could hear her crying as they took her away.
ROBERTS: And why did the sheriff let her go home? I mean, she was barely there five days?
KAHN: Well, the sheriff says that under advisement from a doctor, he believed that she had a severe medical condition, it's undisclosed what that medical condition was. And he reassigned her detention to home arrest. There was a monitoring device. So this is what is at issue here, is if the sheriff had the authority to do that.
The judge in the case was really specific, he said, Paris Hilton was not to have home detention. Was not to have monitoring or other special terms. So in court today, the judge repeatedly said if the under - if the sheriff wanted to change his - the sentencing order, he needed to file a motion. And he kept interrupting the hearing and sort of giving a time check and said it's 11:15, I still have not received a request by the sheriff. It's 12:00, still no request. He was clearly upset about the sheriff overruling his sentencing order.
ROBERTS: So do you think this is the proverbial straw breaking the camel's back in terms of how celebrities got treated?
KAHN: Well, in court today, city prosecutors were very concerned about the public outrage over Hilton's release. And repeatedly, Assistant City Attorney Dan Jeffries said, you know, this case is simple - the sheriff's action threatened to erode the judicial system. He says - he implored the judge to stand his ground and remand Hilton back to jail to protect the public's confidence in the entire judicial system, you know.
But outside the courtroom, we heard from Stanley Goldman, who's a law professor from Loyola Law School, and he said, in reality, it's not uncommon for the sheriff to decide what to do with an inmate, even if there is a court order.
Professor STANLEY GOLDMAN (Law, Loyola Law School): This really does, sort of, overturn a tradition that's been around for decades and decades, and that is that once you're out of the courtroom and you're into the jail, what happens to you is sort of within the jurisdiction of the sheriff. And if the sheriff feels it's appropriate to have somebody released on house arrest, they get released. And here, because it's such a high-profile case something that's different has happened. And I'm wondering whether this is going to have the odd effect of changing procedures in Los Angeles for decades to come.
KAHN: So the judge was adamant and he was clearly upset at this entire spectacle and quickly ruled to send Hilton back to jail.
ROBERTS: Thank you, Carrie.
KAHN: You're welcome.
ROBERTS: That's NPR's Carrie Kahn reporting on Paris Hilton's return to L.A. County Jail.
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