Saturday, May 05, 2007

Why is this news?

The most popular downloaded news video is the announcement that Paris Hilton is off to the pokey.

The only -- and I mean only -- newsworthy bit about this whole thing is that it illustrates the African-Rift-Valley-sized gap between "celebrities" -- and I use that word broadly -- and everyone else.

Allow me to explain.

Around here, when you violate your probation, the local Community Supervision department goes to the judge who placed you on probation and gets a Violation of Probation warrant.

Sometimes they get a Motion to Revoke warrant, but it's usually a VOP.

Since you have already proven that you will not abide by agreements you enter in to, VOP warrants are usually No Bond warrants.

This is then punted off to the Sheriff's Office, who goes and gets your happy butt and tosses you into General Population at the jail.

About the time you bounce into the GenPop unit, the judge is notified and you get penciled into the busy court docket wherever they have room -- it's going to be a while.

You languish in GenPop until your hearing date, when you will be put into a belly-chain and shackles and brought before the judge -- wearing a yellow jumpsuit.

A probation hearing is usually fairly short:

"Is this your signature?"

"Just above your signature, there is a sentence, 'Shall not do X.'"

"These witnesses/this evidence prove(s) you did X."

"Can you prove otherwise?"

And your happy butt goes back to GenPop for whatever length of time the judge feels to be appropriate.

Meh.

Did anyone see anything like this happen to Whatsername?

Her parents -- who expressed their opinions most firmly during the hearing, a kittenish act which usually results in getting escorted out of court and/or contempt charges -- feel most strongly that their daughter is being singled out because of who she is.

*snort*

They got that one right.

When the VOP charges were issued, Young Miss got to run around wild and free until her hearing date. Anyone, you know -- Not Famous -- would have been dragged out of their car, house, place of work in handcuffs and spent that same period of time in jail.

Young Miss got to show up for her hearing in classy, understated, not-County-issue clothes. I believe we've covered the whole yellow jumpsuit thing for anyone else.

When Young Miss got her butt revoked, she left the courtroom and went home -- ordered to show up to serve her time in a month. Anyone else goes straight back to GenPop from court.

Young Miss will serve her sentence in Protective Custody, no one to sneak up on her in the middle of the night, no mass showers, no bargaining for what TeeVee show gets played on the communal TeeVee, no figuring out your place in the tank pecking order. Anyone else gets General Population -- see previous.

*snort*

Dear Paris,

I realize that we are not related, but I have some advice for you. Having some experience with the corrections system, I suggest that when you get to Intake, tell the receiving officer that you're going to hurt yourself.

Tell that officer that the very thought of bars makes you suicidal, and do not allow them to dissuade you from this.

And they will attempt to. They will announce in tones most dire that you really aren't suicidal. They may even accuse you of faking it. Stick to your guns!

Once they figure out that you might hurt yourself in their care, they will treat you with kid gloves. Sympathy will flow forth, and your stay will be much more comfortable.

Trust me,

LawDog

16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Girlfriend of a coworker was stopped going 15 over on a suspended license. She is still wandering about (PR bond i believe) while everything is sorted out.

Point being, who you are can matter, but not just celebrities recieve a gentler hand. What you did, extenuating circumstances, and likelyhood of continued violations all play a part. Like it or not (and I don't), alcohol isn't taken seriously in the courts without other badness.

LawDog said...

Sounds like girlfriend is pretrial.

Paris Hilton had already been to trial and was adjudicated probation.

Whole different kettle of fish.

Ambulance Driver said...

"Tell that officer that the very thought of bars makes you suicidal, and do not allow them to dissuade you from this."

I suppose it would be too much too hope that she'd be serious, the jailers blow it off, and then she follows through on the threat?

The news outlets would blather about it for a month or so, but then...no more Parish Hilton. I can do without television or magazines for a month.

Flintlock Tom said...

Did you notice, also, that she showed up late for the hearing?

Sean said...

Now, I hate to disagree, but isn't there some small thing in the Constitution about cruel and unusual punishments? We couldn't put the poor Miss Hilton in with the general prison population.

What did those criminals ever do to deserve the kind of life that living with Paris Hilton would entail?

Jon said...

Good post Lawdog. I'm no fan of Paris Hilton, but the leap from her lifestyle to jail is quite a bit farther than most, which is a BIG leap. Yes, she did commit the crime and should be punished, but I'm thinking a better sentence would be one year in the care of a good family in an isolatied location. No chance of early release or any communication, including camara crews. The hope would be she would realize how precious her opportunites have been and devote her life to things that benefit society.

gamachinist said...

Here in Georgia if you get stopped while driving with a suspended or revoked license you usually go straight to jail.

I'm still smiling that she actually went to a jail at all,muvch less not one of the easy jails that celebs are often allowed to pick out.

I guess her parents are so proud of her antics. I guess they also don't know how not to piss off a judge.

You can take white trash and make them rich,and they are still just white trash in nicer clothes.

qlajlu said...

Ya know, LawDog, when I saw all that hoopla about her driving on a suspended license, having signed to that fact in front of a CHP Trooper, I wondered then why she was allowed to leave.

Then, in court, she is sentenced to *gasp* "Hard Time" and she wasn't escorted post haste to her appointed doom, and I wondered why.

The judge did one thing good by sentencing her to time, but he is a pansy for not having her ass hauled off right then!

Did anyone consider that once she serves her time and gets out that she can actually claim to being a certified "Bad Girl!"

*sigh*

More notoriety!

phlegmfatale said...

I guess I'll have to forego the pleasure of imagining her ass being traded for a pack of Merits, as someone suggested in comments over at my place. I didn't expect her to suffer at all- she'll probably get a seven-figure book deal.

Bonnie said...

As TMZ.com pointed out, Michelle Rodriguez only served 2 hours of a 60-day sentence for pretty much the same thing. One can only hope that Parasite's notoriety serves to have the court try to make an example of her for her legion of fans. I'm in agreement that, afterward, she's going to have "bad girl" cred, and all this is going to do is make her more popular among those fans. *sigh*

This is what PC-parenting and too much money will do.

karla (threadbndr) said...

I look at spoiled brats like PH. I look at the Marine!Goth.

Humm, seems there's something about my mom and dad (and DH and I) having applied the 'board of knowledge to the seat of learning' a few times when he was little........

kyrakai said...

OoooH! I like the way you think. Don't know about other states, but in Pima County, a statement of suicidal or homicidal nature earns the person a free suicide watch, which we affectionately call the naked baloney sandwich watch. The stated suicidal person gets stripped of their clothing and receives a suicide poncho (or in some systems, two suicide blankets) made of a non-rip material, and is placed in a cell, some of which have no mattress and no toilet (just a hole in the floor), a glass wall, and they become consumer of a meal with which they cannot hurt themselves. The State offers baloney sandwiches in a paper bag. They are then flagged in the system so that everytime they are arrested after that, they automatically go on suicide watch.

Webfoot Logger said...

I see in one of the checkstand rags that PH is "afraid of jail" . . .

Mercy me! She's afraid of jail . . .

. . .

Seems like that would be a good reason to not violate probation!

--Webfoot Logger

Palm Springs Savant said...

For a bit of Paris humor, I wrote a fun post on my blog about Paris Hilton…stop by and check it out:

http://rickrockhill.blogspot.com/2007/06/dr-wang-channels-conrad-hilton-beyond.html

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello,

I have nothing to say about Paris Hilton - better and more experienced minds than mine have handled this and moved on.

I do have a problem with the implicit presumption of guilt Lawdog mentions: "Around here, when you violate your probation...Since you have already proven that you will not abide by agreements you enter in to, [Violation of Probation] warrants are usually No Bond warrants...About the time you bounce into the GenPop unit [in jail], the judge is notified and you get penciled into the busy court docket wherever they have room -- it's going to be a while. You languish in GenPop until your hearing date."

By definition, the accused has not been "proven" to have failed to abide by the agreement - that's precisely what the subsequent hearing, which Lawdog describes further down in his post, is to find out.

Yes, some people may need to kept in jail before trial if they pose a risk. But they're entitled to a speedy hearing after they enter GenPop - not "a while" - where they can rebut allegations about their inability to abide by release agreements.

It's just as wrong to clap them into jail for "a while" - generally on somebody's (even a police officer's or deputy's) say-so - before they can even make a case for release as it would have been for the original offense for which they got probation or parole.

Last but not least, yes I'm sure a substantial majority of people accused of violating probation are guilty. I'm sure that holds true for the substantial majority of people accused of any other offense. We don't make the latter "languish" in jail for an unspecified "while," and probation violation accusations should be no exception.

Cheers,

Jeff Deutsch

Jeff Deutsch said...

Hello again,

You might be interested in this story of people who were found not guilty of probation violations and put back on probation...but only after spending months in jail awaiting their hearings.

Cheers,

Jeff Deutsch