Los Angeles: Celebrities breaking laws and getting into heated scuffles which may land them a prison sentence along with reams of publicity is nothing out of the ordinary. Models, Hollywood stars, even children of in-power presidents and prime ministers have been booked for offences.
India may be an exception, where anyone who is someone can twist and tweak the law to advantage and continue to break all the laws in the rule book. But Paris Hilton , inspite of her popularity and status was not that lucky. For a celebrity who had worked as a farmer and maid on her TV show “The Simple Life”, she now faces a real-life hardship in her latest role as jail inmate.
Hilton, who parlayed her name and relentless partying into worldwide notoriety, was sentenced on 4 May to 45 days in county jail for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case by driving with a suspended license.
As an inmate, she might have to spend most of her day in a cell smaller than her closet, her only luxury escape being a short period to shower, watch TV, exercise or talk on the phone.
“I’m very sorry and from now on I’m going to pay complete attention to everything. I’m sorry and I did not do it on purpose at all,” Hilton, 26, told a judge before the sentencing.
Superior Court Judge Michael T Sauer, saying “there’s no doubt she knew her license had been suspended,” ordered that Hilton report to a women’s jail in suburban Lynwood by June 5.
The judge’s ruling did not allow any work release, furloughs, use of an alternative jail or electronic monitoring in lieu of jail. Nor could Hilton pay to serve time in a jail of her choice, as some are allowed.
Hilton left the courtroom with her parents, Kathy and Rick and headed straight to their car. She looked forward and did not speak to a battery of reporters and photographers who were shouting questions at her.
Her mother was visibly upset. “This is pathetic and disgusting, a waste of taxpayer money with all this is sheer nonsense. This is a joke,” Kathy Hilton said of the judge’s decision.
Defense attorney Howard Weitzman said he would appeal. “I’m shocked, I’m surprised and really disheartened in the system that I’ve worked in for close to 40 years,” Weitzman said.
He said the sentence was “uncalled for, inappropriate and bordered on the ludicrous. I think she’s singled out because of who she is,” Weitzman said.
City attorney spokesman Nick Velasquez said that the judge’s ruling “sends a clear message that in the city of Los Angeles, no one is above the law.”
Hilton pleaded no contest in January to reckless driving stemming from a Sept. 7 arrest in Hollywood. Police said she appeared intoxicated and failed a field sobriety test. She had a blood-alcohol level of .08%, the level at which an adult driver is in violation of the law. She was sentenced to 36 months probation, alcohol education and $1,500 in fines.
Two other traffic stops and failure to enroll in a mandated alcohol education programme landed her back in court. She was ordered to report to the jail by the set date,or face 90 days behind bars.