Hilton Starts, Ends Week Behind Bars
By JOHN ROGERS
Associated Press Writer
LOS ANGELES - It will be a week that Paris Hilton - and a celebrity-obsessed nation - won't soon forget. What started as a graceful attempt by the 26-year-old socialite to accept her punishment for violating probation in a reckless driving case ended Friday when a disheveled and tearful Hilton was ordered back to jail to serve out the remainder of her 45-day sentence.
After Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer was apparently unmoved by the pleas of Hilton's three lawyers to keep their client under house arrest, the hotel heiress was led from the courtroom crying out for her mother and shouting, "It's not right!"
As Hilton sits in the downtown Twin Towers jail where she will undergo a medical and psychiatric examination, one question lingered: Was celebrity justice served?
There was no shortage of twists and turns throughout the week after Hilton made a surprise visit Sunday to the MTV Movie Awards, where she told a throng of media that she was scared but ready to face her sentence.
Hours after the event, Hilton checked herself into jail and was expected to serve only 23 days because of a state law that requires shorter sentences for good behavior.
The ensuing drama erupted Thursday when sheriff's officials released Hilton because of a medical condition and sent her home under house arrest. She had been in jail for three days.
Friday's hearing was requested by the city attorney's office, which had prosecuted Hilton and wanted Sheriff Lee Baca held in contempt for deciding to reassign Hilton to home detention despite Sauer's express order that she must serve her time in jail.
Sauer gave no explanation of his ruling to return Hilton back to jail, but his comments throughout the hearing indicated he was affronted by Baca's decision to set aside his instructions and release the celebutante to her Hollywood Hills home.
"I at no time condoned the actions of the sheriff and at no time told him I approved the actions," he said. "At no time did I approve the defendant being released from custody to her home on Kings Road."
Hilton's lawyers said the reason for her release was an unspecified medical condition. The judge suggested that could be taken care of at jail medical facilities.
Following the hearing, Baca said he decided to put Hilton under house arrest because he was concerned about a serious medical condition he could not disclose, though his further comments suggested psychological problems.
He said he had learned from one of her doctors that she was not taking a certain medication while she was in custody previously and her "inexplicable deterioration" puzzled county psychiatrists.
Baca charged that Hilton received a more severe sentence than normal, which he said would have been either no time in jail or being directly placed in home confinement with electronic monitoring.
"The only thing I can detect as special treatment is the amount of her sentence," the sheriff said.
Hilton will likely be held at the Twin Towers facility for at least a couple of days before determining what jail she will be held in, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said.
Despite being reincarcerated, she could still be released early. Inmates are given a day off their terms for every four days of good behavior, and her days in home detention counted as custody days. It appeared that Friday would count as her sixth day. Baca indicated she would serve about 18 more days.
Hilton's path to jail began Sept. 7, when she failed a sobriety test after police saw her weaving down a street in her Mercedes-Benz on what she said was a late-night run to a hamburger stand.
She pleaded no contest to reckless driving and was sentenced to 36 months' probation, alcohol education and $1,500 in fines.
In the months that followed, she was stopped twice by officers who discovered her driving on a suspended license. The second stop landed her in Sauer's courtroom, where he sentenced her to jail.
AP Special Correspondent Linda Deutsch contributed to this report.
In other news, Jon Stewart and the Daily Show have announced that they're not going to cover the "Paris Hilton thing." But he does suggest that if your own topical TV show is, you could use the headline "Shawskank Redemption"