LOS ANGELES — Paris Hilton was sent screaming and crying back to jail Friday after a judge ruled that she must serve out her sentence behind bars rather than in the comfort of her Hollywood Hills home.
“It’s not right!” shouted Hilton, who violated her probation in a reckless driving case. “Mom!” she cried out to her mother.
The 26-year-old hotel heiress was taken handcuffed from her home in a black-and-white police car, paparazzi sprinting in pursuit and helicopters broadcasting live from above. She entered the courtroom disheveled and weeping, hair askew, without makeup, wearing a fuzzy gray sweat shirt over slacks.
She cried throughout the hearing, dabbing her eyes, and her body shook constantly. Several times she turned to her parents, seated behind her in the courtroom, and mouthed, “I love you.” TMZ.com reported that Hilton's family will file an appeal, maybe as soon as Friday afternoon.
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Hilton was taken to a treatment center at the downtown Twin Towers jail for medical and psychiatric examination to determine which facility she will be held in, said sheriff’s spokesman Steve Whitmore.
“She’ll be there for at least a couple of days,” he said.
The sheriff later defended his decision, citing jail crowding (although Hilton was in special unit and did not have a cellmate) and what he termed “severe medical problems.”
He said he had learned from one of her doctors that she was not taking a certain medication while previously in custody, and that her “inexplicable deterioration” puzzled county psychiatrists.
Baca also charged that Hilton received a more severe sentence than the usual penalty for such a crime, but said he would not try to overrule Sauer’s decision again.
“The criminal justice system should not create a football out of Ms. Hilton’s status,” the sheriff said grimly at a press conference.
Despite being ordered to serve the remainder of her original 45-day sentence, Hilton 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 time served.
Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer was calm but apparently irked by Sheriff Lee Baca’s decision to release Hilton three days into her sentence due to an unspecified “medical condition.”
“I at no time condoned the actions of the sheriff and at no time told him I approved the actions,” Sauer said. “At no time did I approve the defendant being released from custody to her home.”
Hearing sought by prosecutors
The hearing was requested by the city attorney’s office, which had prosecuted Hilton and wanted Baca held in contempt for releasing Hilton despite Sauer’s express order that she must serve her time in jail. The judge took no action on the contempt request.
A member of the county counsel’s staff said Baca was willing to come to court with medical personnel. The judge did not take him up on the offer.
Assistant City Attorney Dan F. Jeffries argued that Hilton’s incarceration was purely up to the judge. “Her release after only three days erodes confidence in the judicial system,” he said.
Hilton’s attorney, Richard Hutton, implored the judge to order a hearing in his chambers to hear testimony about Hilton’s medical condition before making a decision. The judge did not respond to that suggestion.
Another of her attorneys, Steve Levine, said, “The sheriff has determined that because of her medical situation, (jail) is a dangerous place for her.”
“The court’s role here is to let the Sheriff’s Department run the jail,” he said.
Judge didn't receive papers from sheriff
The judge interrupted several times to say that he had received a call last Wednesday from an undersheriff informing him that Hilton had a medical condition and that he would submit papers to the judge to consider. He said the papers never arrived.
Every few minutes, the judge would interrupt proceedings, state the time on the clock, and note that the papers still had not arrived.
He also noted that he had heard that a private psychiatrist visited Hilton in jail, and he wondered if that person played a role in deciding her medical needs.
The last attorney to speak was another deputy city attorney, David Bozanich, who declared, “This is a simple case. There was a court order. The Sheriff’s Department chose to violate that order. There is no ambiguity.”
Hilton’s twisted jailhouse saga 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 hamburger run.
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 while driving on a suspended license. The second stop landed her in Sauer’s courtroom.
Back before Sauer on Friday, Hilton’s entire body trembled as the final pitch was made for her further incarceration. She clutched a ball of tissue and tears ran down her face.
Seconds later, the judge announced his decision: “The defendant is remanded to county jail to serve the remainder of her 45-day sentence. This order is forthwith.”
Eight deputies immediately ordered all spectators out of the courtroom. Hilton’s mother, Kathy, threw her arms around her husband, Rick, and sobbed uncontrollably.
Deputies escorted Hilton out of the room, holding each of her arms as she looked back.
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