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September 20, 2010

"Paris Hilton Gets Year's Probation, No Jail"

The title of this post is the headline of this hard-hitting piece from People magazine, which provides the latest sentencing news on the latest development in the celebrity war on drugs.  Here are the plea and sentencing details (with a little pit of courtroom fashion thrown in):

Appearing before a Las Vegas judge first thing Monday morning regarding her Aug. 27 drug arrest, Paris Hilton pleaded guilty to two misdemeanors – drug possession and obstructing an officer – but avoided jail time.

Just as the District Attorney had confirmed over the weekend, under the terms of the plea, Hilton, 29, was placed on probation for a year. If she is arrested in the next year she will face a year behind bars.

Clark County Detention Center Justice of the Peace Joe Bonaventure, told Hilton, "The purpose here is to change your conduct. [The Clark County Detention Center] is not the Waldorf-Astoria."

Hilton was arrested shortly before midnight on Las Vegas Boulevard after police pulled over a vehicle in which she was a passenger. The male driver of the car was arrested on DUI drug charges. Hilton's purse also contained a bag with .8 grams of cocaine.

Arriving in the courtroom shortly before the judge, and wearing a white blouse and black pencil skirt, Hilton sat in the front row, looking solemn and speaking on briefly to her attorney, David Chesnoff.

After the hearing, the attorney told reporters: "She was treated like anyone else would be treated under the circumstances, and I'm very proud of the way she's dealt with this. I think she's on the road to success and I wish her personally the best."

Hilton must also complete a substance-abuse program, pay a $2,000 fine and complete 200 hours of community service.  According to Chesnoff, "She does a lot of stuff with animal rights, and I understand she's done work with children's hospitals, so I think she'll continue something along those lines."

"Defendant shall stay out of trouble.  Defendant agrees that an arrest for any charge, excluding minor traffic violations for which a citation is issued, shall result in the immediate termination of her probation and the execution of the suspended sentences," reads the deal.

Telling the judge multiple times that she understood and agreed to the plea bargain, Hilton admitted that she lied to Las Vegas police officers when she told them the purse that contained the cocaine wasn't hers.

As to why she misled authorities, a source close to Hilton tells PEOPLE, "At the moment it all came down, she was scared.  But since then, she's had time to think about her actions, and she's taking this really seriously." Asked why the heiress did not fight the charges against her, attorney Chesnoff said, "Miss Hilton accepted responsibility."

In not quite related news, TMZ.com is reporting here about another drug-involved starlet, "Lindsay Lohan Second Failed Test -- Amphetamines."

UPDATE:  Now,as People explains here, an arrest warrant has been issued for Lindsay Lohan.  Rough legal day for divas it seems.

September 20, 2010 at 03:33 PM | Permalink


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yea good luck with that. probation today is a fraud! it's nothing but a way for the court to get a conviction on the record they can then use to hammer the individual shortly down the road when they FAIL as the system is now designed and geared to MAKE THEM DO!

The article on lindsy Lohan is a PERFECT example. she is now going on 3 YEARS of idiotic stupidity from a couple of mistermeaner convictions! any guess on just how much MONEY has been spent by the govt for the last 3 years of court time on this?

if she's smart she'll walk in to the court and DEMAND prison time 6months 2 years WHATEVER but at then end she is DONE. otherswise she needs to tell em to go to hell and i'll see you in court! Also not sure why she's never demanded a NEW JUDGE! everytime this one opens their mouth they show nothing but prejeduce against her.

Posted by: rodsmith | Sep 20, 2010 6:14:07 PM

If I was found guilty of possession of cocaine I would be branded a felon for life.

Posted by: Anon | Sep 20, 2010 7:21:43 PM

Anon --

You don't know that, but assuming it's true, it constitutes one more really good reason for you to avoid possessing cocaine.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 20, 2010 8:45:22 PM

Bill would you admit that it is not common for someone to admit they possessed cocaine and not be charged a felony? Another point is what does this say about a our so called " drug war ".

Posted by: Anon | Sep 20, 2010 9:33:50 PM

The plea bargain was a reasonable result. The common public perception that these starlets receive preferential treatment in many instances could not be more unfounded. The vast majority of those caught in Las Vegas or any other city proceed through the system innocuously. And when they reach similar plea deals, there is no public outcry. Starlets like Hilton and Lohan are often viciously attacked by the tabloids. And judges, eager to appear on camera and exercise their power over a celebrity, often treat celebrities more severely than regular folks.

So, it's good to see a sane resolution to this case.

Kevin J Mahoney

Posted by: Kevin Mahoney | Sep 20, 2010 9:52:24 PM

Paris and Lindsey should get a padded cell together and then attended rehab together for a group rate! There is no justice for a celebrity.

Posted by: Sadie | Sep 20, 2010 9:56:26 PM

Anon --

"Bill would you admit that it is not common for someone to admit they possessed cocaine and not be charged a felony?"

No I wouldn't, since I don't know that it's true, and I suspect, to the contrary, that whether it's a felony charge depends on the amount, the jurisdiction and the defendant's prior record.

"Another point is what does this say about a our so called 'drug war'".

Absolutely nothing, since one case says nothing about a zillion factually unrelated cases.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Sep 20, 2010 11:12:48 PM

Yes, like in the case of famous celebrities as Lohan, judges gave them an edge than the regular criminals. Stars just can get just a probation in jail like rooms but really its not headache for the celebrities.

Posted by: Miami Criminal Defense Lawyer | Nov 25, 2011 12:03:49 PM

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