A judge sentenced Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail Friday for violating her probation, putting the brakes on the hotel heiress’ famous high life.
Hilton, who parlayed her name and relentless partying into worldwide notoriety, must go to jail on June 5 and she will not be allowed any work release, no furloughs, no use of an alternative jail and no electronic monitoring in lieu of jail, Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer ruled after a hearing.
Sauer announced his decision after Paris was allowed to make a last-ditch courtroom plea. According to Access Hollywood’s Tony Potts who was in the courtroom, prior to the ruling, Paris said she was sorry and claimed she did not snub her nose at the law by driving on a suspended license.
Following the reading of the verdict, Paris’ mother Kathy Hilton appeared shocked and her jaw dropped. She then exclaimed toward the judge, “May I have your autograph?”
After the verdict was read, a rep for Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo released the following statement to Access Hollywood:
“City Attorney Delgadillo believes today’s ruling sends a clear message that in the City of Los Angeles, no one is above the law.”
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.
The heiress arrived at court 10 minutes late in the back of a black Cadillac Escalade and swept into the Metropolitan Courthouse with several men in suits, ignoring screams of photographers lining the route into a rear entrance. Her parents, Rick and Kathy Hilton, also came with her.
Wearing a gray jacket and white shirt over black slacks and with a black headband on, she said nothing and appeared serious.
The celebrity case brought an unusual scene to the austere courthouse south of downtown in a commercial area. As if at a red carpet event, dozens of photographers and reporters lined up at the rear entrance. Yellow police tape substituted for velvet ropes.
TV trucks were parked nearby to beam the news worldwide and a helicopter hovered overhead. Extra sheriff’s deputies stood guard.
Hilton, 26, 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 percent, 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 program, are what landed the socialite back in court.
On Jan. 15, Hilton was pulled over by California Highway Patrol. Officers informed her that she was driving on a suspended license and she signed a document acknowledging that she was not to drive, according to papers filed in Superior Court.
Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies stopped Hilton on Feb. 27 and charged her with violating her probation. Police said she was pulled over at about 11 p.m. after authorities saw the car speeding with its headlights off.
Hilton’s spokesman, Elliot Mintz, said at the time Hilton wasn’t aware her license was suspended. A copy of the document Hilton signed on Jan. 15 was found in the car’s glove compartment, court papers say.
Access Hollywoods Potts and Senior Field Producer Stephen Harding were live on the scene earlier today. The following blog reports are from the courthouse.
4:05PM: For 29 minutes Paris took the stand and it didnt appear to fare too well for the heiress during the courtroom session. The Judge repeatedly told her to answer only the question she was asked . . . usually with a yes or no.
Paris said on the stand that she did not call her lawyers on the three occasions she was stopped by police. She just called her PR man, Elliot Mintz.
She said on one occasion, when CHP stopped her and told her she couldnt drive, she called Elliot and he told her CHP was wrong.
The Judge will be ruling shortly.
3:40PM: With phones prohibited from being used in the courtroom, we turn our attention to outside. Earlier today, some nearby construction workers stood on the rooftop of a nearby parking structure to get an aerial view of the scene. Now it appears they have gone one step further, raising a crane up over the street so that they have first class “balcony” seatsto watch the party exit the courthouse.
3:30PM: Outside, media crews are just plain bored. The wind has begun to gust and the temperature dropped but no one has left their spots on the walkway to the courthouse since noon.
3PM: Paris is testifying while a packed courtroom watches.Everyone is prohibited from using their phones in the court room.
1:46PM Paris has arrived.She walked straight in, quickly. She looked better than we’ve seen her looking recently in a grey short sleeve jacket, pressed white shirt and her blonde hair held back with a ponytail grip and a headband. As she entered the courtroom she was preceeded by a brunette friend and flanked by her lawyer Howard Weitzman.Weitzman previoulsy represented her best friend Nicole Richie and Courtney Love. Paris’ mother Kathy Hilton also was with the group.
1PM: From curb to entrance there is no red carpet, just grey cement lined on both sides. There are no barricades like at a premiere, but yellow police do not cross this line, tape.
The sixth floor hallway leading to Department 71 is lined with media awaiting Paris entrance.
There is talk among the reporters over whether or not Paris will arrive on time or late due to a what to wear dilemma.
Court opens at 1PM and proceedings commence at 1:30PM. Im not done until its over, or I sneak out.
Ive just been informed there is no In N Out (Editors Note: Tony is referencing Paris favorite Sunset Blvd. Drive thru burger joint) so in addition to not being able to eat a double double, I will not be allowed to leave court once Im inside.
… more musings as they come through. To see photographs from the scene, click on the gallery on the right.