The Paris Hilton saga has become so compelling that many political bloggers who swore off mentioning her have weighed in on the topic, including myself. Hilton got hauled off screaming and crying to jail after having been released by Los Angeles Sheriff Lee Baca five days into a 45-day sentence, reportedly for becoming too hysterical. Judge Michael T. Sauer ruled that Baca had violated the court’s order in releasing her, and sent her back to serve the entire sentence for violating probation on a drunken-driving conviction:
Hilton, who was brought from her home to the court in handcuffs in a sheriff’s car, entered the courtroom red-eyed and trembling, and she cried throughout the hour-long hearing, dabbing her face with tissues, biting her knuckles, and shaking her head. She sat slumped at the table throughout the proceeding, wearing a gray sweater, her blond hair pinned up.
Hilton was released from the county jail Thursday by Sheriff Lee Baca because of an undisclosed medical condition, and the sheriff said she would serve the duration of her term confined to her home in the hills above Sunset Strip, wearing an electronic ankle bracelet to monitor her movements. Late in the day, however, she was ordered back to court Friday so Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer could review the situation. …
Assistant City Attorney Dan Jeffries said “no good cause” was shown by the sheriff for overruling the judge’s earlier decision that Hilton serve her time in jail. Jeffries said Hilton’s early release “erodes confidence in the judicial system.”
Hutton offered to have a private hearing in the judge’s chambers to discuss Hilton’s condition, but Sauer declined. The judge said he had been promised a medical explanation for her release, but never received it.
For some reason, the plight of this rich heiress has generated a lot of sympathy in the blogosphere, and from some odd places. The Corner’s John Podhoretz got quite a bit of e-mail from readers disturbed by Hilton’s treatment. Jules Crittenden, while supporting Sauer’s action, sounds a sympathetic note as well:
I may be a heartless bastard, and a tabloid vulture to boot. But like the lefties like to say about murderers, rapists, etc., society made her what she is. High society, in her case. And I feel bad for her. How can you look at anyone piteously sobbing on her way to jail and not feel bad for her, when her crime is not murder or rape or even bank robbery but forgetting that the rules apply to her as well. Sort of like how I feel bad for the trainwrecks that are Britney and Lindsay, who are more specifically victims of adults who felt they had to share their little darling’s talent with the world, maybe wanted to live vicariously through their little darling’s accomplishments and make a pile off their darling little asses.
Michael van der Galien agrees with Crittenden, but blames Hilton’s parents:
That is exactly how I feel about it as well. I actually feel bad for Paris, I’ve got to admit it.
To her parents: j’accuse!.
This young woman was raised with the idea that the rules do not apply to her. This girl was raised with the idea that money can buy everything. This girl (she’s older than me, but she’s not a woman) was raised with the idea that there is nothing wrong with being stupid and ignorant.
Pardon me for injecting a little conservative thought into all of this, but I have very little sympathy for Ms. Hilton. She has had all of the advantages possible in society, and has shown herself contemptuous to any sense of responsibility. The screaming and crying jag in court only came after she had thrown away her chances to get lenient treatment by lying and evading responsibility for her actions.
Let’s not forget why Paris Hilton went to jail. Last January, Hilton got convicted of driving drunk. That killed 18,000 people last year; it’s no joke. Hilton didn’t have to serve a day in jail for it, either. She got 36 months probation and had her license suspended (in November 2006). She was also ordered into an alcohol education program.
Within a month, she had been arrested twice for driving without a license, and still had not entered the program as ordered. The city prosecuted her for violating her probation and the court order, and convicted her last month. Her defense? She blamed everyone but herself, and even at this last court proceeding, wanted to appear only by telephone. The judge had to order her brought to court.
Paris Hilton is no child. She’s twenty-six years old. She has all the money she needs to hire the best lawyers to represent her. For that matter, she had all the money she needed to hire a driver after her license got suspended. Not too many of us have those kinds of resources, but she does, and she decided to flout the law and her probation anyway.
Did her parents bring her up poorly? It seems that way. Does it matter now? No. She’s far past the age for taking responsibility for her own actions. Instead, she has acted with contempt for the laws, for the safety of others on the road, and for the court in which she was called to answer for her actions. Paris Hilton deserves no sympathy for her sentence, nor for the crying jag and histrionics she displayed when she finally figured out that she had pushed her self-centeredness just a little too far.
UPDATE: Andrew Sullivan’s got the best line: “It’s almost enough to make up for O.J.” Would it only be so …
UPDATE II: I always suspected that Jon Swift was Paris Hilton. Or vice-versa. Or not at all. One of those, anyway.
Also, a few people have written to correct me about the drunk-driving conviction, noting that Hilton got convicted of reckless driving — which is true, but it was specifically an alcohol-related charge. Bear in mind that her current sentence is for violating her probation, and not the original conviction.