Sheriff must not be next beneficiary of ‘celebrity justice’
WE can be grateful that justice is finally being served for Paris Hilton, who has been sent back to jail where she belongs, treated just like anybody else.
Now the question is: Will justice be served for Lee Baca?
It was the Los Angeles County sheriff who started the latest Hilton brouhaha by releasing the celebrity heiress from jail three days into her 45-day sentence.
Although the notoriously star-struck Baca insists that Hilton’s A-list credentials had nothing to do with her being “reassigned” to her Hollywood Hills mansion, the judge overseeing the case concluded differently. On Friday, he sent Paris back to the pokey, while rapping Baca for defying his initial ruling.
“I at no time condoned the actions of the sheriff and at no time told him I approved the actions,” said Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer of Baca’s decision to spring Paris early.
On Wednesday, a jail official told Sauer that he would provide the judge with information about the medical problem that supposedly warranted Hilton’s early release. He never did.
Between defying the judge’s order to keep Hilton in jail – not put her under electronic surveillance – and his staff’s refusal to cooperate on the medical front, it seems like Baca is all but begging to be found in contempt of court.
City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo argued as much when he filed the petition that led to Friday’s hearing. Delgadillo demanded that Baca demonstrate why he wasn’t in contempt of court.
But Sauer – who perhaps was too busy dealing with the Paris circus – never addressed that question Friday. He should now. [But maybe it wasn’t a question of being too too busy]
Sauer has done the public a great service by ensuring that, for once, a powerful figure in L.A. will face the same justice as everyone else. He could underscore that message by making sure it applies to Baca, too.
The sheriff has a lot of explaining to do, and Sauer must not let him off the hook.
I could certainly understand the judge being quite furious about having his authority trampled by Baca, but perhaps that’s as far as he would like to take the conflict — put her back into jail, end of story.I don’t think the judge has shown indication that he would like to escalate the conflict with sheriff further, or Sauer would have taken advantage of the huge media spotlight he was in to launch other attacks on Baca’s moves. On the other hand, now that the full blast of media scrutiny is upon them, the judge may have to call Baca further into question, at least for the sake of appearances. However, I don’t think much, if anything, will happen to Baca, he seems too well connected and protected. In any event, another entertaining development in the Hilton circus, which just gets bigger every day.
Breaking – Libby willing to do the time – just like Paris!!! 🙂While there are those on the right who are clamoring for President Bush to grant Libby a pardon, a spokesman for Libby said that his client is willing to do the time – if Baca calculates it. “A pardon would take too much time,” said attorney Greasy McDeal. “With the Paris Hilton sentencing and time-served guidelines established, my client’s 30-month sentence will be completed right about … now.”