Friday, June 8, 2007


Okay, so you're not an heiress, a movie star, a sportsman, a television actor, or remotely rich and famous, that's fine ... or, rather, that's jail for you when you deviate from the rule of Law. Otherwise, be any of the foregoing pampered pets of celebdom and it's just fine for you when Joe Cop racks up yer rap sheet. Money buys a judicial sellout.

The latest, to date, chasm betwixt justice for the few and justice for the masses grew all the wider, deeper, and more malevolent when Los Angeles County Sheriff split from Los Angeles County Court in it's decision to loose Paris Hilton in the glare of a staring media just waiting for the ball to be dropped. Well, Sheriff Lee Baca, you served us a fumbled ball of the greatest magnitude. In breathtaking spite of the public's awareness of a broken system, it broke some more.

Overcrowding in L.A. County jails is a reality, but can never be an excuse -- nor a reason -- cited as a way to red carpet exit from incarceration a wealthy convict. Equally,
nor can medical condition -- there are penal infirmaries, hospital wards, and psych units adequately securing less well heeled convicts with health issues. The Hilton case was a platinum opportunity for a fragment of faith in the system to be restored to the public. Who knew platinum could corrode so quickly, so easily, so publicly? Truth is, few of us are really surprised.

Perhaps the greatest lesson, the most tragic truth, in all of this Sheriff-dueling-
Court is it had to happen in such an inconsequential case and nothing important like the myriad innocent prisoners convicted, or those wrongfully held on Death Row awaiting death-by-State by virtue of insufficient wealth to afford decent proactive representation. Now...

Nigel Hamilton-Allan / LA-Tees

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