Justice rigged for celebs

by Brody Burns

MCT Campus
MCT Campus

Man, celebrities ruin everything. George Lucas and Indiana Jones, the concept of what is newsworthy in our current culture, the authenticity of any noble or charitable cause, Kim Kardashian and anything she does, Lakers games. The incredibly uncontroversial Noel Gallagher, formerly of the rock band Oasis, said celebrities have even ruined Twitter. Where will they strike next?

This ruinous celebrity plague (like the black plague, but worse) continues with Lindsay Lohan and her complete destruction of the concept of justice. Last week Lohan served nearly five hours of jail time for violating her probation with the theft of a necklace. According to TMZ (a very journalistically credible source), she described the harrowing experience as “scary,” which makes me wonder whether she means “Paranormal Activity” scary or “Nightmare Before Christmas” scary, because the latter is more fanciful than menacing.

Her actual sentence, which marked her fifth jail sentence since 2007, was supposed to last 30 days. It appears preferential treatment far outweighs any sense of responsibility to punish criminal actions.

Los Angeles County Sheriff spokesman Steve Whitmore defended her five-hour imprisonment, saying, “She’s treated like every other inmate who has gone through similar circumstances.”

You know, just like every other inmate who has multiple DUIs, a felony theft, numerous probation violations and failures to appear in court, or any other inmate who fails repeated alcohol and drug tests and freely leaves the country while on probation. She was treated like every other inmate who has movies to make, talk show hosts to charm and a Mercedes to drunkenly wreck. Hey, maybe Disney can lend her Herbie the Love Bug and all this DUI business could end.

According to insiders in the justice system, celebrities actually have a tough shake. Martha Stewart was convicted in 2004 of obstruction of justice and lying to prosecutors. Her attorney was Robert Morvillo, and he said celebrities face an uphill battle in court.

“My own view of the rule is that most celebrities have more of a problem establishing their innocence,” he said.

Morvillo, who was probably just setting the bar extremely low if and when Stewart lost, is apparently unfamiliar with the celebrity judicial record. If celebrities were on a football team, they could beat the Green Bay Packers. If they were an individual athlete, they’d be a hybrid of Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods (pre-mistresses) and Usain Bolt. Most of the time they win; and even when they lose, they really win. Serving five hours of a 30-day sentence, less than 1 percent of the sentence, sure seems like a win to me. Morvillo also offered another conclusion, this time detailing the tendency for jurors to be sympathetic toward celebrities in California: “Maybe it’s because they live with celebrities.”

Which we do. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen Leonardo DiCaprio shopping at Vons; I think he may be stalking me.

But celebrities do provide some service to the justice system. They infuse ridiculous amounts of money into the bank accounts of high-priced defense attorneys. How else are these attorneys supposed to pay for their country club memberships or their children’s private school tuitions?

Back to Lohan, Whitmore leveled another hollow warning at the starlet: “The longer the sentence, the longer you stay in jail.”

By longer, he means seconds longer. Five hours is considerably longer than the 84 minutes she served in 2007 after she agreed to a plea deal for drunk driving and cocaine charges. Her sentence for that plea deal was a daunting four days. In fact USA Today reported Lohan has served nearly 6 days, or approximately 20 percent of her cumulative sentences.

California does have mandatory minimum sentences for numerous crimes, including many Lohan has been convicted of, but overcrowding has been continually cited for reducing the sentences to notoriously short jail times. But is it really overcrowding or the existence of her IMDb page that has been her saving grace?

In addition to her latest five-hour imprisonment, Lohan must work at least 12 days a month at the county morgue (hello, movie deal) as part of her 53 remaining days of court-ordered community service. Spoiler alert: The morgue may redefine what she views as scary. Lohan must also attend 18 psychotherapy sessions, which will certainly be broadcast on E! and probably administered by Dr. Drew.

Now for the most depressing aspect of the story: The total price of prosecuting Lohan has likely cost California taxpayers millions of dollars. It’s comforting to know Lohan has become a multimillion dollar tax burden for the state. Hopefully Gov. Jerry Brown activated the Lohan clause in the budget this year; otherwise we’re all screwed, like non-celebrity conviction screwed.