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Jul. 7 2010 - 9:34 pm | 339 views | 0 recommendations | 16 comments

Lindsay Lohan’s sentence: the justice system works

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Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Marsha N. Revel struck a remarkable blow for justice on Tuesday, sentencing Lindsay Lohan to 90 days in jail after repeatedly violating her probation, and another 90 days in rehab. Which means that at long last, even with the high likelihood that she won’t serve even a third of this sentence, Lohan has been shown in no uncertain terms that actions have consequences.

I feel overwhelmingly like my grandfather in saying that (though if I were really channeling him I’d be using some choicer, more colorful words). And admittedly, there’s a part of me that loves nothing more than stickin’ it to the man — but that usually just involves getting away with parking illegally.

But in this case, there’s no question that this is the right call, and it’s more than refreshing to see that star power doesn’t necessarily buy someone’s way out of a scrape. And Lohan’s reaction, surely fueled by the fact that she’s a young woman who’s scared of what she’s about to face, also betrayed someone who’s genuinely out of touch with what it means to take responsibility for themselves.

“As far as I knew I was in compliance with my programs,” Lohan said, fighting back tears.

“I wasn’t trying to get special treatment,” she added. “I have to provide for myself. I have to work. Having said that, I did everything to balance my jobs and showing up. I’m not taking this as a joke. It’s my life. It’s my career. … I take responsibility for my actions. I’ve tried to do the best I can. It’s been such a long haul. … I don’t want you to think that I don’t respect you.”

Now, in what universe does “jetting off to the Cannes film festival to party and allegedly suck face with your former co-star’s boyfriend, only to say you were unable to be back in L.A. for your court-mandated alcohol education classes because your passport was supposedly stolen” equal being in compliance with a program or taking their probation seriously, I’m not sure.

It wouldn’t hurt Lohan — or her mother or father, for that matter — to stop for a second and realize that what we’re talking about here is breaking the terms of a probation. For driving while under the influence. These aren’t just simple rites of passage; somebody could’ve gotten killed. And while everyone’s done something — generally a lot of somethings — that they shouldn’t have or wish they hadn’t done, most people don’t have all of the advantages or opportunities to straighten up, much less buy themselves a spot in a nice rehab.

It’s not that I don’t feel sorry for Lohan — on some level I do. I think it’s got to be an awful thing to be the mealticket for two monumentally irresponsible parents who never hesitate to violate your privacy to get a little limelight for themselves. It has to be terrible to grow up in an unforgiving spotlight at doesn’t allow you to make your mistakes in private. And it surely has to suck to go from being a genuinely promising kid to being a punchline by 24.

But if Lindsay Lohan is smart, or at least manages to use the 90 days of rehab, if not the 90-day jail sentence, to get a little perspective, she can make an amazing comeback. Look at what jailtime did for Robert Downey Jr. — not that it’s fair to compare her to one of the more divinely gifted actors of his generation, but at least it straightened him out. And look at him now — he’s freakin’ Iron Man, for heaven’s sake. Look at what Drew Barrymore has accomplished after her harrowing childhood. Look at what Carrie Fisher, for all of her demons, has accomplished. Any one of them could’ve gone down the tubes. But for each of them, there was at least one wake-up call. Here’s hoping this is Lohan’s.

And if not, here’s hoping that at least she doesn’t drive through my neighborhood.


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  1. collapse expand

    Ms. Todorovich,

    Except she actually on spend less than a week behind bars due to over crowding in Los Angeles County jails (just ask Paris Hilton, she can tell you all about it).

    • collapse expand

      You’re totally right — and in that case I actually feel almost sorry for the jail officers who are trying to cope with a bad situation. And look how Paris Hilton’s “revelation” turned out — pot smoking bust in South Africa and all.

      I tend to think the court-ordered 90 days in rehab is actually the most important part, though — no getting sprung early due to overcrowding there. I hope.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  2. collapse expand

    Lindsay Lohan’s sentence: the justice system works

    Your an idiot, there is no way to say it nicely. Lindsay goes to jail and that make your world perfect. No more need for the Innocence Project…Woo Woo Lindsay’s in jail the system must be working.

    Your and idiot and a simpleton.

    Stay away from serious subject matter, you may hurt yourself.

  3. collapse expand

    Actually, the Lohan case proves that the Justice system does not work all the time. You had a judge and a prosecutor who were merely out to make names for themselves, and that is what they did, by riding Lohan’s fame.

    Tell me how often a court will devote an entire day dealing with a single probation violation on a misdemeanor case. Heck, often times, felony trials take less time than that dog and pony show. They whole thing was a transparent joke.

    • collapse expand

      You make an interesting point — I saw Dan Abrams on NBC the other day talking about how this is such a harsher sentence than would normally be imposed that this is in fact an example of how being a celebrity and being in trouble could actually hurt someone.

      Was the proceeding a full day? I got the impression that it was Lohan actually showing up after missing seven court dates — which surely fueled some of the judge’s frustration.

      Do you think there’s a better solution? Would it have been better, first of all, not to have a camera in the courtroom, or to toughen the terms of probation violation rather than resorting to jail time? Was it probation violation that sent Robert Downey Jr. to jail?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    Although some of the things she did while not showing up to meetings are definitely non-compliant, I’ve heard that the judge never provided a written order regarding compliance to her attorney. If true, the same report says that Lohan doubled and tripled up on meetings when she was in town (http://www.musicrooms.net/showbiz/7269-Lindsay-Lohan-Compliance-With-Her-Alcohol-Education-Classes.html), and that as part of the ordinary compliance program, you have to accept paying work, because it’s one of the steps. If she was offered a position far from LA and accepted in hopes of following the compliance program but failed to satisfy a judge who didn’t provide a written order, the justice system (at least in California) doesn’t work.

    More importantly, the amount of capital spent covering her 180 days is sensationalism that has nothing to do with the actual efforts of the justice system to reform and rehabilitate criminals or to keep dangerous people from society at large.

    Of course, on my end this is mostly speculation, because I don’t work criminal law. But it follows what I learned in law school.

    • collapse expand

      Really interesting points, Ford. And I agree with you totally that the amount of time spent focusing on this — that I am utterly guilty of perpetuating — is insane. The fact that Lohan’s comings and goings with respect to the law are *always* featured on local news in L.A. is mind blowing.

      Do you think court-ordered rehab is useful in a case like this?

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  5. collapse expand

    ¿”a remarkable blow for justice”?

    With any respect due, I think you are crazy. Sentencing a celebrity to prison in Hollywood is another propaganda flick worthy of Riefenstahl. It bears about as much moral authority as «Triumph des Willens» (1934) which likewise was reknown for technic and style. Maybe someone wants to get into showbusiness, get a series, make a name, get re-elected or please superiors. It is most certainly not “justice”.
    Justice is a system, whole and balanced, a philosophy and a creed that a whole society dedicates itself. US still lives in a spaghetti western movie, black hats (black skin, and other shades other than white) go to prison for ridiculous property crimes (caused by poverty) and drug crimes (poverty again, plus miserable hopeless lives, in many cases). Black hats convicted of rape and murder by US system are routinely saved from being murdered by the State (a ritualistic celebration of how highly we prize violence, not eschew it) by factual evidence.
    This system is a sham, a tool for oppression of the ‘little people’ (Swedish småfolk, remember that?) and political action. White people, and especially rich people, ONLY get prosecuted and/or convicted as a show trial to prove to minds like yours that the system is fair (“remarkable blow for justice”). Our chief executives (aka Presidents), like ancient Caesars, Demigods and Emperors, do not any longer even pretend to obey the law. I cite Bush, Cheney, and now even Obama, who obstruct prosecution for the crimes they are committing. Wake up.

    • collapse expand

      Hi RenZoB,

      I admit I got a little into the hyperbole there re: “remarkable blow for justice” — but I appreciate your calling me on it without totally ripping me.

      I agree with you that the justice system is hugely flawed; in fact, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doesn’t. Even a semblance of justice is hardly evenly applied in this country, and what people routinely get away with is scandalous to say the least.

      I’m not sure that I’d put Lindsay Lohan’s parole violation sentencing in the same category as Bush, Cheney and Obama in terms of the law, though I appreciate the link you’re drawing. My point was that at least in this one instance, it seems that consequences for actions were being applied to a situation. I particularly think the court-ordered rehab is an important part of this sentence, particularly since, as someone else pointed out, the odds of the sentence being fully served are nil.

      You and I could certainly have a long conversation about the American legal system, and you’d probably find that I agree with you on a whole lot of points. My one issue here was that someone wasn’t automatically let off the hook because of status or background.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  6. collapse expand

    I don’t think that jail really teaches anyone “a lesson” and I think it’s an incredible waste of space to put nonviolent offenders away for any amount of time. Lindsay needs rehab and she needs some more accountability. However, the state of California is not her mother or her father and cannot teach this adult woman to become a responsible adult.

    As far as I’m concerned, unless you are operating a vehicle, or are a surgeon, pilot etc.., I don’t really care if you are toasted out of your gourd. And even in these situations, consequences other than jail time, IMHO are appropriate.

    • collapse expand

      Hi Rini,

      Your point about overcrowded jails and nonviolent offenders is absolutely well taken. My point really was about consequences in relation to actions, and given that the probation stemmed from an action that the state does in fact have jurisdiction over governing (DUI), I thought it was refreshing to see actual consequences applied.

      I know I’ve posed the question before, so forgive me for sounding like a broken record, but do you think the court-ordered rehab is an appropriate response? Should it have been the only response, rather than jail? Are there other ways that someone who, as you are absolutely right about, is not a responsible adult could become one? I know we’re all seeing the Robert Downey Jr. comparison (hell, I made one) — is that more likely the exception rather than the rule, in your opinion?

      Thanks.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    I don’t see anything wrong with community service (extensive) inpatient rehab (for months) and a loss of freedom (yes, more parole) without exception for travel for work. She cannot claim financial hardship and should not be allowed to travel for work or for any reason. And of course, she should not be able to have a valid driver’s license for a year or two.

    And, I do think that Robert Downey Jr (I love most of his movies…remember “Less than Zero?,” how prophetic) may be the exception.

    • collapse expand

      I agree with you that community service — particularly meaningful community service that would put her face to face with the consequences of addiction or drunk driving, not just doing roadside cleanup — is definitely a viable option. And I think you’re right that the loss of freedom, be it through mandated inpatient rehab or something else, reinforces the message.

      I do think frustration on the part of the judge contributed mightily to this sentence. And frustration of some sort seems to be abounding, given her lawyer’s resignation.

      Robert Downey may be the exception — and I remember being totally blown away the first time I saw “Less Than Zero.” I hope not. If she can pull it together, I’d really cheer for her. She’s way too young to throw it all away.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  8. collapse expand

    I guess I’m neutral here in regards to here sentencing b/c part of me can very much relate to growing up in a similar family-dysfunction….and I Know Who Killed Me is my favorite film, believe it or not.

    The other part of me is wondering how a non-celebrity/ common person who was in her shoes would be treated? I just don’t know how I feel towards our justice system when they say one thing, blantantly claiming “she broke the rules” and by doing so she should endure the consequences that anybody else would if he/she weren’t famous…

    Gosh I’m making sense here, it’s late and I’m just getting ready to log-off here.

    I wish Lindsay would present herself in a more proper manner. I’m animal lover, (and this might seem petty but we each have our values and what we consider our morale), I’d prpbably be more on her side if she didn’t wear real fur.

    Troubled childhood, family crisis, her addictions…I mean, what makes her so exceptional to the “rules”?

    She promotes one image one week, and then a total 180′ the next week.

    She confuses me.

    I guess that when she was twittering about “torture” and the constitution and how “unfair” she’s been treated…..well, wouldn’t it be fair to say, she deserves a little karma handed her way just the rest of us who don’t follow the “rules”, at least for more than a simple two wks?
    How is that going to “rehabilitate” someone who’s been down the path she’s been on and finally hit rock-bottom on?

    I don’t know, I guess, it all depends on the person being held on trial and their financial power.

    Overcrowded or not, I was really looking forward to seeing her after 90 days in a real jail, in the real world, and seeing how she came out as a result. But, as usual, she jumped through yet another loophole in the system.

    ‘Night everyone xo

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    About Me

    I've always been obsessed with pop culture and celebrity, even as a political reporter by day at washingtonpost.com and ABC News. Even after leaving journalism for media relations and consulting (Need help with press releases, brochures, annual reports, or media strategy? E-mail me -- lisa.celebjungleATgmail.com.), I pretended to be mildly appalled by the antics of the beautiful and famous -- then gobbled up tabloids and all the gossip I could find. To date, I've preserved my amateur status as a celebrity news analyst so I could compete in the gossip Olympics, but now I've decided to go pro. As a recent transplant to Los Angeles, or Celebrity Ground Zero, I'm learning to live among them as they roam unfettered over the landscape -- while praying that a behind-the-wheel Lindsay Lohan stays out of my neighborhood.

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    Followers: 41
    Contributor Since: March 2009
    Location:Los Angeles, Calif. (or Mars, depending on the day)