For a few hours on Friday (June 8), it looked like Paris Hilton wasn't even going to show up for a hearing to determine whether she would be sent back to jail. And then, when she finally did make it to the courthouse, she probably wished she hadn't.
Judge Michael Sauer ordered Hilton back to jail, to serve out "the remainder of her sentence," after a brief hearing, despite her lawyer's pleas that a return would be "dangerous" to the heiress.
On Saturday, Hilton issued a statement saying she would not appeal Sauer's decision, according to TMZ.com.
"Today I told my attorneys not to appeal the judge's decision," she said in the statement. "While I greatly appreciate the sheriff's concern for my health and welfare, after meeting with doctors, I intend to serve my time as ordered by the judge."
TMZ, citing law-enforcement sources, also reports that Hilton is being given psychoactive drugs at the jail, and that she has not slept or eaten since arriving there. On Saturday morning, her psychiatrist, Dr. Charles Sophy, reportedly visited her for more than two hours.
"This is by far the hardest thing I have ever done," the statement continued. "During the past several days, I have had a lot of time to reflect and have already learned a bitter, but important lesson from this experience. As I have said before, I hope others will learn from my mistake. I have also had time to read the mail from my fans. I very much appreciate all of their good wishes and hope they will keep their letters coming.
"I must also say that I was shocked to see all of the attention devoted to the amount of time I would spend in jail for what I had done by the media, public and city officials. I would hope going forward that the public and the media will focus on more important things, like the men and women serving our country in Iraq, Afghanistan and other places around the world."
The exact length of her stay was unclear at press time, though The Associated Press is reporting that Sauer ordered her to serve the full 45-day sentence he had originally sentenced her to back on May 4. That sentence was subsequently reduced to 23 days, for various reasons, including good behavior (see "Paris Hilton Drops Appeal After Jail Time Is Cut For Good Behavior").
Sheriff Lee Baca, who released Hilton from jail early Thursday morning, stood by his decision at a Friday press conference but agreed to follow the judge's ruling. "The criminal justice system should not create a football out of Miss Hilton's status, so we'll keep her in our county jail until we're instructed otherwise," Baca told reporters.
According to several media outlets, after the decision was read, Hilton screamed out, "It's not right," and was escorted from the courthouse, in tears, by two deputies, one holding each of her arms. AP reported Hilton cried out to her mother, Kathy, who embraced her husband, Rick, and sobbed. Hilton reportedly looked back at her parents several times, as she was led out of the courtroom. Before Sauer handed down his order, Hilton repeatedly turned to her parents and mouthed the words "I love you."
Several of Hilton's supporters gathered outside the courthouse to show their support, and according to AP, most seemed devastated by the news. One of them, a man identified as Chino, California, resident Jake Byrd, cried out "No! No! No!" as a court spokesman informed a horde of reporters outside of Sauer's ruling.
It was just the latest twist in an already bizarre day that began with reports that a spokesperson for the Los Angeles County Superior Court had announced that Hilton "might" be allowed to appear in court via telephone, rather than leaving her West Hollywood, California, home (CNN reports that claim was false). The previous morning, she had been released from jail and, according to a spokesperson for the L.A. County Sheriff's office, "reassigned" to serve 40 days under house arrest.
That announcement set off a chain of events that saw L.A. City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo file a motion asking the judge who originally sentenced Hilton to force her to return to jail to serve out the remaining time on her sentence (see "Paris Hilton Sentenced To 45 Days Behind Bars"). Judge Michael Sauer approved the motion (see "Paris Hilton's Friday Hearing Could Send Her Back To Jail: Report").
"This decision sends the message that no individual — no matter how wealthy or powerful — is above the law," Delgadillo said in a statement after Sauer's ruling. "Today, justice was served."
Yet, Friday morning, it wasn't apparent whether Hilton would actually make the hearing, as TMZ.com reported that her attorney, the city attorney and the sheriff's department all wrangled to see if she'd be forced to leave her home. And then, at roughly 10:20 a.m. PT — nearly 90 minutes after the hearing was scheduled to begin — Hilton was removed from her home in handcuffs, stuffed into the backseat of a cruiser and whisked off to courtroom in downtown Los Angeles, all while a frenzy of paparazzi activity roiled around (and above) them.
Hilton served three days at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood. She was admitted to the facility to begin serving her sentence for violating probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case directly after attending the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday night (see "Paris Hilton Turns Herself In To Authorities").
Her original 45-day sentence had been reduced to 23 for various reasons, including good behavior, but part of the reassignment included reinstating the original sentence.
Hilton was arrested on charges of driving while intoxicated in September (see "Paris Hilton Arrested For Suspicion Of Drunk Driving") and pleaded no contest in January. She was sentenced to three years' probation and her license was suspended. The following month, she was caught driving with the suspended license, which was ruled a probation violation.
[This story was originally published at 2:45 p.m. ET on 06.08.2007]