A sobbing Paris Hilton was shipped back to jail Friday, culminating a high-stakes legal showdown between a judge and Sheriff Lee Baca over who controls how long and where inmates serve their jail sentences.The raw pictures of Hilton (she's disheveled, with no make-up and unkempt hair) are obviously a tabloid bonanza in themselves (the Times' photo gallery is here). But most people will see Hilton's plight as it really is -- a fitting reckoning for one who believes she operates under a different set of social rules.
The questions have loomed large over the Los Angeles County justice system for years as judges watched in frustration as the sheriff slashed the sentences they handed down, often by 90%, to alleviate chronic overcrowding in his jails.
Baca on Thursday allowed Hilton — who he had promised would serve 23 days in jail — to go home to West Hollywood to finish her time under house arrest after serving just three days behind bars for repeatedly violating probation.
He cited an undisclosed medical condition as the reason to allow the hotel heiress to switch from a tiny cell to home detention and electronic monitoring, noting that she had served the 10% of her sentence currently being served by most female inmates in the county.
But Friday, an irritated Judge Michael T. Sauer ordered Hilton back to court and said he alone had the power to decide how her sentence was served. Sauer criticized the Sheriff's Department for letting Hilton out without his permission and remanded the 26-year-old multimillionaire — who cried throughout the hearing — back to jail.
As she was led out a side door by deputies, Hilton twisted back toward her parents. "Mom, Mom!" she cried. "It's not right!"
If you haven't yet, go back and check out Newsweek's cover article on "Girls Gone Bad," which describes the wild and flaky influence of the likes of Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Britney Spears (Newsweek's photo gallery of "Girls Behaving Badly" is here). The Newsweek article concludes with an analysis of the role of parents in teaching young girls proper values. The example of Paris Hilton heading back to jail will certainly help most parents make the case for good behavior.