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Paris Heads to the Slammer
Aired May 4, 2007 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Breaking news tonight. It`s not the Hilton, Paris. Star treatment takes on a whole new meaning tonight, when it all backfires in court. Celebutante Paris Hilton ordered to jail. Hilton took the courthouse steps today like a catwalk, but it did not impress the judge. After sweetheart deals and kid glove treatment following repeated criminal offenses, including DUI, just minutes ago, the judge brings down the hammer, Paris Hilton headed to new digs behind bars. And it`s not your daddy`s Hilton.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She made her way into court. And she was dressed in a black outfit. And everybody was wondering what Paris Hilton would be wearing today. She had a gray jacket, a black thing over her head, somber, very serious, very conservative, here to definitely do business. She came with her mother, accompanied by Cathy (ph) Hilton. And you know, she`s facing 45 days in jail.
This all stems from an arrest back in September, where she was convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving. She pleaded no contest to that, and it led to a sentence of 36 months probation, alcohol education, and also $1,500 in fines. January 15, shortly after she was convicted of that, she was pulled over, and according to officers, she was informed that she was driving on a suspended license. They told her at that time that she need to acknowledge, in writing, that she was not allowed to drive.
Now, this is where it gets interesting because a month later, February 27th, she`s pulled over by officers again, and this time, she`s accused of driving without her headlights and speeding. And they tell her again this is on a suspended license. And that`s why we`re here in court today, because they said she violated that probation.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Paris Hilton goes to court today, expecting completely different outcome than what happened. Just minutes ago, Paris Hilton, celebutante known all over the world, Hollywood star, judicial smackdown. She is headed to jail. What happened, Jean Casarez?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, Judge Michael Sauer (ph) had sentenced her to 45 days in Los Angeles County jail, a woman`s facility in Lynnwood, California. That is a suburb of Los Angeles. And this is because she has violated her probation. It all started last fall, when she pleaded to a lesser no contest of reckless driving under the influence of alcohol. She violated that probation, actually twice, and today was the result.
GRACE: When you say, Jean Casarez, she violated probation twice, what happened? What were the conditions on the original offense? Wasn`t she a .08 to start with?
CASAREZ: That is correct, but there were several conditions of probation, 36 months of probation, to enroll herself in an alcohol education course and suspension of her driver`s license. No driving. Well, first of all, in January, she was pulled over. She was driving. She claimed that she didn`t know that her license had been suspended. OK. Pulled over again...
GRACE: Wait, wait, wait! Right there. Isn`t it true that she was given documents by the policeman to sign stating, My license is suspended, and she signed that at the time?
CASAREZ: That is right. And so then, when she was pulled over in April for having no headlights on, and again said, I didn`t know I couldn`t drive, there was the document right in the glove compartment she had already signed.
GRACE: Now, when she was driving again, no headlights, what were the conditions of that, pulling out of a parking lot late at night?
CASAREZ: Yes, it was. And I don`t think alcohol was involved, but no headlights allowed the probable cause to be pulled over. Then it was found out it was Paris Hilton violating probation.
GRACE: Joining us, Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop, former fed with the FBI. Mike, that was a .08. That`s the legal limit for intoxication. Her defense at that time was she hadn`t eaten all day.
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: Well, you know what? She hadn`t eaten all day, but she apparently had something to drink that day. So you know what? I don`t have any sympathy for her. You know, as I said, she got special treatment today. If it were you and I, Nancy, we would have been stepped right back then and we`d be serving our sentence starting right now.
GRACE: Back to Sheryl McCollum, former director of MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, in the state of Georgia. Sheryl, this is how it all starts, lenient treatment, lenient treatment, lenient treatment, then suddenly, somebody`s dead. The judge brought down the hammer today.
SHERYL MCCOLLUM, FORMER DIR., GEORGIA MOTHERS AGAINST DRUNK DRIVING: Absolutely. Good move. I think 45 days is a gift, Nancy. She should have served the 90 days. For her to repeatedly -- you know, her lawyer said earlier this was ludicrous, it was shocking. You know what`s shocking and ludicrous? That Paris Hilton thinks we are so stupid that we`re going to believe she didn`t know her license was suspended. She didn`t have a clue. She`s still not taking it seriously, Nancy, because when she`s stopped again by the police, who does she call? Her publicist, not her lawyer.
GRACE: You are seeing to the left of your screen something very important to us. These are the victims of drunk driving. The victim is not Paris Hilton because she got 45 days behind bars. These are the children that lost their lives to drunk drivers just like Paris Hilton.
I want to go out to a special guest. Joining us, Sibila Vargas. Sibila, what happened in court?
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Oh, there was a lot of fireworks, but I got to tell you, this is the moment that we were all waiting for out here. I was out with the news media. There were tons of us. There were helicopters everywhere. I mean, this was absolute madness.
She comes into court 10 minutes late, by the way, and then she goes up into court, and she actually took the stand. Now, when she took the stand, she said that she was unaware that she was not allowed to drive, that, you know, Elliott Mintz (ph), her publicist, had told her that after 30 days, she was allowed to drive to and from work, and that on the two occasions when she was pulled over, she was actually doing it for business.
Now, Elliott Mintz -- and that`s the interesting thing, is that her publicist says that he agreed with her. He said that, yes, indeed, he had told her that after 30 days, she was able to go in her car and drive to and from work. Now, when prosecutors asked, Well, you know, Paris, don`t you - - you just do what everybody tells you? Don`t you have a responsibility? Don`t you read your mail? Don`t you -- you know, isn`t that something that you do? And she said, Well, I don`t read all of my mail, and I end up signing things a lot of times that people want me to sign. If they say sign, I`ll sign.
GRACE: You mean like...
VARGAS: So the...
GRACE: ... a police officer, Sibila? You mean like a police officer, When you get pulled over for drunk driving? She signed...
GRACE: ... the document stating...
VARGAS: Well, she said...
GRACE: ... her license was suspended.
VARGAS: That she got her license suspended. Exactly. They actually made her sign the document saying, You know what? You know, you`re driving on a suspended license. You`re not supposed to drive. And they even had one of her friends, who was the passenger, take over and drive the car. So the third time that she gets busted, I mean, at that point, you wonder if there`s an excuse.
But getting back to the court, the judge did not buy what Paris was saying, obviously, and what Elliott, her publicist, was saying. He said that Bergerac (ph) -- I mean, that Elliott was sort of like Cyrano de Bergerac, willing to take a fall, or falling on the sword for his client. He also said that there was no question that Paris knew that her license was suspended but she chose to ignore it.
Now, I got to tell you, I wasn`t in the courtroom, but I keep on hearing how Cathy Hilton -- she was very perturbed by this whole thing, very upset. At one point, she told prosecutors, I`d like to get your autograph. Now, I did see her when she was making her way out of the court, and she was adamantly pissed off that her daughter was going to jail.
VARGAS: She said, This is a waste of taxpayers...
VARGAS: ... dollars -- yes?
GRACE: I appreciate the use of the technical legal term "pissed off," but Sibila, isn`t it true that the mom, Cathy Hilton, when the prosecution stood up at the beginning and stated that they thought Paris Hilton should go behind bars, Cathy Hilton burst out in laughter in open court? Hey, thanks, Mom!
VARGAS: I keep -- I keep on hearing that she was just -- I mean, you know, absolutely, she was the most animated person in that courtroom today, I can tell you that.
GRACE: Out to the lines. Maggie in Illinois. Hi, Maggie.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, if she`s going to jail, will she be put in a private cell, or will she be put in with the general population?
GRACE: Maggie in Illinois, that was my first question, as well. Back out to Sibila Vargas. I understand the judge put some conditions on her jail time.
VARGAS: Well, you know, she is going to have to report to jail June 5, and she`s going to report to Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynnwood. This is an all-women`s facility. And I would imagine that she`s going to be spending her time with other women. I don`t think she`ll be in seclusion.
GRACE: To you, Jean Casarez. What else did the judge have to say as to where she would do her jail time?
CASAREZ: Well, it`s going to be in Lynnwood. It is a women`s facility. And there will be no furloughs. There is no release for work. There will not be the use of any monitoring on her because she will serve her jail time. But I think they will give her possibly some protection in that jail, instead of being solely in the general population. It`s up to the jail (INAUDIBLE)
GRACE: You know, the judge really laid it on the line today, stating point blank, she must go to jail June 5. She will not be allowed any work release -- in other words, leave jail for a period of time to do a movie or a commercial or attend a party she gets paid to go to -- no work release, no furlough, no use of an alternative jail, no use of electronic monitoring in lieu of jail, according to superior court judge Michael Sauer.
Tonight, the breaking news -- it`s not the Hilton, Paris. Star treatment took on a whole new meaning in court today as the judge brings down the hammer on celebutante Paris Hilton, 45 days behind bars.
To you David Caplan with "Star." David, There`s a possibility she could have gotten 90 days behind bars.
DAVID CAPLAN, "STAR": Absolutely. That was actually the maximum limit. It was 90 days. And oddly enough, the city prosecutors were asking for 45. So even from the get-go, it seemed they were being a little bit lenient and she was still getting some special treatment.
GRACE: You know, very interesting what you were saying, Sibila Vargas, regarding Cathy Hilton, the mom, being in court, several outbursts on her part. That certainly did not help the judge`s disposition. I think I`ve got Sibila with me. Sibila, are you there?
VARGAS: Yes, I`m here.
GRACE: I understand Cathy Hilton, the mom, did not do Paris Hilton any favors by all of her outbursts. What more can you tell us?
VARGAS: Well, I could just tell you she was extremely adamant that she was very upset. She said it was a waste of taxpayers` dollars and she said it was absolutely pathetic. I had never seen her -- I mean, I`ve seen her and I`ve spoken to her before. I`ve never seen her this way. She was very upset.
And I got to tell you that if she doesn`t do -- if she doesn`t report on June 5 to this facility, Nancy, she will do the 90 days in jail. That`s what the judge said. She will do the 90 days in jail, which, of course, was the maximum. And she did not get that. So I think she`s going to have to get herself there because it could be worse than it is right now.
GRACE: That`s right, Paris Hilton, bring your toothbrush.
Back to you, Jean Casarez. There were so many conditions placed on her to start with, if she had met any of them, I think the judge would have had a different outcome today. Explain.
CASAREZ: And that`s a very interesting point because there`s an alcohol education course that she was supposed to take, 12 hours. That`s all. She hadn`t, as of the end of April, even registered for that course. And remember, she was sentenced to these terms in January.
GRACE: The alcohol course was one of the conditions. She was also offered 40 hours of community service, and a year of her probation would be dropped. Paris Hilton did not think she should do community service, turned that down. That gave her three years probation. What we`re talking about is a probation revocation.
Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us is Susan Moss, Greg McKeithen, Alex Sanchez. To you, Susan Moss -- probation revocation. Explain what happened today.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Well, because she was convicted of a DWI, she had many conditions that she had to follow. She, as you said, followed absolutely none of them. And now we`re hearing no pocketbook justice. This woman drove twice with a suspended license, and now she`s going to the pokey. And this is what she deserves.
If she had followed even one of the conditions of her probation, if she had registered for that alcohol class, which is not a difficult thing to take and to sit through for 12 hours, none of this would have happened. But the fact that she has thumbed her nose at this court is the reason why she is now going to check the thread (ph) counts at the public jail.
GRACE: To you, Alex Sanchez. Weigh in.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Listen, you know, let`s keep this case in perspective here. Paris Hilton is not a major felon. She didn`t hurt anybody. She didn`t kill anybody. She`s not some morally reprehensible individual. She made some mistakes, and she`s a troubled person. But shouldn`t jail be reserved for -- as an absolute last resort? Why is Paris Hilton being made an example? To what, all the wayward teenagers out there of the United States? They need to teach Paris Hilton...
SANCHEZ: ... a lesson?
GRACE: Alexander, I don`t know if you`re familiar with baseball, but typically, three strikes, you`re out. This woman has been given so many chances. It`s not like she`s illiterate. She`s a millionaire in her own right. She has every advantage at her fingertips. They told her what to do on probation. She did absolutely none of it. She thumbed her nose. And not only that, not only did she not go to the class, she got back out on the street and drove.
I want to go to you, Greg McKeithen, very quickly. You and I both know -- you prosecuted DUIs. I prosecuted vehicular homicides. You don`t just graduate typically to a vehicular homicide, where you run somebody down drunk. You drink. You drink and drive for years, and nobody does anything. You saw it, Greg McKeithen.
GREG MCKEITHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: That is correct, Nancy. But let me tell you, Based on what we know happened in this case, I would submit that there`s no evidence whatsoever that alcohol was a factor. There`s no evidence that drugs were a factor in this case. Therefore, I would submit that other options could have been considered. For example, why not place her under house arrest, with strict monitoring conditions in place. If she violates that, such that alcohol is present...
GRACE: She`s already...
MCKEITHEN: ... put her in jail.
GRACE: ... violated her probation!
GRACE: Well, go (ph) to Alice in Wonderland. You all are insane!
To you, Mike Brooks. You better back me up on this. The woman had been given every chance. All she had to do was go to a class and stay from behind a wheel. Hello! This is the third time she`s violated probation!
BROOKS: Three strikes and you`re out. You`re absolutely right, Nancy. I tell you what. She`s been thumbing her nose at the system for a long, long time. Rules don`t apply to Paris Hilton. They do now. And she`s going to be serving -- she`ll get one hour a day. She`ll get out, she`ll get a little TV, she gets to take a shower. But also at this jail, apparently, there`s no beef or pork, so she better get used to chicken.
GRACE: Back to you, Sheryl McCollum. I was just talking to Greg McKeithen about how people graduate to a vehicular homicide, homicide by drunk. Take a look at this. Claude Robert Jenkins III, age 3. Look at him. We are doing a rolling photo, Steffen Surber (ph), age 5. They`re all dead because of drunk drivers. You don`t just have a vehicular homicide, you graduate to a vehicular homicide.
MCCOLLUM: Absolutely, Nancy. Absolutely. And not only that, it`s not a matter, Greg, of whether or not she was drinking this evening. She was speeding with no headlights on. And again, she is above it. She doesn`t care. Even her mama is going to show up and laugh at the prosecutors and say, Hey, can I get your autograph? What is the implication, My daughter`s famous and you`re not? They don`t care. And I`m going to say again -- 45 days, Paris? Gift. You should be doing 90.
GRACE: To you, Lisa Weinstock, psychiatrist. She brought up a really good point. What is the implication of the mom, your role model, your role model, sitting in court, laughing out loud at what the prosecutor says, saying to either the prosecutor or the judge, Hey, I want your autograph? What does that say? What`s that message all about?
LISA WEINSTOCK, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, it sounds like the message is that -- again, that the rules don`t apply, that, you know, there should be some special treatment afforded to her. And surely, if you`ve been getting that message your whole life, it`s no wonder that you would internalize that message yourself.
GRACE: Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." It is day nine in the search for a 3-year-old little girl, Fort Fairfield, Maine. Alexandria Winship-Wright vanished from her own home. Mom says she found the child missing through a sliding glass door. The search tonight focusing on the nearby choppy Aroostook River. The 3-year-old`s little feet (ph) boots found there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It really looks like Paris may be going to jail. This whole thing is about the two times that Paris got caught for driving with a suspended license while on probation for the DUI charge she got. The suggestion is that Paris is blaming her attorneys for not making it clear she couldn`t drive. It seems pretty simple to me. If your license is suspended, you can`t drive.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Paris Hilton not the first to get star treatment -- Nicole Richie, Mel Gibson, Tim Allen, Nick Nolte, Tracy Morgan, Mike Tyson, Diana Ross, Glen Campbell, Wynonna Judd, Busta Rhymes, a long, long list of people that get celebrity treatment. It all ended today in a California courtroom, Paris Hilton getting jail time for her third incident following a DUI.
Let`s go out to the lines. Colleen in Canada. Hi, Colleen.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy.
GRACE: What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi. Thank you for putting the pictures of the victims up.
GRACE: Thank you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My mom actually survived an attack by a drunk driver. But my quick question is, does Paris Hilton have to surrender her passport? And is she considered a flight risk?
GRACE: Interesting question. To you, Mike Brooks.
BROOKS: I would say right now, she`s probably not considered a flight risk. I mean, everybody knows who she is. If that were the case, I`m sure the judge would have done that. But I don`t think she`s a flight risk right now, Nancy.
GRACE: Out to Sarah in New York. Hi, Sarah.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. I love your show.
GRACE: Thank you. What`s your question, dear?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, is she being singled out because just she is Paris Hilton, and is this being done so that she`s made an example of?
GRACE: You know what? I think that`s an excellent question. And my answer is, you live by the sword, you die by the sword. When you`re constantly pictured in the press, looking like you`re partying, looking like you`re drinking, looking like you`re smashed, just totally drunk, a judge is like everybody else. You think he hasn`t seen that, knowing that she`s on probation for DUI?
But let`s talk about it for a moment. What about it? Back out to you, Susan Moss. Do you think she was singled out?
MOSS: She is supposed to play by the same rules as the rest of us. You break the law, you go to jail. End of story. That`s it. The world is looking at the LA judicial system, and what they`re seeing is it took years and years to go to trial for Philip Spector. And I think there is a lot of pressure on the justice system of LA to treat everybody fair and no star treatment. And in this case, that means she`s treated like everyone else, and she goes to jail for breaking the law.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Paris Hilton trucked (ph) into an LA courtroom a little late to find out whether she`s headed to jail. Police say she violated her probation for an alcohol-related reckless driving conviction. Now prosecutors want to put her behind bars. But will Paris really do time?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Just moments ago, a California judge sentences Paris Hilton to 45 days behind bars after repeated infractions of the law, including DUI.
Back out to Sibila Vargas, joining us there at the courthouse. Sibila, what happened with each of the three incidents?
VARGAS: Well, you know, it was interesting because the first time that she was busted, you know, she was, of course, accused of, you know, driving recklessly, and it was alcohol-related. The second time that she was, you know, busted on the road again, this time they even told her, you know, You`re on a suspended license. You`re not supposed to be driving, missy. So what happens is that she ends up signing a document that -- acknowledging that she`s not allowed to drive. But a month after that, February 27, she`s stopped again. And this time they`re saying, Not only are you driving without headlights, not only are you speeding, but this is -- again, you`re on a suspended license. What`s going on here?
At that point, they ended up charging her for violating her probation, and that`s what brought us here to court today. And I got to tell you, Nancy, this place was on fire. The media was out here. We all wanted to see what was going to happen. We were all anticipating -- we didn`t know if she was going to get the 45 days in jail.
And by the way, city attorney Rocky Del Godino (ph) says that she is not being treated any differently than anybody else who would have committed this crime. Now, she came in, it was a media circus. She was 10 minutes late, as you said. And interestingly enough, a lot of people were saying, and I got to see it myself, she did look at herself, a reflection of herself, and she kind of made herself look good before walking in. And it was if she was walking through a catwalk almost. I mean, she was very well -- you know, it was almost as if she was playing a part.
But I guess, you know, she came in for business. She took the stand. And I think what most people were very surprised about was the fact that Paris Hilton acted as if she didn`t know what was going on, that she -- that her license was suspended and she wasn`t allowed to drive.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The judge says she has until June 5th to report, and he gave her the name of the facility she`s to report to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Can you tell us what the name of the facility is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynnwood.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`ve been in this business many, many, many years, and I am shocked and disappointed at the sentence imposed by this judge. I was equally taken aback by the city attorney`s position. Sentencing Paris Hilton to 45 days in jail, to me, was uncalled for, inappropriate, and bordered on ludicrous.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Third strike. She`s finally going to jail. What does it take, her having a kid under the hood of her car driving along drunk? This is the third offense, the DUI, and two revocable offenses following that.
Now, we`re just hearing from Sibila Vargas that witnesses actually took the stand today. Jean, who were they?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: Well, Paris Hilton took the stand, and what she testified to was that she thought her license was suspended for 30 days, but then she could drive to and from work. Then her personal assistant took the stand and said, "Well, that`s what I thought, too, and she didn`t drive for 30 days." The judge said, "Look, I cannot believe that nobody understood what the conditions were. I don`t accept it."
GRACE: You know, back out to you, Mike Brooks, former D.C. cop, former fed with the FBI. You get it in writing. In fact, on the third offense, they opened the glove compartment, and there was the written notice about the suspension, right there in the car.
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE: What that says to me, Nancy, she signed it, she ripped it off, she read it, she rolled it up, threw it in the glove compartment, kept on driving, thumbed her nose at the police, thumbed her nose at the system. Rules don`t apply to her. So that`s what the bottom line is. She doesn`t think rules apply to her. She found out today that they do.
GRACE: We are showing you photos of DUI victims. And we called every one of these families to make sure that they would allow these images to be shown, and they were all happy that someone still remembered these children, teenagers, killed by drunk drivers. Take a look. You think 45 days is too hard on Paris Hilton? This is what many of us saw every single day in court, victims of drunk drivers.
I want to go out to the lines. Anthony in Indiana, hi, Anthony.
CALLER: Good evening, Nancy. Hey, I was wanting to know, if Paris Hilton does her 45 days in jail, would they release her from her probation?
GRACE: I don`t think so. Let`s go out to the lawyers, Susan Moss, Greg McKeithen, Alex Sanchez. There`s still typically the probationary period in place after that.
ALEX SANCHEZ, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. That`s up to the judge to determine if he wants to terminate the probation early, or he may want to extend the probation after she gets out of jail. But, Nancy, you know what troubles me about this case?
GRACE: Let me guess. That she`s got to go to jail?
SANCHEZ: It troubles me that there`s a lot of people here on this show and out in the general public, they seem to have a very deep-seated anger against Paris Hilton, probably because of the way she lives her life. And they`re just sitting, waiting for her to mess up. And now that she`s finally messed up...
SANCHEZ: ... and made a few errors, they`re in great glee that she`s actually going to jail. And I think it`s such a shame.
GRACE: Alexander, you know what? You and I are different sides of the fence, and this is clearly why. You`ve never represented the family of a dead DUI victim. I don`t take any glee in anybody driving DUI.
SANCHEZ: Yes, but she was sentenced...
GRACE: I was speaking. I`m all happy for Paris Hilton being famous, being happy, going to parties. Get on with it. Go, girl. But when it involves drunk driving, you are very misplaced in your allegations. Instead of blaming the general public, you need to take a look at the drunk driver. Weigh in, Sue Moss.
SANCHEZ: She was stopped once for drunk driving.
GRACE: Sue Moss?
SANCHEZ: And that was it. And after that, she was stopped for other minor offenses.
SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Paris Hilton has earned her stripes. Mom sat in the courtroom today and said that this was a waste of public taxpaying dollars? Well, what it was a waste is that she showed up late. And so you had a judge who was paid by the public who had to sit there and wait. You had district attorneys who are paid by the public who had to sit there and wait, court officers, et cetera. They all sat there and waited for Paris Hilton to arrive. You know something? I know a way that we can save public taxpaying dollars: Don`t break the law!
GRACE: You know, and back to you, Alex Sanchez. You know, when a lawyer starts arguing that their client was selectively prosecuted, you know they`re at the very bottom of the barrel. You know why? They don`t have the facts on their side; they don`t have the law on their side. Their client is not sympathetic. Even the mommy back there in the back of the court, heckling the judge and the prosecution, nobody`s sympathetic. You have nothing -- hold on -- you have nothing going for you except the fact you`re saying she was singled out. If she was singled out, she would have gotten jail time day one.
SANCHEZ: Well, you know what? Even a short while ago when you were talking, you said, when you live by the sword, you die by the sword. And she was out in the public eye.
GRACE: That`s right.
SANCHEZ: And you said a little while ago the judge noticed that. Well, you know what? The judge should not take that into consideration. The judge should take into consideration she`s a young, misguided person, and that`s it.
GRACE: News flash. News flash. News flash. Third time. The first DUI, she didn`t go to jail.
SANCHEZ: Driving without your lights, Nancy? Maybe making a mistake...
GRACE: That`s not driving without your lights. It is driving when your license has been revoked because you are a drunk driver. And what I said about the court, the court`s got to read the newspaper. He`s a human. He`s not living in a cave. Every time you see Hilton, she looks drunk. And this is after a DUI. She can afford a limo, for Pete`s sake.
SANCHEZ: She was given wrong information by this publicist. And I believe that. I think she did mix it up, as a lot of my clients do.
GRACE: Alexander, question: What did it say at the bottom of the ticket? She can read.
SANCHEZ: She can read.
GRACE: OK, what did it say? No, answer. What did it say?
SANCHEZ: It said she couldn`t drive. But even if she made a mistake, shouldn`t jail be reserved for those people that have made serious repeated violations of the law? Not this Mickey Mouse stuff with driving without your lights on. That`s ridiculous.
GRACE: Elizabeth, are you back there in the control room? Can you show Alexander Sanchez what happened to other people, young people, children, victims of drunk drivers? Back out to -- yes, take a look at the screen, Alexander, and quit the "poor me" thing about Paris Hilton being singled out. Ask the parents of Elizabeth J. Andersen how they feel about this case?
Out to the lines, Scott in Michigan, hi, Scott.
GRACE: How are you?
CALLER: I`m good. You rock.
GRACE: Bless you. Tell the defense bar that. What`s your question?
CALLER: Well, I`m just wondering if she has any type of appeal at the district court level, or circuit court level, or even the state Supreme Court level that would keep her out of court or out of jail?
GRACE: It`s very possible. We heard a vow on the courthouse steps that there would be an appeal today. To you, Jean Casarez, will there be an appeal and to who?
CASAREZ: That is what her defense attorney is saying. He`s not saying who he will appeal to. It would obviously be to the higher court in California. On what grounds, we just, I think, have to imagine at this point.
GRACE: Back to Greg McKeithen, defense attorney, former prosecutor, Greg, you handled a lot of DUI vehicular homicides. Coming from a probation revocation, which this was, I guess you would appeal back to this trial judge, she`d be turned down, but then I guess she would go to the California Court of Appeals?
GREG MCKEITHEN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Right. She would take it up to the next appellate court based on the laws of the state of California. And certainly, in the state of Georgia, I would have an option, as a defense counselor, to file an appeal directly with the Court of Appeals here in the state of Georgia.
But, remember, Nancy, you must also keep in mind whether or not there were any other sentencing alternatives available to the court. And if so, did the judge consider those alternatives? And in light of that, I would immediately file a motion for reconsideration, ask the judge to come back and revisit this issue. And if any evidence in mitigation was not presented, I would present evidence in mitigation that something else should have been considered, wasn`t considered, and that that other option could work.
GRACE: You know what?
MCKEITHEN: Who`s to say it would not have worked?
GRACE: No, hold on. I think you`re right. We need to discuss other options. For instance, when she first got straight probation for driving stinking drunk, I think she should have gone to jail that time. What about that sentencing option, Greg McKeithen?
Out to you, David Caplan, bureau chief with "Star" magazine, David Caplan, I understand the courtroom was full today, but the one that stood out was Kathy Hilton heckling, basically, the prosecution and the judge. Do you think the judge had his mind made up when he came in?
DAVID CAPLAN, "STAR" MAGAZINE: No, I think -- I`m sure, look, hopefully he was reasonable, came in impartial. But when you have a mother like that, I`m sure it was stunning to him to see that they weren`t taking this seriously. You know, they interviewed Paris before and her mom, Kathy. And to be honest, what I`m hearing is pretty much what they`re like. They don`t really have much respect for other people.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she was singled out because she`s who she is. I`ve been involved in cases and other cases where people have second and third driving under the influence convictions and don`t go to jail. This judge actually said she couldn`t go to any of the alternative jails, which, of course, are the same as jails, city jails, put her in the county jail. And it was clear that she`s been selectively targeted, in my opinion, prosecuted because of who she is.
PARIS HILTON, HEIRESS: And I got pulled over. There was a lot of paparazzi around, so I think they were trying to make a statement. And they even said, you know, there`s people watching. We don`t want them to think we`re giving you special treatment. But they were so nice. Everyone was really nice there.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the lead story.
HILTON: Oh, my goodness. Everything I do is blown out of proportion.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: After not one, not two, but three incidents, Paris Hilton finally gets sentenced to jail time. Just a few moments ago, Judge Sauer, in a California courtroom, brought down the hammer. Hilton sobbing in court. Her mother heckling the judge and the prosecutor. That didn`t help anything. Thanks, Mom.
What influence that had on the judge, we don`t know. But in the end, he did not buy Paris Hilton strutting into the courthouse like it was a catwalk or the tears. I wonder what was different about this time? Maybe it was strike three that added up to the judge.
Back out to Sibila Vargas, joining us at the courthouse. Sibila, a lot of people are actually making light of the last incident. What happened?
SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, you know, I find that hard to believe, because the last incident, she was driving without her headlights on. This is at 11:00 p.m. at night, and she`s speeding. So I don`t see how you can make light of that. I mean, that is absolutely dangerous. I wouldn`t want to be on the other side of the road when she`s doing that. I mean, I wouldn`t want to be anywhere near her.
But I`ve got to tell you, most of us out here in the media didn`t believe that Paris Hilton would get the 45 days in jail, because we actually thought she would get preferential treatment for her name. So it was actually the opposite that happened today.
And I`ve got to tell you, the most colorful moments came from her mother, actually, Kathy Hilton, which was absolutely upset that her daughter was going to face jail time. She said at one point that it was pathetic, that it was ridiculous. She was just -- her body language was just -- I mean, I guess, you know, she is a mother and she cares for her child. But she said it was a waste of taxpayers` money.
But, again, I mean, I would have to agree with a lot of what you`re saying. I mean, you know, she did these things, and in no way are these things small things. I mean, she could have hurt somebody on the road.
GRACE: You know, I want to go back to Sheryl McCollum, former director of MADD, Mothers against Drunk Driving. You know, a DUI is just a misdemeanor until somebody`s dead, practically, or unless you`re a habitual violator, which means it`s your fifth or sixth incident. Explain the difference.
SHERYL MCCOLLUM, FORMER DIRECTOR, MADD: Well, when you`re a habitual violator, you have repeatedly been caught DUI. At that point, they`re going to...
GRACE: Hold on, Sheryl, Sheryl, we can`t hear you. Your mike has dropped. We`re going to get it fixed.
I`ll go to one of the lawyers. To you, Greg McKeithen, misdemeanor versus felony, explain.
MCKEITHEN: A misdemeanor typically carries 12 months in jail. You can face a fine up to $1,000, at least in the state of Georgia. A felony is an offense that`s more serious than a misdemeanor. A felony, you could face in excess of 12 months in jail. Other fines can be imposed. And other, stiffer sentences can be imposed, as opposed to a misdemeanor. Misdemeanor is a lesser charge or a small offense. A felony is a more serious charge.
GRACE: And another result, Alex Sanchez, to a misdemeanor versus a felony is, with a misdemeanor, it`s 12 months or less, and you don`t go into the prison system. For instance, she`s not going to be sent off to San Quentin. She`ll be in a local facility. Don`t know if she`ll do the full 45 days, Alex, even if she`s sentenced to 45 days.
SANCHEZ: You know, by definition, a misdemeanor means, as the other lawyer said, less than 12 months. The definition of a felony is more than 12 months.
By the way, I just want to correct something. You had indicated before that -- and you used the term stinking drunk when she was initially arrested -- but when she was arrested, she had .08 alcohol. That`s not stinking drunk. That`s the bare minimum amount to be considered driving while intoxicated.
GRACE: OK, hold on just a moment.
SANCHEZ: She`s a thin person.
GRACE: No, no, no, I want to follow up on what you just said.
SANCHEZ: All right, go ahead.
GRACE: Mike Brooks, a .8, according to police, is about five drinks.
BROOKS: Well, it all depends on your size.
BROOKS: Exactly, but that is the minimum. Alex is right. That is the minimum, the borderline for whether you`re going to get a DUI or not. She did meet that minimum, and that`s what she was arrested for.
You know, look at the family, you look at Kathy. Let me tell you something, Nancy: If that had been a D.C. Superior Court and she had an outburst like that, U.S. marshals would have stepped her back, and she might be joining her daughter in an adjoining cell. You know, it just shows that the apple doesn`t fall too far from the tree when it comes to the respect of the judicial system.
GRACE: And another thing, Sheryl McCollum, speaking about Alex Sanchez`s claim that she has been mistreated, most people, when they get a probation revocation -- I`m talking to Sheryl McCollum, when they get a probation revocation, they are taken away at that moment, in court.
MCCOLLUM: Right there.
GRACE: Right then.
MCCOLLUM: She`s got until June something to turn herself in, like she is checking into the Hilton. And I`ll tell you something else. Maybe she wasn`t stinking drunk to Alex. She was stinking drunk to me, and she was stinking DUI.
And, you know, she`s poked fun at everything. She gets a DUI. What does she dress up for Halloween? A police officer. She shows up to court late. And her mama`s carrying on, hollering. I know whose courtroom she wasn`t in, in Fulton County, Nancy, and you do, too. Her mama would have been in contempt and in a jail cell right next to her.
GRACE: That`s right. My courtroom, thank you.
GRACE: And I want to point out that this particular judge, Judge Sauer, presided over the case of Olympic star Carl Lewis. Tell me about that, Jean.
CASAREZ: That`s right. Olympic gold medalist Carl Lewis, a DUI trial. And here`s what the judge sentenced him to: three years probation. That`s the same as Paris Hilton. Three months in rehab. And also, he allowed him to plead no contest to a lesser charge.
GRACE: So I think that that shows this judge is very even-handed.
Out to the lines, Lisa in South Carolina -- Lisa?
CALLER: Yes, I was wondering if she will get any special so-called protection while she is in jail?
GRACE: Very possible. What about it, David Caplan?
CAPLAN: It looks like there may be a little bit, because, you know, she`s a celebrity, and they are very common targets in prisons. And it`s happened before to celebrities, so she may get a little treatment, unfortunately.
GRACE: Agree, Susan Moss?
GRACE: What a week in America`s courtrooms. Take a look at the stories and, more important, the people who touched our lives.
GRACE: Is there finally a break in the search for 17-year-old Alabama student Natalee Holloway?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: For two years now, so many people have been asking, "Whatever happened to Natalee Holloway?" The Alabama teen disappeared in Aruba, and we still don`t have the answer to just what did happen. This weekend, Dutch forensic experts searched the home and yard of Jordan Van Der Sloot. He was a prime suspect, the last known person to have seen Natalee alive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Larry Birkhead and his baby arrived in Louisville, Kentucky, today. This afternoon, they arrived aboard a plane chartered by the entertainment news program "Access Hollywood."
LARRY BIRKHEAD, FATHER OF DANNIELYNN SMITH: It feels good to be home. Who knows what`s next? One-way ticket right now, so we`ll see.
TOM O`NEIL, "L.A. TIMES": The question is, is he going to go back to the Bahamas for this hearing on June 8th? You know, he doesn`t really have to.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Scottsdale police say, on Friday morning, 28- year-old Cynthia Tureman, a wife and mother of three, did the unthinkable: gave birth to a baby girl in the bathtub of her home.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She allowed the baby to remain underwater for five minutes and saw when its arms stopped moving.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jessica Bosco and John Resto (ph) allegedly locked their sons in a cage used for animals.
GRACE: And they would apparently torture this little boy while he`s in the cage by shocking him. You know what? Ten years is too good for this guy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It looks like Paris may be going to jail. This whole thing is about the two times that Paris got caught for driving with a suspended license, while on probation for that DUI charge she got. It seems pretty simple to me. If your license is suspended, you can`t drive.
GRACE: Tonight, we stop to remember Army Specialist Michael Rodriguez, 20, Sanford, North Carolina, killed, Iraq. Wanted to enlist since high school. His friend nicknamed him ROTC, because he loved the ROTC program. He loved the outdoors, reading, had a huge smile, a big laugh, and a great sense of humor. Leaving behind parents Laurie and George, fiancee Caitlin, Michael Rodriguez, American hero.
Thank you to our guests, but especially to you for being with us. A special good night tonight here in Manhattan from Georgia prosecutors Joe and Rebecca. And a special good night from the New York control room. Night, Liz. Night, Ben. See you all tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.