Return to Transcripts main page

Nancy Grace

Paris Hilton Plans Appeal of Sentence

Aired May 08, 2007 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: It`s not the Hilton, Paris. Star treatment takes on a whole new meaning, and it all backfires in court, celebutante Paris Hilton ordered to jail after sweetheart deals and kid glove treatment. Following repeated criminal offenses, including DUI, the judge brings down the hammer. Tonight, Hilton fights back with a direct legal appeal, three Paris rallies across the country, on-line petitions and even asking California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for clemency. Clemency is usually reserved for death penalty inmates and hard-timers, Paris Hilton heading straight to Century Regional Ladies Detention, the big house, the big dollhouse. And it`s not your daddy`s Hilton.

PARIS HILTON: I feel that I was treated unfairly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Paris Hilton is going to jail. Take a look at Paris`s new summer home, the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynnwood, California, where she must report by June 5 or we`ll see her 45-day jail sentence doubled. It comes complete with plush accommodations, the latest in bathroom fixtures, and she`ll get a daily 6:00 AM wakeup call. Not exactly hard time, but not glamour time, either.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, let`s face it, this is not going to be the simple life at San Quentin. She`ll be in a 12-by-cell. She won`t have her cell phone or her Blackberry. She`ll have to share a phone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The question is, where is the accountability here? Fingers are pointing everywhere, except where it seems they should be. Paris blames the publicist, Mom blames the justice system, and of course, those who don`t think she deserves to do time are putting this whole wacky petition together to get her pardoned by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think she was singled out because of who she is. We do intend to attempt to appeal both to the judge and to a higher court (INAUDIBLE) to modify the sentence.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s been famous for being famous, and now she`ll be famous for being the girl who`s famous for being famous who went to jail.

HILTON: I feel that I was treated unfairly (INAUDIBLE) I don`t deserve this.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Paris Hilton headed to jail, but she`s not going down without a fight. Straight out to Sibila Vargas, CNN correspondent. What`s her legal plan?

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, you know, she wants to file an appeal. Now, they haven`t formally done that yet. They did file a notice at the court on Friday, saying that they planned to file an appeal. So that`s what we`re up to next. Not sure exactly when that`s going to happen, but she intends to fight this all the way.

GRACE: To you, Jean Casarez, Court TV correspondent on the case. How will that work? I mean, long story short, we didn`t have a trial. This is a probation revocation, a violation of probation. What is she going to appeal?

JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: The judge has ordered her to spend 45 days in the women`s detention facility in Lynnwood. And so they have filed a notice of appeal with the California appellate court, but Nancy, it is not an emergency motion for an appeal. I think her attorneys are going to want to drag this out, and obviously, ask the court to stay or stop the judge`s order so that that jail term will not begin in June.

GRACE: OK. So right now, the judge has ordered her to jail on June 5. Out to you, Ryan Smith with "OK!" Ryan, I know that she`s filing a direct appeal. Over what, I don`t know. A direct appeal is usually after a trial, suggesting the trial court committed some type of error inadvertently. There was no trial here. She got a DUI. She pled nolo, as I recall, and then had two infractions after that. So in addition to her direct appeal through the legal system, what is she doing?

RYAN SMITH, "OK!" MAGAZINE: Well, basically, I mean, all of this is happening because Paris does believe that she`s just received a sentence that is far too harsh, and this is basically the basis of the appeal. I don`t think that -- you know, she does believe that she`s innocent, in that she says that she did not know about her license suspension. So in addition to this, I think she also wants to at least lessen, you know, the punishment, if there has to be one, in her eyes.

GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us, Susan Moss, Pam Hayes, both in the New York jurisdiction, trial lawyers, Greg Skordas out of Salt Lake City, Utah.

First to you, Susan Moss. She thinks it`s unfair. She could have gotten 90 days. And not only that, typically, when you`re on a probation rev, that means you`ve already been in trouble. You got a chance at probation, you screwed it up. You get hauled away. You get fingerprinted in court, and you go to jail in the county bus.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: This is only 45 days. She`ll be out in time to wear white shoes before Labor Day. This is not a harsh sentence. Just as you said, she could have had 90 days, and she would have deserved that. She broke the law. Not only did she break the law, but then when her license was suspended, she on two separate occasions broke that edict, too. This woman deserves to be punished for her crime, just like everyone else.

GRACE: The reality, Pam Hayes -- you`ve tried a lot of cases, including DUIs. If you get a 45-day sentence, you don`t do the full 45 days.

PAMELA HAYES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: She`s not going to do the full 45 days, but I`m not sure that I would think 45 days merits her behavior. This is basically a violation of probation. I think the judge would have been better off if he`d just put her on probation and...

GRACE: She was already on probation.

HAYES: Yes, but her behavior wasn`t monitored that closely.

GRACE: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wa-wait! She was caught driving by police officers -- PS, you`re seeing video of the ladies` detention facility where Hilton will be. We`re right, it`s not your daddy`s Hilton. That`s for sure. Oh! Is stainless steel back in vogue now? Shouldn`t it be mosaic or something?

You know, long story short, she already had probation. So Pam Hayes, you`re talking out of two sides of your mouth.

HAYES: No, I`m not~! Never!


GRACE: She was already on probation, and then violated it twice.

HAYES: Nancy?


HAYES: If she got two weeks, she would get the point. If she got 45 days, that`s my money going, being spent for a lesson that she`s going to learn in two weeks.

GRACE: Well, the reality is, though...

HAYES: I just say it`s too much.

GRACE: ... Pam, you just said she`s getting 45 days. She`s not going to do 45 days. She`ll probably end up doing about two weeks.

HAYES: Oh, no, no, no, no~! No, she...

GRACE: Which is just what you said.

HAYES: She`s going to do more than -- that`s absolutely an error. Nancy, she`s going to do at least 30 days.

GRACE: Out to Greg Skordas, a very astute trial lawyer out of Salt Lake City. In a DUI, when you violate twice, it is not unusual to go to jail, so all this business about unfair treatment is complete BS.

GREG SKORDAS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I disagree with that, Nancy. When you have a first offense -- and this was actually reduced from a DUI down to an alcohol-related reckless driving. It was a no contest plea. She was placed on probation, a typical sentence for someone who violates. And this was a -- not necessarily a technical violation, but she drove her car while she shouldn`t have been. It`s not like...

GRACE: Twice.

SKORDAS: ... she got another DUI or hurt someone...

GRACE: Twice.

SKORDAS: ... would have been 48 hours in jail.

GRACE: Twice.

SKORDAS: ... some additional probation, an additional fine or take a class or something like that. Forty-five days...

GRACE: Well, let me see Skordas. Let me see his -- let me see him. Mr. Skordas, you may be right on your first probation violation, but this was her second probation violation. And then she went in court and allegedly lied and allegedly got her press secretary to lie, as well. Did you hear what they told the judge, that the -- you tell me, Sibila Vargas, all about Elliot Mintz. What was that all about, blaming the press guy?

VARGAS: It was absolutely the blame game. I mean, nobody -- I mean, we didn`t even know if she was going to take the stand in her defense. She takes the stand on her defense, and the entire defense is blaming Elliot Mintz for everything. This is her publicist, who has been with her for years. This man completely takes the fall, and in the judge`s own words, he called him like Cyrano de Bergerac, falling on the sword for his client.

The man was ridiculed. And to make matters worse, after he takes the fall for her, or he tries to take the fall, he does everything in his power to make it his fault, to take the blame, she fires him. And now I guess she had a change of heart. She rehires him. But she fired him.

GRACE: Sibila, Sibila, my poor, innocent friend! Take a look at the timing. First of all, she fires her PR person, her PR flack. This guy`s a serious PR guy. He represented John Lennon, just a host of famous stars, and is now hanging out at bars with Paris Hilton, carrying her pocketbook. You know what? Whatever. He`s working for a living.

So she blames him. She presents it to the judge. This guy goes in front of the judge, says, It`s all my fault, I misread the law to her. When the judge didn`t buy it, she hires him back, Sibila. Look at the timeline.

VARGAS: It just doesn`t make any sense. I mean, I just don`t -- again, we were just completely baffled that that was her entire defense, that it was up to him, that it was solely up to him. At one point, the judge said, You know, he`s not your legal defense. He is your publicist. He`s your spokesperson. You don`t go to a spokesperson or a publicist for legal advice, you go to your lawyers. Why don`t you do that? She had no response.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Kathy in Minnesota. Hi, Kathy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She obviously has a substance abuse problem. When she gets out, will she have to do alcohol monitoring, AA or community service to complete, you know, the rest of her sentence?

GRACE: What can you tell me about that, Jean Casarez? And Jean, what are the other attacks she`s making? I understand there`s on-line petitions, rallies. Tell me.

CASAREZ: That`s right. Well, what Kathy`s referring to was part of her actual original probation. The judge probated her 36 months, and then also 12 weeks of an alcohol -- or 12 hours of an alcohol educational course. Well, Kathy, as of the end of April, she hadn`t even applied for that, and February was the due date to apply and take it.

In regard to everything else, there are petitions on the web asking people to sign so that Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in California will give her a pardon.

GRACE: Well, wa-wait. Wa-wait. Wa-wait. Can you go back a screen, Elizabeth, please? Hold on. This is part of the -- I guess the on-line petition to the governor. "Paris Whitney Hilton provides hope for young people" -- hope for what? -- "all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to most of our otherwise mundane lives." OK. I resemble that. "We`re shocked, dismayed, appalled by how Paris has been the person to be used as an example that drunk driving is wrong. We do not support drunk driving or DUI. She should have been sober, but shouldn`t go to jail." Now, let`s clear this up. " As depicted on Friday night`s episode of NANCY GRACE" -- that would be me -- "countless celebrities have been, quote, `slapped on the wrist` for similar incidents recently and never did a day in jail."

So I guess the argument would be, Susan Moss, that because other people were inappropriately wrist-slapped, that the judge should repeat the offense.

MOSS: Absolutely not. That`s just not the way that this judge should go. You know, what her defense is, or what her mitigating evidence is that she took legal advice from a PR agent. If that`s, in fact, what she did, not only is she guilty of a DUI, she`s guilty of being stupid.

You know, there were four separate attorneys at that press conference, where they talked about how the judge did something wrong by sentencing Paris for her crimes. One of those four attorneys, we could only imagine, must have told Paris what her obligations were. This is all one big fiction, and it`s a fiction that is used to try to take advantage of the court system. She needs to do her duty and go to jail for her crimes that she committed.

GRACE: OK, hold on. Who is the guy that does "Extreme Home Makeover"? What`s his name? Ty Pennington. Ty Pennington, I guess it was a DUI, driving under the influence. The first thing Pennington does -- I`m a huge fan of the show -- is say, I did it, I`m sorry, it`s my fault, I`m going to do whatever I have to do to make sure this never happens again, and I`m going to set this straight, none of the blame game we see going on with Hilton.

I want to go out to a special guest, the author of "House of Hilton," Jerry Oppenheimer joining us. Why can`t she be a stand-up girl like this guy is on "Home Makeover"?

JERRY OPPENHEIMER, AUTHOR, "HOUSE OF HILTON": She comes from a family that for decades has felt they`re above the law. A few years ago, her mother, Kathy Hilton, made a statement that clearly underscores the jam Paris is in now and the kind of life she`s led since her early teens. And those words were, My daughters are stars, and stars may do anything they please. And Paris grew up with this -- inherited this Hilton arrogance, her false sense of privilege, her narcissistic ambition from being the center of attention, from -- from -- inherited from her mother and her maternal grandmother and from the Hilton side.

And it`s no shocker to me. You know, it`s funny, I`ve written eight biographies, and two of my subjects, long after I`d written the books, have wound up in the slammer, Martha Stewart and now Paris Hilton. And both of them are these types of people who feel they`re above the law. And you know, it`s clear, Paris`s claim in this recent case that she signed tickets but she didn`t know what she was signing and she didn`t read what she signed and she had no idea what she was doing, she was getting bad advice - - at the same time, there`s so many interviews she`s given -- and I spent two years researching this family life of hers, of the Hilton family -- in which she declares openly that she is a sharp, smart businesswoman, that she reads every contract for every deal that she makes. But suddenly, when it comes to being stopped by cops in LA, she`s totally mindless.

It`s typical Paris, following a long tradition of -- to be as harsh as possible here -- lying. She`s lying about everything that happened. She`s throwing the blame on others, especially Elliot Mintz. And you know, she deserves what she`s getting now.

GRACE: With us, the author of "House of Hilton," Jerry Oppenheimer. Jerry, take a listen to this.


HILTON: She`s a (DELETED) hoodlum, broke, poor (DELETED) from, like, Compton.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We see the ugly side of Paris in this video, one of several of her personal items taken from a storage space and now placed on line. We also see her hurl a slur found offensive by blacks.

HILTON: We`re like two (DELETED)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And another slur found offensive by gays.

HILTON: (DELETED)! A public school (DELETED)

Maybe I was speeding a little bit. And I got pulled over. There was a lot of paparazzi around, so I think they were trying to make a statement. They even said, you know, There`s people watching. We don`t want them to think we`re giving you special treatment. They were so nice. Everyone was really nice there.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s the lead story. It`s before the president. You were before the president.

HILTON: Oh, my goodness! Everything I do is blown out of proportion.


GRACE: OK. You know, to Mark Hillman, Dr. Mark Hillman, a psychotherapist, ranting about other people and slurring them based on their sex orientation, their color, if they went to public school, if you`re poor, if you`re broke -- that`s not going to work behind bars. Advice?

MARK HILLMAN, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Paris, you have the classic criteria, diagnostic criteria for a narcissistic personality disorder. She has a grandiose sense of her own self-importance. She signs a document, as Mr. Oppenheimer said, and then all of a sudden plays dumb as a fox. However, I didn`t know what I was signing. But you know what? I`m a very busy person.

GRACE: Long story short, slurs like that are not going to work behind bars. They`ll be her worst enemy, if she speaks like that.

To Bobbi in Illinois. Hi, Bobbi.


GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to know why she isn`t already in jail. Why does she get to wait until June?

GRACE: Excellent question. Susan Moss, when you have a probation revocation, at that moment, you`re usually taken off in handcuffs after you get fingerprinted in court. What happened?

MOSS: You`re usually taken away to the pokey that very moment. And how about this? When you`re arrested for a DUI, you`re also usually in the slammer. She has received some edge of celebrity treatment thus far.

GRACE: And to you, Jean Casarez, how did they convince the judge to give her until June 5?

CASAREZ: You know, what I think is interesting is that she is being allowed that time. And also, let us not forget that she pleaded no contest. That`s not a guilty plea, that`s no contest, meaning it can never be used against her in a future criminal proceeding.

GRACE: And also a not guilty, as well.

Very quickly, to tonight`s "Case Alert." An arrest in a deadly shooting near California State University, Fresno, 19-year-old student John Kelt Brooks (ph) accused of opening fire right across from campus, killing one, wounding two others in an argument over a Playstation. It just happened a couple hours ago, Brooks turning himself in after phone negotiations with police.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We did receive some initial information that there was a dispute over a Playstation. That dispute occurred in apartment 126. I don`t know all of the details regarding that dispute, but it`s sad to say that all of this erupted over some type of dispute over a Playstation.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She will be booked into custody, as we would do with any inmate. All property, all personal property will be removed, will be taken and put into a holding bag, an area locked up and secured for her. She will be searched, cavity searched, just like any other inmate. And then she`ll be processed through the system. She`ll be put into a special needs housing unit. This unit houses inmates who present the unusual conditions, former police officers, public officials, things like that.


GRACE: Paris Hilton not only filing a direct appeal through the legal system, is asking the governor for clemency. Let`s see who the governor has turned down so far. Stanley "Tookie" Williams, co-founder of the Crips street gang and convicted murderer, four times killer; Clarence Ray Allen, sentenced to death for a triple murder he was planning, killed his son`s girlfriend; Donald Beardsley, executed for the murders of two; Kevin Cooper, sentenced to die for murdering an entire family; Michael Morales, sentenced to death for the `81 rape and murder of a 17-year-old girl. And of course, Paris Hilton, we believe will be the next in line to have clemency denied by the governator. That would be Arnold Schwarzenegger, of course.

Joining us tonight, another special guest. His name is Donald Schweitzer. He`s a former detective with Santa Ana PD and worked in the county jail as part of training. Welcome. What can you tell us about the jail?

DONALD SCHWEITZER, FORMER SANTA ANA PD: Well, I can tell you that it`s going to be something that Miss Hilton has never experienced before. It`s going to be a place where she`s going to be frightened from the time that she enters to the time that she leaves. The food is terrible. The TV...

GRACE: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wait! I`m especially interested in the food aspect. Why is the food terrible?

SCHWEITZER: Well, for one, the inmates make the food, and you never know who`s cooking. You never know if these people know who she is, and they will be bringing the food directly to her cell and giving it to her through a window. So it`s very bland. It tastes horrible.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Will the governor swoop in to rescue Paris?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It will almost certainly fail. You have to prove the judge abused his discretion, and I just don`t think that`s going to happen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And while Paris may be seeking a pardon, she`s apparently granting one, as well. She has reportedly reunited with her loyal publicist, Elliot Mintz. The two had parted ways after she blamed him for telling her it would be OK for her to drive on a suspended license.


GRACE: DUI. DUI has victims. Take a look at these young lives lost to DUIs.

Very quickly, back to Donald Schweitzer. What were you saying about the jail?

SCHWEITZER: It`s just going to be an experience that, hopefully, will make her mature a little bit and really kind of think about the consequences of what she could do to other people. So let`s see what happens. It`s a bad deal for her.



A.J. HAMMER, CNN HEADLINE NEWS ANCHOR: Paris Hilton is set to go to jail. Our "Countdown to Lockdown" clock currently at 28 days. But get this: poor, little, rich, party girl Paris says her jail sentence for violating probation, not once, but twice, is cruel. It`s unwarranted. So she has unleashed her lawyers, who do plan to appeal.

But, wait, there`s more. She says her public needs her, so she`s going to a higher authority, none other than the Governator himself, to ask for a pardon.


GRACE: You know, very typically when you ask for a pardon or clemency, you actually have legal grounds to request that. I`m going to put this to the lawyers again. I want you guys to dig deep. We`ve got some very highly paid lawyers on the show tonight.

Out to you, Pam Hayes. You`ve represented every crime in the book. Give me your best shot at what the appeal will be.

PAMELA HAYES, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The appeal to Governor Schwarzenegger is probably not going anywhere, because he has no reason to do so. The appeal with the court, I don`t think they`re going to really get involved. But they might reduce it a little bit. But I don`t see the governor getting involved, either. It`s just not -- it doesn`t do anything for either of them.

GRACE: I agree with you, Pam. And when he runs for something else -- of course, he can never run for president, as he is not a natural-born citizen of the U.S. -- but when he runs for something else, as he inevitably will do, he doesn`t want Paris Hilton hanging around his neck like an albatross.

But, Greg Skordas, give me a legal grounds. You three lawyers keep whining -- well, two of you anyway -- about how unfair it is. Give me a legal ground. Give me a reason to say, "Yes, you`re right, Paris."

HAYES: You don`t need a legal grounds...

GRACE: I don`t believe you`re Greg Skordas, but thanks, Pam Hayes.

HAYES: Just letting you know.

GREG SKORDAS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: The legal ground, Nancy, is that the judge abused his discretion. This is not...

GRACE: No, no, I say give me your best shot. Give me something that might work. Go ahead, hit me.

SKORDAS: That`s exactly what it is. People keep calling this a slap on the wrist, and the fact that she didn`t go to jail in the first place. All of America doesn`t go to jail on a first offense DUI.


GRACE: Wait, before you say that again, stop, because it`s not a first offense. It`s a third offense.

SKORDAS: That`s not true.

GRACE: One, two, three.

SKORDAS: It`s a probation violation for a first offense, for her driving a car while she was on probation. She thought that she couldn`t drive it for the first 30 days and that she could for the next 90 days if it was work-related. So give her two days. Give her a weekend. Give her something. But 45 days?

GRACE: As we say in court with a recalcitrant witness, let`s refresh his recollection, Sibila Vargas. What are the three incidents?

SIBILA VARGAS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, the first time, of course, it was alcohol-related reckless driving. She was pulled over. She got 36 months probation, $1,500 in fine, and also alcohol education, which, by the way, Nancy, she was supposed to go into this alcoholic education program and, as of April 17th, she did not go into it.

The second time she was pulled over by CHP, they actually kind of let her get away with it, because at that point she should have been charged with violation of probation, but she wasn`t. She was told to sign a document to say -- acknowledging that she was not allowed to drive. She ended up signing that document, puts this in the glove department.

A month later, just a month later, over a month later, she`s stopped again, this time for driving -- speeding, actually -- with the lights off. No headlights. If that`s not dangerous, I don`t know what is. How many times does she have to violate probation...

GRACE: Wait, wait, wait, wait, excuse me, Sibila.


GRACE: Elizabeth, Elizabeth, I want to see you. Why are you running the bikini commercial?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Rose made me do it.

GRACE: OK, take it down. Thank you. It`s still up. Thank you. Continue, Sibila.

VARGAS: Yes, how many times do you have to violate probation before you finally -- you know, somebody takes it seriously? Obviously, the woman, it seems to me, had a reckless disregard for the law. I mean, this was not once. This was twice.

GRACE: You know, what part of the problem is? Back to you, Elizabeth, in the control room, part of the problem is, people like you, and others, are blinded by celebrity. And you play things like that about her in a swimsuit, wriggling around in the water, and you think somehow, because of her beauty, she`s going to get special treatment.

And you know what? Sometimes that works. But not with Judge Sauer. Now, it apparently is working with one person. His name is David Seaman. He is the lead organizer of Free Paris Hilton Now. And I want to know why a guy with so much education, so much going for him, is working on Free Paris Hilton Now.

So to you, David Seaman, I believe you actually have on your Free Paris Hilton Now t-shirt. Tell me, what urged you, what prompted you to get behind the Free Paris movement?

DAVID SEAMAN, FREE PARIS NOW: OK. First of all, I just want to tell you that, the whole letter to Governor Schwarzenegger is completely juvenile. And we`re not connected with that. That`s some like 10-year- old`s...


GRACE: I`m glad to hear it.

SEAMAN: That`s ridiculous. He`s not going to do anything. You just showed all those different pictures of the different people that have been convicted, and he hasn`t done anything. And he`s definitely not going to stoop to that level. However, she`s 25 years old. And I`d love to see Sue, the attorney from earlier on, spend 45 days in jail. She said it`s not a big deal? Let her do it, then. Let her do that time, because it does not look like a flattering place to be.

GRACE: Well, when you say, "Let her do it," don`t you think you actually have to commit a crime before you go to jail?

SEAMAN: Well, that`s the other thing. I mean, why not give her community service? And why not let her use her public image...

GRACE: Well, you know what? That`s a very good question, David Seaman, because she was offered at the get-go to do hours of community service in exchange for a lesser sentence, and she turned that down. Remember that, Susan Moss, didn`t want to do community service.

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: She was given that option. She was given many options, yet she broke every promise she made. She made a promise not to drive when her license was suspended, but she broke that twice.

SEAMAN: I just want people to have the real facts here. I mean, the point is, she`s 25 years old, and 45 days in jail is not the norm. She`s being given this sentence because the judge, Judge Sauer, is a somewhat conservative older judge. And he was given a standing ovation, according to TMZ, which AOL owns, which you guys own. He was given a standing ovation in his church as a result of what he did. And that`s not right. He should have let...

GRACE: The judge denies that. The judge said that didn`t happen.

SEAMAN: Well, you guys reported it. So he should denounce that...

GRACE: I didn`t report it.

SEAMAN: No, I`m sorry, you didn`t report it. TMZ reported it.

GRACE: You keep saying you want the real facts out there, because she`s 25, agreed.

SEAMAN: She`s 25, and she -- this is not an excuse, but she claims that her publicist, Eliot Mintz, told her it was OK to drive. And people like that have 100 people working for them.

GRACE: Listen, dear. Are you in college?


GRACE: What`s your major?

SEAMAN: English lit.

GRACE: Let me guess, are you going to law school?

SEAMAN: No. I don`t want to become a lawyer.

GRACE: What do you want to be?

SEAMAN: I want to continue writing. I write part-time.

GRACE: OK. Listen, you will learn, as you continue to write, that ignorance of the law is not a defense. That`s the first thing you learn in law school. You drive over the state line with a pound of cocaine in the back of your car and you tell the judge, "I didn`t know. I thought it was a pound of turnips," honey, you`re going to jail. So the fact that she blamed her publicist is just the blame game. Tinkerbelle, her Chihuahua, will probably get blamed in the end.

But you want to straighten out the facts and you say, Sheryl McCollum, the former director of MADD Georgia Mothers against Drunk Driving, that she`s being treated differently. What do you think, Sheryl?

SHERYL MCCOLLUM, FORMER DIRECTOR, MADD: Absolutely she`s being treated differently. Nancy, if I ever get on probation, I want her probation officer. She`s told to do community service. She doesn`t do it. She`s told to go to education classes for alcohol abuse. She doesn`t do it. She`s told to stop driving, three times. She doesn`t do it. She doesn`t do it. She doesn`t do it. She knew what the rules were. She knew what the law was. She broke every one of them.

GRACE: Do you see what`s in the corner beside you, Sheryl? I don`t know if you can see.

MCCOLLUM: I can`t.

GRACE: Steffen Surber, Laura Lamb, age 7.

MCCOLLUM: Horrible.

GRACE: Claude Robert Jenkins III, age 3. We contacted the families of all of these DUI vehicular homicide victims. If we could put them on the air and their families, many of them actually started crying, that the DUI victims would be remembered tonight.

I want to go out to the lines, Stephanie in New Hampshire. Hi, Stephanie.

CALLER: Hi, how are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: How realistically will Schwarzenegger request her clemency? I mean, realistically?

GRACE: No. I hate to give it to you -- lawyers hate to make anything simple, but reality, no, not going to happen. Sarah in Georgia, hi, Sarah.

CALLER: Hi. I`m wondering if Kathy Hilton`s contemptuous court behavior figured in the judge`s decision.

GRACE: Oh, listen, to Sibila Vargas, Sarah is so right. Anybody else would have been put in jail. Hey, watch out, Kathy Hilton, you might be next if you keep that up, just in time for Mother`s Day. What happened in court, Sibila?

VARGAS: Oh, I mean, she was absolutely the most animated person there. At one point, the bailiff had to tell her to just keep it down, because she was gasping the entire time.

GRACE: She heckled the judge.


GRACE: She heckled the judge.



HAMMER: "Free Paris" is becoming a rallying cry for a small, but growing movement. And now, fans of Paris are looking to one man, perhaps the only man who can relieve Paris` predicament. This online petition says it all. It asks the honorable governor to wipe out the 45-day sentence Paris got after she repeatedly drove on a suspended license pending a DUI case. The petition says the socialite -- are you ready for this -- quote, "provides hope for young people all over the U.S. and the world. She provides beauty and excitement to most of our otherwise mundane lives."


GRACE: OK, that statement is not helping anything, Paris. Don`t submit that to Governor Schwarzenegger. As you know by now, Paris Hilton headed to jail. Many people arguing her sentence of just 45 days is too harsh. Of course, she`ll probably do about half that.

To Donald Schweitzer, former detective with Santa Ana P.D., he`s trained there at the jail, one thing I am concerned about, do you believe that she will be placed in some type of protective isolation there in the jail? And what do you have to do to get good time?

DONALD SCHWEITZER, FORMER DET., SANTA ANA P.D.: She will be put into a cell by herself. I think that we`ve already heard some statements from the jail officials to that effect. She`s more of a problem than anything else for these deputies. They`ve got to protect her.

As far as her, you know, getting good time, halftime, that`s automatic. All she`s got to do is refrain from hurting somebody, and she`s going to get that. You know, and she`s probably only going to serve really, if she serves any time, is about five days in the L.A. county jail.

GRACE: Holy moly, that little?

SCHWEITZER: Yes. It`s overcrowded. They`re giving about 10 percent right now.

GRACE: Let`s go to Jerry Oppenheimer, author of "House of Hilton." The family, a lot of people seem to be blaming her behavior on the family. She`s actually 26 years old, not 25. What can you tell me about this family?

JERRY OPPENHEIMER, AUTHOR, "HOUSE OF HILTON": Well, you know, it`s kind of funny. There`s a great sense of deja vu here. And I know attorneys like to talk about precedence. Well, a precedent was set in May, you know, some 30 or 40 years ago. Paris` great-uncle Nicky Hilton also felt above the law. And he was an alcoholic, a pill-popper, an abuser of women. In fact, his first wife was a teenage Elizabeth Taylor who later claimed that he beat the daylights out of her on their honeymoon. He was also thrown in jail for the same, exact reason Paris is about to be incarcerated.

GRACE: Well, Mr. Oppenheimer, have people such as her mom, Kathy Hilton, explained away her behavior before?

OPPENHEIMER: Well, yes, she explains it away constantly. And, you know, if it wasn`t for the way she was brought up by Kathy Hilton and by her maternal grandmother, who`s known as Big Kathy in the family, Paris wouldn`t be in the situation she`s in now. It was her mother who pushed her into the paparazzi spotlight.

GRACE: The behavior in court by Kathy Hilton, heckling the judge and the prosecutor, corroborates what you`re saying.

Out to the lines, Josh in Florida, hi, Josh.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

CALLER: I just have an opinion of mine that maybe she was profiled because of who she is maybe?

GRACE: Which time, first, second or third?

CALLER: You know, probably I think it was the second one, when she was pulled over for coming out of a department store for having her headlights off.

GRACE: But remember, on that occasion, they let her off and gave her a written warning.

CALLER: Yes, ma`am, but they also brought it up in court.


GRACE: Yes, so which time do you think she was mistreated, first, second or third?

CALLER: Personally, probably the second time, yes.

GRACE: Josh in Florida, thank you for weighing in, you and David Seaman on the same side of the fence.

Very quickly, tonight, we`re shining a spotlight on ordinary people making an extraordinary difference. Tonight, "Headline News" heroes.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is Ms. Debra your hero?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Will you tell me why she`s your hero?

EMMA SMITH: Well, she just saved me from the tornado.

DEBRA BOYD, SAVED PEOPLE FROM TORNADO: We knew it was bad weather, but we have bad weather a lot of times. It wasn`t anything out of the ordinary, I didn`t think. And then, all of a sudden, tornado sirens were going off.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... that is certainly an area where you want to take cover immediately.

BOYD: There was a tornado coming this way. This was full of parents. And we were pushing them in this office. And we had gotten them all in. And I was like the last person, and I was about to close the door when I saw Emma, with her mother, Barbara.

She had no idea that a tornado was about to hit. There wasn`t time to yell, or -- I just ran out and grabbed Emma, and grabbed Barbara, and we ran -- I said, "We`ve got to get down."

Front door blasted out, glass went everywhere.

The wind had just taken one of the trophy cases and put it right there where she was. I just took them over to the side and got on top of them.

EMMA SMITH: Mama was on my head, and Ms. Debra was on mine. They were trying to protect me.

BARBARA SMITH, MOTHER OF EMMA SMITH: I shudder to think what would have happened to us had I been standing in that front door when that glass blasted out and the trophy case shattered everywhere.

BOYD: It`s just really something that I did. There wasn`t time to do anything else. I`ve really never thought of myself as a hero.

EMMA SMITH: Well, she`s a super girl, because she`s not a male like Superman.



GRACE: Back out to Ryan Smith with "OK" magazine. When is the appeal to be filed? I mean, she`s heading to court -- to jail on June 5.

RYAN SMITH, "OK" MAGAZINE: That`s right. And at the moment, we`re still waiting to kind of get dates on when that will all be officially filed. Outside of the handwritten note, we don`t really have much extra information at this moment.

GRACE: Well, somebody better get busy and start filing. Back to you, David Seaman, who is the lead organizer with Free Paris Hilton Now. So, David, it seems to me your rationale is that she didn`t hit anybody?

SEAMAN: That`s right. She didn`t kill anybody. She didn`t hit anybody. And, meanwhile, there are child molesters roaming free, and Michael Jackson was...


GRACE: Hold on, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait. David Seaman, so you`re saying that it`s wrong to let child molesters roam free, it`s wrong that Michael Jackson got off.

SEAMAN: Absolutely.

GRACE: So your answer is to let a DUI person to get off, as well? So you`re basically saying, three wrongs make a right.

I want to go back to you, very quickly, Sheryl McCollum. What do they want? They won`t be happy until she`s got a kid stuck on her front hood?

MCCOLLUM: That`s what I`m hearing, too, Nancy. We`ve got to keep letting her drive until she kills somebody. And that`s what people -- you know, let`s free Paris. Let`s not, you know, rebuild New Orleans. That would be a better t-shirt for you to be selling, David. It`s a waste of your time...


GRACE: You`ve got Darfur, you`ve got Iraq, you`ve got crime victims. Come on, David Seaman, "Free Paris Now"?

Very quickly, let`s stop to remember Army Corporal Wade Oglesby, I didn`t get to tell you enough about him last night, Grand Junction, Colorado, killed, Iraq. He put his education on hold to care for his dying mother, Linda. Serving an extended tour of duty, he dreamed of being a cop. He leaves behind a brother and sister, Rick and Samantha, step parents Gary and Sheila, niece and nephew, Juliana and Xavier. Wade Oglesby, American hero.

Thank you to our guests. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.