Archive for November, 2011

Lindsay Lohan LA County Jail Bail Saga Continues

Monday, November 28th, 2011

Looks like overcrowding at the LA County Jails has allowed Lindsay Lohan to receive a get out of jail card in her most recent game of Crime and Punishment with the LA Superior Court.  Lohan, the child actress and now famous bad girl who has recently posed for Playboy, served only 4.5 hrs of a 30 day sentence for violating probation in a DUI case and theft of a necklace.  The 25-year-old actress was booked into the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood California at 8:58 p.m. and was seen leaving in a chauffeured Escalade a little past 1:30 a.m.  According to Sheriff’s Department spokesman Steve Whitmore, Ms. Lohan will be booked and released because she is a nonviolent offender with a less then 90 day jail sentence.  Also noting that overcrowded conditions at the LA Jails means less room for those less serious offenders regardless if they are celebrities or not.

This is not the first time she was released due to overcrowding.  Back in 2007, she was charged with seven misdemeanors, sentenced to rehab, 36 months probation, 18 months alcohol education, 10 days community service and one day of jail.  When she reports to the same facility for her 24 hour stay, Lohan is released after 84 minutes due to overcrowding. Lindsay’s legal programs began in May 2007 with a DUI and possible cocaine possession charge.  In all, she has paid $615,000 in bail since that time for a variety of charges ranging from felony grand theft to violating the terms of her probation.  In this most recent incident, her probation was revoked for failing to perform her community service obligations and a $100,000 bail bond is issued and posted.  In all she has had a total of 5 jail sentences since 2007.

If she meets all the terms of her probation which includes 480 hours of community service currently being done at the County Morgue and attend therapy sessions, she will be done with her probation for her 2007 DUI and 2011 theft charges by April 2012.

Overpopulation at Los Angeles County Jails

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Based on current projections, Los Angeles County jail may be out of space for new inmates by as soon as next month.  Higher than expected booking of state prisoners is one of the major causes.  Los Angeles County booked more than 900 state prisoners versus the expected number of 600 as a result of transfers from state prison.  Due to a United States Supreme Court decision that went into effect not long ago, requires the state of California to reduce its prison population by 30,000 due to overcrowding.

In some counties the counts are even higher.  Orange County jails received more than double the amount of prison transfers. Kern County released 50 parole violators last month because of an over capacity jail system.  This combined with fact that 70% of Los Angeles County jail inmates are awaiting trial because they were unable to make bail.  Judges do have certain amount of discretion based on the facts and nature of the charges in the amount of bail that is set for a defendant.  The side effect of the trend to set higher bail amounts together with a congested court system means that more defendants will spend time behind bars at the taxpayers expense before their trial date.

LA County Jail officials are scrambling to come up with alternatives to incarceration.  Diversion to drug treatment programs and GPS electronic monitoring are the top of Sheriff Lee Bacas list of options currently being explored for LA County. In addition with the current strains and cut backs on state funding for criminal justice systems in California, opening more beds or building more prisons and jails is highly unlikely in light of the economic downturn.  Of course those defendants that are out of work, in foreclosure or returning veterans without a stable financial base are more likely to have problems making bail.  Considering the current situation in Los Angeles, the court system needs to rethink its use of bail and the role it plays to both protect and serve the needs of taxpayers in the state of California.