Lindsay Lohan, Nicole Ritchie, Paris Hilton, Tiger Woods, Nicholas Cage - the list of celebrities who have been arrested or charged with a crime is a long one. Drug possession, lying to investigators, driving while intoxicated, shoplifting - the list of offenses is also a long one. When arrested, are celebrities held to the same standards of justice as the rest of us, or do they receive special treatment in the legal system? If convicted how, do their sentences compare to those of a majority of those in our justice system?
In this paper, I argue that celebrity status does give a defendant a number of major advantages, the most important being that they can hire the kind of legal representation that the average person …show more content…
As examples, they point to Brittany Spears who was not even issued a ticket for what was probably reckless driving and the amount of time Nicole Ritchie spent in jail for a similar offense: 82 minutes! Paris Hilton, however, was an exception as she was, “hit hard by a judge who knew he could use her as an example” (Judiciary Report).
The case of the wealthy heiress to the Hilton hotel chain and TV reality show star shows just how celebrities are often given special treatment. Following several arrests and violations of her probation terms, many complained that she had been granted “privileges that poorer, lesser-known citizens would not receive” these included “a lighter sentence, a nicer jail cell, access to better medical and psychiatric care, and easy-access visitation privileges for her parents” (Wood).
The real complaints, however, came when Hilton was released early by the Los Angeles County Sheriff. In this case, a judge stepped in and had her re-arrested. Hilton wound up serving 23 days, which the authors claim was actually more time than about 80% of those convicted of the same charge (Wood).
One of the reasons cited by jailors for attempting to release Hilton early is another
advantage that wealthy celebrities have. It costs more to keep them in prison than it does for most people. Celebrities must receive special protection from the general prison population and the public. Officials also have to deal with the press who clamor for