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Hitchens Connects Paris With Scooter:
Here's the conclusion of Siege of Paris: The creepy populism surrounding high-profile defendants, a moving piece by Christopher Hitchens:
I cannot imagine what it might be like, while awaiting a prison sentence for a tiny infraction, to see dumb-ass TV-addicted crowds howling with easy, complicit laughter as Sarah Silverman (a culpably unfunny person) describes your cell bars being painted to look like penises and jokes heavily about your teeth being at risk because you might gnaw on them. And this on prime time, and unrebuked. Lynching parties used to be fiestas, as we have no right to forget, and the ugly coincidence of sexual nastiness—obscenity is the right name for it—and vengefulness is what seems to lend the savor to the Saturnalia. There must be more than one "gossip" writer who has already rehearsed for the day that Paris Hilton takes a despairing overdose. And what a glorious day of wall-to-wall coverage that will be!

Stuck in my own trap of writing about a nonsubject, I think I can defend my own self-respect, and also the integrity of a lost girl, by saying two things. First, the trivial doings of Paris Hilton are of no importance to me, or anyone else, and I should not be forced to contemplate them. Second, she should be left alone to lead such a life as has been left to her. If this seems paradoxical, then very well.

Perhaps to compensate for its ridiculous decision to put her on Page One on Friday, the New York Times report shifted from the sobbing, helpless child to the more portentous question of another "high-profile defendant." It cited an even more acid piece of creepy populism, in the form of an order from Judge "Reggie" Walton, who poured his witless sarcasm on those who had filed a brief in support of Lewis "Scooter" Libby. Would such "luminaries," sneered Walton, be equally available for other litigants? It's not his job to arbitrate such a question, and he seems not to understand the law, but if his words mean anything, and from a federal judge at that, they appear to mean that to be a public figure is to risk double jeopardy in the courts. No doubt Judge Walton will relish the coming days in which he can order Libby to report to prison. One hopes that his moral superiority, and his keen attention to public opinion, remain as untroubled and secure as those of Sarah Silverman. It seems that this is now the standard. How splendidly we progress.
Dave Hardy (mail) (www):
With regard the judge:

A lawyer, a law prof and a federal district judge were all out bird hunting during quail-only season.

The lawyer flushed a bird, and stood there wondering if it was a quail or a pheasant or some other species. It got out of range before he could make sure.

The law prof flushed a bird, figured it was a quail, but then worried whether his lead shot would land in a wetland and what would be the legal impact of that. The bird got out of range before he could resolve the legal issue.

The federal district judge flushed a bird, snapped gun to shoulder and blasted it, crying "Damn, I hope that was a quail!"
6.14.2007 2:04am
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
Shortly after Jerry Falwell's death Christopher Hitchens appeared on CNN and said so many disgusting, impolite (impolite is a much too mild of a word for his venomous speech), and highly inappropriate things given the circumstances, that I find it impossible to ever give the slightest amount of credence to or respect for anything thought or written by such a vile, emotionally disturbed, and down right ill-mannered person.

Anyone who could speak in such vile and inappropriate terms immediately upon the death of an individual (other than a Pol Pot or Hitler or Stalin or someone of that kind of evil) does not have the maturity or reasoned judgment necessary to take seriously on any other issue.

Sorry, but that's how I feel about Christopher Hitchens.

Says the "Dog"
6.14.2007 2:09am
Brent Michael Krupp (mail):
I think he also misses a huge element of how Paris Hilton ended up in the spotlight: she sought it out! It's her own darn fault that the media fixates on her, but he seems to think she's some innocent victim.
6.14.2007 2:20am
Kovarsky (mail):
I recently saw a suggested roster of all-star bachelor-party invitees, and Hitchens was on there.

JYLD, unfortunately, Hitchens "anger" in that interview expressed the sentiments towards falwell of a great many of us. I hardly think that disqualifies his ideas from the realm of serious discussion, whether or not you agree with them.
6.14.2007 3:07am
Randy R. (mail):
Perhaps Paris sought out the media, but she did so because she knew that they would lap it up. She was, of course, correct. The media is more interested in her boobs and driving record than in the Iraqi War.

Ultimately, it's our fault, because the media just feed us what we want. Therefore, Hitchen's is indicting the whole of American society, and in my view, he is correct.

Now, I'm no prude, and I like gossip as much as the next person. But our culture has become so celebrity worship that our founding fathers would cry at our use of the press. If only the victims of Darfur got one tenth the coverage of Paris Hilton!

True, Hitchen's had nasty things to say about Jerry Falwell. But Fallwell was himself a nasty vile person, and never hesitated to say nasty things about whole groups of people when he was alive. Just because he dies , he doesn't get an immunity card from criticism.
6.14.2007 3:11am
Bill Poser (mail) (www):
JYLD,

Falwell was a vicious, nasty demagogue during his lifetime. His death did not change that. Good riddance to bad rubbish. Hitchens' remarks were entirely appropriate.
6.14.2007 5:54am
ATRGeek:
I don't think Hitchens gets Sarah Silverman, but other than that I agree. Whether the likes of Hilton and Britney and Lohan sought our attention or not is irrelevant to me. It just speaks ill of our society that we indulge in so much schadenfreude with respect to these young women.
6.14.2007 6:02am
Ron Hardin (mail) (www):
Both cases are in the news because they're soap opera, and that puts them in the news because the soap opera audience is the only one that the news biz can make money on.

The judge is just adopting that standard.

But the secret is that only 20% of the population likes soap opera, so it's wildly unpopular.

It's just that the 80% can't do anything about it. They already don't watch the news. The target soap demographic, as a result, mediates every public debate.

The way out isn't ridiculing the news biz - they're doing the only thing they can do to pay the bills - but ridiculing their audience.
6.14.2007 7:26am
Public_Defender (mail):
For those of us who practice in the criminal justice system every day (like this judge), it's amusing to see who slinks out of the shadows to link their names to high-profile cases.

Of course, these authors could not submit a memo on the independent counsel statute in other cases, but all of them have written and spoken about a lot of other issues. Why does Libby deserve their help for a 2 1/2 year sentence when this judge has, on numerous occasions, imposed mandatory sentences of decades in prison for offenses that any reasonable person would given only a year or two (if that)?

The pity fest for Libby among some official circles is, well, a pity. Many other defendants have gotten screwed much worse. Judge Wilson knows this. These "luminaries" are just clueless.

This also brings up another point. I sometimes consult law professors about my cases. They are helpful for intellectual background, but they are frequently clueless about how the system works and about how to advocate for a client. Maybe the other defendants are lucky not to get their help.
6.14.2007 7:34am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
It has been said that this judge is a republican and so he can't be being mean to Scooter.
Just to those prominent attorneys and men of law who wrote in support of Scooter. I guess even republicans can be buttheads when another republican is in their power. It appears the power is more important than party affiliation.
6.14.2007 9:02am
ATRGeek:
Aubrey,

I think a lot of us long ago reached the conclusion that "even Republicans" are capable of abusing the power that is placed in their hands (which is another way of saying that "even Republicans" are actually ordinary human beings subject to ordinary human failings). That in turn suggests that it might just be a good idea to apply our laws--laws which were often explicitly designed to prevent people from abusing their power--"even to Republicans".
6.14.2007 9:36am
ATRGeek:
Aubrey,

Oh, and preferably we would be concerned about "even Republicans" abusing their power even when it is not a Republican who is the alleged victim of that abuse.
6.14.2007 9:37am
Justin (mail):
Knowing Christopher Hitchens's new worldview, the whole article is about Scooter Libby. And while I personally don't care whether he goes to jail or not (I actually hope Bush is forced to pardon him, and take at least some political hit for what was one of his several impeachable offenses), he's once again completely jumped the shark.
6.14.2007 9:48am
AppSocRes (mail):
As has been pointed out elsewhere in the Volokh Conspiracy, the amicus curiae brief that set Judge Walton off, has very little to do with Mr. Libby and nothing to do with federal sentencing guidelines. The brief is concerned with some important constitutional issues involving special prosecutors and their activities. Otherwise, I very much doubt that such a right-wing Republican as Alan Dershowitz would have been one of the signators.

The glee expressed over the fates of Mr. Libby and Ms. Hilton remind me of a scene in Paul Verhoeven's admirable new movie "The Black Book" where Dutch "patriots" are abusing "Nazi collaborators". The movie makes clear that the perpetrators of this righteous sadism are, in fact, often more legally and morally culpable than their victims.
6.14.2007 10:13am
BruceM (mail) (www):
JunkYardLawDog: Sorry but there are people who are better off dead, the world being a better place with them gone. Jerry Falwell was one of those people. I know it's not PC to say you're glad someone died and, if a public figure, such a statement will require an immediate public apology. Fortunately I'm not a public figure. I'm glad Jerry Falwell is dead. Good riddance. He ruined this country more than practically anyone else. Find the video clip of him telling the poor people who can't afford their mortgages (he says "i know you can't afford your mortgages...") that the reason they're poor is that they are not tithing enough money to him, and if they did, all their financial problems would be solved. He was an evil man who, ironically, makes me wish I were religious so I could be even more content by "Knowing" that he is burning in hell for all eternity.

Great article by Hitchens, although I (1) disagree about Sarah Silverman being unfunny, and (2) think he misconstrued Judge Walton's footnote (as discussed in another thread).
6.14.2007 10:17am
Just an Observer:
Christopher Hitchens reviews developments in the law. Wow.

Perhaps the final sign that civilization is over will be when Nancy Grace critiques whatever Hitchens is trying to say. Or has that already happened?
6.14.2007 10:25am
AF:
Hitchens's criticisms are misplaced because, as other commenters have pointed out, both Paris and Libby willfully sought out the public eye for the very things they were sent to jail for (Paris for being the consummate party girl, Libby for smearing an administrative critic in the press). Live by the sword die by the sword.

I'm not saying that every joke made about them is in good taste, every attack on them is well-founded, or every headline is on the right page. But the fact that their criminal convictions are national news (and therefore material for comedians, water-cooler gossip, etc) is totally fine and people should stop whining.
6.14.2007 10:30am
Jim G (mail):

Perhaps to compensate for its ridiculous decision to put her on Page One on Friday, the New York Times report shifted from the sobbing, helpless child to the more portentous question of another "high-profile defendant."


Hilton is 26. Acting like a child doesn't make her one.

He's right, though, that there's more than a small element of schadenfreude to the latest Hilton-fest. And why not? She's famous for being famous, a happenstance of her being born with an amazing wealth of money but not, apparently, endowed with an overabundance of sense. Try to find a picture of Paris Hilton before last week's breakdown in which she isn't giving the camera a smirk. What thought is behind the smirk -- "I'm richer than you?" "I can get away with anything?" Or maybe just the smug self-satisfaction that comes with living a life of privilege without having had to work for it? Who knows -- but it shouldn't be surprising that such a person generates glee when she has to do jail time.
6.14.2007 10:32am
Martin Ammorgan (mail):
"a moving piece by Christopher Hitchens"

bowel moving, perhaps. I'm sincerely at a loss why you think this tripe worth posting.
6.14.2007 10:44am
Michael B (mail):
Superb commentary by Hitchens, the final graph especially so.
6.14.2007 11:06am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ATR. The point I was making was, as I'm sure you know, that the argument that Libby had to be, just absolutely had to be, getting a square deal from Fitz and Walton because they're all three repubs is both false and known to be so by those making it.
6.14.2007 11:20am
curious:
JYLD,

"If you gave Falwell an enema you could bury him in a matchbox."

I think that might have been only redeeming thing he's ever said.
6.14.2007 11:24am
Houston Lawyer:
While I haven't yet read any articles suggesting glee at the prospect of Libby being raped in prison (like the Democratic Attorney General of California did regarding Ken Lay), I believe Hitchens sees the Judge's swipe at the amicus writers in this vein. You don't have to believe that Libby is innocent or not deserving of jail time to see the inappropriateness of the judge's response.

In addition, just because Hitchens has been an ass himself in the past, doesn't mean that he is wrong in this instance.
6.14.2007 11:27am
Dave!:
As distasteful as the Hilton coverage may be, comparing her plight to *lynching* is completely bogus hyperbole. That's the problem with Hitchens... he's an an idiot, full of sound and fury signifying nothing.
6.14.2007 11:36am
JosephSlater (mail):
Hitchens is very sharp, in all meanings of the word, and he is as opinionated as he is articulate. When you agree with him, he's great fun to read and quote; when you disagree with him, often not so much.
6.14.2007 11:38am
Martin Ammorgan (mail):
Oops. I just realized you signed that amicus brief. No wonder you posted this tripe.

Now that Judge Walton says the brief isn't worthy of a 1L (ouch), you better contract directly with Hitchens for an even more supercilious defense.
6.14.2007 1:34pm
JunkYardLawDog (mail):
My point about Hitchens comments on Falwell were not that is comments were "right" or "wrong", but that they were expressed in a vile and cowardly way about a person who just died in an interview/obituary type of report. They were highly inappropriate in the time, place, and manner of the expression. They revealed him to be a person of such ill mannered low character that his writings are not worthy of any attention whatsoever. They also revealed a general hatred by him of all persons of faith and religious beliefs. A feeling confirmed recently by an published article written by HIS BROTHER.

It is not his "right" to say what he said I question nor the "accuracy" or "inaccuracy" of what he said which I am commenting upon. Rather it is the time, place, and manner of his expression that made it vile and ill mannered to the point that he destroyed his credibility and character thereby, imho.

Whether you liked or hated Falwell or any other person expressing your hatred at his obituary/funeral/wake in such graphic and vile terms is not the time or place for such an expression, imho.

Says the "Dog"
6.14.2007 1:38pm
Hattio (mail):
JYLD,
So being vile and ill-mannered automatically brings into question someone's credibility? And, let's be honest, it wasn't Falwell's "obituary/funeral/wake" it was on news or news/opinion shows commenting on the news of Falwell's death. If Hitchens had showed up at the funeral and made those comments, I would absolutely join you. But the fact is the news-makers put him on a show to say the things they knew damn well he would say, so that more people would watch when they put him on again to ask if he would apologize. And more people did watch. And they started talking about it.
Now that I think about it, the funny thing is that Hitchens infamy is really quite parallel to Paris' infamy. Maybe that's why he has such empathy for her.
6.14.2007 2:15pm
Porkchop:
I, too, rise to the defense of Sarah Silverman. Her personalized, deadpan rendition of The Aristocrats joke was by far the funniest (or most disgusting, if you prefer) part of the movie.
6.14.2007 2:18pm
jc:
Hitchens is a complete loon. Elsewhere in the article he states, "Hilton is legally an adult but the treatment she is receiving stinks—indeed it reeks—of whatever horrible, buried, vicarious impulse underlies kiddie porn and child abuse." Are you kidding me? Straightforward schadenfreude = perverted sexuality? Hitchens' psyche must be a dark and ugly place.
6.14.2007 2:34pm
Ship Erect (mail) (www):
So, Hitchens defends Paris Hilton as an innocent child but thinks Mother Teresa was evil. Nuff said?
6.14.2007 3:00pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
One thing that seems to elude Hitchens is the fact that I think most people assume-- correctly-- that the likes of Paris Hilton have been given any number of second and third chances, lenient punishments, and simple passes (how many times does a celebrity simply not get arrested or ticketed in the first place?) before they end up in the situation where they even might face any jail time, whereas one such screw-up can mean jail time (and real jail time, not home detention or the psychiatric ward or protective custody) for the average person.

I think, in the end, people are justifiably passionate about Paris Hilton for the same reason they were justifiably passionate about OJ Simpson getting away with murder. It is what Mickey Kaus calls "social equality", the sense that the same rules apply to all of us. When they don't, people are quite right to get upset about it. Indeed, in the Paris Hilton situation, the public outrage was effective; Sheriff Baca's home detention ruling was reversed.
6.14.2007 3:34pm
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
Anyone who could speak in such vile and inappropriate terms immediately upon the death of an individual (other than a Pol Pot or Hitler or Stalin or someone of that kind of evil) does not have the maturity or reasoned judgment necessary to take seriously on any other issue.


I largely agree with your sentiments but I would just add that Hitchens has pulled this garbage for a while as evidenced by his hatchet pieces on President Reagan, Pope John Paul II, and Mother Theresa immediately after their deaths. He's like a spoiled child who delights in acting up in public confident that no one will dare hold him to task while his playmates adore his "daring." On the bright side though he's quickly approaching Andrew Sullivan-levels of irrelevancy as decent people either distance themselves from him or just ignore him.
6.14.2007 3:43pm
whackjobbbb:
Ya' gotta carefully calibrate your receptors when reading Hitch. If the subject's anything to do with "religion", it means you gotta set the instrument's high range out near "100% acute rancor" somewhere. This will modulate the data recorded for proper use in your analysis.

The man bears no truck with religion, in other words.

But as for about everything else, the guy's a master, and tells it right, and writes with a command of the language that makes him a pleasure to read. The idiot media IS fascinated with any young blonde girl anywhere, whether cut up and fed to the sharks in Aruba or sitting in a Beverly Hills jail/spa. And the Libby judge IS an idiot for making that idiotic footnote. Hitch is just pointing out the obvious, and is a welcome contributor on most of these issues (just remember the calibration requirements laid out in your operation and maintenance manual!).
6.14.2007 4:06pm
kormal:
I think the following is Hitchens' best work:

http://www.mcsweeneys.net/2007/4/11kershner.html
6.14.2007 4:33pm
Bilwick (mail):
I enjoy Sarah Silverman and can't imagine Hitchens saying anything about Jerry Falwell that wasn't on the money. I'm also not a fan of Paris Hilton. (Who would be a "fan" of hers, anyway? Admirers of her porn video?) In any event, I also have a sense that there is something vaguely lynch-mobby and "ressentiment" (using the French word) fueled about the popular reaction to Ms. Hilton's incarceration. I'm not saying she shouldn't do the time or that she should get special privileges. But I was struck how, when Oprah Winfrey was asked what she thought about Paris Hilton going to jail, how her reaction ("I don't think of Paris Hilton") fairly dripped hauteur and superiority, and given Oprah's status as America's sob sister, she seemed pretty disdainful. Not one smidgen of your vaunted compassion toward Ms. Hilton, Big O? Very strange.
6.14.2007 5:03pm
Jay (mail):
I'm certain Judge Walton knows more about the law than Hitchens. Hitchens says such silly things it's almost like he's kidding. Perhaps he's actually a comedian.
6.14.2007 5:07pm
Mark Field (mail):

I think, in the end, people are justifiably passionate about Paris Hilton for the same reason they were justifiably passionate about OJ Simpson getting away with murder. It is what Mickey Kaus calls "social equality", the sense that the same rules apply to all of us. When they don't, people are quite right to get upset about it. Indeed, in the Paris Hilton situation, the public outrage was effective; Sheriff Baca's home detention ruling was reversed.


I'm inclined to agree with this, but according to the LA Times today, the early release would have been pretty much standard policy. It's the longer term which is unusual.

That said, I thought the longer term fully justified.
6.14.2007 5:20pm
Maureen001 (mail):
Several things are problematic for me (but none of them pertain to Ms. Hilton):

1. Media persists in calling this "the CIA leak case" when in fact it is the Libby perjury case.
2. Special Prosecutor Fitzgerald pursued his investigation for months after learning that Richard Armitage was the "leak" -- to what purpose?
3. Richard Armitage has not been charged with a crime for being the "leak", nor does it appear he will ever be charged, leaving me to wonder whether a crime was ever committed.
4. I now have a better understanding of Senator Clinton's sieve of a memory when she was questioned about Whitewater. Mr. Libby would have done better trying to emulate her than to try to be helpful. (* I have to say this* He's a lawyer; he should have know better.)
5. It's not the supposed crime, it's never the crime in politics, it's the cover-up that nails you.
6. Christopher Hitchens, while a clever and capable writer, has the compassion of a rock. He espouses compassion for Ms. Made-My-Bed-Now-I-Must-Lie-In-It-Hilton, but grinds his verbal foot into the sorrows of the followers of Rev. Falwell. Regardless of what the Reverend was or was not during his lifetime, at the time of his death it is those who grieve him who are addressed with comments.
6.14.2007 5:26pm
Maureen001 (mail):

Mark Field:I'm inclined to agree with this, but according to the LA Times today, the early release would have been pretty much standard policy. It's the longer term which is unusual.


Perhaps that is so, but how many of those in jail who get an early release or even home confinement have had the ruling judge say specifically that those options are NOT available to them?

I find it highly disturbing to learn that the average time spent is only 10% of the sentence. There is a man who was sent to jail to serve an 11 year sentence for breaking into my mother's home, beating her senseless and leaving her for dead, almost 8 years ago. According to the sentence, he was not supposed to be eligible for early release. Is he still there? Was he released after 1.1 years? Has he already become a threat to my mother or is she still safe for the next 3 years?
6.14.2007 5:34pm
Cynicus Prime (mail) (www):
Silverman was hysterical, "obscene" as she was. She is a comic. She makes fun of people. That's her job. Hitchens, will occasionally luminary, is petty and hypocritical here. /yawn
6.14.2007 5:40pm
LM (mail):
This is an OT response to a comment about Sarah Silverman and The Aristocrats. Skip it if that's not of interest to you, and apologies for the digression.

Porkchop:

I, too, rise to the defense of Sarah Silverman. Her personalized, deadpan rendition of The Aristocrats joke was by far the funniest (or most disgusting, if you prefer) part of the movie.

You may or may nor be technically correct that Sarah Silverman is the funniest part of "the movie." Either way, I won't argue the point, but as big a Sarah Silverman fan as I am, there were much funnier bits than hers on The Aristocrats DVD. They just weren't in the movie proper.

So if you liked the movie and haven't seen the additional DVD footage, you owe it to yourself to check it out. In particular I commend your attention to: (1) Doug Stanhope (his full rendition of the Aristocrats joke); (2) Otto and George (the Aristocrats joke); (3) Kevin Pollack (channelling Albert Brooks); (4) Bob Saget (Aristocrats joke); and (5) Gilbert Gottfried (Aristocrats joke). Some of these did appear in severely edited form in the movie, doing an injustice to the full renditions. All were funnier in my opinion, and most were grosser, than SS's creditable performance.
6.14.2007 5:51pm
junyo (mail):
Hitchens is a powerful intellect to be sure. However his intellect seems to sometimes to utterly without... grace for lack of a better word. Trashing Falwell is somewhat forgivable considering the fact that Falwell was the Al Sharpton of Christianity. Heck, I trashed Falwell and I'm one of those crazy fundies that are trying to take over the world. However Hitchens trashed Mother Teresa, although not while the body was till warm.
6.14.2007 5:56pm
LM (mail):
Sorry, that Should be may or may not. Another lazy reliance on spell checking.
6.14.2007 5:57pm
Kovarsky (mail):
You have to be a monster not to acknowledge Kevin Pollack's Christopher Walken impersonation as the best part of the Aristocrats.

So Jerry Falwell walks into the office a talent agent....
6.14.2007 6:21pm
TLove (mail):
"Ultimately, it's our fault, because the media just feed us what we want. Therefore, Hitchen's is indicting the whole of American society, and in my view, he is correct."

That is simply wrong. It's certanly not what I want.

More importantly, it doesn't appear to be what their historic audience wants any more. The legacy media, in all its forms, is in rapid decline.

Essentially, they are engaged in a fighting retreat, and call it a victory when the retreat temporarily slows down. Sure they get a little boost with the monthly scandal, but they don't seem to acknowledge that these little boosts don't ultimately reverse the larger trend, but may in fact accelerate it.

Most businesses are run by people with a 9-18 month time horizon, and the legacy media is no different. So their self-destructive behavior is rational if you don't care about what happens after 18 months. And they don't.
6.14.2007 6:37pm
Jim C. (mail):
Honestly, vilification for Falwell but pity for Paris? Neither of them deserves a break. Hitchens is way off base.

AppSocRes wrote:
The glee expressed over the fates of Mr. Libby and Ms. Hilton remind me of a scene in Paul Verhoeven's admirable new movie "The Black Book" where Dutch "patriots" are abusing "Nazi collaborators". The movie makes clear that the perpetrators of this righteous sadism are, in fact, often more legally and morally culpable than their victims.
Or of Lenin's "glee" and "guffaw" at the memory of his inciting the poorer peasants to lynch the richer peasants? (see Bertrand Russell, Unpopular Essays)

It sure didn't take long for these comments to be Godwinized.
6.14.2007 7:00pm
Porkchop:
LM:

Unfortunately (or not), the DVD will not be in my house until all the daughters have moved out. I lead a depraved deprived life. :-(

In any event, I thought that the participatory female aspect added a touch that none of the men could match.
6.14.2007 7:08pm
Mark Field (mail):

Perhaps that is so, but how many of those in jail who get an early release or even home confinement have had the ruling judge say specifically that those options are NOT available to them?


The sheriff's early release program has been the subject of dispute between him and and the judges for several years. I tend to sympathize with both sides: I think judges should set the terms, but the sheriff can hardly administer a system which is grossly overcrowded. The fact that the judge specifically intervened in the Hilton case, while they generally don't in other cases, is itself evidence of "special treatment" working against her.

Again, let me emphasize that I thought the original sentence was the right one and believe she (and others) should serve it.
6.14.2007 7:30pm
LM (mail):
Porkchop:

Unfortunately (or not), the DVD will not be in my house until all the daughters have moved out. I lead a depraved deprived life. :-(

Your sacrifice for your childrens' sake is as commendable as it will be unappreciated.
6.14.2007 8:14pm
Porkchop:
LM


Your sacrifice for your childrens' sake is as commendable as it will be unappreciated.


Believe me, I already know. I am the king of unappreciated.
6.15.2007 12:13am
Richard Aubrey (mail):
In 1992, when the Queen of Mean, Leona Helmsley, was being tried for tax evasion, the trial got a lot of ink and other play. Among other things spectators showed up to see go in and out. New York is a big city and it takes time to get where you're supposed to be. Adding whatever it took to get to the courthouse and wait for an unpredictable lunch hour or end of the court's day to one's ordinary daily round speaks of serious interest. And these were the folks who stood on the sidewalk to see her come and go.
One commentator--name unknown--suggested that the interest in such things is a matter of desiring reassurance that the rules really do apply to us all. Which is in doubt, from time to time.
Because tax trials aren't all that much fun to watch, especially when viewed from the sidewalk where you can see and hear nothing of the fun, color, excitement and drama of accountants' testimony.
6.15.2007 11:25am
ATRGeek:
Aubrey,

Actually, the point of both Fitzgerald and Walton being Republican appointees, indeed appointees of this very Administration, is that those claiming Libby had been railroaded for political reasons (eg, general hatred of Republicans, or specific Republicans in this Administration), make little or no sense.

When confronted with these inconvenient facts, some then transform this bogus argument into a psychoanalytic claim, arguing that for some reason Fitzgerald and Walton (and I guess the grand jury and every member of the trial jury) all took a strong personal disliking to Libby (they "hated his guts", or words to that effect). Of course, why they "hate his guts" is a bit of a mystery if it wasn't for partisan reasons, and that claim is belied by basically everything Fitzgerald, Walton, and the jury have said about Libby personally (they all seem to think he is actually a nice guy, who also happened to commit some serious crimes).

But, of course, there just HAS to be some grand conspiracy going on. Otherwise it would appear that Libby was duly indicted, prosecuted, tried, convicted, and sentenced in accordance with the law. And that just cannot be true, because the blogs they read say that is not true, and those blogs must be right.

But if by "mean to Scooter" you are just suggesting that Walton seems to like giving out relatively harsh sentences to people, including Libby, maybe you are right. It would seem, though, that his sentencing habits were originally something many people liked about Walton--right up until dear ole' Scooter became the one he was sentencing.
6.15.2007 12:35pm
Richard Aubrey (mail):
ATR. There's an internet contraction I made up. DO. Means deliberately obtuse.
The point you know I was making is that the argument that the prosecution and the judge couldn't possibly be being mean to Libby because they're all republicans is bogus.
The point is, as you know and spent 'way too many pixels missing, is that they are screwing the pooch on the Libby case for some reason other than their party ID cards.
6.15.2007 2:50pm
Dilan Esper (mail) (www):
Mark Field:

One thing you are ignoring in your analysis is how many times Paris was probably pulled over and NOT cited. Special treatment starts at the level of the individual cop. By the time most celebrities actually even are dealt with by the justice system, they have usually been given kid-gloves treatment several times. I am sure the judge assumed that when sentencing her.
6.15.2007 4:32pm