The Lindsay Lohan saga in criminal court just got even more LINSANE. Really- nobody could make this up. Lohan or a lawyer on her behalf was supposed to appear in Los Angeles court today. But, neither appeared. Well, a “lawyer’ named Mark Heller did. Mark Heller- the formerly disbarred NY lawyer appeared for Ms. Lohan. But, as previously written and talked about, Heller is not a California lawyer and California criminal law and jails are much different than New York’s.
Judge Jim Dabney admonished Heller for not having local co-council and went as far as to state that Lohan must hire local lawyers or appear and state that she understands she has an “incompetent” lawyer and is willing to take that risk. So, what is Lohan going to do? The answer is as complicated as the many issues Lohan has going on.
Lohan faces charges of lying to police and a probation violation. In fact, she faces multiple jail terms and jurisdictions. This is not just a simple misdemeanor case. Lohan also faces allegations of IRS problems and a large UNPAID bill for an amount due to her previous lawyer Shawn Holley. Holley was sadly fired by Lohan after years of helping her escape jail and turn her life around. Many of us who believe in alternative sentences have seen the Lohan case demonstrate what creative options are possible for those who want to work hard to change their lives.
So, again what CAN Lohan do now? The lawyer who takes her on will have to put in many hours and be able to be creative. A global solution involving all of the criminal cases should be sought. But the problem will be who is going to pay the bill, and who is smart enough to structure such a deal. This deal will need to involve rehab, psychiatric help, probation expertise and the respect of the Los Angeles District Attorney’s office. A LOT of work. This legal coach suggests that Lohan get real, get busy and get a solid team together yet again. And Lindsay, I said TEAM. And that will involve a sponsorship by a quality rehab and all of us to believe. Well, it is Hollywood the land of make-believe!
Wendy Feldman is a criminal justice expert, crisis manager and family legal coach. She is available for private consultation on how to prepare for a successful incarceration, probation and re-entry. She is also available for media commentary and has appeared on shows from The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, E! News, People.com, Fox News, NBC News, CNN, NPR and Nancy Grace. She is a weekly featured guest on the syndicated America Now radio program. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Today Lindsay Lohan had the strangest of moments in a Los Angeles courtroom. Lohan appeared before Judge Stephanie Sautner for what was to be a regular probation review. It was anything but! As we all knew, Lohan had not been showing up for her community service or therapy sessions. But, the probation office put forth a report that Lohan WAS in compliance and yet the DA sought that the probation be revoked and Lohan go to jail.
Needless to say this is all not the way it usually works. To complicate matters, the Judge was furious and indeed sided with the DA and has revoked Loan’s probation. As most people in criminal justice know, it is highly unusual for a judge to be at odds with the probation department. After all, judges look to the reporting of the probation department to be accurate. It seems that judge Sautner doubts some aspects of the report as well as disagrees with others. For example, Lohan apparently “phoned” in some therapy sessions and yet her probation officer approved that. The Judge also stated that probation was wrong to allow Lohan to transfer her community service to the Red Cross. The transfer was made because Lohan was kicked out of the program at the women’s shelter after failing to appear for the mandated time. Believe it or not, I have several people I coach through community service because they do not see it as important. But, once they become immersed and see the benefits for them, they thrive.
Further, Judge Sautner was furious with the poor attitude that Lohan has shown, especially where Lohan has stated that her community service at a woman’s shelter was “unfulfilling.” Yikes! The judge has now ordered Lohan to perform 16 hours of community service at the Los Angeles Morgue! In addition Sautner also stated that the probation-approved travel to Europe was supposed to be a work related matter and yet there are numerous pictures of Lohan partying the night away. At this point Judge Sautner has revoked the probation and ordered Lohan to jail. Don’t worry, Lohan will be bailed out quickly and she will then face a full probation violation hearing November 2.
So, what’s a judge to do? Well, community service is supposed to be rehabilitative not solely punitive. But, in this case there are few options. She could order Lohan to jail for 18 months but as the judge pointed out in court, California is overcrowded and going through a realignment process that would lead to a very short actual jail time for Lohan. The bottom line is how to get Lohan and others the message that there are consequences to actions.
This case is one big frustration for the judge and one big bill for the taxpayers. My advice is to have Lohan serve two types of community service, one that is punitive and one where she can actually begin to give back! What a concept right? Lindsay, you might actual enjoy giving back and helping people. It is never too late to start practicing Restorative Justice. And, while you are at it, get some quality therapy.
It appears that the worst kept secret in Los Angeles legal circles is true. Lindsay Lohan headed back to court . As everyone who reads my blog knows, I have been a big supporter of Lohan and the alternative sentence she received in May. The sentence was a spilt of home confinement and substantial community service for two separate criminal legal issues. One, the violation of probation for her two D.U.I. arrests and the other for her NO CONTEST plea regarding the theft of a necklace. But, readers also know that as a legal coach I firmly believe that defendants who receive alternative sentences must take them seriously. Otherwise, judges will not hand them down and we are stuck with a criminal justice system that only incarcerates and does not rehabilitate.
Rehabilitation is a key necessity for our criminal justice system as over 95% of all people incarcerated in the United States will be coming home at some point. So, what can insiders like me do? First, we must educate people to the flaws and strengths of our system and the reality of what works. For example, defendants in the Federal system have much stricter accountability than those in the State system. Accountability is the only known deterrent. Next, we must urge judges to practice equal justice. That said, I believe that Lohan has not been treated better than others. But, now we will see for sure.
And, to answer the question of why some people keep going back we only need to look at the fact that people who do not learn from their arrests and mistakes will only repeat them in more serious ways. As a legal coach I work with people to accept responsibility and stop blaming others. Hence, my term INCARCERVENTION. Often this makes me very unpopular with my clients. But, after a while they usually see the light and the fact that without owning your own actions you cannot move forward. Lohan clearly needed an incarcervention when she was having rooftop parties while under house arrest. But, it looks like none of the people who profess to care about her offered one.
Now, it seems the original judge in his haste to send Lohan to jail, did not order drug and alcohol testing after February 25, 2011. And, the new judge who handed the alternative sentence down did not realize this. So, despite the wishes of the probation department, Lohan will not go to jail and will not have to submit to any further testing. Here is hoping that Lohan keeps learning and changing. Lindsay, yes, change is possible. Keep working at it.
Filed under alternatvive sentencing, bail, celebrities, community service, Criminal Justice, d.u.i, insider trading, jail, Lindsay Lohan, Los Angeles District Attorney, Michael Lohan, prison coaching, prison consultant, prison re entry, reality tv
Just when you might think our criminal justice system never works, comes two rulings today that actually make sense! As I have posted many times, the Lohan charge of Felony grand theft was not equal justice and a great waste of taxpayer money. See my post of February 11, 2011. The fact that Lohan violated formal probation was also resolved today with a jail sentence and community service. Finally, a judge orders community service. I have written much about the benefits of community service and how it helps everyone.
Since Lohan did not accept a felony plea deal, the former judge ordered her to trial. Good news for Lohan as that meant a new judge. Today Judge Stephanie Sautner lowered the charge to a misdemeanor, as the value of the necklace is of course not the retail asking price of $2500. The bad news, Lohan was ordered to 120 days in jail for the probation violation. Two rulings from one fair and equal judge.
Lohan will face trial on a misdemeanor charge and that is EQUAL JUSTICE. Did she steal the necklace? Maybe, but that will be decided in the proper forum. The bigger lesson for Lohan should be that while on probation stay away from any trouble. Courts and cops are no joke. The lesson for the rest of us is Equal Justice should be for everyone.
This insider urges Lohan to accept responsibility for whatever she has done and move forward. Lindsay, you must make the most of your jail time this time around and make it your last stay. I ask the Los Angeles District attorney’s office to move on also.. After all, they should be held to a higher standard as they represent ALL people.
Score one for our criminal justice system and the many people who are learning the hard way just what this system is all about. Fair and equal justice for all. Sometimes that does mean jail time. The key is what you do with the lesson and how you pay it forward.
Tonight comes word that Lindsay Lohan was released from UCLA- otherwise known as the psych ward. There must be an explanation as to where she was released to. We will know soon. What is clear is that this case is an example of what a MESS our system is. Lindsay was ordered to jail for 90 days- she served 13. She was ordered to 90 days of inpatient rehab; she was a patient for 23 days. But, as usual, the court orders had flaws. Lohan was ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation while in jail and then an appropriate place would be determined. It would seem that the evaluation showed that she needed to detox, become medically stable and then…
So, now no matter what, she will go through treatment. That could mean another facility or at least a structured outpatient program. The problem is that most courts do not get what type of treatment is needed. Remember, it was a DUI class that Lohan blew off that helped her fulfill her destiny of entitlement. What was the purpose of that?
The best this insider can offer is that there is much more to come. People will be screaming no matter what. I can hear the special treatment bus now. This is really about lack of treatment, not special treatment. There is nothing special about allowing taxpayers to foot the bill for this disaster and ultimately if Lohan has not learned anything she is likely to become another celebrity horror story. Here is hoping that somehow there is change afoot.
Filed under Adderall, bail, celebrities, community service, criminal justice, Criminal Justice, Lindsay Lohan, Meth addiction, Michael Lohan, prescription drugs, prison coaching, prison consultant, Prison Consulting, Prison conultants, prison preparation, reality tv, War on Drugs