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.