Actress Lindsay Lohan was sentenced to 90 days in jail today. Intrepid Gawker intern Molly Fitzpatrick watched the whole hearing. (Danny DeVito was there, for some reason!) Here is her story. It is the Inherit the Wind of our time.
Lindsay showed up surprisingly early—looking, even more surprisingly, sane and pretty—which left TMZ and E!'s cameras with nothing better to do than keep their live streams rolling outside the entrance to the Beverly Hills Courthouse for the next half-hour. At around 8:30 a.m. PDT, the cameras happened upon Danny DeVito, called to the courthouse for unknown, unrelated business. He stood in line indoors, smiling pleasantly, no doubt confused as to why a legion of paparazzi were so interested in watching him pay off a parking ticket.
At 8:45, Lindsay's case was called. Judge Marsha Revel complained that she had not received a report on Lindsay's attendance and performance from the Right On program, the submission of which—as Lohan's lawyer, Shawn Chapman Holley, did not object to it—represented no privacy issue. The hearing briefly adjourned so that the Right On documents could be reviewed by the prosecutor.
During this break, TMZ cut to several static, minutes-long shots of the Great Seal of California. E! diligently remained at its post outside the courthouse, offering compelling footage of some guy's arm. And some other guy's hand.
At 8:58, we were back! ...and then took another break. Holley was asked to go through the aforementioned documents and block out sections that might violate attorney-client privilege. Visibly cranky, Holley fanned through the large stack of paper; Revel lamented, "We'll take a break on this case for...a long time." Deputy District Attorney Danette Meyers discussed Lohan's bail forfeiture, which occurred when her alcohol-detecting SCRAM bracelet sounded an alarm on the night of the MTV Movie Awards.
Technically, the SCRAM incident constitutes a violation of Lindsay's bail and not her probation, which is the issue at hand today. But Revel nevertheless ascribed importance to the SCRAM incident, in that Lindsay subsequently lied about the alcohol consumption. (She's not mad, Lindsay, she's just disappointed.) Meyers argued that Lohan effectively violated her probation by not adhering to the judge's strict no-alcohol order. For her part, Holley repeatedly invoked a mysterious "conversation in chambers" she had with Revel. Also mysterious: Lindsay's absence during this stage of the hearing.
At 10:24, we were granted another five minutes of stuff actually happening. Michael Lohan's attorney mysteriously requested that his client address the court privately in chambers. Revel summarily shut him down. The judge also announced that she would not allow the SCRAM incident as evidence in the probation violation hearing.
10:55. Beryl Washington, Right On's office manager, was called to the stand. Washington just confirmed that she had a phone conversation with Revel in which the judge ordered that Lohan was to attend the program every week, no excuses. During her cross-examination of Washington, Holley approached the bench, allowing us a weirdly long period of time to watch Lindsay, who appeared to be doodling.
Next up was Cheryl Marshall, co-director of Right On. At one point, Marshall stepped down from the stand to fetch her reading glasses to consult attendance records. Marshall tried (largely unsuccessfully) to explain Right On's tolerance of Lindsay's misbehavior in spite of the court order. "Did you kind of think I didn't mean it?" asked Revel. Cheeky.
The rest of Marshall's questioning managed to be both consistently boring and tense, with Judge Revel herself repeatedly jumping in to criticize the flimsy justifications for Lindsay's frequent leaves of absence from the program. The confusion basically stems from the fact that Marshall et al. didn't consider the judge's verbal order sufficient cause for action, nor that they were responsible for its enforcement. Everyone else disagrees.
The court took a lunch break at noon and reconvened at 1:40. More nitpicking over dates and excuse letters. Very dull. It's not looking good for Lindsay, who now wears a cardigan. (Maybe ‘cause that judge is COLD, amirite?) Holley did bring up the fact that Lindsay ended up clocking more hours than was required, but no one seems impressed. Also, I'm no legal expert, but Meyers is definitely racking up more sustained objections than Holley.
Fun Boring Part of the Hearing Facts: Defense attorney Shawn Chapman Holley was on the OJ Simpson defense team, and her husband—a former backup singer for Michael Jackson, whom Holley also once represented—is American Idol's vocal coach.
Finally, closing statements. Holley requests somewhat ineffectively that the court focus on "the spirit" rather than "the letter of the law." Then—OH MY GOD LINDSAY IS TALKING! She tells the judge that she thought she was in compliance with the program, because her requests for leaves of absence were approved by Right On. And—crying! Now she's crying! She takes this seriously, she says, because it's her life and her career. It's a bit like a tearful emotional climax scene from a teen movie starring Lindsay Lohan.
Revel, who has been coughing throughout the hearing, found Lohan in violation of her probation. The judge read aloud a summary of Lohan's DUI history. She sentenced Lindsay to a total of ninety days in jail. Within two days of her release from prison, she will be ordered to participate in a ninety-day in-patient drug rehab program. By this point, Lindsay is sobbing.
The judge also upgraded the no-alcohol requirement from a condition of bail to a condition of probation (presumably that probation which will begin once she is released from jail). Lohan has two weeks to surrender, and she'll have to wear the SCRAM bracelet until she does so.