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Posted at 10:42 AM ET, 12/ 6/2007

Celebrity Jailbird: Injustice Averted?

By Liz Kelly

Celebrity Jailbird (In)Justice?

As of this writing, Kiefer Sutherland -- who started serving his jail sentence late yesterday afternoon -- has already served (approximately) Lindsay Lohan's 84 minute jail stint nine times over. And, at first glance, Sutherland appears to be getting a rough deal compared to some other celebrity offenders (see below) to see the inside of a jail for only minutes this year.

But looking a little bit closer, Sutherland -- who was convicted of drunk driving while on probation for a previous DUI offense -- may be yet another example of the special rules governing celebrity justice. Sure, the "24" star agreed to serve 48 days, but initially had an agreement in place to serve 18 days, then return to complete filming the remainder of "24's" season before finishing out his sentence. While it isn't exactly 84 minutes, it's difficult to imagine myself getting a dispensation to, say, cover the Oscars in the midst of incarceration.

Of course, like everything else in Hollywood, Kiefer's plans were summarily trashed thanks to the writers' strike and now he'll serve all 48 days consecutively. Fox, in a statement, summed it up thusly: "With production of '24' postponed until further notice due to the writer's strike, we supported Kiefer's decision to serve his sentence now."

I guess we'll see you in late January, Kiefer.

Below, a look at how Sutherland's sentence stacks up to some other high-profile jail birds in 2007...

Foxy Brown
Currently serving a one-year sentence at New York's Riker's Island for probation violation, a nail salon dust-up and assault with a cell phone. Brown recently spent 40 days in solitary confinement for breaking prison rules.

Kiefer Sutherland
Sutherland just began his 48-day sentence at a jail in Glenside, Calif. The "24" star is expected to be assigned to laundry and kitchen duty. More ham, please.

Paris Hilton
Hilton's in-out-in-out 22-day jail sentence was the topic of much debate, breaking news and an interminable hour of "Larry King Live" earlier this year.

Lindsay Lohan
The starlet, sentenced to one day in jail following her conviction on two summer DUI charges, spent a grand total of 84 minutes in jail last month.

Nicole Richie
Clocking in at just 82 minutes, Nicole Richie wins the 2007 race for "least jail time served" by a celebrity. The mother-to-be was able to forego the bulk of her four-day sentence due to jail overcrowding.

Related: 2007, Year of the Celeb DUI

By Liz Kelly  | December 6, 2007; 10:42 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  
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Actually, alot of people who get short jail sentences for non-violent stuff get to do weekends only in lock up. The courts usually don't want to be total hardasses is you haven't made a persistant pain of yourself or done something the either did or potentially could have directly hurt someone.

And, if I may say, good on Mr. Sutherland for agreeing to not weasel out of it and take his punishment. I bet he's out in two weeks on good bahvior.

Posted by: EricS | December 6, 2007 11:50 AM | Report abuse

I agree with EricS. An old friend of mine was charged with assault after getting into a fight in college. He was able to do weekend jail time so that he could continue going to classes during the week. This isn't uncommon at all.

As for Lindsay and Nicole, even their sentences were not out of the ordinary. California is notorious for having overcrowded jails and prisons. For that reason, non-violent offenders are often released within a matter of minutes or hours. It's not an issue of celebrity - they simply don't have space to waste on petty crimes.

I think our society has a love-hate relationship with celebrities. There's a part of us that wants to whine about unfair treatment when they're punished, but the reality is, they aforementioned offenders are being treated much like we would if we had committed these offenses.

Posted by: Noelle | December 6, 2007 12:20 PM | Report abuse

It is good that he's serving out his sentence like a responsible adult, but wouldn't it be even better if celebrities could start avoiding all this by using their drivers or even (*gasp*) not partying quite so hard?

(I know -- it's crazy talk.)

Posted by: CentrevilleMom | December 6, 2007 12:21 PM | Report abuse

I think we're jumping the gun by assuming he'll serve his whole sentence.

Why, I wouldn't be surprised to find out that even as I type this, Mr. Bauer is tunnelling out of that jail using a shovel made from the shinbone of one of his guards.

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Byooling, you are so right. On Fox this morning, they told the guards if someone named Chloe shows up to see him, don't let her in.

As long as he behaves himself, he won't do the whole time due to overcrowding. Foxy Brown will do the whole time because she is causing trouble. No good time credit for her. No pony either.

Posted by: ep | December 6, 2007 12:56 PM | Report abuse

I get the whole reduced sentence thing and the weekend jailtime, but what I don't understand is Paris Hilton doing, what, 23 days when Lindsay Lohan got 84 minutes. If I remember correctly, both had more than one DUI under their respective, fashionable belts, and Lohan had cocaine possession to boot. Did I miss something?

Posted by: musicgeek | December 6, 2007 2:07 PM | Report abuse

it's not celebrity that allows them a different justice... it's wealth.
lots of wealthy non-celebs get equally cushy treatment by the court system - and as wealth polarizes so does justice.

this country just gets more broken every day

Posted by: Quintilus Varus | December 6, 2007 2:10 PM | Report abuse

I think Paris' sentence length had to do with the fact that she violated a propation order (or two?). Not sure of the details of Lindsay's case (I'm still burnt out from Paris' coverage, I can't bring myself to care anymore to follow too closely), but if she wasn't violating probation, she wouldn't do as much time.

Posted by: SeaTac | December 6, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

SeaTac? Nice to see you appear to be above water. How much closer is Puget Sound today?

Posted by: byoolin | December 6, 2007 3:49 PM | Report abuse

I just don't think there is anything out of the ordinary about any of the sentences noted here. I think that often regular people get same kinds of sentences depending on mitigating circumstances and such.

What is up with that picture of Nicole? She looks likeher head might start spinning around any minute now...I can't look at it - it's too scary.

Posted by: sunnydaze | December 6, 2007 4:14 PM | Report abuse

This is regarding my daughter,so I know it to be truthful...

Civil Lawsuit has been filed against Mr Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson in the Superior Court of Arizona.
His staff continued to ignore all efforts made by family of totally disabled & poor health young woman to contact them & work situation out-leaving them no choice but to file lawsuit.No money sought.His attorney has the case about in default for ignoring the matter even further.


Mr Johnsons attorney-Mr Harold Brown (310)777-4800

Mr Johnsons agent-Mr Darren Statt (310)273-6700

Mr Johnsons publicist-Ms Meredith O'Sullivan (meredith.o'

The Rock

Posted by: Theresa | December 12, 2007 7:52 AM | Report abuse

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