Of Course Lindsay Lohan Isn’t Going To Jail!

November 2, 2011

Political Theory


Today I came across an article about how on Wednesday Lindsay Lohan was ordered to return to Jail for 30 days for violating probation, and after getting out of jail she will have a five-month strict calendar of community service and psychological counseling. Surely this news cannot be surprising to anyone, seeing as Lindsay is notorious for getting in trouble with the law.

Photo by REUTERS

Lindsay was on probation earlier this year because she was found guilty for stealing a gold necklace from a jewelry store, and she was sentenced 480 hours of community services at a Los Angeles women’s detention center. However, Lindsay didn’t show for 12 of the 20 sessions at the women’s center or 14 of her 19 scheduled psychotherapy appointments.  In court on Wednesday, the judged re-established Lindsay’s probation and ordered her to serve a total of 300 days in jail, however right now she only has to be behind bars for 30 days.

After reading that she only has to serve 30 days out of the total 300 days in jail, I became upset and angry at this news. After everything she has done she still only gets 30 days in prison? To maybe help you understand my frustration let me remind you of some of her past criminal records.

In May 2007 she was arrested for a DUI, and was sent to a rehab center for 45 days. Only ten days after getting out of the rehab center, she was arrested again for a DUI and was found with cocaine in her paints. In November  2007 she was sentenced to serve a day in jail, where she ended up   only serving 84 minutes behind bars. In July 2010 she was sentenced to   jail for 90 days, and after two weeks of being in jail she was released because the detention facility was overcrowded. These are not all of  her criminal records, but I think you understand my point. It is very apparent that every time Lindsay Lohan gets in legal trouble she doesn’t have to serve time like an average Joe would, and is treated differently because she is a celebrity.

 This makes me begin questioning our legal system and if it is really fair. In the United   States we have laws and regulations that we implement for all citizens. If those laws are broken then there are consequences. It’s as simple as that. However, the question becomes how does the courts determine these consequences. You would hope that the courts would determine the ruling of a case by the severity of the crime and the person’s criminal history, but surely that isn’t the case.  If so, Lindsay Lohan wouldn’t be serving only 30 days in jail with probation after all her past charges, but instead she would be in there for the total 300 days.  How is it fair that since she is a celebrity that she gets away with serving time, and usually only gets probation and community service? It’s not like she has learned her lesson, because clearly every time she is off of probation or even while she is on it she gets into more trouble. You would think that after all the times she has gotten in trouble that the court would finally put their foot down, but because of her social status they haven’t. Lindsay isn’t the only person who has been let off easy with the law, but in fact many other celebrities have too.  I think that by the courts giving legal privileges to people with high social statuses, it is only hurting our society. It shows “average” citizens that the court system isn’t fair and that our laws aren’t taken so seriously at times. At the same time the courts are just releasing citizens that are going to cause destruction to themselves and others due to their out of control behaviors.

So what do you think? Why do you think Lindsay Lohan and all other celebrities get be treated differently with the court systems?  Why in the court of law when determining the ruling of a case do they they consider someone’s social status?

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12 Comments on “Of Course Lindsay Lohan Isn’t Going To Jail!”

  1. bmauto21 Says:

    Clearly, there should be no favoritism towards criminals. We have laws so that everybody follows the same rules, not so celebrities can be exempt. Yes there may be some need for added protection and not putting them in the same jail as other, more dangerous criminals, but she should not be treated any differently for her social standing. My father always said there are two types of jails; one for the wealthy famous people and one for the normal people. This should not be the case because when you commit any criminal offense, you’re social standpoint should not affect the outcome. Celebrities, like Lindsay Lohan, should not be treated any differently from the normal person.

  2. aclieb Says:

    What you’re talking about (the author of this blog) is unfortunate but it has become a part of society. Essentially, life isn’t fair. Some people in life are able to get away with what the rest of us can’t. A celebrity can get out of jail time. A judge can get out of a speeding ticket. Just knowing a police officer can get one off the hook for something. Heck, just being attractive can get a girl off with a warning. Yet, it’s just one of those things in life we have to deal with. No, the legal system isn’t perfect. Not all crimes are caught and when they are, prosecution is not always conducted. Obviously this is not fair, but it’s just part of society. If you’re asking for parity on this issue, it’s just not going happen. Assuming the crime is something insignificant like a speeding ticket, some well known politician or what have you just won’t have to suffer the consequences the rest of the world must. I don’t think this is about people being above the law. I think it’s more an issue of sucking up to them, but that’s just my opinion.

  3. adamskt Says:

    Our justice system has multiple purposes, one of which is the purported rehabilitation of criminals. Lindsay Lohan has proven on numerous occasions not only that she has not changed her ways, but that she has no intention of doing so. The fact that our justice system allows her to repeatedly avoid her jail sentences suggests that this purpose of the system is not held prominently. If Lohan had given any indication that she understood that what she was doing was not okay, then perhaps her constant avoidance of punishment, while nevertheless unfair, would not be as painful for us to watch. I agree with bmauto21 who writes that there may be a need for differences in protection for well-known criminals, but this does not imply whatsoever that celebrities who break the law should be pardoned for their crimes.

    The courts have provided ample punishment for Lohan’s numerous crimes. However, sometime after the punishment is doled out, she becomes exempt. We have not specifically discussed the use of justice systems in the formation of government, but Hobbes’ idea of social contracts can be applied in this situation. Lindsay Lohan is a perfect example of a member of a political community who is not keeping her promises and is breaking the contract. The fact that the “common power” is no longer keeping her “in awe” is problematic. Lohan does not have any reason to fear breaking the law, since the justice system unfairly sides with her every time. The common power that we have may be enough to keep everyone else in fear, but when the system allows her to get away with crimes multiple times, there is no longer anything stopping her from breaking the contract. Overall, the justice system’s actions are unacceptable, as they take credibility away from the common power.

  4. thelenj1 Says:

    This certainly is not right, but the idea of high social statuses getting treated better than lower statuses is not a new concept. Upper class can afford better lawyers and have higher education level. These lead to better connections and more likely for them to ride above the law. A poor individual does not have the resources they need to have such luxuries. It does not mean that it is right that she has repeated gotten off when others with way less charges are serving the full sentences, but American society is structured in such a way where this injustice is inevitable. Our court systems are set up so that there is not a set punishment for every crime. Judges decide sentencing based on what they deem appropriate given the circumstances. This creates room for different interpretations of what appropriate is and with a defendant with the right resources appropriate does not need to be fair.

  5. serena Says:

    The general population will agree that this treatment is completely unfair; however, not once did I find myself shaking my head with disgust or being outraged. This is so common that people are no longer shocked. As you mentioned, it is not only Lohan, but other celebrities too. Most celebrities don’t take the necessary precautions with the law because of precedents they are almost pretty much guaranteed similar, lesser consequences. Thinking about it, it is not only the criminal justice system but other ‘systems’ as well. Take, for example, cheating. How many times have you seen people hardcore cheating and doing it frequently, yet the one time you zone out and ‘have suspicious behavior’ you are punished like no other. On every level, there are rules and there are always people that get around them using any means necessary. Our criminal justice system has good intentions for its criminals; but fails to make punishments consist for all people. A previous comment noted that one of the goals was to rehabilitate prisoners but I recently learned in another class that that particular goal is no longer a motivating idea. Yes, the courts did assign Lohan rather lenient punishments (lets be honest, an average person would have probably been sentenced to a longer prison term), but even with those they did not reinforce them.

  6. springsteen1 Says:

    Another great post. I agree with almost all counts / fronts. One place I will take charge at is the fact that celebrity cannot be discounted – that is, while they SHOULD NOT be treated more fairly / differently than the rest of people in a court of law, a factor which I think can / should be considered is the reason for not sending them to public jails. I know in the past, many celebrities (ie Martha Stewart) received house arrest; others were put in more private cells / areas. They should not receive benefits / preferential treatment, but I don’t disagree that they should be given not more but a different type of privacy, given the fact they are in trouble and are not being sent to a first-class resort.

    OF course, Lohan should be sent to prison. Particularly under the circumstances, all beyond and before the crime should be evaluated. For example, did Lohan comport herself in a manner deserved of extra treatment? She painted “Fuck You” on her nails. I apologize for the vulgarity, but this is fact – this is a direct quote from what she painted, intentionally (and proceeded to lie about it) on her nails prior to her last trial.

    Consider O.J. Robert Blake. And the countless others. The difference is that Lohan was guilty, proven, and even admitted many of he times / charges. This is unacceptable – no holds barred; lock her up.

  7. nasearc Says:

    Obviously everyone should be treated equally in a court and no one should escape sentences because of social status. However I think the problem lies with the attornies who represent these people. Our court system is unfair because people are often represented by attornies with different skill levels. The rich are able to affford the high end lawyers who are able to get their clients better sentences or even free them of all charges. The poor, however, often hire lawyers who cost less and might not be as pursuasive in court, or are assigned a lawyer by the state, which does not ensure quality. This system enables the rich and powerful to be represented by the best lawyers and leaves the poor with lawyers who aren’t necesarily bad, but aren’t as renowned as other lawyers. This enables the rich to do better in court and escape the sentences that were given to them. As shown by Lindsay Lohan, the rich are able to escape punishment with the use of skilled, expensive lawyers. So, do we accept the different levels of skill of different lawyers, or do we change the court system that can often give an advantage to the rich and powerful?

  8. amandel12 Says:

    I completely agree with the previous comment. In today’s world, having money can essentially, while at a high cost, get a person out of any trouble in the court system. While it is clear that Lindsay Lohan needs much more than just a 30 day sentence, which seems like a slap on the wrist compared to the 300 she should be serving, it seems as though this kind of shortening of sentences occurs more often than not with celebrities. However, in this case, Lohan has been proven guilty yet because she has money, she has been able to pay a top of the line lawyer to minimize her sentence once again. It is despicable that celebrities are treated like gods in a society that runs on the rules. If any person in the United States has trouble following the rules set up over 230 years ago, then they need to be punished completely. Lohan has once again cut a very dangerous corner and if she continues with her behavior, there are only going to be more court cases that she pays a top of the line lawyer to get her out of. While it is certain that this is unfair to the average American citizen, this is what goes on in the United States: celebrities have an elite and untouchable status that essentially (along with a large sum of money) can get them out of anything.

  9. adamstillman2011 Says:

    I think that this issue can draw upon elements from the social contract argument. Under the social contract it is assumed that we all have to abide by the laws in order to prevent the state of nature. If certain people are being treated differently under the contract the incentive to break the contract is greater. If I know that I can break the law and get away with it because of my place in society there is a better chance that I will do so.

    In the case of Lindsay Lohan she has been able to disobey the law enough times where it seems that she doesn’t fell obligated to obey the social contract. She might feel that she will just be able to find another way around the punishment, which results in her repeating the same offenses. She needs someone to sternly remind her what the laws in this country are and how a normal citizen should behave.

  10. weinben Says:

    Lindsay Lohan is one of many examples of individuals who find they can get away with crimes because of his or her social status. Certainly, it is not right nor is it fair that people are not ultimately subjected to equal treatment or prosecution. However, it would be naïve to say this result comes as any sort of surprise. As you climb society’s ladder higher and higher, you can find more and more ways to bend the law and social rules to get what you want because certain elusive resources become available. Abundant amounts of money and connections with other powerful and influential people obviously help endowed persons escape and ride above the law. However, I believe there is another aspect to this. In modern times, we seek to find celebrities who embody our hopes, dreams and beliefs. We, as a society, love celebrities because they seem to live some sort of exaggerated form of life, a pseudo-reality where the rules that guide us normal folk don’t necessarily apply. And when these super-humans are found liable and accountable for unflattering actions, many of us don’t wish to believe it and remain skeptical that our heroes, that these people who symbolize what many of us want to be, are just as faulted as we are. And by sentencing celebrities for common crimes, we diminish their light, their star power, and bring them back to reality for a quick minute. Perhaps as a society, we condone celebrity crimes because we cannot face the fact they are just human beings too.

  11. isobelkraft Says:

    First and foremost, I agree with most of the commenters and the author in that Lindsay Lohan (and all the other celebrity-turned-criminals) should not be given preferential treatment from the law based on their socioeconomic status. I understand that it has partly to do with the fact that richer people can higher better lawyers. However, the fact that Lohan was able to get away with repeat offenses and receive considerably less jail time then what was sentenced tells me that it’s not just the work of the lawyer. It is apparent that the Lohan family was able to “pull strings” in order to lessen Lindsay’s charges. I don’t just have an issue with this because it’s morally wrong and unfair, but because it is actually extremely important that Lindsay, and others like her, be treated like other criminals. These celebrities are in the public light, meaning people and the media pay a lot of attention to them for whatever they do, especially if it is scandalous. (Why else would know everything about her criminal record and have such strong opinions about it?). The way that these people are treated has a large effect on society. We may not look up to these people as role models, but they are the most public example of our governmental and legal system. The way Lindsay Lohan is treated, because of her stardom, is known to many and says a lot to the public about the fairness of our legal system. So, the government should take special care to treat celebrities as they would normal citizens not only because it the right and fair thing to do but also because the legal outcome will be under heavy public scrutiny.

  12. kaitlinlapka Says:

    First of all, I haven’t followed LL since her “Parent Trap” days, but how long has this been going on?? It seems like she’s been in court, at trial, etc. for years! Or am I just really behind on her life?
    Anyway, I agree with the statement that celebrities are not only treated differently, but can also afford different resources. Guaranteed LL didn’t just get the court appointed attorney, she can obviously afford much better services. This may not seem fair, but if you look at it, it’s like any other system in America. People with more money can afford better quality items and services. Celebrities have better bodies because they can afford dietitians and plastic surgery. Certain families have better health care because they can afford health insurance or know people who will help them to get appointments with more well-known doctors. It’s sort of the American way, despite our also substantial level of equality, justice, and fairness for all. We have those rights, but at the same time we don’t. Maybe to question this is to question America and this system and these practices overall…
    And that’s probably the most profoud thing that’s ever come out of LL.

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