New Lindsay Lohan attorney says actress deserves ‘mercy,’ not jail

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Lindsay Lohan’s new attorney, Mark Heller, is already spinning out the idea that his client’s actions don’t amount to a crime worthy of jail time and that there are better ways to address underlying problems.

Heller on Wednesday formally replaced Shawn Holley as Lohan’s lawyer in Los Angeles, where she faces three misdemeanor charges. Santa Monica prosecutors allege she lied when she said she wasn’t driving her Porsche when it rear-ended a truck on Pacific Coast Highway.

The New York lawyer already represents the actress in two arrests. He said has just received evidence in the case and will be reviewing it. But he said jail does not seem an appropriate form of justice for the charges of lying to an officer, reckless driving and obstructing an officer.

‘Justice has to be tempered with mercy,’ Heller said. ‘Even mean-spirited people should want to see an alternative used to jail.’ Heller said jail does not address Lohan’s underlying issues, but he did not elaborate on those issues.


Heller said he has already had a productive discussion with the Santa Monica city prosecutor and the Los Angeles city attorney, who prosecuted a prior shoplifting conviction for the actress.

He said he ‘does not have a crystal ball’ and cannot predict what may happened to his client.

‘Her life has been under a magnifying glass with a great public interest in her case,’ Heller said. ‘I am very proud to be a part of this process to make sure justice is served.’

In court, Heller tried to play up his New York roots with Judge Stephanie Sautner, saying in a thick New York accent that it was ‘a great honor’ to appear in her court. He referenced Sautner’s previous work as a New York City police detective.

Sautner was nonplussed. Though she did work for NYPD, the judge told Heller, that “was in another life.” She also scolded his attempts to butter her up.

‘Flattery doesn’t get you anywhere in this court,’ Sautner said.

The judge was not in a joking mood but did remark to Lohan that she was glad the actress was feeling better. Lohan had previously submitted paperwork to the court saying she was too ill to travel from New York and could not appear Wednesday. The actress made the trip after the court expressed the likelihood that an arrest warrant would be issued if she failed to show up.

Heller said Wednesday in court that all he wants to do is help the actress: ‘I think it would be in Miss Lohan’s best interest to bring closure to this drama in her life.’


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--Richard Winton