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The simply not staying in jail life: That’s hot!

I had Sheriff Lee Baca on the line and he was in a foul mood, which is not something that could be said of Paris Hilton.

The professional party girl, who served less than four full days in jail on a 45-day sentence, was up at her spread in the Hollywood Hills, accepting deliveries of gourmet cupcakes for herself and organic dog food for her pups. Baca, meanwhile, was being grilled for letting her go.

“She’s better off serving the rest of her sentence at home,” said Baca, who had earlier insisted he was committed to keeping the millionaire heiress in his Lynwood hotel for three weeks.

Now he was claiming that Hilton had a medical condition that “wasn’t getting any better in jail,” and he decided to reassign her to home confinement, with an electronic monitor.

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As far as I know, it’s the first time anyone has been given a bracelet and a 40-day stay in a Hollywood Hills manse for driving under the influence and violating probation by getting pulled over three more times with a suspended license.

I can see Hilton introducing a new line of home confinement jewelry this fall, for the hostage in every girl.

But by late Thursday, it was looking like her free-at-last party might have to be postponed. The judge who sentenced Hilton ordered her back into court today for a hearing on her release.

Getting out of jail early is nothing new in L.A. County, of course. Several county supervisors were popping off Thursday about Hilton, but we didn’t hear much from them when The Times reported that 16 people have been murdered by inmates who were sprung early.

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Early release is especially common in cases involving relatively minor offenses, like the ones committed by Hilton. But the releases usually are related to overcrowding, not claims that the prisoner didn’t feel well or couldn’t handle hard time.

Baca argued that I’d have trouble finding anyone in his jail serving time for driving with a suspended license. But as I explained to him, her sentence followed a pattern in which she ignored warnings and continued to behave as if the law doesn’t apply to pampered heiresses.

The whole system is a joke if a judge can deliver a 45-day sentence that gets immediately knocked down to an anticipated 23 days with time off for good behavior, and the sheriff uses a formula that routinely knocks 90% off that for women, meaning that a 45-day sentence can easily become a 2.3-day sentence.

“I’m not condemning the judge,” Baca told me. “I think he did the right thing, but ... he didn’t know her medical problem like I do.”

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So what could this problem be? Did she become distraught when they canceled her text messaging account? Did she try tunneling out and break a nail?

Whatever the crisis, we know Hilton’s psychiatrist visited her in the Big House, and Baca told me a county psychologist and jailhouse medical staff also weighed in on Hilton’s mystery illness, which was grave enough that she needed to go home but not so bad that she needed to be hospitalized.

“I’m concerned about her health,” Baca said. “That’s the only issue here. This has nothing to do with outside influences. It has nothing to do with celebrity.”

That’s big of him, but the jail is filled with people who have serious physical and mental problems. How many of them get sent home for cupcakes?

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Today’s court appearance, by the way, really screws up Hilton’s day. She had intended to have the ankle bracelet engraved.

“Paris {heart} Lee.”

steve.lopez@latimes.com


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