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Judge rejects jail time for Lohan, orders her to stay in rehab

Over a prosecutor’s protest, a Beverly Hills judge Friday spared actress Lindsay Lohan jail time for violating the terms of her probation and ordered her instead to remain in a residential rehab facility to continue drug and alcohol addiction treatment.

Under the terms imposed by Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Elden S. Fox, Lohan will remain at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage until Jan 3. She will also be subject to random drug testing after she leaves treatment until her Feb. 25 court date.

“I’m serious about that [date]. You’re staying there past the New Year, and there’s a reason for that,” Fox told Lohan.

Deputy Dist. Atty. Danette Meyers had asked Fox to sentence the 24-year-old actress to 180 days in jail, saying time behind bars would be the only way to get Lohan to take her case seriously. Meyers contended that the sole reason Lohan checked herself into treatment in late September was the possibility of going to jail.

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“To continue the cycle of [treatment] program, violation, ensuing jail time, program, violation, does no good to her or the state of California,” Meyers said at the hearing. “I wish she would get it together.”

Lohan’s attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, asked the judge not to punish her client, saying she was “trying her best.” She noted that Lohan received two positive reports from the treatment center.

“She voluntarily went into treatment, and she chose a program that is known to be hard core,” Holley told the judge.

Fox said he had received a handwritten letter from Lohan. He sternly warned the actress that if she violated her probation again, he would follow the prosecutor’s recommendation and sentence her to jail.

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“I’m not going to be manipulated,” Fox told Lohan. “If you’re serious about what you wrote in the letter, if you’re serious about your sobriety ... you will admit that you are an addict.”

If Lohan completes her treatment and complies with her probation until her court appearance in February, Fox told her, he will place her on unsupervised probation so she can move on with her life and “put this long episode behind” her. Lohan wiped away tears as she thanked the judge.

Ahead of Friday’s hearing, Lohan’s probation officer had recommended she remain in treatment for 120 days.

“Possibly removing herself from her lifestyle and its pressures for an extended period is exactly what is needed to preserve her health,” deputy probation officer Barbara Parker wrote in a report submitted to the judge.

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According to the report, Lohan began talking about “feeling powerless and about being an addict” to her chemical dependency counselor after her positive drug test in September, and is participating in a group on “improving self-esteem” at Betty Ford. She indicated to the probation officer that she was financially strained, saying she could not afford to continue to pay for the treatment and that her clothing line was falling apart because she was not available to monitor the product.

Lohan’s legal troubles arose from two DUI arrests in 2007 and a string of probation violations that followed.

victoria.kim@latimes.com

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

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