Why Lindsay Lohan gets away with repeated probation violations
What is behind the numerous breaks Lindsay Lohan seems to get from the judicial system? Is it her celebrity and wealth? Are judges in California star-struck or blinded by the glare of papparazi surrounding these scofflaws?
Not likely. Like everyone else, judges are bound by rules and laws. They can act only as authorized by state and federal constitutions, rulings from higher courts and applicable state and federal laws. California judges are no exception.
The Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution states that: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.”
A violation of the 8th Amendment can include anything from the method of execution in a capital punishment case (firing squad versus lethal injection) to overcrowding in a jail or prison. In May, 2011 the U. S. Supreme Court found that California’s severe prison overcrowding constituted “cruel and unusual” punishment.* The Court ordered the state to reduce it’s adult prison population by over 30,000 inmates within the following two years. The state responded with a realignment plan that sends people convicted of non-violent and non-serious crimes to county jails instead of state prisons.
This shifts the burden of incarceration to already overcrowded local jails. Consequently, non-violent probation violators like Lindsay Lohan are dealt, in some respects, with kid gloves. Hopefully her repeated probation violations will end and she’ll be able to get on with her life without the need for court supervision or additional incarceration even if only for a day or week at a time.
*Brown v. Plata, May 23, 2011 (USSC).