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Saturday, June 09, 2007



(CHICAGO)(June 8, 2007) Paris Hilton may have landed back in jail due to bad lawyering.

True, her family hired the best lawyers. And her income permits nothing less than the best. So how could the best go wrong? They forgot the courtroom of public opinion. Sometimes even the best lawyers can get it wrong when they are in the courtroom of public opinion.

In every big city, and every little one too, good lawyers develop quiet contacts with the high and mighty, and with the lowly minions who administer the courts and jails. I had "friends" in the Cook County courts that could always point me in the right direction, ensure that I was on top of what was going on and be sure that if there was a secret story I knew it first.

Likewise most major law firms in Chicago have lawyers who are quietly "connected" to "Crime Syndicate" counsel, and who can help when help is needed, the old fashioned way. These firms also know lawyers who know jailers. White shoes to gumshoes.

In Chicago we even have a name for this legerdemain. We call it the ancient common law writ of fixicatus.

I believe Hilton's lawyer had informal contacts both in the jail and in the Sheriff's department. He asked for a favor, and he new he could expect one. He had done this before, very quietly, of course. And so Paris would go through the ruse of surrendering, with a prearranged release already in the works. Once Paris was sprung it would be too late for the judge to spring.

That's what Paris thought would happen.

Hilton's attorneys assured her they would fix the Sheriff where they could not fix the judge. And they did. Only the fix went terribly wrong. The lawyers never suspected the worldwide boomerang, and never warned their client what the risks were of such a fix. Who knew?

The "medical condition" that Paris contracted was so evanescent that it never even surfaced in court. Given the opportunity to produce the jail records, the Sheriff and County Attorney played Alphonse and Gaston. ("You first, no you first.") The "records" never surfaced. And they probably never will.

The judge was played for a sucker, and reacted predictably. Friday he just sat in court reading off the time and saying "No records here yet." Case closed. Jail doors reopened.

The City Attorney who asked for recommitment had a strong legal case. It turned into a sucker shot.

The more Paris played a mini version of Sunset Boulevard, delaying the judge, delaying the deputy sheriffs, sashaying along at her own pace, the more predetermined the outcome became. In true Norma Desmond style Paris thought that she was big and the court system was small. It turned out the other way.

A good lawyer should have said (and maybe did say), "Just do the time quietly and this stuff will go away." Instead, Prima Dona Paris had to make a scene, had to be "reassigned" to her home and ultimately had to be assigned back to jail all over again.

The American justice system, and indeed the justice system of any nation, does not always work with such guillotine-like efficiency. Today it did. Paris went down.

Chances for an appeal? Nil.

------------------------------------------Chicago-based Internet journalist, broadcaster and critic Andy Martin is the Executive Editor and publisher of © Copyright by Andy Martin 2007. Martin covers national and world politics with forty years of personal experience. He holds a Juris Doctor degree from the University of Illinois. Columns also posted at; Comments? E-mail: Media contact: (866) 706-2639. Cell (917) 664-9329 Web sites:;


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