Relaxed Celebrity Sentencing

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Lax Sentences for Celebrities:

A Look at Criminal Injustice

David House

Prof. Ashli Arbo

CJUS 230

9 August 2010

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Lax Sentences for Celebrities

A Look at Criminal Injustice


Disparities between sentencing practices of celebrities and regular citizens are becoming a heated issue across the nation. This subject has received much attention due to the fact that we have so many celebrities that are in and out of court and jail today and those individuals are receiving much less sentences than individuals that are not celebrities. The basis of this paper is to provide its reader with information regarding the disparities that are seen and noted on this subject. It discusses such practices as “fast-track” sentencing and also looks at opinions of stars in regards to other stars sentences. The paper concludes with a look at why it is important for courts and criminal justice officials to take a stand and discontinue these practices of disparities.


Court disparity is quickly becoming an issue of great debate within our country due to the rise in unequal sentencing practices used by our criminal justice system. This issue is so great because there is such a division between the people about it, some think celebrities should be treated and tried in accordance with the crimes they commit, while others feel that since they are

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in the public eye, them going to jail would ruin the lives of those that look to them as role models. Them being treated as if they are above the law is quickly becoming a practice the majority of citizens are growing weary of and are becoming enraged because it has become a common practice. This paper will show evidence of the disparities and the stand that must be taken in regards to these criminal injustices.

Jail Sentences on Celebrities

For some years now, we have seen celebrities walk in and out of court accused of everything from petty/grand theft (Wynona Rider, 2001) to murder (O.J. Simpson, 1994), and we have also seen a good majority, mostly all of these celebrities acquitted of the charges. Take the recent broken down sentence of Lindsey Lohan, after being accused and found guilty of violating probation and not adhering to the order of the judge, she walks out of court with a sentence of 90 days in rehabilitation and a jail sentence of only 14 days. According to Chris Wolfe of KTLA, the presiding Judge had a “change of heart in regards to her sentencing”.

Question asked is, if this were a regular citizen, a person not in the public spotlight, would they have received the same reconsideration of judgment, would they have only served 14 days due to jail overcrowding? According to the Associated Press “An Orange County judge sentenced 73-year-old David L. Mackey Friday to 8 1/2 years in prison”, this was in response to him violating his probation terms. One would be inclined to agree that our justice system is lacking several key issues when it comes to fairness and in a lot of cases justice. As

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professionals in the criminal justice field, we should not be swayed due to the status of an accused, we should always keep in mind that we are here to uphold the law and no-one is above the law.

According to the Kraut Law Group “offenders get increased mandatory jail time – at minimum, four days; at maximum, 6 months. Your mandatory DUI alcohol school time goes up to 18 months, and your driver's license suspension goes up to two years. Your fines and court costs will also bump up.” This is for second time offenders, unless you are a celebrity, there is always a reason why a celebrity should not serve a full or even partially full sentence. However there have been very few exceptions, the was famed Quarterback Michael Vick, did two of his six year sentence and...
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