June 22, 2007 By Wallin & Klarich

We are a nation of laws. You would think that if you are convicted of doing the identical crime anywhere in California, you would serve the same amount of jail time. Unfortunately that is not the case when it comes to crimes committed in Los Angeles County in most cases.

In most counties, such as Orange, Ventura, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego Counties if you are sentenced to one year in county jail you will do two thirds of the jail sentence. This means you will end up doing 240 days on a one year sentence. However, if you receive a jail sentence of one year in Los Angeles County, it is most often the case for various reasons that the actual time you serve in custody will be a very small percentage of the one year sentence.

Our law office has represented several clients facing criminal charges in Los Angeles County who were accused of very serious felonies and we were able to have their sentence reduced from a possible state prison sentence to a one year sentence in Los Angeles County Jail. However, our clients did not end up actually doing two thirds of the time (as they would have in most every other county in California).

In one case our client was released after serving only 19 actual days on a one year sentence.

There is a large public outcry over the fact that Paris Hilton was released on a 45 day sentence after serving only a few days. This decision in Los Angeles County is not a unique one. In fact on a daily basis in Los Angeles County our clients’ jail sentences are being reduced drastically due to jail overcrowding. It is not unusual for a client ordered by a judge in Los Angeles County to serve 90 days to actually be released from jail after serving less than 20% of their jail sentence.

It appears that until Los Angeles County decides to invest enough money to build additional jail cells the sentences imposed by judges in Los Angeles County will likely not be carried out. It certainly doesn’t seem fair that someone who commits the “same crime” in Ventura County that another person commits in Los Angeles County will end up having to do much more actual jail time in Ventura than Los Angeles. It seems that Los Angeles County needs to get their act together because people that commit crimes are quickly learning the “rules”. As the word is circulated that crimes are punished less severely in Los Angeles County than in other counties, it is putting the citizens of Los Angeles County at greater risk.

Paris Hilton was not released from jail early because she is Paris Hilton. Paris Hilton was released from jail early because she was fortunate enough to have committed he criminal acts in Los Angeles County. Does that seem fair to you?

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