CELEBS? LEGAL WOES: How Do I Court Thee? Let Me Count the Ways...
By Stephanie DuBois
2007 just might go down as the year more stars were behind bars than in other whole decades - between Paris
' tearful travail in a Lynwood, California jail house on probation violation (do you think it really left her a changed woman?), Britney
's offenses and court dates (sadly, she seems unchanged), Lindsay
's arrests and Snoop's return to the pokey. And then of course there's Grammy darling Amy Winehouse
's litany of troubles, including her December arrest
for allegedly "perverting the course of justice" (witness tampering) in the trial against her husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, who's accused of assaulting a barman last summer. (Points to Amy for originality.)
It seems that celebrities were intent on breaking some sort of Guinness Book of World Record for stars in trouble with the law in 2007 - and may well have succeeded. In fact the offenders are so numerous, we've decided to list a few by category of offense rather than individually just for the sake of brevity.
Cell Block 1 -- Assault and Battery:
Apparently being charged with misdemeanor battery in September for punching Tommy Lee at the MTV Video Music Awards in Las Vegas only whet Kid Rock
's appetite. Rock was subsequently arrested by Georgia police and charged with misdemeanor battery after he and his posse allegedly beat up another customer at a Waffle House in Atlanta. Hey, when you want someone to pass the syrup, you want the syrup now! Rock and five of his group spent half a day in jail before being bailed out.
Limp Bizkit lead singer Fred Durst received a suspended jail sentence of 120 days, and 20 hours of community service for hitting two people with a car and pleading no contest to seven misdemeanor charges, including two counts of assault with a deadly weapon, three counts of battery, one count of making a criminal threat and one charge of reckless driving on the highway. Wait, it almost took 20 hours just to run down the list of grievances!
Rapper Foxy Brown was charged with felony assault, misdemeanor assault and criminal possession of a weapon after allegedly flinging her Blackberry phone at a neighbor in a dispute over the volume of Brown's car stereo. The victim ended up with a knocked-out tooth and split lip. Hmm, perhaps Blackberry's new slogan can be "Reach out and beat someone."
Of course, OJ Simpson remains intent on staying in the courtroom spotlight. The former NFL running back is facing charges for kidnapping, armed robbery, burglary, assault and conspiracy in connection with the theft of sports memorabilia - Yes, folks, sports memorabilia! - from collectors in a Las Vegas hotel room.
Cell Block 2 -- DUIs:
"24" star Kiefer Sutherland turned himself in to L.A. authorities Dec. 5 to begin serving a 48 day jail term, after after pleading no contest to misdemeanor DUI charges in West L.A. He'd registered a blood alcohol content of more than twice the legal limit AND it was Sutherland's third alcohol-related offense. In November 2004, he was put under probation for five years after pleading no contest to DUI. Felony charges against the actor were dropped to misdemeanor charges in exchange for his no contest plea.
Rapper-cum-actress Eve is just one of many celebs who made SCRAM -- the Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring device -- the hottest new jewelry in Hollywood. She was sentenced to wear the bulky ankle bracelet after crashing her gold Maserati into a highway divider while under the influence of alcohol.
An already pregnant Nicole Richie spent a little less than an hour and a half in jail in August for what was supposed to be a four-day sentence for driving under the influence of drugs.
That was the month after her simple, er, "Simple Life" co-star Paris Hilton spent three weeks of her 45 day sentence for violating probation for previous DUI and reckless driving charges. Hilton's release after three days and subsequent re-incarceration resulted in a media frenzy that should have been reserved for the Second Coming of Christ, not the Second Going of Paris.
Rocker Scott Weiland - of the Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver - was arrested last month "for driving under the influence of a drug" after crashing his car on an L.A. highway. The singer, who's been arrested before for a DUI, failed sobriety tests and refused to take a blood or urine test
"Lost" star Daniel Dae Kim was popped in Hawaii in October on suspicion of drunk driving, making him the fourth star from that show to take home the coveted DUI Award along with Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje, Cynthia Watros and Michelle Rodriguez
Rodriguez violated probation in her DUI case after reportedly failing to complete her community service sentence and consuming alcohol three times while wearing a SCRAM. She's set to report to the Los Angeles County Jail December 24 to start serving six months in jail.
Probation wasn't even considered for former "Prison Break" actor Lane Garrison, who's been sentenced to 40 months in prison for vehicular manslaughter and ordered to pay also ordered to pay $300,000 in restitution. Garrison's blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit when he killed a Beverly Hills High School student in a DUI accident last year.
"30 Rock" regular Tracy Morgan added an extra 80 days of wearing his SCRAM after found to be in violation of his probation for a DUI charge in February. The February incident was actually a violation of a previous probation for DUI from an incident that occurred in December 2005. Another positive reading and he goes straight to jail for 30 days.
Ty Pennington was arrested for allegedly driving drunk last May. The "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" star issued a public apology saying he considered the incident "my wake-up call." Let's hope.
Cell Block 3 -- Public Intoxication:
"Transformers" star Shia LaBeouf was charged last month with misdemeanor criminal trespassing in Chicago after a Walgreens' store security guard detained him for refusing to leave the store due to apparent inebriation. Hey, better he be WUI, walking under the influence, than DUI!
Irish actor Jonathan Rhys Meyers was arrested in November for being drunk and disorderly at Dublin Airport. The "August Rush" star, who checked out of an alcohol-rehab clinic in California earlier this year, faced two charges of public drunkenness and breach of the peace but prosecutors accepted his apology and dropped the charges.
"American Idol" finalist Jessica Sierra was jailed after a drunken confrontation with police less than two weeks after pleading no contest to charges of battery and possession of cocaine and being sentenced to 12 months probation. The 22 year old was charged with disorderly intoxication, resisting arrest and violating conditions of her parole.
Cell Block 4 -- Hit and Run, Reckless Driving:
"Pirates of the Caribbean" star Orlando Bloom was under suspicion of hit and run after crashing into a parked car in October and walking away leaving two passengers inside the car, one with a fractured neck. Bloom claimed an SUV driven by a paparazzi caused the crash and the D.A's office is deciding if it will prosecute.
Nick Hogan was arrested in November on felony charges of reckless driving causing serious bodily injury for the accident that resulted in his friend, John Graziano, suffering permanent brain damage. Graziano was reportedly not wearing a seatbelt, resulting in the severity of his injuries, but reports have also surfaced that Hogan might have been driving under the influence though he was not charged with a DUI at the time.
Cell Block 5 -- Weapons Possession:
Rapper T.I. is currently under house arrest after posting $3 million bail. He was arrested in Atlanta for having his bodyguard buy machine guns and silencers. Police found a cadre of automatic weapons in the home of the rapper, who is a convicted felon and not allowed to own firearms of any kind.
Okay, we have to give Snoop some kind of dis-honorary mention for his arrest for trying to enter John Wayne Airport with a collapsible baton in his luggage. In a plea agreement, Snoop was given 160 hours of community service and three years of informal probation. For shizzle?