Report: Gibson booking a bust

Sheriff's deputies did well in Hilton case

Paris Hilton was busted by the book, but Mel Gibson's booking was a bust.

That's the conclusion in a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department report released Thursday on the handling of the two celebrity justice cases.

The report concluded that sheriff's officials turned in an acceptable performance when booking and jailing Hilton this year for driving on a suspended license while on probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case.

But it said sheriff's officials violated several department rules in arresting and booking Gibson after he was stopped doing 87 mph on the Pacific Coast Highway with a tequila bottle in his car.

After he was stopped, Gibson launched into an anti-Semitic rant. According to the report from the Office of Independent Review, a supervisor tried to delete his inflammatory remarks from his arrest report but was overruled by a captain. Instead, the remarks were detailed in a supplemental report that was forwarded to county prosecutors but officially shielded from public scrutiny.

That report was eventually leaked to the celebrity Web site TMZ.com, which posted it, prompting a quick apology from Gibson.

Three sheriff's employees also broke several department rules when it came to releasing Gibson from the Malibu station, according to the report. They neglected to take his palm print, to sign a required form or notify their watch commander, and they gave him a lift to the tow yard where his car had been impounded.

"He was treated differently," Michael Gennaco, chief attorney for the Office of Independent Review, told reporters Thursday. "And there was no legitimate law enforcement reason to treat him differently."



The three employees -- two sergeants and a jailer -- have been disciplined, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said. One received a one-day suspension, the other two a written reprimand.

Gibson's spokesman, Alan Nierob, declined to comment.

After pleading no contest to a misdemeanor DUI charge on Aug. 17, 2006, Gibson was given three years' probation, ordered to pay $1,400 in fines and attend Alcoholics Anonymous meetings.

When it came to putting Hilton in jail, the report concluded the Sheriff's Department handled the task properly.

Sheriff's officials were widely accused of giving Hilton preferential treatment when they released her to home detention for medical reasons after she had served fewer than four days of a 23-day jail sentence last June. The judge who had sentenced Hilton ordered her back to jail the next day, and she stayed another 2 1/2 weeks.

Gennaco said Hilton actually spent more time in the slammer than an average person would have, noting most female inmates are released after serving a fraction of their sentences because of overcrowding.

Meanwhile, the report concluded that while it is "extremely rare" to release an inmate early for medical reasons, it is not improper.
comments powered by Disqus