[ 2007-06-26 16:46 ]
combination photo shows Paris Hilton posing during a news conference for
the television show 'The Simple Life 5' in Los Angeles April 9, 2007, (L)
and Hilton leaving the Los Angeles Municipal Court May 4, 2007 (R).
Hotel heiress Paris Hilton, who commanded as much attention behind bars as on the Hollywood party scene,
regained her freedom on Tuesday after serving three weeks in jail for violating
probation in a drunk-driving case.
The incarceration of the 26-year-old multimillionaire, who lampooned her own persona as a clueless child of
privilege on the reality TV show "The Simple Life," ignited a worldwide media
frenzy and debate about celebrity justice.
The saga hit a crescendo when Hilton was placed briefly under house arrest after just three days in jail,
sparking an uproar over what many saw as preferential treatment. Even so, a Los
Angeles Times analysis found her sentence far exceeded those served by most
inmates for similar offenses.
In the end, Hilton served 22 days in detention, counting her day-long home
confinement. The original 45-day term set by the judge was effectively cut in
half under a standard credit applied for good behavior.
Hilton came out of the Century Regional Detention Facility about 12:15 a.m.
(0715 GMT) and a swarm of photographers and camera crews awaited her.
Dressed casually in dark slacks and a short-sleeved top, Hilton made no
statement but had a broad smile as she walked down a paparazzi-lined path to a
sports utility vehicle where she was embraced by her mother Kathy.
The Hiltons left quickly with several vehicles full of photographers tailing
them on the freeway.
Whether fame worked for or against her, public fascination with the socialite
who first gained notoriety in a homemade sex video that surfaced on the Internet
never seemed to dim.