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Judge Elden Fox, who presided over Lohan’s September 24 hearing, remanded Lohan into custody pending her probation revocation hearing, which was set for October 22, and declined to set bail. Although Judge Fox had earlier warned Lohan that she would have to serve thirty days in county jail if she were to miss or fail any court-mandated drug tests, his refusal to set bail was both surprising and problematic under California law. His order would effectively require Lohan to serve out her sentence for an alleged probation violation before any formal probation revocation hearings had taken place.
Under California Penal Code Section 1272, misdemeanor defendants are entitled to bail as a matter of right. Furthermore, under California case law, misdemeanor defendants are guaranteed the right to bail on an appeal from “any judgment imposing imprisonment on a misdemeanor offense.”
In speedily filing a writ of habeas corpus on Lohan’s behalf, attorney Shawn Chapman Holley used both Section 1272 of the California Penal Code and California case law to support her argument that Judge Fox’s refusal to set bail flew in the face of settled California law. Judge Patricia Schnegg (who is probably best known for presiding over the case stemming from Chris Brown‘s attack of Rihanna) agreed with the argument presented by Holley and entered an order granting Lohan’s petition of habeas corpus and setting the amount ($300,000) and terms (Lohan must wear a SCRAM bracelet, is subject to search and seizure at any time, and must stay away from places where people use drugs or alcohol) of her bail. This order was entered just hours after Judge Fox demanded that Lohan be taken into custody.
While some have criticized the speed at which Lohan’s appeal was granted, there should be no doubt that the law was clearly on her side. California law entitled Lohan to post bond pending her probation revocation hearing, and the swiftness with which her rights were enforced should be commended, not criticized. One can only hope that justice will be just as swift when non-celebrities’ liberty is at stake.
– Christina Santana
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