Talk about a tease.
Paris Hilton's tumultuous week of being in jail, then out of jail and under house arrest, has come to an end. The heiress got a taste of the comforts of her own home for a little more than 24 hours before the judge sent her right back where she came -- jail.
Hilton was spotted crying when she was driven from her house to the court, and the crying continued in the courtroom. Despite both of her parents being there for support, she fought back tears throughout the entire proceedings. In addition, she was rocking back and forth and was visibly shaking.
Once Superior Court Judge Michael T. Sauer ordered her returned to jail to serve her entire 45-day sentence for a parole violation in a reckless driving case, Hilton completely broke down. Screaming and crying, she shouted "Mom!" and "It's not right!" She was helped physically from the room.
Hilton seemed to have been caught in the middle of a power struggle between the judge and the sheriff. The arguments heard in today's courtroom were dominated by who had the right to determine the manner in which Hilton would serve her sentence.
Sauer said he never endorsed the Los Angeles County sheriff's decision to release Hilton from jail and into home confinement after only three days because of an unspecified medical condition.
"At no time did I approve the defendant being released from custody to her home on Kings Road," Sauer said.
The judge said he asked repeatedly for Sheriff Lee Baca to file motions regarding Hilton's medical status, but he failed to see one come across his desk.
The sheriff ultimately yielded to the judge's wishes. Hilton was sentenced to 40 days at the Lynwood facility where she started her jail time. But if she behaves herself, she can shave off days of her sentence. Inmates are given a day off for every four days of good behavior.
Hilton's Hectic Day
Hilton was picked up at her home by a black-and-white patrol car and driven to court in handcuffs.
The judge ordered the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department to get Hilton and bring her to court after a back-and-forth decision on whether or not she would physically show up in court. L.A. Superior Court Public Information Officer Allan Parachini said earlier in the day that Hilton would join the hearing via a conference call.
As police arrived at Hilton's Hollywood Hills home this morning, helicopters hovered overhead, and a band of Chihuahuas could be seen on her patio barking at all the action.
A Two-Tiered System?
Critics have said the whole escapade illustrates a flaw in the judicial system.
"We cannot tolerate a two-tiered jail system, where the rich and powerful receive special treatment," said Los Angeles City attorney Rocky Delgadillo, the prosecutor on the case.
Delgadillo questioned why Hilton's medical condition wasn't treated at the detention facility, which has a medical staff and an infirmary.
Not only that, but Sauer wrote in court documents that Hilton was not allowed to substitute a lesser punishment for time in jail.
"No work furlough. No work release. No electronic monitoring," Sauer explicitly wrote.
And yet, Hilton was "reassigned" to her multimillion dollar home in Hollywood Hills, where she was required to wear a monitored ankle bracelet for 40 days. The ankle bracelet had a range of 3,000 to 4,000 square feet.
"Early release decisions are the province of the sheriff every day due to jail overcrowding, but not always," Parachini told ABC News. "In this particular manner, Judge Sauer was advised yesterday afternoon of the sheriff's intention to release her, and his response was that he reaffirmed the terms of the sentence on May 4."
Was She Cut a Break?
Thursday when one reporter asked if Hilton had been cut a break by being sent home, sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore said, "It's a fair statement, and I don't know if there's any way to address that. … [We're] fully aware of this criticism and this action was taken."
He also said if another person, or a noncelebrity, had the same medical problem as Hilton, he or she would also have been allowed to serve time at home.
Whitmore added, "She has paid her debt to society."
According to statistics from the Bureau of Justice, in December 2005 there were 2.1 million prisoners in federal and state prisons, and local jails. And of those imprisoned, many also had "medical conditions," just as Hilton reportedly had. In 2004, there were more than 6,000 people in prison with AIDS. That year, 204 of people with AIDS in prison died there.
Los Angeles defense attorney Dana Cole found the ruling outrageous, and said that if there was a true medical emergency Hilton should have gone to the hospital.
Cole said, "Many of my clients had all sorts of medical problems and never got out of jail. … One client [had] a grotesque staph infection that was eating away at his leg -- this is common in jail. I tried desperately but could not get him out of jail."
Molly Goodson, the editor of the celebrity news blog PopSugar.com, said the crying effort to get out of jail was part of Hilton's plan all along.
"It was a strategy. … She knew going into it there was a chance she'd get out early. It was the same jail that allowed [Michelle] Rodriguez to leave after three hours of her sentence," Goodson told ABC News.
Hilton was sentenced to jail in May for violating her probation in an alcohol-related reckless driving case, and she started her sentence Sunday night, a minute before midnight, and not without fanfare. First, she attended MTV's Movie Awards, where she was even roasted by the show's host Sarah Silverman.
According to her lawyer, Hilton was holding up in prison after her first night. But her condition deteriorated and rumors spread of her incessant crying, two psychiatric visits, lack of sleep and not eating.
So we're back to the drawing board.
Hilton will spend 40 days behind bars, and if she's lucky, she'll be spared a few days on account of good behavior.
Will the good behavior continue when she's out?
We'll be the judges.
ABC's Pierre Thomas, Lauren Pearle, Arash Ghadishah and Peter Imber contributed to this report.