Liberation of Paris: Hilton Leaves Jail for Home

Inmate No. 9818783 has left the building.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced Paris Hilton's release from jail this morning.

According to sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore, Hilton was "reassigned" for medical reasons. She will receive credit for serving five days of her sentence.

Whitmore said, "With the help of medical personnel and doctors, it was determined that she be reassigned to a community-based electronic monitoring program."

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In other words, Hilton is now under house arrest. She will be confined to her home and required to wear an ankle bracelet for 40 days. The ankle bracelet has a range of 3,000 to 4,000 square feet.

If she leaves her home, Whitmore said, she will most likely be remanded to court and her jail time will be bumped up to 90 days. Hilton's sentence was shortened from 45 days to 23 days because of state rules allowing shorter sentences for good behavior.

"Because she has agreed to this through her attorney, her sentence is now back up to 45 days. She has already served five days, so that's 40 days," Whitmore said.

Through her attorney, Paris Hilton issued a written statement thanking the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department for treating her fairly. The statement went on to say, "I have learned a great deal from this ordeal and hope that others have learned from my mistakes."

Party On?

Under the terms of her house arrest, Hilton was allowed to stroll outside, get the mail and maybe even throw a party if she wanted, said Bob Taylor of the the Los Angeles County Probation Department.

Any trip beyond her home would require the permission of the Probation Department.

Taylor said that while normally those under house arrest with a 9-to-5 job are allowed to go to work, it would have been very unlikely the socialite would be given permission to attend a party or an event for which she would be paid.

But Taylor said Hilton could even invite guests or even throw a party and sip cocktails, because nobody would monitor who was in her home or how she behaved.

The Ankle Bracelet Club

Hilton's not the only celebrity who has been assigned an ankle bracelet. Last month, a Los Angeles judge ordered former "Saturday Night Live" star Tracy Morgan to wear the bracelet for 90 days for violating probation for a drunken driving arrest. Morgan wore the bracelet while he hosted Spike TV's Guys Choice Awards.

"Lost" star Michelle Rodriguez turned the ankle bracelet into a fashion statement when she wore it to New York Fashion Week in February. Rodriguez was sentenced to 60 days in jail for violating probation after a drunken driving arrest in Hawaii. She was released from the Century Regional Detention Center, where Hilton was, almost immediately because of overcrowding.

And then there's Martha Stewart. Stewart was convicted in March 2004 on four counts of lying to investigators and obstructing justice after selling her shares in the pharmaceutical company ImClone days before its application for a new drug was denied. She served five months before she was placed under supervised release and required to wear an ankle bracelet for an additional five months.

Was She Cut a Break?

When one reporter asked if Hilton had been cut a break, 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 finds the ruling outrageous, and 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, 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.

Setting an Example?

Strategy or no strategy, Hilton made her exit early this morning.

With the initial sentencing, Judge Michael T. Sauer seemed to be setting an example -- celebdom won't protect famous and wealthy people from incarceration.

But Hilton's reassignment to house arrest suggests this is far from the case.

Goodson said, "If you are going to make an example of someone, make the example."

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.

Now Hilton's back at home, and the crying has probably stopped. She's reunited with her pet Chihuahuas and enjoying the comforts of her home.

Did she learn a lesson?

"It's hard to say if she's going to take anything from this. ... Maybe she will learn something, that she should get a chauffeur," Goodson joked.

Hilton likes to see and be seen, and the party will probably come to her for the next 40 days. She was spotted toting the Bible before she went to prison, but it's doubtful Hilton's 40 days will be anything like those in the Bible.

ABC's Pierre Thomas and Lauren Pearle contributed to this report.