Judge grants appeal to free Lindsay Lohan

A judge late on Friday granted an appeal to release actress Lindsay Lohan from jail less than nine hours after she was placed behind bars on a charge of violating her probation by failing a drug test.

Judge Patricia Schnegg, an assistant supervising judge in the Los Angeles courts, signed the order to free Lohan, set bail at $300 000 and ordered the Mean Girls actress to wear an alcohol monitoring bracelet, a spokesperson said.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s department, which runs the jails, was notified Lohan was free to go, but a spokesperson was not immediately available on Friday night to say whether she had been released.

Schnegg’s order came at the end of a day of fast-changing events in which the 24-year-old actress was first denied bail and sent to jail for violating probation on a 2007 charge of drunken driving and cocaine possession, due to evidence she ignored an order barring her from consuming alcohol or drugs.

Legal experts had believed Lohan would spend nearly a month behind bars awaiting an October 22 hearing on probation violation, but her attorney Shawn Chapman Holley filed a writ of appeal late in the day seeking to set aside Judge Fox’s ruling. Schnegg approved that appeal.

In August, the actress served two weeks of a 90-day jail sentence and 22 more days in a residential drug treatment programme when a judge ruled she violated probation for the same charges of drunken driving and cocaine possession.

After being released from rehab, Lohan was subject to court-ordered drug tests. Last week, she sent out a series of messages on Twitter admitting she failed a test and saying she was working to overcome her substance abuse.

“Regrettably, I did in fact fail my most recent drug test, and if I am asked, I am prepared to appear before Judge Fox,” Lohan tweeted last week.

On Monday, an arrest warrant was issued and she was ordered to appear in court on Friday, where she was whisked off to jail in handcuffs after a brief hearing.

Websites around the world posted a photo of Lohan in an orange, prison-issued jumpsuit, a stark contrast to the sleek black designer jacket and white skirt she wore to court on Friday morning.

Independent attorneys said judges often deny bail in cases where a defendant violates probation, but California law provides that in misdemeanor cases like Lohan’s, defendants have a right to bail, which was what Schnegg recognised.

Friday’s events marked the second time in recent months the actress has spent time behind bars, further diminishing her once-promising career.

After making her mark in Disney movies like The Parent Trap, Freaky Friday and Herbie Fully Loaded, Lohan became a sought-after teenage star. She earned praise for her small part in director Robert Altman’s A Prairie Home Companion.

But soon after, Lohan began frequenting Los Angeles nightclubs and developed a reputation for partying. Her moves were documented nearly daily by the Hollywood paparazzi.

In May 2007, she crashed a Mercedes-Benz on the famed Sunset Boulevard. Police found cocaine in her car and arrested her on suspicion of drunken driving. Two months later, she was arrested again on similar charges.

Lohan pleaded no contest to two counts each of drunken driving and being under the influence of cocaine, and one count of reckless driving. She spent 84 minutes in jail, was released due to overcrowding and placed on three years probation.

Her probation was extended for a year after she missed some alcohol-education classes, and earlier this year, a judge found her guilty of violating probation by again missing such classes, leading to jail and rehab. – Reuters

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Bob Tourtellotte
Bob Tourtellotte works from Los Angeles. I have been Reuters chief movie writer for more than a decade and am currently the entertainment editor. Bob Tourtellotte has over 381 followers on Twitter.

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