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Lindsay Lohan sentencing: Jail overcrowding, rehabilitation and history will play roles

October 22, 2010 |  7:40 am

Lohanincourt Actress Linsday Lohan avoided an extended stay in county jail last month when a judge's ruling to keep her behind bars without bail on a misdemeanor probation violation was overturned on appeal.

Lohan has been free on $300,000 bail since Sept. 24, when Superior Court Judge Patricia Schnegg agreed that the star of "Mean Girls," "The Parent Trap" and "Freaky Friday" was entitled to post bail on a probation violation for misdemeanor drunk driving.

The decision came hours after Judge Elden Fox had revoked it and set a hearing date a month after remanding her to jail, which would have meant nearly a month in jail without being subject to early release.

Now, Fox is poised Friday to hand down a sentence in the case.

But Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department officials said Lohan likely will spend less time in jail than the 13 days she served last summer as part of a 90-day sentence.

Jail overcrowding and a $128-million budget cut means the amount of time most women spend in county jail has been reduced from 25% of their sentence to 20% , said Sheriff's Department spokesman Steve Whitmore.

He noted the judge has ultimate say on whether Lohan gets jail time, rehabilitation or some combination of the two.

"We have to wait and see what the judge rules, and that will determine what we do," Whitmore said.

If Fox decides Friday that lock-up is the best place for the actress, Lohan could get at least 30 days in jail on each of the two violations of her probation on misdemeanor drunk driving. The violations are for failing court-ordered drug testing.

Although the judge could opt for a jail sentence, he could hand down a sentence that emphasizes Lohan's continued rehabilitation.

Lohan's attorney, Shawn Chapman Holley, is expected to argue that the actress has shown progress during her stay at the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage and that she should continue her treatment.

Thus far, Lohan appears to be abiding by the conditions of her release.

But others say the decision by Holley to persuade another judge to release Lohan on $300,000 bail after Fox had already sentenced her could come back to haunt her at the sentencing hearing.

"If Judge Fox would have been satisfied with checking into rehabilitation, he would have proposed that as a disposition for admitting the probation violation," Glen Jonas, a veteran defense attorney unconnected to the Lohan case, told The Times last month.

"Judge Fox is a fair judge, so he will consider her efforts toward rehabilitation, but there is a larger issue to deal with, and that is teaching her to respect the terms of her probation, as well as the orders of the court," Jonas said. "I expect he will sentence her to at least 30 days jail and possibly more."

-- Andrew Blankstein

Photo: Lindsay Lohan in a previous court appearance. Credit: Los Angeles Times