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Lindsay Lohan judge rejects 'compassion' plea, won't delay trial

Lindsay Lohan's trial for allegedly lying to Santa Monica police when she said she was not driving her Porsche during an accident could begin on the coming weeks after a judge refused further delays.

Lohan's attorney asked the judge to "give her leeway to show that she's worthy of compassion." But Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge James Dabney wasn't moved.

"I don't know how the next two weeks is suddenly going to change the history of this case, these cases," Dabney said.

Dabney also warned that if Lohan continues to use Mark Heller as her attorney before the March 18 trial, she will waive her right to "competent" counsel under California law.

"I am somewhat concerned whether you have sufficient guidance from local counsel," the judge told Lohan's New York attorney after he filed a bill of particulars — a motion not used in California criminal procedure.

The judge bluntly lectured Heller for 10 minutes on how that, as well as some other motions, were incorrect procedures for a California criminal court.

Until last month, Lohan was represented by Shawn Holley, among the region's top lawyers. Heller took the legal helm recently after representing Lohan in New York. 

Dabney rejected Heller's motion to dismiss and informed the attorney he had not complied with California legal requirements. Under state law, attorneys must file motions to dismiss during the arraignment, Dabney said. That period has already passed.

Heller said he could not file a motion to dismiss at the arraignment because he was not Lohan's attorney at the time.

Heller said he was seeking to protect Lohan's constitutional rights and was unable to determine from the charges whether his client made statements at the scene, at the hospital or to emergency responders.

Santa Monica police said the 26-year-old actress told officers she was not driving a Porsche that rear-ended a truck on June 18 as she headed to the set of the TV movie “Liz & Dick.” 

Lohan faces one misdemeanor count each of reckless driving, providing false information to an officer and willfully resisting, obstructing or delaying an officer. 

To avoid trial on those charges, as well as violating her probation on a separate shoplifting conviction, Lohan will have to agree to serve at least 90 days in a lockdown rehabilitation facility, 

She was not required to appear in court Friday.

In recent days, Santa Monica city prosecutor Terry White and Heller had discussed a possible plea deal, sources said. But the L.A. city attorney refused to accept any deal of less than 90 days in a locked rehab, they said.

Lohan was already on probation for stealing a necklace from a Venice jewelry store, a misdemeanor grand theft charge to which she pleaded no contest in May 2011. The Los Angeles city attorney’s office has accused her of violating her parole.

The misdemeanors each carry potential jail sentences ranging from three months to a year.

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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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