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'Pulp Fiction' screenwriter back behind bars, no longer tweeting

November 30, 2009 |  4:54 pm

Oscar-winning 'Pulp Fiction' screenwriter Roger Avary may have been placed in a higher security prison because of his Tweets.

“Pulp Fiction” screenwriter Roger Avary won’t be tweeting again any time soon, a Ventura County Sheriff’s Department official said Monday.

Avary likely will serve out the remainder of his year-long sentence for a fatal drunken driving accident in the county jail instead of a lower-security work furlough program, said Sheriff’s spokesman Ross Bonfiglio. He’s scheduled to be released in July 2010, Bonfiglio said.

Until last week, Avary had been permitted to leave the furlough program daily to work at a production office, where he sent out Twitter messages about strip searches, lock-downs and talks with gang bangers, officials said.

On Thursday, after The Times published reports about the short messages, Avary was transferred to county jail. The tweets played a role in the decision, Bonfiglio said, but probation officials also had “security issues.”

“He really messed up," Bonfiglio said. “He could have done nine months out of a year sentence, and not even in lock up for killing someone. Now he is going to do the remainder of that time in county jail.”

Avary, 44, pleaded guilty in August to drunken driving in a January 2008 accident that killed passenger Adreas Zini, 34, of Modena, Italy. Avary’s wife, Gretchen, was also seriously injured when Avary lost control of his Mercedes and slammed into a telephone pole on a rural Ojai road.

Both prosecutor Michael Lief and defense attorney Mark Werksman said it was not unusual that Judge Edward Brodie had agreed at the sentencing hearing to screen Avery for the work furlough program.

Inmates who have a job and haven’t been convicted of a violent offense are generally eligible for the program if they face more than 30 days in jail, both attorneys said.

Lief said he asked Brodie to send Avary to prison for six years and eight months. But the judge, citing Avary’s lack of criminal background and community standing, gave him a year in county jail.

“The court gave him a break by sentencing him to 365 days in county jail and five years’ probation. Work furlough gave him an additional break," said Lief, a senior deputy district attorney.

“It’s interesting that Mr. Avary could not do what was required of him to stay out of trouble and stay out of county jail."

-- Catherine Saillant

Photo: Ventura County Sheriff