Are celebrities to blame for an overburdened court system?Mon Jul 12, 2010 @ 09:34AM PST
What does Lindsay Lohan's recent trouble with the law have in common with Don Johnson's $23 million "Nash Bridges" jury verdict over Rysher Entertainment?
Michael Cieply of the NY Times spots a trend, writing that as the Los Angeles court system lays off employees and uses furloughs and weekday closings to help trim a budget shortfall, celebrities are taxing the system.
The paper points out that caseload is on the rise and even cites the increasing number of traffic filings in Los Angeles, but the piece doesn't provide any statistical evidence that this rise is attributable to celebrities.
Cieply writes there's no doubt that L.A. courts "are investing far more time, energy and cash in tending the famous than they did only a few years ago," but doesn't give any supporting evidence and quotes a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County DA's office insisting that her office doesn't spend a disproportionate amount of money when it prosecutes a celebrity case.
On the other hand, Allan Parachini, a public information officer for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, goes along with Cieply's thesis:
"The simple answer is, yes," said Allan Parachini...when asked whether the rich and famous were placing unusual strain on his institution of late.
Still, how is it possible to lump Lindsay Lohan together with Don Johnson? Is Johnson's case really an example of a misbehaving celebrity? Did the former "Miami Vice" star really attract throngs of onlookers and TMZ paparazzi that required a huge security investment?
Plus, even if the court system is being taxed by the rich and famous, isn't greater use of public services one of the best reasons why rich people pay graduated tax rates and higher property taxes? We're not saying the legal system is perfect, but it seems a tad unfair and simplistic to say that the judicial system's economic troubles are the fault of more stars in the midst.