Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo had requested the emergency Friday hearing after the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's surprise early Thursday morning decision to "reassign" Hilton to home confinement in her spacious Hollywood Hills home after she had served only three days of what was expected to be (assuming Hilton got time off for good behavior) a minimum 23-day jail sentence.
According to the Sheriff's Department, which runs the LA County jail system, they had released Hilton from the department's Century Regional Detention Facility due to a mysterious "medical condition" that the prison system couldn't handle and -- due to privacy laws -- they weren't able to publicly disclose.
"The minute I was informed by the doctors about her medical condition, I realized the system was not able to respond effectively to these problems," Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca told The Los Angeles Times while defending his decision on Thursday.
In exchange for the ability to serve the reminder of her sentence on home confinement with electronic monitoring, Hilton -- who was also credited with five days of prison time despite actually only being jailed for slightly more than three full days -- had agreed that her home confinement period would last for the full 40 days remaining on her sentence.
However once he learned of Hilton's unexpected release, Delgadillo -- citing the fact that Sauer's May 4 sentencing ruling had specifically stated that Hilton should not be eligible for early reason or electronic monitoring -- accused Baca's department of contempt of court for failing to follow Sauer's orders and immediately filed a request for an emergency court hearing on the matter.
Sauer agreed to the hearing request and said he signed an order for Hilton to appear in person at a Friday morning hearing before he left the courthouse Thursday night, according to The AP. However when he got in his car to drive to court for the hearing on Friday morning, he reportedly heard a radio report that stated Hilton would not be appearing in person and he had instead approved a "telephonic hearing."
According to The AP, Sauer insisted he had approved "no such thing" -- which led to sheriff's deputies driving to Hilton's home and transporting her into court in handcuffs on Friday morning. When she was finally brought into the courtroom, Hilton was "disheveled and weeping" with her hair "askew," according to The AP. Once the court proceeding started, Hilton -- wearing gray fuzzy sweatshirt over slacks and no makeup -- reportedly cried and shook constantly throughout the hearing.
During the hearing, the Sheriff's Department failed to submit any information about the alleged "medical condition" that led to their decision to release Hilton.
"It's 12:06 and [Undersheriff Larry] Waldie [still] has not provided any medical information [that he promised me]," an upset Sauer snapped at attorneys, according to The Times. "I never received medical documents. The sheriffs' office still has done nothing."
Before he ruled, Sauer also expressed skepticism that Hilton's as-of-yet still publicly unspecified medical condition justified her release. "Does that jail not have medical facilities? They have dialysis, chemotherapy, very excellent [facilities]," Sauer said, according to The Times.
According to The Times, Hilton was transported to the county's Twin Towers Correctional Facility, where she was expected to receive medical and psychological tests, after the hearing ended. "She'll be there for at least a couple of days," sheriff's spokesman Steve Whitmore told The AP.
During a post-hearing telephone interview with The Times, Baca -- who did not attend Friday's hearing -- insisted that there are medical records that support his decision and that they were in the procession of the county's legal team, which could have given them to Sauer at the hearing.
"I can't speak to what's in the judge's mind, but it appears to me at this point there is not a lot of communication," Baca told The Times.
"This is not a normal prisoner. This is not a normal case," said Baca. "Cool heads should prevail at every level of the justice system. This is not personal to me. The Sheriff's Department has been doing all that it can to see that she serves all of her sentence."
However Los Angeles Assistant City Attorney Dan Jeffries disagreed. "The sheriff was acting like judge, jury and executioner," Jeffries told The Times. "It is the court's job to determine what happens to Hilton."
Sauer did not take any action on Delgadillo's on request that Baca be held in contempt for releasing Hilton.
Hilton -- who despite Friday's hearing, still qualifies to receive one day of early release for every four days of good behavior, according to The AP -- is expected to appeal Sauer's ruling.