When celebrity socialite Paris Hilton was arrested in Las Vegas on suspicion of cocaine possession Aug. 27, the average time to process through the Clark County Detention Center for people facing that charge was about six hours. Hilton was in and out in about three, says the Las Vegas Review-Journal. The discrepancy did not go unnoticed by those who know the system best and who question why the celebrity hotel heiress got preferential treatment while those less rich or famous had to languish behind bars for hours longer. Jessica Murray of Bob’s Bail Bonds said her clients “are all asking me ‘why can’t we get out that quick.’?”
Murray, whose clientele is mostly “working girls” charged with nonviolent soliciting or trespassing counts, said the average booking time on those charges is four to 12 hours, followed by another four to 12 hours until release. Authorities say they weren’t doing Hilton any favors. The 5-foot, 8-inch model/actress/celebrity was just too hot to handle. “Yeah, she was treated differently so I don’t have a disruption of my process here at the county jail,” said Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Deputy Chief Jim Dixon, who runs the detention center. “When you bring somebody in like that, everybody comes over and tries to look at them. I’d have officers attempting to keep inmates away from her. I’d have disruptions.” The 29-year-old was charged with one felony count of cocaine possession after she opened her purse in front of a police lieutenant and a small baggie of cocaine fell out. Hilton claims that neither the purse nor the cocaine were hers.