July 7, 2010

Lindsay Lohan's soon-to-be fellow jail inmate

Posted: 04:57 PM ET

By Abbie Boudreau

CNN Special Investigations Unit


What do Lindsay Lohan and this man have in common?

Starting July 20, actress Lindsay Lohan will check into Los Angeles County jail to start her 90-day sentence for missing alcohol counseling sessions in violation of her probation.  And already, it’s been widely reported that her three-month stint behind bars may be shortened because of jail overcrowding.

Here’s what I find so interesting.

There’s an inmate named Richard Fine who is sitting in a jail cell in L.A. County wishing he could leave, and free up some space for someone else.  He’s 70 years old, and has been serving time for more than a year. 

Fine is a former attorney who once worked for the Department of Justice. As we first reported in May of 2010, Fine is now being held in contempt of court after he refused to turn over financial documents and answer questions when ordered to pay an opposing party's attorney's fees, according to court documents.

Fine says his contempt order masks the real reason why he's in jail. He claims he's a political prisoner.

 "I ended up here because I did the one thing no other lawyer in California is willing to do. I took on the corruption of the courts," Fine said in a jailhouse interview with CNN.

For the last decade, Fine has filed appeal after appeal against L. A. County's Superior Court judges. He says the judges each accept what he calls yearly "bribes" from the county worth $57,000. That's on top of a $178,789 annual salary, paid by the state. The county calls the extra payments "supplemental benefits" - a way to attract and retain quality judges in a high-cost city.

Fine says the judge who put him in contempt of court had received supplemental benefits from the county.
Fine believes the judge should have removed himself from a case involving the county. But that didn’t happen.  Fine says he thinks that is the underlying reason the judge slapped a  contempt order on him.

"The reason I'm here is the retaliation of the judges," Fine says. "They figured they're going to throw me in jail and that way they feel that they can stop me."

So far, neither the judge involved in this case, nor Fine seem to be willing to work things out, and end this 16-month imprisonment.  This could go on indefinitely. 

Fine actually gets an entire cell to himself. 

Jail officials tell us he is in solitary confinement for his own protection, since the general population can be dangerous.  In fact, Steve Whitmore, a spokesman for the L. A. County Sheriff's Department, says Fine's jail cell could be used for a “violent offender.”

I am not placing any judgment on what should or should not happen in Lindsay Lohan’s case or that of other celebrities who have broken the law. But the issue of jail overcrowding has been in the California spotlight for years. And it makes me wonder how many other non-violent L.A. County jail inmates are taking up cell space that could be used by other people who really should be locked up.

Here's the original story.

Filed under: Abbie Boudreau

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DallasMarine   July 7th, 2010 11:55 pm ET

Just goes to show that our justice system is full of self serving divas who get to use the system to their own advantage. Lady Justice is being raped by these buffoons.

Anne Elliott   July 8th, 2010 3:04 am ET

What is the use of carrying on with this travesty of justice? What ever the reason you have for gagging and victimising this man,The longer you continue the more we will now KNOW! It must be a pretty heinous secret to perpetrate such a blatant injustice!

Joshua Kricker   July 8th, 2010 11:09 am ET

Maybe this is just one reason why there's a budget shortfall in California. This guy should file for removal of his case to federal court since it's obvious he can't get a fair hearing in a state court.

ElisabethinCA   July 9th, 2010 2:03 am ET

My problem isn't with Lindsay Lohan, or Mr. Fine serving time for breaking the law/contempt of court, though in the case of Mr. Fine, I have to wonder if his stint at the county jail was retaliatory. As for Ms. Lohan, because she is 3 classes away from finishing up her program, and doing very well according to the program director, and because she fulfilled all her other obligations to the court albeit after a few bumps in the road, (btw the judge went all the way back to 2007 and NONE of us are perfect), why was she given 3 times the amount of jail time that anybody else would get for the same violations? And criminals that do worse get less time in a lot of cases. I am not a Lindsay Lohan fan girl, I am not on Team Lindsay, in fact I don't follow her at all, the only info I see is usually what is on CNN or other legit mainstream news orgs. It makes me sick that she is being punished for who she is not what she did. And the blogs and forums are filled with everyday people cheering her fate, laughing at her, clapping their hands w/ glee while calling her every name in the book. Does she deserve some punishment? Of course..we are a nation of laws.

What happened to compassion, and not judging others? What happened to building someone up as opposed to kicking them when they are down?... Why have we turned into such a hate filled society, including these judges, who care nothing about anybody but themselves? With the overcrowding and the cost to taxpayers, why aren’t these cells used for violent criminals...I agree w/ the OP that we would be better served using the jail's the way they were meant to be used...for violent criminals....not for some judges own little hateful vendetta(s)...

EWS   July 9th, 2010 7:18 am ET

Lets let him out of jail....and lock up the judges!!!!!

Disgusted   July 11th, 2010 6:41 pm ET

The anti-American neo-Nazi state of Los Angeles County and the corrupt Los Angeles County Superior Courts are evil, in the most literal sense of the term. The corrupt judge, David P. Yaffe, who took Richard I. Fine, should be tarred and feathered then given a dose of his own medicine. Free Richard Fine NOW!

Burger   July 12th, 2010 9:27 pm ET

@ElisabethinCA I agree with you at 100% ! nowdays , it isn't "Leave a Comment" anymore , but it should be "Leave a Judgement" seeing how peoples are eager to put in their 2$ .

cyberidme   July 12th, 2010 10:09 pm ET

Great followup piece. The contrast is comical and so helpful given the direness of Mr. Fine's situation. Also interesting is that Mr. Fine cannot leave his cell without at least three deputies, one of whom must be a sergeant.
Thank you,Abbie.

Janette M. Isaacs   July 13th, 2010 4:43 pm ET

Great follow up article Abbie! So, OK, enjoy this updated information for another twist:

Dr. Richard Fine had a Debtor Examination hearing date set for 6-14-10 in Department 1A. This was his Debtor Examination hearing ordered by Judge Yaffe. Judge Yaffe mandated that Dr. Fine attend this hearing and has held steadfast that he would not let Dr. Fine out of jail until he attended it.

On June 3rd, 2010, I called the court to request that they make arrangements for Richard to attend this mandated hearing (as ordered by Judge Yaffe). I was advised by the clerk that they do not transfer inmates to hearings anymore on civil matters. I was shocked.

I called Sheriff Baca and was transferred to Commander Lopez at the Sheriff's department who was authorized to speak on Sheriff Baca's behalf. Commander Lopez stated that we no longer have the budget to front the cost of transferring prisoners to hearings in civil proceedings. Leslie Dutton of Full Disclosure has all of the details.

Talk about a catch 22 situation! No wonder our jail cells are so overcrowded! Abbie, please help us get this wonderful man out of jail! We need the space for real criminals!

I hope that you entertain us with a follow up story on the catch 22 situation that Dr. Fine (and many others) are now confronted with, i.e., budget cuts infringing on our constitutional rights to due process of law. Dr. Fine could NEVER attend any hearing as ordered by Judge Yaffe because we don't have the budget to transport him (or other civil inmates) to hearings anymore! Is he going to be there forever with NO WAY OUT? Keep up the great work Abbie! This was one heck of a great article.

joseph c smith jr   July 14th, 2010 8:02 pm ET

this lawyer is held for so long, it should be a crime, and the justice dept should stop it. what evils we see in big govt and business.

steve white   July 14th, 2010 8:10 pm ET

We this happens all over the US corrupt Goverment plain and simple. Millions being stolen from the American people. And this people talk about organize crime. I wish I could see in some of this Swiss Bank Acc.

Chris R   July 16th, 2010 11:33 am ET

So exactly why is everyone rushing to this guy's defense? Seems to me that he's flouting the law and eventually went too far. Is it that people are upset that the judges are making a decent living? My guess is that's a big part of it – of course, we could lower the amount of money that judges make but then all the good judges would leave for positions where they could make more money. Seems to me that this would be harmful for everyone if we stocked the courts with low quality people.

pennyronning   July 17th, 2010 10:18 am ET

Chris R: Are you saying that the quality of a judge's personal and professional character to make fair, unbiased, impartial rulings based upon accurate interpretation of law is determined by the amount of money they are paid to do the job for which they were elected or appointed?

Heather   July 20th, 2010 11:25 am ET

As I understand it, this guy is trying to hide his assets to avoid a court-ordered judgment against him for filing frivolous lawsuits. He has wasted time and government resources by refiling on cases that have already been fully adjudicated. As a lawyer, he should understand that once appeals are exhausted, you are not allowed to refile with the same facts.

The recourse our justice system has is to jail him for contempt. If he stops hiding his assets, they let him out. Don't blame the county or the taxpayers for this lawyer's narcissism.

He should be disbarred. I wish that he could be deported and his citizenship given to a hardworking farmworker who actually contributes to society. This won't happen because our country has more respect for the rule of law than he does himself.

FL Atty 2010   July 20th, 2010 12:59 pm ET

Yes, it's a crime against humanity to jail a man for refusing to obey a judge asking for materials and answers he is legally obligated to provide. What a travesty. And surely, if they threw him in jail for refusing to comply with a court order, it has nothing really to do with the law (which would require anyone else to be thrown in jail under the same circumstances), but with his passionately held beliefs about the corruption of the California justice system.

Give me a freaking break. The simplest explanation is often the true one. The simplest interpretation of the facts of this man's case show he didn't want to do what he was told to by a judge, and is now trying to raise a ruckus to get out of trouble without caving in and doing what was required.

Incidentally, sure, I'd prefer violent offenders behind bars, but I don't think you should just let people who commit non-violent crimes skate to make it happen. Find another way. This guy will never learn a lesson about how the rules actually apply to him unless he is punished. And unless bleeding heart people who believe his nonsensical ramblings don't glorify him as a poor little victim.

LoudnClear   July 28th, 2010 8:19 am ET

Seems to me that poor little Lindsay is a lot more comfortable than most inmates in jail. With all her uppers (Adderal) and downers (Ambien) available to her. Not to mention her privacy, extra security and all these people on the outside who are trying so hard to analyze just what a travesty it must be. I have no empathy. Not to mention there are probably a lot of inmates that would love to be in her shoes – 90 days or less. She needs to grow up and take this like the adult .

Darlene V. Whitney   July 29th, 2010 11:02 pm ET

If Lindsay didn't want to go to jail, she should have done what she was told to do! Period! She is a Big Girl now, act like it! Take your medicine and get over it! The Bigger Story here is the State of California and all the news articles that are starting to come out about their elected officials and just how corrupt they are!!! California is crying about being so far in debt, maybe the whole State at every level needs to be looked into for not only what Mr. Fine is saying about these Judges, but also all elected officials with regard to Bell County, California? You might be surprised at what you uncover!!!

Aarde V Atheian   July 30th, 2010 6:51 pm ET

The public can see that all members of the power elite from judges, lawyers, district attorneys, legislators, governors and Supreme Court justices are all in cahoots with each other to safeguard their power and safeguard their extra sources of income at the expense of the taxpayers and general public. The voting public wants these power coalitions broken to manageable units of local privatized judiciary and law enforcement in competition with each other for voters approval.

Carl Johnson   August 10th, 2010 10:03 am ET

As a retired appellate lawyer these cases reek. The justice system in this country is by far the biggest waster of resources. To add insult the state prison systems of many states routinely rob the educational programs for funds. This "white elephant" not only puts the wrong people in prison but most real criminals never end up in prison.

I have read the criminal files of thousands of incarcerated most of which are "dumb" mistakes and very poor sentencing guidelines. We need more rogue lawyers who are not beholden to judges for business. Most of the convictions do not amount to legal issues but quid pro quo "dealmaking."

When you're in this system you see prosecutorial misconduct all the time, The Masters cop perjury in CO the Lacross Prosecutor case at Duke. You don't see it if you're not inside it. Those who see it clearly: the incarcerated, the lawyers, the judges are all fully advised. They won't do anything because of the special interests held.

Travis   August 11th, 2010 7:09 pm ET

So, sorry, what does this have to do with Lindsay Lohan?

Wolfen   August 23rd, 2010 6:36 pm ET

Or maybe Mr. Fine is a nutcase that is concerned that the black helicopters and fluoride in the water are making him sick? Or maybe he's one of these people that believe the only reason someone could disagree with them is if they are corrupt? Or maybe Mr. Fine is mentally ill?

There are plenty of valid reasons for a Judge to issue sanctions against an attorney/party – a means to get someone to obey the rules most often. If that party refuses to cooperate, there are other sanctions to convince them to do so. Contempt of court is the last resort, and from all of the articles I've read, it was the last resort here.

Mr. Fine pursued a frivolous case. The judge found it frivolous, ie. unsupported by facts or law. Mr. Fine was fined for causing the other side to spend money defending the frivolous case. He's refused to do so. Seems fair to me.

Michelle Bauer   August 26th, 2010 11:35 pm ET

I think Mr. Fine should get a pat on the back for trying to take the system on with no back-up! That takes true courage! Contempt for the court shouldn't be confused with dealing with a corrupt court! Good job Mr. Fine! I love it when someone knows how to mess with the system. Sorry you're having to do time over the issue! Our system could be wonderful if it was executed like our founding fathers intended it to be used. I think that the people tying up the courts should have to pay the salaries of the people that they tie up. I know the attorneys would go along with the idea. They want to get paid no matter what!

spasegrl   September 1st, 2010 2:45 pm ET

must be nice to have absolute power over people. a little power apparently went a long way for this judge. let's put him in jail for abuse of his position. for at least a year.

Mr. E   September 7th, 2010 9:40 am ET

I don't understand what the complaints are about. America has the very best system of justice that money can buy.

sagewy   September 8th, 2010 9:35 am ET

This judge has passed the point of fairness and justice. He has been in jail for a year,,,,,an elderly man. Time to come up with a new plan Judge and quit abusing your power. We call this justice in America? This is dispicable!

florida   September 8th, 2010 10:23 am ET

Just goes to show you how corrupt our justice system is. I know this from experience. You wouldn't believe how crooked judges and state attorneys are until you get involved and see it first hand. Believe me they are worse than most criminals and truth or justice are just an after thought. It's all about money, power and wins. Absolutley nothing else.

MaryC   September 10th, 2010 3:53 pm ET

To prove his claim is incorrect, why isnt a city audit done to verify the transfer of funds. In addition, reveal the tax records of all the accused and let "us" be the judge. Poor tell the truth and look what happens. Why would anyone ever want to tell the truth? In addition, the law is not about the's only about what you can PROVE!

Master Rod   September 19th, 2010 11:00 am ET

California, what a dump! Lock up innocent people and let the criminals go free. There must be some organization responsible for watching the judicial system of that evil state. Ahh, yes, the Attorney General. Another looser from the 60's era. Come on Arnold, clean up the place! Now is the time.

danny   September 22nd, 2010 11:53 am ET

This sounds exactly like something that a high a mighty liberal judge would do.

juan   September 22nd, 2010 5:00 pm ET

I have had several non-violent clients sentenced to 1 year in county jail and got released within 2 months. Some belong in jail as they returned to court with a new case; others were grateful to be let out early and made the most of their early release.

Johnna   September 23rd, 2010 11:44 am ET

I have to agree with this guy that the majority of judges in this country are definitely corrupt to a certain point. Some more than others, but corrupt just the same. This is what happens when you give someone absolute power, they get corrupted absolutely. This is how business is done now-a-days, sad, but true!

Paulette Massari   September 23rd, 2010 1:55 pm ET

Good Story Abbie. I agree 100%. Take him out and throw her in there. I think she should do his time too!. Why is she getting so much preferential treatment?? I don't understand it at all. She has spit in the eyes of treatment and justice and goes without any real penalties.
Paulette Massari, Largo, Fl.

Kevin P   September 27th, 2010 1:21 pm ET

Well, when the legalize marijuana in November that will free up lots of jail space.

And remove some court congestion.

Alison W.   October 5th, 2010 7:31 am ET

Sounds like the Florida court system to me...I'm quite sure this sort of behavior isn't limited to California in our country. Corruption is everywhere in our court systems.

NW   October 11th, 2010 8:40 am ET

The ENTIRE LEGAL SYSTEM is corrupt, not just the judges. Americans ignore the problem while people lose their lives and families. What does it take for people to feel any discomfort, never mind outrage? Naw, better to login to facebook, watch tv, or find some other preferred distraction that numbs them into indifference. Attn. Fine is sitting in jail for telling the truth. Sounds like China, not America.

bobington   October 14th, 2010 11:16 am ET

And what exactly does this have to do with Lindsey Lohan? Why is he name in the article title?

wjmknight   October 15th, 2010 8:56 pm ET

Fine is a sorry sack of rotten meat disguised as a lawyer. He was doing the same B.S. out of prison that jail house lawyers do in prison, file one menaingless, meritless lawsuit after another to exercise their contempt of the legal. Let him rot in prison, it's exactly where he belongs.

And when he dies, let me know. I have a septic tank that needs to be emptied.

Jusus   October 16th, 2010 6:32 am ET

I'm gonna tell you what everyone knows, ......Ready, here it comes, ,,,,,STOP SNITCHING,

Kevin Emrys Schlosser   October 23rd, 2010 12:02 pm ET

All articles are arguments, the premise of the argument needs to ascertain some necessary or sufficient conditions or both for the conclusion to be of strong induction. Otherwise, the appeals to fools become a road of induction to serve someone's agenda. I'm not stating what's fact or fiction about this story, all I'm saying is that missing the point is not supporting the conclusion. Supporters need more evidence of the conclusion. What, for example, is the relevance of being held in contempt of court after he refused to turn over financial documents and answer questions when ordered to pay an opposing party's attorney's fees, according to court documents. What evidence do you have that this is truly an injustice? What supports this being wrongful? What evidence showing an act of injustice is the first premise that necessarily needs to follow in order for the conclusion to be strong. Otherwise, I state, that it's an ad misericordiam fallacy. When I hope it is an ad baculum, through corruption of the courts which needs to be supported by the public for equality in humanity.

Mason   October 24th, 2010 7:41 pm ET

If these judge's lost this welfare program income what would they do? Where would they go? Move into a smaller house? Get a smaller car? Make the kids go to work in the fields? Let make
the wife get a job? Maybe like here they also receive a precentage of the traffic tickets brought in. The idea that this lawyer Mr. Fine isn't getting a piece of the pie and is just being vindictive in his case against these angles in black robes who are all upstanding proud American citizens.

mask   October 25th, 2010 9:30 pm ET

I actually feel sad for Lindsey Lohan, She Has major drug and alcohol problems since her father was an alcoholic and Alcoholism spreads through a family, She had such a great future as a child, anyone who saw The Parent Trap Knows that she did

sinister   October 28th, 2010 6:14 pm ET

when will the people take over control of this country from the attorneys, judges, big business, and politicos that have infested this land of ours

HeebieJeebie   October 30th, 2010 10:15 am ET

I think Lindsay Lohan must not share the cell with the older man. I think it very improper.

Name*Frank   November 3rd, 2010 3:46 pm ET

I would like to agree. I to was incarcerated for a probation violation based on solely my former wifes testimony. I have been jailed 5 separate times by a Malibu judge spending almost 6 months in LA County jail based on hearsay. While I've been kept from my 4 year old daughter for a year because of my so called disturbing the peace conviction. I later returned for a progress report only to find my former wife and her new boyfriend behind new aligations. At that point I spoke to a deputy explained the situation and they were asked to leave later to find the new boyfriend being taken away in handcuffs for 5 yes 5 warrants for his arrest. Karma. I with the help of my lawyer filed an exparte to get this man out of my home and away from my child only to be thrown out of court by our commisioner stating she will not make any emergency orders. I have been kept from my child for over a year with 1 open case that has be dropped and this man has 5 open cases. Where is the justice. I am completely deflated by the family law courts. And I don't care how perfect any woman in this world is I WILL NEVER GET MARRIED AGAIN!!!!!!! I will never allow government in my home again. I would rather pay the extra taxes than go through this Bs again.

JustDude   November 3rd, 2010 4:57 pm ET

8th Amendment: Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.

(Above not recognized in California. 3 Strikes law trumping Constitution).

Not saying this lawyer or Lohan are innocnet or being overpunished, but millions of Americans are carrying sentences far in excess of their crime, mostly due to "get tough on crime" policies and mandatory sentencing that effectively takes a judge off a bench and puts a legisator in his or her place.

As long as we overpunish crime, our prisons will overflow.


Carl Johnson   November 3rd, 2010 5:08 pm ET

There are only a few types of people out there who can make an intelligent comment on jail space overcrowding and injustice in the legal system. The incarcerated, the judges, prosecutors, defense lawyers. It's just like trying to explain what war is like to someone who only knows what he sees on TV. As a retired appellate lawyer who has reviewed hundreds of cases and has sued judges, attorney generals and governors. It looks like a mess when you are inside it where no one has any power. The one consolation I possessed was that I knew I was sober when I showed up.

Mr. Lumina   November 4th, 2010 6:38 am ET

So how exactly does this co-relate to Lindsey Lohan other than telling a spin off story of the original material?

Ergo as such.

I drove my car yesterday.

In another county someone who was driving a car that is the same model of mine hit a dog and it died.

I went home, had soup and pet my cat.

Situation A with circumstances that are not proven to be fact, as per the words "May" or "possibly" does not mean you can connect it to a factual story without all the informaiton given.

Lindsey Lohan is simply the bait to read about a 70 year old man.

So the hook itsef, is a lie. Then when you read the article and realize that it contains weak ties and irrelevant data, you realize that you've been reading nothing but a weak pitch. However, it's the media... expect a spin on everything.

In other news I found a nickel today.

Bud   November 5th, 2010 3:28 pm ET

This is NOT what I was taught in Law School! It is want my professors warned me about!

rickfrompa   November 6th, 2010 6:05 pm ET

I believe all that Richard Fine's arguements are totally true! I also strongly believe that the U.S. Attorney General's Office should very much look into this case so that the truth may come out!

steve   November 7th, 2010 5:43 am ET

Our system (Judicial) doesnt work anymore its inherently flawed by human nature.We are the problem.As far as lindsey Lohan, we should all be lucky enough to have her go away permanently.

CraigM   November 16th, 2010 5:15 am ET

Why isn't the Justice Department investigating these judges? Possibly because they are Democrats being that this is California. Who is this judge that put Mr. fine in jail on contempt charges? what is his background and do we know for certain that he is not on the take?? Our whole political system is corrupt......executive branches, judical branch, and legislative!! Time for a real Tea Party folks!!

tcaudilllg   November 18th, 2010 8:32 pm ET

Abbie CNN needs more reporters like you. This is as fine a piece of journalism as you will find, and is all too deserving of its front page space. If CNN keeps this up and puts its nose out of politics, it may regain ground against FOX.

DM   November 18th, 2010 11:21 pm ET

these judges play games with peoples lives all the time,. until people get tired of it things will only get worse. (a lot worse)

ccafe   November 19th, 2010 9:59 am ET

I agree with the person who said "get Fine out of jail and lock up the judges". Our judicial system is just as corrupt as our government and it is time we revamp the laws and clean up at both levels!

KLowe   November 19th, 2010 10:11 am ET

ElisabethinCA – you are ridiculous. What happened to compassion you ask? I'd be interested to see if you have the same perspective if Lohan's next DUI led to the death of someone you loved. Get a grip. She has repeatedly broken the law and did not follow through with her first sentencing – knowing that this would lead to jail time. If this doesn't get her attention and get her to curb her reckless behavior, then hopefully next time, she gets locked up for longer. Compassion my a**.

Rich   November 19th, 2010 10:20 am ET

The two problems I have with this are a) Judges should not receive any part of their salary based on performance, because that inherently leaves the system subject to corruption. Flat salary, raises based purely on tenure.

Secondly, b) this man is being held indefinitely. He could in theory be in there longer than a violent criminal. He could spend the rest of his life there. Every criminal deserves an actual sentence with an actual term. Open-ended sentencing like this is simply not in line with our country's mandate for freedom and liberty.

Chris   November 19th, 2010 4:54 pm ET

Dick Fine, that should be the headline.

tone   November 24th, 2010 9:38 am ET

Well the jails wouldn't be overcrowded if so many illegal immigrants werent housed in them.

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