Sutherland Starts His 48-Day Jail Term
Wednesday, December 5, 2007; 11:29 PM
LOS ANGELES -- Kiefer Sutherland was sentenced Wednesday to 48 days in jail for racking up a second drunken-driving arrest in three years and immediately reported to a city lockup. The star of the Fox TV drama "24" was being processed at the Glendale city jail, said Officer John Balian.
Sutherland, 40, who pleaded no contest in October to driving with a blood-alcohol level above the legal limit of .08, appeared in court with his attorney and politely answered the judge's questions, said Assistant City Attorney Dan Jeffries.
His request to serve his time at the Glendale city jail was granted and he was ordered to complete the sentence by March 30, Jeffries said.
"Kiefer made the decision to surrender to custody immediately," his attorney, Blair Berk, told The Associated Press.
He could have waited as late as Feb. 12.
The actor was already on probation for a 2004 drunken-driving arrest when he was stopped by police as he left a Hollywood industry party at the trendy Area nightclub on Sept. 25. Authorities said he failed a field sobriety test after being pulled over for making an illegal U-turn.
Sutherland had also pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor DUI charge in 2004. He was sentenced in that case to five years' probation, 50 hours of community service and ordered to attend an alcohol treatment program. Authorities said he fulfilled the community service and alcohol treatment obligations.
He was also convicted of alcohol-related reckless driving in 1993, according to the city attorney's office.
"I'm very disappointed in myself for the poor judgment I exhibited recently, and I'm deeply sorry for the disappointment and distress this has caused my family, friends and co-workers," Sutherland said in a statement issued after he entered his plea in the latest case.
Sutherland, who plays dashing federal counterterrorism agent Jack Bauer on "24," won an Emmy for best actor last year.
Under the terms of his plea, he also must serve five years of probation, pay a $510 fine, enroll in an 18-month alcohol-education class and attend weekly alcohol-therapy sessions for six months, Jeffries said.
He could have been sentenced to as much as a year and a half in jail if convicted.
Sutherland will serve his sentence at Glendale city jail, but under a county jail inmate program because of overcrowding, Jeffries said. He must serve all 48 days.
The Glendale jail is a minimum security facility with 48 cells, each of them measuring 10 feet by 8 feet. They come equipped with two beds, a toilet, washbasin and water fountain, but Sutherland won't be sharing his cell with anyone.
"Anyone here for a long period of time will get their own cell," Balian said.
The actor is classified as an "inmate worker" and will be required to perform duties in the laundry room and help prepare food for inmates in the kitchen area.
"He'll be working here for 48 days," Balian said.
Sutherland will also have access to an outdoor area and be allowed two visitors per day.
Associated Press Entertainment Writer Sandy Cohen contributed to this report.