SANTA MONICA, Calif. – Paula Poundstone was briefly jailed Tuesday by a judge because of a relapse during her treatment at a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center where she was sent after pleading no-contest to child endangerment.
The downcast comedian was taken out of the courtroom in handcuffs after she admitted violating probation, then was brought back to court later in the day.
"You've been in for half a day and I always let people have a break on the first violation," Superior Court Judge Bernard Kamins told her. But, he added, "To me, this is a relapse rather than just a slip."
Prosecutor Gina Satriano said outside court that Kamins' actions were a common tactic in such cases. Defense attorney Steven Cron said his client was doing well before the violation and he was confident she will successfully complete rehabilitation.
The treatment program alerted Kamins that Poundstone suffered a relapse involving the use of unprescribed drugs or medications, according to the prosecutor.
The specific substance was not disclosed during the hearing and attorneys would not elaborate afterward.
The judge said that even if the medication Poundstone took was prescribed, she should have notified the program.
He noted that within recent weeks her psychiatrist decided to remove her from all medications including antidepressants, and that there were subsequent reports she appeared more depressed and had expressed sadness.
Kamins said he wanted to know why the psychiatrist decided to remove Poundstone from the medications if they were helping. The judge said she had made great progress until Monday, when the violation occurred.
"When I first saw you, you had anger," Kamins said. "Your attitude seemed to have gotten a lot better. You were doing great and you're going to do great again."
He said he gave her a taste of jail because "I know you wouldn't want to spend a couple of months back there in a custody environment."
Poundstone, who has three adopted children and had two foster children until her June 27 arrest was originally charged with three counts of committing a lewd act on a girl under age 14 and endangering two other girls and two boys.
Poundstone's relationship to the children in the case and the alleged actions were not released by prosecutors. Her attorney has said that in one instance witnesses believed she appeared intoxicated while driving with children.
She pleaded no-contest Sept. 12 to felony child endangerment and misdemeanor inflicting injury on a child. The lewd conduct charges were dropped. Poundstone blamed drinking for some of her problems but insisted there was no lewd conduct.
She was sentenced last month to 180 days at the Promises treatment center in Malibu, including 125 days she had already spent there.