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Actor Works Off Sentence Wielding Mop and Broom

October 11, 2000|GINA PICCALO | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Jan Michael Vincent, the blue-eyed leading man who was once one of the highest paid stars on television, is now serving time at the Culver City Police Department--as a janitor.

The only inmate to do his time by swabbing up, Vincent is performing the menial tasks to trim about a month from his sentence for several alcohol-related convictions.

Vincent, 56, of Santa Monica, was sentenced last month to 60 days in Orange County Jail after admitting that he violated his probation this year by appearing drunk in public three times near his home and by assaulting his then-girlfriend.

An Orange County judge granted him permission to serve his time in any city jail, provided that--after his release--he reenroll in a rehabilitation program and check in routinely with a probation officer for 2 1/2 years, Orange County Deputy Dist. Atty. Mike Hernandez said.

The actor's duties in Culver City include emptying trash cans, mopping floors, and cleaning bathrooms and parking lots, as well as serving meals to other inmates.

Vincent was transferred Sept. 29 from a live-in Santa Monica treatment center to the Culver City jail.

He is serving his time in a special room with a door (instead of bars), a television and a shower. Vincent was denied his request to bring in a satellite television, Culver City spokeswoman Randi Joseph said. Most cells have bars and include only a sink and toilet.

After completing his sentence, the actor will return to the treatment program until a probation officer approves his release. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

Vincent has been on probation since 1996 for drunk driving and public drunkenness convictions.

Although he is trusted to walk the 10,000-square-foot Culver City police station and parking lots, he must be in his room each night by 6. The room is locked from 10 p.m. to about 5:30 a.m., when he is scheduled to begin work.

He is permitted supervised use of a jail pay phone and is allowed visits from family and his attorney for two hours Saturdays and Sundays.

If an inmate fails to adhere to the cleaning schedule or lacks enthusiasm in his work, Culver City Lt. Tom Gabor said, "We send them right back to county [jail]."

So far Vincent has been on task.

"He's very quiet," Joseph said. "He's doing the work he's assigned, and that's it."

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