Florida justice: rich man will do no time for killing two tourists in exchange for cash restitution to their families

Discuss

133 Responses to “Florida justice: rich man will do no time for killing two tourists in exchange for cash restitution to their families”

  1. msikk says:

    Wonder if the dead people would have agreed to the blood money in exchange of being killed. It that can’t be determined, then the perpetrator needs to pay restitution, and go to jail.

  2. Sam125 says:

    So why don’t the families take his money AND throw his ass in jail? I’m pretty sure an agreement in civil court to not press criminal charges wouldn’t hold up in criminal court. Is this because they’re not American so the defense lawyers think they can get away with it?

  3. Garst says:

    Let the [most deadly] games begin! Of course, the poor who play will still face jail time.

  4. chgoliz says:

    LeVin’s silver-spoon existence will hardly be cramped during his two years of house arrest, when he is confined to one of his parents’ two $600,000 seaside condos. He can exercise in the building’s gym, attend church and does not have to wear an electronic monitor to ensure his whereabouts.

    *facepalm*

    LeVin initially declined to speak in court, but the judge asked him to spit out his chewing gum, look at the photographs of the men’s mangled bodies and make a statement.

    A 36-year-old man had to be told to stop chewing gum while being sentenced in court for killing two people?

    Clearly nervous, his face red and glistening with sweat, LeVin said he was ashamed and tortured. But he did not say he was sorry.

    It’s all about him.

    “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about this,” he said. “I feel complete shame and compassion for the victims. … My heart goes out to them. I would just like to say it’s a nightmare.”

    Oh noes…his beauty rest has been ruined by these victims.

    “I think he’s grown up a lot,” Bogenschutz said. “He understands now how he has to stay out of trouble. I think this time around was a real eye-opener.”

    This time around? With 50 citations under his belt already, why is *this time* the clincher? Oh, right…the money.

  5. Anonymous says:

    As sickening as this is, it should come as no surprise. If you have enough money, you can buy your way into or out of pretty much anything now. Condolences to the families of those killed by this spoiled degenerate.

  6. amanicdroid says:

    If you want avoid funding this man via his parents, don’t buy anything from “Jewel by Park Lane”.

    http://archive.chicagobreakingnews.com/2010/03/chicago-area-man-charged-in-florida-hit-and-run.html

    An arrest warrant has been issued for Ryan LeVin, 35, Fort Lauderdale Police said Monday. He is facing two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident causing death.

    LeVin’s parents founded Jewel by Park Lane, the Schaumburg-based costume jewelry empire. Court records show he once served as the company’s vice president, but a family spokesman has said he’s no longer involved in the business.

  7. BrendanBabbage says:

    Let’s take note that the rich have already committed mass robbery against us, slowly bled our standard of living away over decades.

    They exported jobs to reduce the demand for skilled labor.

    They imported illegals to increase the supply of labor.

    They participate in financial conspiracy to fix prices, add “Service” charges, keep wages down. And their media helps them either cause it’s owned by them or because it’s afraid to lose advertisement, etc.

    This is a deliberate conspiracy and it’s been going on for a long time, since the “Business Plot”.

  8. Anonymous says:

    This guy had over 50 violations and kills 2 people, but he pays off the Widows (and certainly the judge) and all is forgiven?

    How can anyone say this is a country with a rule of law. This piece of garbage should be run over by a tank, not living in a beachfront condo and calling it “house arrest”…..

    WHAT A TRAVESTY!

    • Gulliver says:

      @ Anon #125

      How can anyone say this is a country with a rule of law. This piece of garbage should be run over by a tank, not living in a beachfront condo and calling it “house arrest”…..

      Do you support the death penalty for all incidents of negligent homicide, or only vehicular homicide, or only double vehicular homicide, or only double vehicular homicide when the perpetrator has certain characteristics?

  9. boduelmike says:

    The reason there are two types of justice is because they are for different purposes; civil law to regulate between individuals; and criminal law to regulate the operation of society as a whole. When they get confused, bad things happen.

    Of course, in many places, the only ones who can win at civil law are the rich. It shouldn’t be so, but it so happens that the people who control society are rich, so this is something that isn’t going to be corrected in a hurry.

    Now criminal law should be blind to the wants, needs, and desires of the parties concerned; it is the job of criminal law to ensure the wellbeing of society. Humane judges may bend the rules to mitigate the horrors brought on the innocent, but they are mistaken; the laws of unintended consequences usually come into play, and as in this case, the avoidance of the punishment of a just law will help lead to a diminution of civil society.

  10. EricT says:

    “The rich are different from you and me.”

  11. PaulR says:

    It’s even worse that it appears.

    LeVin’s non-sentence was for killing TWO people. He initially denied driving the speeding car and pinned the blame for on a friend.

    In Richard Glinton’s case, same state, same crime, except he killed ONE person.
    Different social class, different outcome:
    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-fatal-crash-sentence-brf-20110603,0,6512270.story

  12. Shart Tsung says:

    Dexter will get him.

  13. roboton says:

    This happened in Florida people. Florida. The state that elected George Bush, the state the is home to Broward County.

    You all are surprised? The entire state is a miscarriage of justice.

  14. Anonymous says:

    According to what I learned from various news articles of the last 2 years this Le Vin guy does not even live off his own money, but the millions that his parents made in a snowball-system-like direct-sales Jewellery empire called Jewellery by Park Lane. It’s a family direct sales and today online-sales business with a crappy website, so they won’t even make losses, if a scandal like this brings the stock value of the company down. The company is still run by the family and is managed by the 8 kids who have lucrative paperpusher jobs. I bet the company has a FB or Twitter account, so check them out to see the business that mixes bling with blood. Hurting the business will only hurt the employees of the firm and not the owners. I bet that the Le Vin’s have their cash stowed away on the Caymans or Switzerland anyway. Maybe a case for the IRS?

  15. Anonymous says:

    “impacted”. sick.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Christ, what an asshole.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Bill Gates LIKES this precedent.

    RIAA is considering a ruling where you downloading the Beatles back catalog and the RIAA killing you is an equal and equitable exchange of wealth.

  18. Rob Gehrke says:

    It’s good to see that justice in the US can approach the level of Pakistan – and here I was worried.
    Blood Money !

  19. marquis.montrose says:

    So wergild is making a comeback?

  20. Anonymous says:

    U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! vU-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A ! U-S-A !

  21. timbo995 says:

    Everything about this is vile – the American justice system, the rich man …. but most of all the victims families for wanting money more than justice for a loved one they will never ever see again.

    • HereticGestalt says:

      Really? The worst part of this isn’t the callous superrich murderer who held their livelihoods hostage to his avoidance of justice – it’s the dire need for two families stripped of their breadwinners to find another means of living?

      Way to buy right into LeVin’s own narrative…as if the truly horrible thing isn’t that those families were forced to choose between survival and seeing justice done for the murderer of their fathers.

      • blacksquare says:

        Laying blame on the families for their ‘greed’ means that the assholes have already won. I imagine LeVin, if he reflects at all on his life and actions, is thinking the same way as ‘timbo995′ This guy is probably sitting in a club somewhere bitching to his friends about these greedy Brits who only care about money, and how corrupt civil cases are, and how he could have beat that criminal case if only his goddam lawyers didn’t make him settle.

        “Fuck, bro let’s get some more mojitos”- assholes

      • TNGMug says:

        Not to sound too callous, but being put in that position to make a choice is something of their own fault – if the lives of the deceased were that important then they should have bought life insurance. What if the death was accidental? Then they’d be out their livelihoods and getting money out of the cause of death would be a non issue. Not to “blame the victim”, but to say that they are put in the situation of choosing between justice and food through nothing of their own doing is simply not true. And all that’s *assuming* they didn’t actually have life insurance in this case.

        Yes there’s no way the civil system should be interfering with the criminal system. You don’t send people to jail *just* because of the victims. You also do it to protect potential future victims. To assign is debt as completely owing to the victims families is to completely ignore his debt to the rest of society as well as anybody else that might share a road with him in the future.

        Why are the people involved in a civil case getting to make a public safety decision that impacts the rest of us?

        • Anonymous says:

          Hey, I thought Ayn Rand was dead? Congrats on assuming everyone can afford life insurance. Good to see your tiny perspective on the world is all you can see.

        • emmdeeaych says:

          It’s florida, these people can’t even vote right.

        • Gulliver says:

          To assign is debt as completely owing to the victims families is to completely ignore his debt to the rest of society as well as anybody else that might share a road with him in the future.

          Society failed to protect itself as soon as it let someone with 50+ traffic violations anywhere near a motor vehicle.

          I say let the guy work off his restitution with a lifetime of hard labor.

          10 years for double negligent homicide is a joke too.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not to sound too callous, but being put in that position to make a choice is something of their own fault – if the lives of the deceased were that important then they should have bought life insurance.

          I love how the solution to not having enough money is always to invest more ahead of time, as if it must always have been a temporary condition.

    • Anonymous says:

      you imply that this is what the families wanted. I have seen nowhere in this article an indication that the families demanded money instead of prison time. In fact it says they wanted him to serve ten years.

  22. osmo says:

    Wait you really believe that the worst part is someone who lives in an area (England) where most times women stay at home with the kids and so have little or no money when the family bread winner gets killed should want extra cash for them and their kids.

    Please also observe that they are not the judge, nor the legalsystem. They accepted restitution and so dropping their side of the accusation, the judge handed out the sentence.

    The fact that there is ANY legal system where the state cannot be a part is in itself really wierd. As long as you can scare or pay off the other side you go free.
    (Correct me if I’m wrong but this specific system is not available in the rest of the US, right?)

    • Irene Delse says:

      “someone who lives in an area (England) where most times women stay at home with the kids”

      Aren’t you confusing England in the 21st century with its Victorian era? And anyway, last time I checked, doing time and paying compensation to the family aren’t mutually exclusive. Unless you think a justice system where the rich can buy their way out of any kind of unpleasantness is a good thing in a civilized country…

      • DamnitDani says:

        In the article the widows did state that the husbands were the sole bread winners.

        • kjulig says:

          Yeah, but osmo was trying to imply that women’s employment ratio is particularly low in England when in reality it’s in line with other industrialized nations. Even saying “most times” is just factually inaccurate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lives in area where women mainly stay at home? I’m a little offended that England is seen as such a patriarchal society. The vast majority of adult women in England are in employment, there are more women in our Universities now than men and we have a longer history of women in full time employment than most western countries. Perhaps the England your thinking of is the one portrayed in period dramas? Heartland America certainly has a more ‘housewife’ culture than anywhere in England.

  23. Hopeful_Greis says:

    “It’s good to be King”

  24. Anonymous says:

    This seems like the fairest solution. These families have been terribly affected by this man. How does jail time benefit them at all, particularly as foreign citizens, who are in no way related to the US penal system? Instead, they have tangible restitution. All parties have agreed. I am confused as to what the problem is.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Why could the families not have 1) let the book be thrown at LeVin and 2) sued him for everything he was worth after he was convicted?

  26. HubrisSonic says:

    Well, I am sure he was really, really, really sorry! haha!…

  27. snorkybluefog says:

    Wait, why wouldn’t the state press murder charges?

    • Ugly Canuck says:

      It ain’t “murder” unless the prosecution can PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that he INTENDED TO KILL precisely these people.

      And “negigence” ain’t so ex sy to prove betond a reasonable doubt, either…am nd h]they have no prooof of DWI, or DUI, so those “extra strong” laws don’t apply either.

      Murder? This looks like a traffic accident, with the only “crime” being driver leaving the scene – in a panic?

      I think he’s paying millions, about just what the US for-profit prison industry would have charged the taxpayers for holding this guy in a cage for ten years.

      If somebody unintentionally causes death, he is NOT a “murderer”, even if he’s drunk at the time.

      Only people who actually intend the harm they cause ought to be punished to the max. People who don’t intend such harm may be either blameless or blameworthy, but without that intent to harm being clearly present, it is a sliding scale: and the determination of which it is – blameworthy or unfortunate accident? – can be very very difficult to show, to prove, so as to create liability.

      In fact, the law will often attribute guilty intent – for eg if you’re driving drunk, the law doesn’t care what harm you specifically intended to do, or not – but this guy was not “driving drunk” .

      Sop the charges not fully pursued were leaving the scene of an accident in which people were injured, while having a prior record of moving infractions?

      It seems that the BB crowd seems to think that there was some kind of “open-and-shut” murder case here, simply because people died in a traffic accident, and there’s someone who can actually afford to pay the required damages, for a change. usually they cannot pay, and thus taxpayers get to pay prison guards and prison corps, for very little benefit to society or the accused.

      But people can feel so self-righteous about “punishing people”, it makes up for the taxpayer expense, eh? And for all those other things those tax revenues could have otherwise bought, other than the heavy punishment of people whose actions you disapprove of.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        geez..fixing para 2 in my above:

        And negligence ain’t so easy to prove beyond a reasonable doubt either…and they have no evidence of DWI or DUI either, so the “extra-strong” laws which affix culpability in those circumstances even in the absence of the specific intent to cause harm do not apply, either.

        It is wrong to assume that every accident causing harm is, simply because of that fact, therefore a criminal case.

        The only certain crime here was leaving the scene of an accident, and he may have had an defense even for that.

        I am happy that the families are receiving restitution, which should in fact happen regardless of whether or not this guy is capable of being convicted on a criminal charge arising from this incident.

        It is not ONLY criminals who must pay restitution under the law, after all.

  28. zapan says:

    The judge should have at least deprived him of any permit to drive a motorized vehicle for the rest of his life. If he can afford to skip jail, he can afford to pay for a chauffeur the rest of his life too. Now he is free to do the same thing tomorrow.

    • Anonymous says:

      Re “Now he is free to do the same thing tomorrow.”

      Don’t worry, I’m sure he has enough money left for at least five murders.

    • Anonymous says:

      From the article:

      “The house arrest will be followed by 10 years of probation. He is prohibited from driving.”

  29. Saltine says:

    I wouldn’t say it’s vile for the family to choose restitution over incarceration. They may really want to get this guy off the street. But they also may be faced with an economic situation that makes choosing the “high road” very difficult.

    I think that’s what makes me so uncomfortable about this event: It seems, to me, an obvious example of what exactly money can buy and of the cost of a very wide wealth gap, as well as of the problems caused by the collapse of our social safety net.

  30. Anonymous says:

    It is noteworthy that even the law as applied to sentencing (10 years) reflects the view that the lives of the deceased have less value than that of the millionaire motorist. Hope the restitution at least had some optimal value.

  31. SpaceGhost says:

    Can’t they put him in jail AND sue him for millions? I’d feel a lot safer without some killer porche driver flying around without a concience on the streets. He could’ve killed anybody not just these particular people, danger to society and all that.

    • andygates says:

      I’d like the state to put him in jail and take restitution money from his purse (not to mention a mandatory driving ban). Why can’t that happen?

  32. Anonymous says:

    He killed two people and then paid a small percentage of his net worth as compensation. I’m OK with this, as long as anyone else is allowed to kill him and then just be penalized a similar percentage of their net worth.

    /

  33. turn_self_off says:

    Why can’t they put him in jail as well as take a slice out of his economic hide?! Or is that considered “cruel and unusual” in USA?

  34. CognitiveDissident says:

    “The need for restitution does outweigh the need for prison,”
    Broward Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy said.

    How about a little of BOTH, lady?

    :-(

    (Darn activi$t judge$ and their hidden agenda$…)

  35. Blaine says:

    The plus side is, he violated his parole in Illinois and they’re seeking jailtime.

    With any luck the judge will have a conscience and throw the book at him.

  36. Mitch_M says:

    Restitution and prison don’t have to be mutually exclusive if he has assets that can be seized and sold when he is unable to earn income in prison. He deprived two human beings of their lives. He should be deprived of his wealth AND his freedom. And what’s with trying to get his car back? Surely he doesn’t intent to drive again. Or does he?

  37. Anonymous says:

    That’s not surprising OR unusual. Check this out

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/08/martin-erzinger-morgan-stanley-hit-and-run-_n_780294.html

    to see how the law treats our Plutocrats. FL is not so different from CO. All you have to do is be a bankster and the world is your oyster.

  38. Cowicide says:

    The aristocracy is filled with selfish, psychopathic assholes like this.

    So conservatives/libertarians want to give these kind of people tax breaks/loopholes and wonder why very little “trickles down”? Stooges.

    • Gulliver says:

      The aristocracy is filled with selfish, psychopathic assholes like this.

      The rich are just humans with lots of money. If humans are so fundamentally rotten that money spoils them, then the only way to cure the root of the problem is to remove humans. Otherwise you’re just treating symptoms.

      So conservatives/libertarians want to give these kind of people tax breaks/loopholes and wonder why very little “trickles down”? Stooges.

      Judging from this, I doubt you’ve ever met a real libertarian. No true libertarian would support tax breaks or loopholes. Don’t let the Beck crowd fool you into thinking they know crap about libertarianism. They’re no more libertarians than the PRC are Marxists. I’m neither, but I don’t like to see Tea Partiers or Maoists spreading their lies.

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jTQqvDtPzY0

      • Cowicide says:

        Judging from this, I doubt you’ve ever met a real libertarian.

        I’ve met many in personal discussions and online boards. Maybe you’re the only real libertarian and all the rest are faking it, I don’t know.

  39. Anonymous says:

    This makes no sense.

    In America…this man can be sentenced to prison AND sued for a lot of money. Was the evidence lacking? Were prosecutors too timid? What in the world was going on in the judge’s head?

    The family now does get the benefit of not having to deal with the delay and emotional strife that would necessarily attend a civil suit (and perhaps get more money) but they would have been able to get a handsome sum. News reports say he chewed gum during the hearing and does not apologize for what he did.

    It sounds like justice was very very lazy in this case. Instant gratification for all. I’m sure the deceased are quite satisfied – as well as this man’s future victims.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Ooooh but hes getting house arrest in one of his families condos… isn’t that enough?!

    http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2011-06-03/news/ct-met-levin-hit-and-run-2-20110603_1_house-arrest-jewels-by-park-lane-craig-elford

    “LeVin’s silver-spoon existence will hardly be cramped during his two years of house arrest, when he is confined to one of his parents’ two $600,000 seaside condos. He can exercise in the building’s gym, attend church and does not have to wear an electronic monitor to ensure his whereabouts.

    The house arrest will be followed by 10 years of probation. He is prohibited from driving.”

    as well as…

    “LeVin initially declined to speak in court, but the judge asked him to spit out his chewing gum, look at the photographs of the men’s mangled bodies and make a statement.

    Clearly nervous, his face red and glistening with sweat, LeVin said he was ashamed and tortured. But he did not say he was sorry.

    “There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think about this,” he said. “I feel complete shame and compassion for the victims. … My heart goes out to them. I would just like to say it’s a nightmare.””

    Awww poor baby… Someone else who committed close the the same thing (but only killed 1 person) got 9 years and was ordered to pay $5000 in restitution.

    It is so wonderful to see this is being taken seriously. *boggle*

    He was racing his friend he later said was the driver, and had been pulled over 12 minutes before the accident. I guess when your rich you can just get a warning every time.

    How many more of these kinds of things have to happen before we start demanding better?

    I apologize for detonating anyones sarcasm meters.

  41. Anonymous says:

    wow, really? and you guys STILL don’t think you live in an evil empire?

    What’s wrong with you?

  42. Anonymous says:

    But he needs to be taught a lesson. Do you think money is of any importance to him? He’s buying these people off.

  43. Gulliver says:

    Although the facts you allege must have been agreed or stipulated? – as there was no trial of the evidence here?

    I too was going by the details in the article.

    The purposes of the criminal law, and the utility of public spending on the expense of its enforcement, were also on my mind in a general sense.

    Well, in that regard and reiterating what I said earlier: “Society failed to protect itself as soon as it let someone with 50+ traffic violations anywhere near a motor vehicle.”

    He never should have had a driver’s license. It was unreasonable to assume he was not a danger on the road. Nor would he have been immobilized. He could surely have afforded a bus ticket, cab fares or a chauffeur.

    There is a lot of speculation in this thread about his mental state, penitence and other inferences about his personality that imply either a more intimate knowledge of the driver than the article provides or bashing him because he’s a rich white male. Not knowing the driver I can’t say which. I don’t evaluate a person’s merit on the basis of how much money they have.

    What it boils is down to is whether a fine (albeit an apparently large one to a good cause) is reasonable and proportional punishment for negligently operating a dangerous machine resulting in the homicide of two bystanders. I don’t think so, but the Florida judiciary clearly disagrees.

  44. Anonymous says:

    Am I missing something, isn’t this how third world countries operate? I went back and re-read it, and I’m pretty sure Florida is in the USA, not some first world democracy like Germany or Canada. So what did you expect?

    Follow the lead of other third world nations, have a peaceful uprising and fist full of representative democracy, it rocks! You have Facebook and Twitter over there? They helped heaps in Tunisia and Egypt.

    But seriously, any system where being convicted of a felony doesn’t inconvenience the felon is so fucking broken it’s shameful. It’s just like hitting up big banks for fines that a tiny percentage of the profits they made from committing the crime this is a case of justice theater.

  45. swedub says:

    Uhg, this just boils my blood. Apparently this guy did the same thing, killed only one person driving into a crowd, didn’t extensively try to cover it up like Levin. He gets 9 years and only $5000 in restitution.

    http://www.sun-sentinel.com/news/palm-beach/fl-fatal-crash-sentence-brf-20110603,0,6512270.story

    I remember the Levin incident when it happened. I attended a friends wedding just yards away from the accident the very next day. What a piece of shit. Hopefully he gets locked up for the probation violation.

  46. VagabondAstronomer says:

    House arrest. Seaside condominium.
    A few years back, British pop signger Kirsty McColl was killed in a dive accident during a trip to Mexico; the perpetrator was the wealthy owner of a grocery chain, I believe. Well, he basically got off. The McColl family, however, wants justice, but will probably never get it.
    That this Ryan fellow got off is no surprise either, except, of course, that this happened in Florida, a state that’s tough on crime. We believe in real justice here. We take care of our populace. Oh, and yes, we’re marching bravely into the 20th century.

    • mark says:

      Accidents don’t have perpetrators. That’s what makes them accidents. Negligence is not an accident, nor is malice or stupidity.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Restitution, rather than jail time, probably is the correct response to these murders (yes, murder.)

    Every damn cent this guy makes for the rest of his life should go to those families.

  48. Marcelo says:

    I’m not presuming anything about justice or what the Brits wanted, but I don’t know, if I were the British folks in this case, I might be okay with this, ESPECIALLY since he’s going to get sent to Illinois for parole violations. I don’t like the idea of insisting that someone else get punished. I think in general mercy is a better course of action than vengeance, and if I can pay off some debts in the process, all the better.

    If I were the dead person I would want my family to show mercy, be the bigger people, and hey, get out of debt and take care of yourselves in the process so I know you’re taken care of. If the Brits decided to show mercy and not insist on prison time that does not necessarily imply a miscarriage of justice.

    • andrei.timoshenko says:

      Mercy makes sense when the crime is the result of a series of unfortunate events, the perpetrator is repentant, and wants to make things right on his or her own volition.

      When the crime is the result of a clear pattern of callous disregard for the well-being of others, the perpetrator should be taken out back and put down like the dog that he is. Not for vengeance to the victims (or their loved ones), but to make sure that he does not repeat his malfeasance again, and to serve as a clear example to others.

      His assets, in their entirety, can then be seized and redistributed to the victims. Watch the number of irresponsibly-driving playboys plummet…

  49. jelizabeth says:

    Where’s Dexter when you need him?

  50. lib says:

    This is an utter disgrace and reconfirms and validates all the reasons why America is so hated by the rest of the world.

  51. DJBudSonic says:

    The worst part of this to me is the State’s failure to enforce their traffic laws – this is an everyday occurrence. People who have terrible driving records are still allowed to keep on driving. I think it speaks to the car culture obsession in this country, and the need for states and corporations to keep those $$ coming in. People (including judges) seem to think it is a right to own an operate personal motorized transportation. a motor vehicle. I have seen both sides of this close-up, and it isn’t working either way.

    One of my contract employees had his license suspended for failing to pay excessive child support (after his wife re-married a wealthy lawyer) – thereby rendering him unable to get to the job. He is a decent guy, and respects that suspension. He ride-shares, takes public transport, bikes, etc. How did the court think he was going to get to work to earn money for child support? They didn’t care, he is not a rich man.

    Another poor man, a three-time DUI loser finally has his license suspended by the State of West Virginia for his third DUI. However, he is allowed to get a loan for a used F-150 (the bank doesn’t care as long as you pay the interest), insure the vehicle (Progressive Insurance doesn’t care if you are not allowed to drive as long as they get their money), and register and plate the vehicle (the State of WV DMV doesn’t check/doesn’t care if you have a suspended license). Now, what rational person would think that this man was NOT going to drive that truck. Two months later this truck and driver, drunk, crosses the median and kills my mother and father-in-law. The criminal sentence for two deaths, one injury, three traffic felonies and several misdemeanors resulting from his actions? Less than 5 years, with time served reducing it to 4 years. I have no doubt that if he was wealthy he would have walked.

    There was little civil recourse, state laws say that neither the DMV, the bank, the car salesman or the insurance company have any obligation to check into the use of their products. Neither, apparently, does the bar where he sucked it down night after night, every night after work on his way home. What compensation did our families receive from this poor man’s actions, and the State’s failure to enforce their traffic laws? Practically nothing, contractual insurance minimums. Why? Because this is America, land of the free, where one has a right to own and operate a motor vehicle, dammit!

    • Anonymous says:

      How do you know the child support was ‘excessive’?

      So, after his ex-wife remarried, he should no longer have to support his offspring in any way? Assuming she was granted custody (as is often the case, since women, for the most part, do almost all of the day-to-day childrearing), she would already be doing all the work of raising them. Thinking that this ‘poor guy’ should not have to support them financially is deranged. I have no pity if you choose to have children with someone. We reap what we sow. He should’ve paid the child support in the first place if he didn’t want to get in trouble.

  52. Muneraven says:

    This is simply to be expected. Money now controls absolutely everything in this country. If you don’t think this is true then you are kidding yourself.

  53. silkox says:

    OJ Simpson was found not guilty of murder, but was found liable in a civil case for $33.5 million. Seems like the LeVin case could easily have led to a guilty verdict in a criminal trial and a civil judgment for cash. Maybe the families of the victims didn’t know this?

    • gravytop says:

      I’m sure the families knew this. It’s the difference between choosing an uncertain cash payoff of uncertain amount after years of litigation, appeals, and attorney’s fees, and getting a certain, presumably very large, payoff right now. No one can fault the widows for making this decision.

      • Gulliver says:

        I’m sure the families knew this. It’s the difference between choosing an uncertain cash payoff of uncertain amount after years of litigation, appeals, and attorney’s fees, and getting a certain, presumably very large, payoff right now. No one can fault the widows for making this decision.

        Would come to the same conclusion if it was two widowers who’d lost their wives? I intend no offense; I’m just curious.

    • millie fink says:

      That’s why you should drink apple juice.

      OJ will kill you.

    • Vengefultacos says:

      They were probably told the truth: “Sure, we could potentially get you millions and millions of dollars out of this clown. After his high-priced lawyers try every delaying tactic in the book. If we’re lucky, we can expect a verdict in 15, maybe 10 years if you’re lucky. And, oh, we get paid $150/hr plus expenses. That adds up over 10 years time. Plus, after the verdict, we’ll have to get his cash, which will probably have been cleverly concealed overseas by his top-flight accountants. That will likely take more years to track down and extract. Along with more court time.

      Or you can sign here and get some money now and move on with your lives. Your choice.”

  54. emmdeeaych says:

    That is not “America”, That is “Florida”. The only state i have promised myself to never step foot in.

  55. Brainspore says:

    Shouldn’t that graphic be a “get out of jail for a fat wad of cash” card?

  56. Anonymous says:

    And this is the same state that arrests and jails people for feeding the homeless. http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/crime/os-homeless-feedings-arrests-20110601,0,7226362.story

  57. traalfaz says:

    While it’s already a bad enough travesty, hopefully one of the other stipulations, given his record, is that he has a lifetime driving ban. He should never be allowed behind the wheel again, since he clearly can’t be trusted to operate anything more dangerous than a nerf gun in public. People like this don’t think that others are even people and will probably never think about the consequences of anything they do.

  58. querent says:

    What happens if he hits another rich person?

    Could the boss-class microwave a burrito so hot that it itself couldn’t eat it?

  59. Anonymous says:

    Judge could have said 5 years jail time and restitution. But no, the rich are allowed to buy their choice of sentance and keep re-afending till they run out of money. I wonder what the price tag is on avoiding murder or rape or child molestation?

  60. mn_camera says:

    If it’s going to be a monetary settlement, he needs to be stripped of his entire net worth, prohibited from gainful employment for the remainder of his life, and perhaps stigmatized with a facial tattoo so anyone who ever sees him will know who he is and what he did.

    The suitable sanction for those at the top who thumb their noses at the suffering they create is permanent life at the very bottom.

  61. JeffF says:

    From “A Tale of Two Cities”:

    With a wild rattle and clatter, and an inhuman abandonment of consideration not easy to be understood in these days, the carriage dashed through streets and swept round corners, with women screaming before it, and men clutching each other and clutching children out of its way. At last, swooping at a street corner by a fountain, one of its wheels came to a sickening little jolt, and there was a loud cry from a number of voices, and the horses reared and plunged.

    But for the latter inconvenience, the carriage probably would not have stopped; carriages were often known to drive on, and leave their wounded behind, and why not? But the frightened valet had got down in a hurry, and there were twenty hands at the horses’ bridles.

    “What has gone wrong?” said Monsieur, calmly looking out.

    A tall man in a nightcap had caught up a bundle from among the feet of the horses, and had laid it on the basement of the fountain, and was down in the mud and wet, howling over it like a wild animal.

    “Pardon, Monsieur the Marquis!” said a ragged and submissive man, “it is a child.”

    “Why does he make that abominable noise? Is it his child?”

    “Excuse me, Monsieur the Marquis—it is a pity—yes.”

    The fountain was a little removed; for the street opened, where it was, into a space some ten or twelve yards square. As the tall man suddenly got up from the ground, and came running at the carriage, Monsieur the Marquis clapped his hand for an instant on his sword-hilt.

    “Killed!” shrieked the man, in wild desperation, extending both arms at their length above his head, and staring at him. “Dead!”

    The people closed round, and looked at Monsieur the Marquis. There was nothing revealed by the many eyes that looked at him but watchfulness and eagerness; there was no visible menacing or anger. Neither did the people say anything; after the first cry, they had been silent, and they remained so. The voice of the submissive man who had spoken, was flat and tame in its extreme submission. Monsieur the Marquis ran his eyes over them all, as if they had been mere rats come out of their holes.

    He took out his purse.

    “It is extraordinary to me,” said he, “that you people cannot take care of yourselves and your children. One or the other of you is for ever in the way. How do I know what injury you have done my horses. See! Give him that.”

    He threw out a gold coin for the valet to pick up, and all the heads craned forward that all the eyes might look down at it as it fell. The tall man called out again with a most unearthly cry, “Dead!”

    He was arrested by the quick arrival of another man, for whom the rest made way. On seeing him, the miserable creature fell upon his shoulder, sobbing and crying, and pointing to the fountain, where some women were stooping over the motionless bundle, and moving gently about it. They were as silent, however, as the men.

    “I know all, I know all,” said the last comer. “Be a brave man, my Gaspard! It is better for the poor little plaything to die so, than to live. It has died in a moment without pain. Could it have lived an hour as happily?”

    “You are a philosopher, you there,” said the Marquis, smiling. “How do they call you?”

    “They call me Defarge.”

    “Of what trade?”

    “Monsieur the Marquis, vendor of wine.”

    “Pick up that, philosopher and vendor of wine,” said the Marquis, throwing him another gold coin, “and spend it as you will. The horses there; are they right?”

    Without deigning to look at the assemblage a second time, Monsieur the Marquis leaned back in his seat, and was just being driven away with the air of a gentleman who had accidentally broke some common thing, and had paid for it, and could afford to pay for it; when his ease was suddenly disturbed by a coin flying into his carriage, and ringing on its floor.

    “Hold!” said Monsieur the Marquis. “Hold the horses! Who threw that?”

    He looked to the spot where Defarge the vendor of wine had stood, a moment before; but the wretched father was grovelling on his face on the pavement in that spot, and the figure that stood beside him was the figure of a dark stout woman, knitting.

    “You dogs!” said the Marquis, but smoothly, and with an unchanged front, except as to the spots on his nose: “I would ride over any of you very willingly, and exterminate you from the earth. If I knew which rascal threw at the carriage, and if that brigand were sufficiently near it, he should be crushed under the wheels.”

    So cowed was their condition, and so long and hard their experience of what such a man could do to them, within the law and beyond it, that not a voice, or a hand, or even an eye was raised. Among the men, not one. But the woman who stood knitting looked up steadily, and looked the Marquis in the face. It was not for his dignity to notice it; his contemptuous eyes passed over her, and over all the other rats; and he leaned back in his seat again, and gave the word “Go on!”

    He was driven on, and other carriages came whirling by in quick succession; the Minister, the State-Projector, the Farmer-General, the Doctor, the Lawyer, the Ecclesiastic, the Grand Opera, the Comedy, the whole Fancy Ball in a bright continuous flow, came whirling by. The rats had crept out of their holes to look on, and they remained looking on for hours; soldiers and police often passing between them and the spectacle, and making a barrier behind which they slunk, and through which they peeped. The father had long ago taken up his bundle and bidden himself away with it, when the women who had tended the bundle while it lay on the base of the fountain, sat there watching the running of the water and the rolling of the Fancy Ball—when the one woman who had stood conspicuous, knitting, still knitted on with the steadfastness of Fate. The water of the fountain ran, the swift river ran, the day ran into evening, so much life in the city ran into death according to rule, time and tide waited for no man, the rats were sleeping close together in their dark holes again, the Fancy Ball was lighted up at supper, all things ran their course.

  62. Lobster says:

    This is how it’s always been, since we first had both money and murder. This guy’s crime is being so obvious about it.

    The rich can afford more “justice” than the poor. Just watch Dominic Dunne’s Power, Privilege & Justice. In about half of the episodes he says something to the lines of, “this is total BS.”

  63. Garst says:

    Let the [most deadly] games begin! Of course, the poor who play will still face jail time.

  64. T'Pau says:

    Typical morally confused judge here.

    http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2010-08-18/news/fl-group23-mccarthy-endorse-gs-20100818_1_special-education-teacher-mccarthy-magistrate

    “I’ve learned that humility and compassion are among the most important traits of a good judge,” she said. “Being a special education teacher, helping children … has made me a better judge.”

    “The need for restitution does outweigh the need for prison,” Broward Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy said.”

    Really? And when this dirtbag kills someone else because you let him off with a slap on the wrist is that your answer again? Judges are supposed to protect society’s interests as well as the victims.

  65. TNGMug says:

    Evidently, in Florida the law allows “victims families to plea for leniency”.

    Who knows what thought goes into that…. but evidently it’s not the first time it’s been used as a “blood money” prevision. Some of the reports talk about florida prosecutors who aren’t too happy about it, and that these deals have happened behind their backs on other occasions thus preventing them from doing their jobs.

    My position is that the victims or the victim’s families don’t own the crime that’s been committed – The fact is we’re ALL in that much more danger that this guy is (for all intents and purposes) free.

  66. Anonymous says:

    Star Chamber!

    Look it up.

  67. LintMan says:

    @Anon (#22) – So, a single judge decides that helping the immediate needs of the BRITISH victim’s families is more important than justice for the criminal. Wow, clearly this means the US a global, spreading source of evil.

    Or maybe you’re just seeing things the way you want to believe they are. This same story will probably be spun by the creeps at Fox News as “Liberal Bleeding Heart Judge Lets Killer Walk, Makes Mockery Of Justice System”.

    @TNGMug – I agree. I think this is a distortion of how the law was intended to work. (or at least like it should work):

    I think the law is intended to encourage/induce guilty parties to make some degree of apology/recompense/restitution. As in: if you somehow make it up to the victims enough for them to actually ask for leniency, the judge and/or prosecutors can take that into account, and you could get a lighter sentence. I can understand that.

    Instead, it’s been turned around and the criminal holds the compensation over the judge’s head to get out of punishment.

    My guess is that if the judge sent the criminal to jail, the victim’s families would have had to fight a very long and expensive international (for them) legal battle to sue the guy, and while they probably would win, there’s a good chance it’d take several years and return a lot less money, especially after litigation costs. So the judge’s choice meant either immediate guaranteed high compensation for the victims families, or a less certain, protracted, expensive legal battle for them with a much lower payout.

    Personally, if he could, I think the judge should have told this guy and his lawyer that he won’t take into account any “contingent” deals and was planning to issue a maximum sentence unless a real agreement with the families was quickly settled, and only then would he consider any leniency.

    All that said, I hope that the victim’s families made that guy’s eyeballs bleed with how much money they’re taking from him.

  68. Anonymous says:

    Damn florida, so what is the value of a human life? I only ask out of morbid open market curiosity..

    To Challenge the Sun:
    “Water, 35 litres. Carbon, 20kg. Ammonia, 4 litres. Lime, 1.5kg. Phosperus, 800g. Salt, 250 g. Niter, 100g. Sulphur, 80g. Fluorine, 7.5g. Iron, 5g. Silicon 3g. And fifteen other elements. Those are the ingredients to make an average adult human body. You can buy these ingredients at the market with the pocket money of a child. Humans are made so cheaply.” -Edward Elric

    • Anonymous says:

      Florida doesn’t care about human life, haven’t you noticed? They only care about you before you are born and if you are in a vegetative state. The rest of the time you can go to hell for all they care. Death penalty, no real public services, economic crime friendly laws, etc.

  69. TabulaRasa says:

    It’s pretty scary to see fellow Boingboingers transform into a wild mob able to compete with any random, pitchfork-and-torch-touting lynch mob from the past.

    Yes, the verdict isn’t fair. But calling for things close to torture like tatooing his face is wrong.

    I sympathize with the idea of him doing some jail time, but then again I’m afraid with so much money in the background even jail will be somewhat comfortable for him. Compared with the average Joe.

    In general I’d suggest a reform of our judicial systems *worldwide* and shift the focus. Today you can do jail time no matter what you did, like snatching a purse or whatnot. I say: jail only people who commited crimes against people, and hurt them physically. psychological damage is a grey area, haven’t come up with a good solution for that one yet.

    But whenever someone just causes monetary damage we should not jail them. That would only add up to the bill for society. I say give them a GPS collar and house arrest, except for their work. Let them continue earning money, paying their bills and their own food and of course reimburse their victims. Once they’ve paid, they’re free again.

    In cases like this of course I’d suggest to sentence that guy to paying all his life, or at least for the time his victims prolly would’ve lived and taken care of their families.

    • travtastic says:

      It would have to be something in addition to straight restitution, though. Otherwise I could go steal a bunch of stuff, and the worst-case is that I break even on it.

  70. Julien Couvreur says:

    Is incarceration really better than restitution?

    If you steal a TV, you should return the TV and pay some damages. You should return about double what you stole.

    Obviously, if you kill a person, that person cannot be brought back.
    But who is better positioned to decide between restitution or incarceration than the heirs? Their life is probably destroyed by the murder, is it possible the money could help them in a way?
    If people really are against this decision, they should call it out in their will, just like organ donation.

    What is so great about prison? We (honest tax payers) actually spend resources to punish the criminal. Shouldn’t it be the other way around (i.e. the criminal paying)?

    There is an entire theory of enforcement based on contracts and insurance rather than prison. Imagine you are only let into a city if someone vouches for your character. If you killed someone, that insurance has to pay.
    You could not get insurance again, unless you truly rehabilitate (unlike current prisons), which means you’d be stuck in “prison cities” or “prison hotels” with terrible constraints and terms, along with other criminals.
    Insurance would have incentive to make better evaluations and take preventative steps to avoid the crime happening in the first place (patrolling the streets, etc.)

    Not an obvious question, but one worth thinking about.

    • andrei.timoshenko says:

      Is incarceration really better than restitution?

      If the needs of society are best served by isolating the perpetrator from the rest of us, then yes.

      But who is better positioned to decide between restitution or incarceration than the heirs?

      Only works if everyone is of roughly the same income and wealth level. Otherwise, richer individuals, if sufficiently psychopathic, will always be able to go ‘shopping’ for abuse-the-poor adventures, especially if the restitution is after the fact. “Oh, I went human-hunting and shot your wife? Here’s $50M if you allow me to skip prison…”

      • Julien Couvreur says:

        > If the needs of society are best served by isolating the perpetrator from the rest of us, then yes.

        That problem is solved by rejecting the person until rehabilitated. In this case, remove driver’s license. In other cases, exile from the city/neighborhood/institution. Basically, people will not want to deal with criminals, unless high confidence is somehow restored.

        > Here’s $50M if you allow me to skip prison…”

        The person who was killed (thru their will), or their heirs, may not accept and they may prefer 100% prison, or some intermediate deal. But it should be their choice.

        Also, in an insurance system, the poor are not excluded because insurance would be cheap for the majority of people (low risk and non-criminals).
        The insurance approach also has the benefit of pushing more decisions upfront (cool head), rather than deferring them until something bad happens.

        • Anonymous says:

          >The person who was killed (thru their will), or their heirs, may not accept and they may prefer >100% prison, or some intermediate deal. But it should be their choice.

          But it’s not that simple! He also committed a crime against society

  71. autark says:

    Can the families sue while this guy goes to jail? Totally. Why wouldn’t they?

    Because it takes a long time, is incredibly expensive unless they can find a lawyer willing to prosecute on their behalf on contingency only, and they have no guarantee that the civil suit will pay out as much as this agreement.

    Can the state convict him despite any civil suit? Totally. Why wouldn’t they?

    Only because the state says they won’t convict, is he willing to pay the civil suit agreement. Once the state sentences him to house arrest they don’t get to take it back and re-try him, so all he has to do is make the civil payment contingent on his criminal case being settled first. The state decided it was more in the interest of Justice to the families that their children’s future be taken care of than that this guy be in jail, so they agreed to the terms.

    It’s not “right”, but it’s what everybody in the situation agreed to… I’m not saying I agree with it, but is your concept of Justice that parties be made as whole as possible? Or is your concept of Justice only that people be punished, regardless of the consequences to the victims?

  72. Anonymous says:

    Why’m I not surprised.

  73. Anonymous says:

    Are we sure the victims families will actually receive this money. My limited experience with wealth is that given enough pressure they may well agree to a payment but getting them to cough up the actual cash is a different matter entirely. dogphlap.

  74. Marya says:

    So it’s Sharia Law they’re using in Florida now?

  75. Neon Tooth says:

    Looks like the market “sorted it out”!

    Doncha love our modern neofeudalism?

  76. Anonymous says:

    “I think he’s grown up a lot,” Bogenschutz said. “He understands now how he has to stay out of trouble. I think this time around was a real eye-opener.”

    I’m sure he has. He now understands just how much he can really get away with because he’s rich. I just hope that his destructive behavior is turned inward towards himself. That would be justice.

  77. BungaDunga says:

    Judges are supposed to protect society’s interests as well as the victims.

    THIS.

    Just because the victims are okay with a verdict, doesn’t mean it’s right for society. He could go off and do the same thing tomorrow, if he’s free. It looks as if he bought his way out of jail. Making the justice system look like it can be bought, openly and legally, is almost certainly not good for society.

  78. Johnny B says:

    I don’t know why this surprises anyone. Two words: Donte Stallworth. Drunk driver killed a pedestrian on Miami Beach two years ago and because he was a football player, got 30 days in jail, 2 years house arrest and 8 years probation. He wasn’t allowed to play the one season the year it happened, but was reinstated when it was over, so though he is under “house arrest” for two years, he still gets to play.

    • Shart Tsung says:

      The case was totally unrelated to this one.

      Donte was barely over the limit and the guy he hit was extremely drunk crawling around in the road. Plus, like you said, Donte got 2 months in jail, 2 years house arrest, and 8 years probation. It was not Donte’s fault, he was driving on the road early is the morning. The same thing could have happened if he was groggy and sober that morning, the drunk guy crawling in the road killed himself. Donte never veered off the road or drove improperly, he just didn’t see that poor drunk hanging out in the road.

      But because Donte’s black he has to deal with this shit for the next 8 years, meanwhile this rich white person is able to just make a down-payment and never have to face the fact that he killed 2 people, AND IT WAS HIS FAULT!

      Hopping the curb and killing people makes it your fault, hitting some drunk moron crawling around in the street at 5 AM is a totally different situation, yet Donte was punished more! Hmmm.

      Be happy Donte is a pro-baller, otherwise, as a black man in this country, the legal system would have screwed him for life like it has countless other Americans.

      It’s sad what happened with Stallworth, he’ll remember that incident (which really wasn’t his fault) for a looong time, but this curb-hopping rich asshole is just going to pay some money and never have to think about it again.

      Get a clue, Johnny B.

      • Gulliver says:

        Donte was barely over the limit and the guy he hit was extremely drunk crawling around in the road. Plus, like you said, Donte got 2 months in jail, 2 years house arrest, and 8 years probation. It was not Donte’s fault, he was driving on the road early is the morning.

        So it’s okay to run over someone as long the person struck is also drunk and the driver is black?

        The same thing could have happened if he was groggy and sober that morning, the drunk guy crawling in the road killed himself.

        He certainly helped, even if only by jaywalking (the only part of your description about Reyes’s condition prior to the crash for which I could find corroboration).

        Donte never veered off the road or drove improperly, he just didn’t see that poor drunk hanging out in the road.

        He was an estimated ten miles-per-hour over the posted speed limit. Drunk driving isn’t improper? Or is it only improper if you’re X amount over the legal limit? At what point do you believe speed limits and intoxication limits should be enforced?

        Provided the full facts are as stated – I cannot find any corroboration that the pedestrian Mario Reyes was in fact also intoxicated or crawling, but I’ll take your word for it – it seems to me the punishment was in this case was fairly equitable. The jaywalker greatly contributed to their own demise, as did Stallworth’s speeding and intoxication. I’ll agree that the cases are not comparable. LeVin had a long history of traffic violations, the victims did not contribute to their deaths, and Stallworth cooperated with the police. Hence Stallworth was charged with manslaughter whereas LeVin was charged with vehicular homicide. The travesty is that LeVin avoided substantive penalty for his transgressions.

        What would you think of the punishment if the victim was black and the driver white?

  79. Anonymous says:

    I understand that his payment is settling the civil lawsuit. Wouldn’t the civil suit be on behalf of the victims of the family?
    I thought there would be some criminal charges associated with this and that would be where he would face state fines, jail time, driving penalties, and a criminal record. Sometimes a judge will do this so that the guilty person can continue to earn an income and be able to repay the settlement. I doubt that is needed in this situation, unless he actually has more debt than assets or something of that sort.
    We can only hope that Illinois will sort this out and prevent him from harming more people.

  80. brian rutherford says:

    If he were a poor man he would be in jail. Since he’s rich he’s able to use his wealth to have the law apply to him differently. One of the founding principles of any society is that the law should be applied equally regardless of wealth. To do anything else is to start down a dangerous road.

    • Wimpyboy says:

      Start down the road? This is the road.

      Rich American and poor America* have nothing to do with each other, and only interact at sad times like this.

      *Tonight the role of poor America will be played by British tourists.

  81. Ugly Canuck says:

    Finally, the practice of plea-bargaining, and of bargaining in general, is a part of the system we have.

    I know only what I see above, about this matter: and i have difficulty seeing what this guy’s specific crime here is, other than leaving the scene, and lieing about a fact. But you need more than that, to prove murder under the law! And there’s no proof here offered of criminal intent to kill or harm, no description of any such evidence.

    Finally, it is lamentable that the wealthy are able to better use the justice system, to delay or even avoid their legal obligations and duties: but any purported “cure” for that, would inevitably mean that the poor would have even LESS ability to defend themselves against injustice by the Authorities, than they do now.

    Once the wealthy have lost their rights under the Law, we are ALL – rich and poor alike – screwed.

    Now if only some wealthy people would realize that the reverse also holds true – that once the poor are without effective legal protection, that the wealthy won’t long retain (the illusion of) any advantage , and they themselves (or at least the lesser among them) become inevitably the next in the tyrant’s/oligarch’s/king’s gunsights.

    In any system of equal legal rights, the wealthy will always and ever appear to have, and will actually have, an advantage in dealings with the system. They simply have the resources to pay the bills that cases. But this is no bad thing, even for us little people!

  82. Thebes says:

    We have two “justice” systems in this nation.
    One for the rich and their corporations, this involves fines and courts but very little actual prison time.
    The other is for “just us” plebs, it locks up a higher percentage of the population than any other nation on the planet.

  83. Ugly Canuck says:

    Should people go to jail, even if they pay the damages demanded by the RIAA?

    From the above comments, it would seem that some at BB think so. Any other policy would be to give the rich an unequal advantage under the Law!

    • Gulliver says:

      It ain’t “murder” unless the prosecution can PROVE BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT that he INTENDED TO KILL precisely these people.

      The changes weren’t murder. They were two counts of vehicular homicide, a form of negligent homicide.

      And “negigence” ain’t so ex sy to prove betond a reasonable doubt, either…am nd h]they have no prooof of DWI, or DUI, so those “extra strong” laws don’t apply either.

      Motorists typically have an obligation to stay off the sidewalk. I got ticked last year for driving a bicycle on an empty sidewalk. I went to court and the judge told me I had endangered pedestrians and was lucky all I got was a ticket. But I’m not rich, so I can’t buy off the families of anyone I mow down. C’est la vie.

      Murder? This looks like a traffic accident, with the only “crime” being driver leaving the scene – in a panic?

      That’s a biggie, particularly when there are victims you should be trying to help. He also fabricated a story for the cops that a friend was driving. If convicted on those counts he faced up to 45 years in prison. As for his panic, given his history of drug abuse, I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess he just maybe wasn’t driving sober; but you’re right, no way to prove it because he fled the scene before cops could question him.

      • Ugly Canuck says:

        Well the specific facts in evidence and the specific statutes do matter, of course: as stated above, I was just going by what facts are stated in the article, above.

        That is to say, I intended to make general comments as to criminal culpability , as distinct from civil obligations – not argue the facts nor the law on this specific case.

        Although the facts you allege must have been agreed or stipulated? – as there was no trial of the evidence here?
        Oh, forget about that – the specifics here aren’t my concern, and are neither instructive nor amusing to me.

        A getting back to what I was saying….

        The purposes of the criminal law, and the utility of public spending on the expense of its enforcement, were also on my mind in a general sense.

  84. Ugly Canuck says:

    Typo fix: “causes” for “cases”, in the above.

  85. Anonymous says:

    Next thing you know, he’ll have an intoxicated Chauffer running over people in his Bentley…The judge should’ve taken away his driver’s license, at least.

  86. Anonymous says:

    That’s total Bogenschutz!

  87. johnnyaction says:

    Welcome to Americaâ„¢ the dollarocracy.

  88. azaner says:

    This is precisely what happened. Those of you screaming “injustice” and “down with the rich” aren’t taking into account that the victims’ families had a right to influence the outcome in this way. If the driver had been poor, the families would “get” nothing (or something nominal), except the opportunity to watch him sit in jail. In this case the driver happened to be rich, so they had the option of choosing Door Number Two. That circumstance, and their having opted to take advantage of it, does not make the driver’s status of having wealth somehow inherently evil. The families opted not to roll the dice on trying for a civil as well as a criminal conviction. They likely got more money as a result, to put their kids through school or whatever (perhaps to buy their own Porches, and end up being labeled “evil rich Porsche drivers” another day, in another accident). Who knows. Point is, we use money to compensate for non-monetary losses every day, all day long, all over the world. If that’s what the families wanted, that was their choice.

    • Neon Tooth says:

      Funny that you talk about the common rabble holding the cards, rather than the rich boy who gets the very option of paying his way out of a sentence for killing two people. There’s little difference from this than a ‘gentlemen’ tossing gold coins from a coach after running over an urchin in the street. People can polish this turd however they like. Regular people can’t buy their way out of justice.

    • Anonymous says:

      Even if you think that the families of the collision’s victims were happy to leave him with no jail time, rather than forced into it by needing the restitution – well, reckless driving, fleeing the scene of an accident, and lying to officers about the results are all still wrongs against the public as a whole. There is a difference between a crime and a tort; only one is specific to the people involved.

  89. azaner says:

    [Sorry, that was supposed to be an "in reply to."]

  90. lakelady says:

    why couldn’t he have gone to jail AND paid restitution? If he’s that wealthly there would have been the funds to cover it, if not immediately then by setting up a trust fund or some such for the family. Why was it either/or?

  91. Bubba says:

    I believe Gary Glitter had a similar deal to avoid incarceration for his child molestation, it sucks but some jurisdictions value these behind the scenes settlements as justice. I think it’s nonsense and in a way condones such behaviour but at least the victims aren’t being stoned to death.
    The law in Western countries may be an ass but at least we don’t allow assholes to buy their way out with as much regularity. Unless their crimes are purely financial.

    • Anonymous says:

      When you feel the urge to point out that you’re still doing better than Saudi Arabia, you should know something has gone very wrong.

Leave a Reply