Montgomery Police Officer Given $185 Ticket After Paralyzing 14-Year-Old Boy

A Montgomery County police officer Jason Cokinos is back walking the beat after hitting and paralyzing 14-year-old Luis Jovel Jr. Cokinos was speeding to his off-duty job when he hit Jovel and received only a $185 speeding ticket. The county paid $400,000 in damages.


Jovel Jr. was left a quadriplegic with permanent brain damage requiring around-the-clock medical care. The police refuse to say what discipline Cokinos received for the accident, citing state privacy laws.

The case involved a curious legal argument. Cokinos was traveling at 56 miles an hour in a 30-mile-an-hour zone when he hit Jovel — and a police investigation found that had Cokinos not been speeding, he would not have hit Jovel.

A Montgomery County District Court judge, however, found Cokinos not guilty of negligent driving or contributing to an accident. That ruling cannot be ignored and I am not sure of the underlying facts. It is often easy to go 56 miles an hour after losing track of one’s speed. However, a legal question arose as to a state limit on legal liability for local governments. The family was limited to $200,000 per case by a state law — a ridiculously low cap in such cases. They were told that they could not seek more in the case (absent a settlement) because (even though he was off-duty traveling to an off-duty job) he was in his police cruiser and wearing his uniform.

Lt. Paul Starks, spokesman for Montgomery police insisted that the limit on liability was appropriate because “[i]f you are in the [cruiser] you are not considered off duty.” While this interpretation limited liability, it may also have allowed liability for the accident since Cokinos is unlikely to have been able to supply a similar amount in damages.

Even at $400,000 (minus legal fees and costs), this is not going to be enough to support his victim for the rest of his life. The case should also cause far-minded people in Maryland to think about this cap and the harm it causes to families who have seen loved ones killed or severely injured.

Source: here

19 thoughts on “Montgomery Police Officer Given $185 Ticket After Paralyzing 14-Year-Old Boy

  1. Utilizing a “State Issued” vehicle and the c[r]ap is that low? Come on 200,000? What about the officer individually and his personal insurance, he was after all “Off Duty.”

    I do not understand why reckless indifference to human life standards did not apply to this person. If the shoe had been on the other foot, what would he have been charged with?

  2. What, a police officer and department not being held accountable for the negligent actions of the officer? This case needs to go up the chain to test the constitutionality of the cap. I know the Illinois Supreme Court has ruled liability caps to be unconstitutional. These caps are merely dodges to escape having to fully pay for your negligent actions and only the victim(s) suffers. In this case, the victim will suffer for the rest of his his life and will probably end up on the public aid rolls after the paltry judgment paid by the County. What would that judge have done if a civilian had hit the boy under the same circumstances?

  3. The King is dead? Long live the King?

    What better way for the law enforcement process to coerce folks (tragically, much like me?) into being in absolute, unrelenting contempt of laws, law enforcements, and courts which contradict themselves with impugned immunity?

    Ignorantia judicis est calamatas innocentis? (The ignorance of the judge is the calamity of the innocent.)?

    The divine right of police officers, as pragmatic Kings of the Law, to be immune from law enforcement except in a few cases to prove otherwise, is? (Words fail me…)

  4. No surprise here.

    When the president of the United States (a Democrat)can murder civilians in Nagasaki and Hiroshima without punishment or when another president (Clinton) is not held responsible for the deaths of 500,000 Iraqi children through sanctions (an act of war), American cops running over American kids without punishment is no big deal to those in power.

    Our vicious government officials ARE the criminal class in America. And they are usually the best educated among us.

    Jose Ortega y Gasset, please call your office.

    Better yet, Christopher Lasch.

  5. “The case should also cause far-minded people in Maryland to think about this cap and the harm it causes to families who have seen loved ones killed or severely injured.”

    “The chief value of money lies in the fact that one lives in a world in which it is overestimated.
    H. L. Mencken (1880 – 1956) “

  6. Tootie

    Just curious. Can you think of any Republican presidents that caused death and/or injury to civilians in Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Iraq, or Pakistan? I’ll bet you can come up with a couple of names if you try really really hard. How about Grenada?

  7. Your ascendants left England to, among other reasons, escape the caste system. Your ascendants were locked into a system in which there was no upward mobility. They were stuck as peasants in a system that considered them inferior and did not recognize their rights as human beings, but instead assigned them limited privileges based on their low caste. The severity of a crime was determined by not just by the crime itself, but by the difference in caste between the offender and offended. Guess what; we put you back into a caste system here in the USA, and you didn’t even notice. You don’t believe me? Consider assault.
    Assault is a crime. We at the government usually choose to enforce laws against assaulting US citizens. Assault against a person higher up in the caste system is prosecuted much more aggressively. Commit assault against a police officer or other government employee, and we will show you exactly how aggressively we enforce the law and prosecute those who commit crimes against us. Our new royalty, those persons holding or who have held high public offices, often enjoy the protection of law enforcement personnel who exist specifically to protect them. Look up the many laws against assaulting government employees and see how broadly “assault” is defined.
    Now, consider assault against a citizen by a police officer. The vast majority of police brutality events are never prosecuted because the prosecution (government) tends to favor its own (government) people, including police officers. There are laws in place exempting police officers from what would normally be considered an unprovoked violent assault. “Roughing up” a suspect during an arrest is even encouraged at times. We at the government are one big happy family.

    The caste system in the USA is as follows:

    1st caste: Politicians and elected officials. They enjoy the highest degree of legal protection and privilege for life.

    2nd caste: Government employees. They generally live
    comfortable lives with secure lifetime income at the
    expense of the 3rd caste. They also enjoy significant
    legal protection.

    3rd caste: US private citizens. This is the labor caste. Their work is responsible for all economic productivity. Every
    other caste is dependant on the taxes extorted from them.

    4th caste: Inmates. This consists almost entirely of members
    of the 3rd caste who were demoted by members of the 2nd caste
    acting under the laws made by the 1st caste.

    You have been conditioned by us to accept the above terms. Imagine how you would react to seeing a fleeing person suspected of theft tackled on pavement and placed forcefully under arrest. Now imagine your reaction if the arresting person was a Wal-Mart employee tackling and restraining someone he thought was a shop lifter. Your government given bias allows the police officer to “do his job,” but you would never allow one of your own to do the same. Welcome to the caste system. You know your place and you fit right in.
    Did you know your president is permitted to assassinate human beings at will? That’s right, the days of the King’s ability to arbitrarily kill you are back. He is now free to order the deaths of US Citizens at will, without a conviction, due process, or even an accusation.

  8. Saw the typo before clicking the “Submit button.”

    Typo “calamatas” is correctly “calamitas.”

    I wondered if anyone would call my attention to the fact that I make mistakes, and, not noticing anyone else having done it, I here with so do regarding the calamity of my mis-spelling of “calamitas.”

    Am I alone in the world in being a person who makes mistakes and works at identifying, and where practicable, correcting them as best seems feasible?

    Why do mistakes happen? What would a world be like in which no mistakes ever happened? Would learning be possible in such a world?

    What can humanity learn from the inhumanity of violence that is worth learning?

    I suppose I may belong to the non-existent caste, the caste of those who cannot even merit qualifying for the aforementioned fourth caste or any higher one; the non-existent caste of those “…plunged…to the bottom of the Pit, to its darkest, deepest place…” where I wonder whether “darkness is my one companion left.”

    If such is where I belong, surely I am wisely grateful for so belonging. Is it not better to belong nowhere than to not belong at all?

    Or, did I just make some more mistakes?

    Was it Pete Seeger who sang a song which ended with the words, “When will we ever learn?”

    In the darkest, deepest place, I see no flowers. “Where have all the flowers gone?”

  9. Mea Ultima Culpa?

    To hum is erran?

    All those years in school, being a slow learner, it took me until I was 59 to finish my formal education, and, even so, I overlooked the requirement of giving proper attribution to avoid plagiarism.

    That I intended to not do, yet, as may be so for politicians and other humans, sometimes an unwitting mistake can be corrected before disaster is impossible to avert.

    The words in quotes in my prior comment, to wit, “…plunged…to the bottom of the Pit, to its darkest, deepest place…” and “darkness is my one companion left” are from Psalm 88 in The Jerusalem Bible, Reader’s Edition, the First Doubleday Reader’s Edition of March, 2000. I intend to not represent the work of other people as being my work.

  10. as much as i dislike it i have to agree with ekeyra.

    the animals of the 2nd caste have more rights then members of the 4th caste.

    don’t believe it, try defending yourself against an unwarrented attack by a police dog.

  11. Where is the Corporate caste in the scheme of things? 1.5 or 2.5 maybe? Or 0 – the top of the food chain? Inquiring minds want to know.

  12. In engineering mechanics classes, I learned about both static balance and dynamic balance.

    I suppose equal amounts of truthfulness and falsehood would make for some sort of balance, like being balanced on a tightrope made of breaking eggshells spanning a bottomless canyon lined with razor-sharp daggers.

    Is it possible to strike a balance between balance and imbalance?

    In 1979, my wife and I adopted an eleven-year-old boy, who, as we subsequently learned, had subjectively experienced devastating neglect and abuse in his family of origin, which family resolutely sought otherwise

    As our son grew toward adult age, I suggested to him that he might wisely learn to be careful as to how he projected his self-image. He took the suggestion to heart, then the car he and his wife were driving to her place of employment exploded; the car had many very defective spot welds. Our son and his wife were thereby killed.

    Is is possible for a person to have a sequence of life experiences which result in a personality structure as poorly put together as that car was?

    If so, is it wise to blame the car (or person) instead of looking at the process which resulted in the poorly put together structure?

    Who, among those who comment here, can claim without error to be a person whose personality got put together without any aspects accomplished poorly.

    Is it not so that whatever is worth doing is worth doing poorly when doing it poorly is the only attainable path to learning to do it better?

    Except as hatred is love distorted by unresolved pain, I can find no way to balance hatred with pejoration.

  13. Buckeye:

    Of course I can come up with a Republican. Teddy Roosevelt, for instance.

    And then there is Abe Lincoln. I’ve had excoriated him several times here some months back and got taken to task for it.

    He was about the most evil of American presidents. This probably explains why Obama likes him so much. Right wingers like Lincoln because they are stupid and believe what their school teachers taught them about him. Left wingers like him so much BECAUSE he was evil. They didn’t let the government propaganda dissuade them.

    And that is how the evil doers on both sides of the aisle in general line-up behind evil. The right lines-up stupidly behind it and the left lines-up intentionally so.

    If this was a right wing website, I’d be criticizing right wing politicians. But it is not, so I don’t. Yet, I did rightfully attack our dishonest and murderous Abe when the subject was brought up.

    The reason I tend to go after leftist presidents is, also, because our public schools taught us to adore them. I provide the balance against that since the left provides such a robust attack of right wing presidents (though, from my viewpoint Bush is a left-winger).

    Like FDR for instance. Even in radical right-wing circles today, he is idolized for his WW2 slaughter. I try to bring some balance to that by pointing out he was a dishonest, murderous thug who provoke that Japanese and German attacks on us.

    Bush, on the other hand, and as leftists would heartily agree, is merely an imbecile, but, of course, he was an imbecile who had access to the the bombs.

    Leftists, like Obama, are generally very clever madmen (thus far) with access to the bombs. That is the main difference I try to highlight and or balance.

    I haven’t figured out which is the most dangerous of the two, an imbecile with a bomb or a clever madman with a bomb. But it seems that the Democrats might be the worst just in terms of the last century (of warfare).’

    Democrats led the way in war-mongering and bloodshed last century. And if you want to count the war-dead, and dead soldiers, AND 48 million some odd innocent unborn in the womb, the implications are staggering and frightful.

  14. Tootie

    “Of course I can come up with a Republican. Teddy Roosevelt, for instance.

    And then there is Abe Lincoln…………
    …………….
    The reason I tend to go after leftist presidents is, also, because our public schools taught us to adore them. I provide the balance against that since the left provides such a robust attack of right wing presidents (though, from my viewpoint Bush is a left-winger).

    Like FDR for instance. Even in radical right-wing circles today, he is idolized for his WW2 slaughter. I try to bring some balance to that by pointing out he was a dishonest, murderous thug who provoke that Japanese and German attacks on us.”

    ————————————————————–

    I’ll have to admit I’ve not before considered “balance” of political thought in quite the way you have depicted. It certainly gives me a different perspective.

    I wonder if, during the G. W. Bush presidency, you provided balance about Democrat presidents in the same way? I’m sorry to have missed it if that was the case, but I’ve only been here a short time.

    I’m sure you could answer the original question but I now see that that wouldn’t serve any purpose as far as you’re concerned.

    It IS all a matter of balance in the long run, isn’t it!

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