Ryan LeVin, 36, will be able to actually live in “a prison of his own making.’ The scion of a wealthy Chicago-area family, LeVin killed British businessmen Craig Elford, 39, and Kenneth Watkinson, 48, while driving his $120,000 Porsche 911 Turbo. He then lied to police, left the scene of the accident, and blamed the accident on a friend. Yet, Broward Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy decided no jail time was needed because the wealthy LeVin offered to pay the families of the dead men. Instead of 45 years in prison, McCarthy gave him two years home incarceration in his luxury home.
The affidavit in the case shows that LeVin was at a strip club partying before mowing down the men.
The widows accepted the deal in exchange for large checks and McCarthy ruled that “[t]he need for restitution does outweigh the need for prison.” McCarthy reportedly had to even prod LeVin to say anything to the victims in open court and he then omitted one small detail: an apology.
He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal crash and two counts of vehicular homicide. He could have received 45 years for the deaths, but instead he will
Now here is the really great part: LeVin was on probation in Illinois for a 2006 case in which he had driven into a Chicago police officer and instigated a chase on the Kennedy Expressway. He has more than 50 traffic violations and a long history of drug abuse.
The Florida prosecutors wanted him to serve 10 years in prison, LeVin threw himself on the mercy of the court and his lawyer argued that the need for LeVin to pay restitution to the men’s widows and children outweighed the need for LeVin to serve prison time. In perhaps the most unfortunate choice of words in a vehicle manslaughter case, his defense attorney David Bogenschutz insisted “the wives and children of the deceased were significantly and permanently impacted by this incident.” Putting aside that the “incident” was a felony crime, it is surprising that McCarthy bought it. By the way, Bogenschutz has requested that the Porsche be returned to LeVin.
The article below notes that “a South Florida driver who pleaded guilty to a similar hit-and-run crash with one fatality was sentenced Friday to nine years in prison and ordered to pay $5,000 in restitution.”
I do not blame defense counsel who did an amazing job for his client. However, this is the most disturbing and frankly disgusting example of checkbook justice that I have seen in many years. The fault lies with Judge McCarthy, who despite having an impressive background, seems to have missed the gross inequities in this case. In her favor, the families wanted this result, but McCarthy has a duty to see that justice is done. Given this man’s record, I cannot see how such a short sentence in a luxury home satisfies the demands of justice. Adding to the controversy is a report that McCarthy was just reelected to a six year term with the help of her campaign deputy treasurer . . . you guessed it . . . David Bogenschutz
The case seems to return to a system of blood money where culprits would be help in jail while the family negotiated the price for his liberty. The families literally held the key and failure to reach an agreement could lead to death or banishment. Of course, in such a system, two dead men just become a cost of a spoiled kid’s pleasure.
Source: Chicago Breaking News
Kudos: Dave Mattox