Hard-Partying Rich Boy Kills Two in Hit-and-Run, Buys Himself Out of a Prison Sentence

 Apparently rich people can now manipulate our justice system through individual payoffs, too. In 2009, Ryan LeVin, the super-rich heir to an Illinois costume jewelry fortune, ran over and killed two British tourists with his Porsche before speeding away. On Friday, he plead guilty to two counts of vehicular homicide. But instead of receiving 30 years in prison -- a sentence the crime carries in Florida, where the incident occurred -- the 36-year-old will be serving two years on house arrest in Fort Lauderdale -- in a luxury oceanfront condoowned by his super-rich parents. Why? Because he made a secret settlement with the widows of the two men he killed, essentially paying them off to avoid jail time. 

According to the Broward Palm Beach New Times, the widows submitted letters to the judge through their attorneys begging for a reduced sentence -- presumably part of the deal -- because they had been financially ruined by the deaths of their husbands, who were the primary earners in their families. 

The basic gist of the nearly identical notes was that a sentence requiring house arrest, probation, and that LeVin never drive again would be bittersweet but would assure that the families get the cash that they needed to stay afloat. If LeVin was in prison, so the letters' reasoned, he might not pay up. 

Prosecutor Stefanie Newman handled the move by showing a laundry list of LeVin's reckless lifestyle - felony fleeing and eluding in Illinois, coke possession, for starters - and pictures of the maimed British businessmen. 

 Another consequence of gross economic inequity. Read more at the New Times and at the Sun-Sentinel.

AlterNet / By Julianne Escobedo Shepherd

Posted at June 6, 2011, 8:08am