Many Americans don’t comprehend the meaning of “justice.” It is unfortunate that some of these Americans are judges.
Ryan LeVin, 36, is a drunk, a drug abuser, a playboy, a scofflaw and a killer. He killed Craig Elford, 39, and Kenneth Watkinson, 48, as they were walking to their beachside hotel in 2009. LeVin was driving recklessly in his $120,000 Porsche 911 Turbo, ran them down, and fled the scene. That was only the latest of his offenses: LeVin was already on probation in Illinois for crashing into a Chicago police officer and instigating a high-speed chase. He has more than 50 traffic violations. What really matters, however, is that Ryan LeVin is rich.
Because he is rich, when LeVin offered enough money to the widows of the two men he killed in his act of vehicular homicide, a Florida judge agreed to let him off with two years of house arrest rather than the 45 years in prison that you or I would serve for a similar crime. The widows’ attorneys collected checks from LeVin immediately after the judge gave him his sentence, sayng,”The need for restitution does outweigh the need for prison.” No, it doesn’t. A civil system is in place for restitution, and lawsuits by the widows had already been filed. They didn’t want to wait for the trial and verdict? Too bad. Restitution for their loss is important, but not more important that making certain that the seriousness of the crime, a double murder, is reflected in society’s punishment of the criminal.
Opening his checkbook isn’t punishment for LeVin—paying his way out of accountability for his irresponsible conduct is Ryan LeVin’s lifestyle. That’s why he is the way he is; that’s why his two victims are dead. Reportedly, he didn’t even apologize to the victims’ wives or show any regret or remorse. Why should he? He’s rich. Money’s what counts; contrition is for suckers.
As for house arrest, that isn’t punishment either; it’s a gift. Most people would consider having to live in Ryan LeVin’s home for two years a vacation.
Broward (Florida) Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy, who let LeVin pay for two murders with some withdrawals from his trust fund, is irresponsible, incompetent, and naive. Seeing that the families of the victims get compensated is just part of the justice system’s job, something she does not seem to comprehend. The other part is sending the right message to the criminal and society, a message that discourages future crimes and bolsters faith in law enforcement. That message must that no matter who you are, if you disregard your duty to obey the laws and behave responsibly, you will be appropriately punished by the state in proportion to your misconduct and its consequences. McCarthy’s message, in contrast: if you have enough money, you can buy your way out of anything. The rich get house arrest, the poor get hard time. God Bless America!
In two years, Ryan Levin will be right back behind the wheel of his Porsche, ready to inflict mayhem again. And why not? He loves to drive fast, and if somebody gets hurt, that’s okay: he’ll just write another check. So remember, at least when you live in Florida, it’s not true that money can’t buy everything.
In the court of Judge McCarthy, it can buy a license to kill.
[Much thanks to Jeff Hibbert for ruining my Sunday with this]
19 thoughts on “Ethics Dunce: Broward (Florida) Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy”
Any chance for an appeal?
What if the fine was, “The families of those you killed split your trust fund. Have fun finding a job”?
Not enough. You go to jail for killing people. Poor people don’t have trust funds…paying a mega fine shouldn’t be an alternative—on the contrary, they should pay the money AND do hard time.
I really can’t blame the families’ lawyers: their job is to get the best outcome for their clients, and that may be, possibly even for good reasons that we don’t understand, a big check now. But the prosecutor and judge who signed off on this deal should be fired on the spot.
I agree. It’s not the lawyers’ jobs to punish the creep. it’s their jobs to make their clients happy. I think their clients, however, should have been willing to wait to collect, in the interests of justice.
The families and their lawyers are not a direct party to the criminal case. The State is. I know we’re ragging on the judge right now, but what prosecutor agreed to this?
Nevermind. The prosecutors wanted 10 years. This is all on the judge.
But even if the prosecutors had made the deal as it came down, the judge has no obligation to approve it if, as in this case, it is unconscionable.
Of course, but judges normally give deference to plea deals. Maybe the prosecutor’s case is week, and they wouldn’t be able to convict under any circumstances. It just so happens that Simple Justice wrote about one such case today (http://blog.simplejustice.us/2011/06/06/separating-sentence-from-proof.aspx).
Anyway, this is all in supposition land. This judge didn’t even have a suggested sentence to work off of. This was all her.
Great link…I had missed it.
I may write on it too. It’s unethical for a prosecutor to use a plea deal when he or she can’t prove the case. The ethical move is to drop it, not get a cheap guilty plea.
Broward Circuit Judge Barbara McCarthy said, “The need for restitution does outweigh the need for prison.” she should be immediately removed from the bench as she is obviously missing her brain.
Nothing good happens after Ocala.
I am amazed and mystified by this….
This person definitely deserved a harsh jail sentence, and the judge’s failure to give such, should lead directly to her loosing her position on the bench. Shame on the system, for allowing this to happen….
It’s outrageous that Judge Barbara McCarthy let Ryan LeVin off with only 2 years house arrest without even an ankle bracelet to monitor his whereabouts. Please call Judge McCarth’s office at 954-831-7208 and let her know how upset you are with her ruling. Her assistant’s name is Sabrina. I was a victim of a drunk driver and I spent 6 months in hospitals and have life long injuries. It is important that Judges protect the public of these drunk drivers by imposing a tougher sentence. I don’t blame the families for getting $$$, but I blame the judge for not giving LeVin a harsher sentence.
This stinks to high heaven. Ryan LeVin’s attorney, David Bogenschutz was Judge McCarthy deputy campaign treasurer.
Yeah its amazing to me that this wouldn’t be a conflict of interest in a murder trial. I really hope they remove that judge. They usually are on the same page as the prosecutor but clearly there is corruption in this case because of her relationship with Bogenschutz….
Even for the most corrupt, dirtiest county in America, this McCarthy sentence is an outrage. She needs to be removed from the bench immediately. Clearly there was a payoff.
It’s very sad that a Circuit Judge reaches such type of conclusion and sentence in a case of so much impact in our community, and what message are we sending to our community and youth.
We just pray to God that this gentleman Ryan LeVin does not repeat history in the future for the sake of an American family or any family. It would be very sad because the Judge had the opportunity to prevent it from happing and giving him a responsibility and accountability lesson. Let’s all remember in the next Circuit Judge elections that we should not reelect this Judge (Judge Barbara McCarthy). A Judge needs to ensure the law is followed and protect our communities and give a clear message to those that do not follow the law. This is not a nice message for our community and youth.
God Bless America.
I feel this judge should be removed I’m n her court room fight in for my life this case going on three years two victims never came n only one coming n at lease two courts should be dropped stand ur ground don’t work for blacks