Friday, June 26, 2009

"City is broken, options are few" says Star Editorial Board

5 billion bucks to update the most essential city services. And probably have only gotten more expensive due to the city government putting it off year after year after year.

And what are we going to do about this? Well, we won't raise taxes. We'll raise taxes for the billionaire Simon family, or give away public park land to any company that asks for it, or throw more money at Eli Lilly.

Privatization has been bought up, but that's done no good at the Indianapolis Water Company, who is also in a bunch of debt and wants more taxes.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Drunk driving + fatality = ???

As previously reported, an attorney that was formerly employed by both the State of Indiana's Department of Health, and Carl Brizzi's office (and worked on both Brizzi's and Mitch Daniels's campaigns) will likely only serve 11 months of his 4 year sentence.

In the short amount of time on Google I've spent, I'm not finding any other DUI cases involving a fatality, but I am finding stories across the nation.

The Chicago Tribune (no link, though it's found within and has 13 comments on it) reported a former fireman that killed a construction worker. He pled guilty and got 90 days.

Over in West Virginia, a drunk motorcyclist killed an 18 year old man, and got 10 years. Wow, that was even possible for our well connected drunk.

Some digging through archives in the Star, blog postings, and so on might be something to do in an upcoming weekend.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Powerful, connected white male gets 2 years* for killing a deaf custodian

You would think a story of corruption, of stupidity, of the "old boys club" of politics, with the end result being a loss of human life, would make national news. Some (now former) governor tried to sell a senate seat? Well my state of Indiana hired an alcoholic attorney who does the following, as reported by WTHR and WRTV :

  • Drinks himself into a stupor at a strip club, all at the late hour of...well, before 9:30pm.
  • Runs a red light at 59mph (in a 35mph zone), plows into the tuck driven by Jimmy Cash at around 9:30p.m., basically breaking it in half.
  • Lies to the police and says he only had four medium sized drinks, but refused field sobriety tests, and his blood was tested and hit between 0.15 and 0.17, about twice as much to be legally drunk in Indiana.
  • Says "I hope this guy has insurance to fix my car."
  • Oh, and Mr. Cash probably died on impact.
But how was the State of Indiana to know something like this could happen? Maybe if they did a background check...or maybe just did a Google search, they would've found this, also from WRTV:

In the early morning of Oct. 7, according to a police report, someone called 911 to report a wreck involving Record's vehicle and another vehicle in the 2200 block of North College Avenue. A police officer found the vehicles to be heavily damaged -- Record's was overturned -- and abandoned. The officer found no drivers or witnesses, the police report said.


That afternoon, according to the report, Record told the officer that he had been at a bar that night but did not take his vehicle home. He said he had last seen the vehicle where he parked it many blocks north of the wreck site, and that he had taken a taxi home from a bar early Thursday morning.


Record was not charged in the incident. But the prosecutor's office decided to fire him from his internship, which he had just started a week before, according to Helen Marchal, an office spokeswoman.

"The information we had was that Mr. Record may have been involved with a hit-and-run accident, and when (we asked him) specific questions about what happened over the weekend, we were not satisfied with his answers," Marchal said.

No surprise, he faced no charges.

So back to the crime that this guy was actually tried and convicted for. Earlier reports from various news organizations and local blogs had said he could face up to 20 years for what's basically a DUI and the death. But when the trial finally comes, the special prosecutor sought the max of 8 years.

The judge, being a temporary appointment accountable to no one rather than to the people, went even easier on him. Giving him 4 years, then cutting 2 years off of that, suspending his license for a while, $20,000 to a family, and some community service.

Fox 59 reports that he'll probably only serve 11 months of it (see video).

So a powerful, well connected white male causes death and destruction for years and it doesn't even look like he'll spend a year behind bars? My first thought is that there is no way similar cases would get such a lenient punishment. There should be research out there, and something more to write on.

As Gary Welsh over at Advanced Indiana points out:

If Terry Record had been an unemployed, down and out factory worker, you have to wonder if he would be facing a more harsh sentence. The disparity in sentencing for similar types crimes is indeed troubling.