Wednesday, July 7, 2010

State of Illinois v. Erik Fabian and Reza

On May 31, 2009 Erik Fabian and Armando Reza were driving around the western suburbs after spending some time having some drinks. According to reports, REZA HAD A BLOOD ALCOHOL LEVEL OF .158. As if their first instance of bad judgment in drinking while driving wasn't enough, they both then took turns targeting bicyclists with their car. Each of them took a turn behind the wheel and plowed down a defenseless bicyclist.

Judge Carol Kipperman who sits in the Cook County Circuit Court's Maywood Division sentenced these two with light sentences. Erik Fabian plead guilty to aggravated batter with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident and received two years probation. Armando Reza was sentenced to only ten days in jail even though he had a blood alcohol level that was basically twice the legal limit in Illinois.

Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez has issued a statement to the bicycling community regarding this incident. As a lawyer and former law clerk for the Cook County State's Attorney, I find State's Attorney Alvarez's position on this issue very credible. It is highly probable that the State's Attorney's Office sought much higher penalties for this incident and the judge made the ruling on her own. Judge Carol Kipperman has the discretion as the trier of fact in this case to sentence these criminals over the objection of the prosecutors.

The issue then turns to what can be done? Unfortunately, not a lot can be "redone" now that Erik Fabian and Armando Reza have been sentenced. However, Judge Carol Kipperman will have to run for re-election soon. And she can rest assured that the bicycling community will remember this case.