| Crime |

Ryan LeVin's Sentence: Lawyers Call It Checkbook Justice

Keep New Times Free
I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of South Florida and help keep the future of New Times free.

It seems we weren't the only ones thinking that hard-partying, Porsche-driving, Brit-killing douchebag Ryan LeVin bought his way out of prison last week.

In case you forgot, Judge Barbara McCarthy sentenced LeVin to two years house arrest, ten years probation, and 1,000 hours of community service for making roadkill out of two British tourists in a hit-and-run on Fort Lauderdale's Seabreeze Boulevard in 2009.

The same day LeVin was told he'd be grounded for two years, 56-year-old Richard Cleveland Glinton Sr. was sentenced to nine years in prison by a Palm Beach County judge for a very similar crime, but killing only half the people.

While LeVin paid an undisclosed amount of money for the representation of Broward lawyer J. David Bogenschutz, Glinton was appointed a public defender, according to court documents.

Add in the fact that LeVin agreed to pay -- again, an undisclosed amount -- to the families of his victims, McCarthy said the restitution outweighed the need to send LeVin to prison, and people are starting to believe having money can buy your way out of prison in Broward County courthouses.

"It is an outrage, and there should not be a single person in our community that is not offended by the fact that it is clear you can buy justice in Broward County," public defender Howard Finkelstein told the Daily Mail. "If it is appropriate that you not go to prison when you have money, it should also be appropriate that you not go to prison when you have no money."

University of Florida professor and former federal prosecutor Michael Seigel happens to agree.

"It is an unbelievably light sentence," he tells the Chicago Tribune. "It is very disturbing."

While prosecutor Stefanie Newman was asking for a lenient sentence for LeVin -- 10 years instead of the guidelines' 20 to 40 years -- Bogenschutz ended up getting LeVin off with house arrest and asked for the county to give his client's Porsche 911 Turbo back.

Todd Weicholz, a former Palm Beach County prosecutor, told the Sun-Sentinel a similar story.

"I did not find out until later this was a multimillion-dollar settlement," he said. "They kind of went behind my back. I was caught off guard."

Update: McCarthy says this morning that now she's decided LeVin will have to wear an electronic monitoring device on his ankle.

Follow The Pulp on Facebook and on Twitter: @ThePulpBPB.

Keep New Times Broward-Palm Beach Free... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering South Florida with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.


Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in South Florida.