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We are outraged at the insufficient sentences given to Armando Reza and Erik Fabian, who were both convicted of intentionally attacking a bicyclist with his car in Brookfield in 2009. Reza pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon, yet was sentenced to only 10 days in jail, probation and counseling. Fabian also pleaded guilty to aggravated battery with a deadly weapon and leaving the scene of an accident. He was sentenced to no jail time, just two years of probation. 


The penalty for this type of behavior must fit the crime. In this case, it does not. Violent behavior has no place on our roads. This instance should have served as an opportunity to condemn aggression toward bicyclists, which frequently ends in serious injury or death. Instead, it
reinforces the complacency around traffic violence in our communities. We demand that Assistant State's Atty. Mike Pattarozzi explain why these two men were given sentences that in no way fit the crimes
they committed.


Stay tuned. We will have more action alerts and a letter writing campaign tomorrow.


-Margo

 

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For what it's worth, Judge Kipperman's office can be reached at 708-865-6060. The receptionist doesn't seem thrilled to be taking calls, and I didn't get the sense that my message was being written down, but a flood of calls never can hurt.

-Dan
At least that guy initaly got out on a $1000 bond. That allready seems more than what those punks got.

Dan Schleifer said:
State's Attorney Monica Perez just responded to all of the emails her office received.

Here's a link to the PDF that was sent: http://bit.ly/agAmBG

As an aside, she replied to all using cc', not bcc' so the whole list of people who emailed her was exposed. Poor form and a breach of privacy, in my opinion,

-Dan
What galls me about all of this is the way that the State's Attorney is wiping their hands of the matter because the sentence was light. What about the charges? Charges are brought by the State's Attorney and they should have clearly been attempted murder charges.

If you are drinking and driving, that is of course a crime, but in this case, they were HUNTING cyclists to HIT THEM with their MOTOR VEHICLE. It is ridiculous that the charges were not attempted murder and that is what I said in the letter I wrote to the State's Attorney.

We are letting them completely off the hook.


Further, the mailing of that email to hundreds of people and showing everyone's email in the process was a huge f-up. A fact made worse when at least in my case, they clearly did not read the contents of the letter I sent to them before they included me in their form-letter brush off.
Lee,

I agree. I've replied to the State's Attorney's office regarding their letter and voiced my concern to the Judge's office. I would encourage other members of Chicago's cycling community to do the same.

Ms. Alvarez' office can be reached via email at stateattorney@cookcountyil.gov. The contact information for Judge Kipperman's office is upthread (phone only, no known email).

-Dan

p.s. I erred in my initial post - Ms. Perez works for the State's Attorney and sent the response letter, Ms. Alvarez is the State's Attorney.
Briefly - a Conference held pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 402 (which you can look up at www.ilga.gov) is generally a conference held among the Judge, prosecutor(s) and defense attorney(s) off the record and frequently in chambers. The conference can only be held if both parties and the court consent to it. Any of the three can decline to participate, and then no conference can be held. They are not recorded or transcribed and can only be held with the defendant's permission. Judges (typically) will make a record after the conference of what was discussed (facts about case, strengths and weaknesses of the parties' cases, mitigation, aggravation, defendant's criminal past). Case law dictates that these conferences may only be used by the courts to indicate whether the judge will accept a particular negotiated plea. Practically, many judges use this to weigh in on the likely sentence the defendant will receive if they lose at trial / plead guilty without a trial. The conferences are very informal and are used to aid in negotiations. By agreeing to a conference, the defendant giveis his attorney permission to discuss facts that the judge otherwise may not hear, or may not hear before a trial or pre-sentencing report is prepared by the probation department and the defendant gives up the right to ask for a different judge due to the judge's receiving this information. The defendant is not obligated to accept a recommended negotiation/plea, and the State is not obligated to make an offer that the judge may think is reasonable/fair. Email me if you have further questions.

Only the State's Attorney's office can decide what charges it believes are appropriate (if any), in a criminal case, and, if it is a felony, a judge or grand jury must decide if there is probable cause to continue the charge at a preliminary hearing or in an indictment, respectively.

Cameron Puetz said:
Can someone who’s more knowledgeable than I am in court proceedings explain a 402 Conference to me? Are the prosecution and defense discussing sentences prior verdict being issued? Is this the stage where a plea bargain would be made? Also, are these conferences recorded as trial records or are they closed door meetings with no records kept? Not to sound like a cynic, but I’d like to verify that the State’s Attorney isn’t just looking for a place to hide by pinning the blame for an unpopular case on the judge.
Dan Schleifer said:
State's Attorney Monica Perez just responded to all of the emails her office received.

Here's a link to the PDF that was sent: http://bit.ly/agAmBG

As an aside, she replied to all using cc', not bcc' so the whole list of people who emailed her was exposed. Poor form and a breach of privacy, in my opinion,

-Dan
Hi everyone,
We wanted to update you with some developments and other insights on this situation.

We are looking forward to a meeting we have scheduled with the State’s Attorney’s Office for later this month. One of the goals of this meeting is to understand the inner workings of cases like this (as in, what is the 402 discussion, how much discretion does a judge have, what are the biggest challenges to prosecuting a case like this?). We also want to learn how our organization can be a resource to their office and help them connect to the bike community.

We hear everyone’s frustrations that portions of the letter seem vague or dismissive. One thing to keep in mind, though, is how rare it is that the State’s Attorney’s Office would send a response. So we take this response, combined with their willingness to meet, as a sign that the office does take these concerns seriously.

Another frustration that I am sure we share with you is how slowly these changes happen. We want things changed right now! But, the reality is that changing these systems take… a long time. Take drunk driving or domestic abuse for example. Those uphill battles took years (and they are still fighting). Changing a system like the one around prosecuting traffic violence is a huge undertaking and it definitely won’t happen overnight (as frustrating as that is.)

The good news is that we are meeting with this office and will absolutely report back to you with more information and insight. Thank you for all the support, passion and momentum you lend.

Margo
HI Margo and all:

Does anyone know when this judge is up for re-election? I still consider the decision her fault.

I have sent a letter to her boss, Hon Ponce de Leon, fax is : 708-865-4952, and their boss, Hon Timothy Evans, fax: 312-603-5366.

If we know when she is up for re-election this will help matters greatly--anyone know how we can find out?
Active Transportation Alliance said:
Hi everyone,
We wanted to update you with some developments and other insights on this situation.

We are looking forward to a meeting we have scheduled with the State’s Attorney’s Office for later this month. One of the goals of this meeting is to understand the inner workings of cases like this (as in, what is the 402 discussion, how much discretion does a judge have, what are the biggest challenges to prosecuting a case like this?). We also want to learn how our organization can be a resource to their office and help them connect to the bike community.

We hear everyone’s frustrations that portions of the letter seem vague or dismissive. One thing to keep in mind, though, is how rare it is that the State’s Attorney’s Office would send a response. So we take this response, combined with their willingness to meet, as a sign that the office does take these concerns seriously.

Another frustration that I am sure we share with you is how slowly these changes happen. We want things changed right now! But, the reality is that changing these systems take… a long time. Take drunk driving or domestic abuse for example. Those uphill battles took years (and they are still fighting). Changing a system like the one around prosecuting traffic violence is a huge undertaking and it definitely won’t happen overnight (as frustrating as that is.)

The good news is that we are meeting with this office and will absolutely report back to you with more information and insight. Thank you for all the support, passion and momentum you lend.

Margo
Associate Judge Carol A. Kipperman's current 4-year term expires June 30, 2011. If she stands for another retention election, it will likely take place in the Spring of 2011.

Suzi said:
HI Margo and all:

Does anyone know when this judge is up for re-election? I still consider the decision her fault.

Sweet Kevin! ;-) Sad that it's so far away but happy to be able to vote for anyone else! I still say there are enough cycling lawyers that one should be running fpr this seat. ;-)

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