Photo/illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Photo/illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Once upon a time there was this thing called justice.

Sure, it had its flaws, but it was a fine concept to have hanging around. It was strong, bold and put violent criminals and killers behind bars – even if a glove did not appear to fit.

Justice seems to be hiding out lately.

First we had the bloody slaying of Aaron Ham. Although some details have yet to be uncovered, the bottom line is Ham was left brutally killed with a lame excuse of self-defense by a man, with no defensive wounds, who admitted to killing him.

Now we have two dead in an East Side collision caused by a guy who ran a red light while driving around town with a suspended license.

A 2007 Chevy Tahoe cruised through a red light on April 20 at the intersection of East 22nd Street and South Harrison road, slamming into the side of a 2002 Lexus.

Killed were Lorrie Schlecht, 55, and Caia Roden, 4, believed to be grandmother and granddaughter. The Lexus’s driver was a 33-year-old woman, nine months pregnant, who was hospitalized in critical condition.

Even though the Tahoe’s driver, 29-year-old Richard Kinner, had a suspended license and should not have even been driving in the first place, the Associated Press reports he may not face any charges in their deaths:

Tucson police Officer Charles Rydzak said normally Kinner would face a misdemeanor charge of causing a collision involving serious injury or death, but won’t because of city budget cuts.

He said Tucson’s city court lost three prosecutors, and the court wrote a letter in January to the police department saying it would decline to prosecute certain charges because of its limited staff.

Among those charges was causing a collision involving serious injury or death, Rydzak said.

Well, we should be at least a little relieved that Kinner’s not getting off totally scot-free. He was cited for driving around with a suspended license as well as running that red light, AP says.

Oh, yeah. He also got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.

Isn’t that enough?

Ham’s case went the way of lack of evidence, while the red-light-runner case would be ignored – which it hopefully will not – due to lack of money. Both reasons yield the same results: justice for none.

“There is something definitely wrong with the justice system in this county,” noted a neighbor of Ham’s whom I will name once he gives me the OK to do so. This man’s lengthy e-mail added his daughter’s dance studio is “up in arms” about the reported lack of criminal charges for the red light runner.

He also said he’s had a couple of petty incidents of his own that were eventually thrown out – but not without a giant hassle. “The point to all of this is that they can waste all this man power, money, and time pursuing things that are frivolous and not in the interest of justice, but they won’t lift a finger to try to resolve a case that truly needs to be looked at by the evidence presented that requires justice.”

To be fair, there still is a chance the red light runner case will not fall into the black hole noted in the AP story and produce more than a trio of tickets. There is also a chance that Ham’s case will get a reawakening with more evidence or other factors.

But we know there’s no hope with the glove acquittal.

UPDATE, clarification:

An e-mail from Tucson City Court’s Deputy Court Administrator Christopher Hale noted an incorrect statement in the AP story. He said it was the City Prosecutor’s Office who wrote the letter to the Tucson Police Department; the letter did not come from the City Court.

Officer Charles Rydzak was not correct in stating the court lost three prosecutors and that the court wrote a letter in January to the police department saying it would decline to prosecute certain charges because of its limited staff.

The City Prosecutor and her office are not part of the Tucson City Court. The City Prosecutor is a division of the City Attorney’s Office.

The City Prosecutor wrote the letter to the Tucson Police Department (the Court did not write the letter). Many people often make the mistake of including the Prosecutor and Public Defender as part of the Court but they are not divisions of, or employees of the Court. I would ask your assistance in educating your readers to this.



What do you think?

Is society going to hell in a hand basket – or are we already there?