Saturday, January 9, 2010

Now Kill a Man with Your Flying Maserati, That'll Be Probation

On the heels of the sentencing of former emergency room physcian Dr. Christopher Thompson to 5 years for assault on cyclists with his Infiniti sedan, in L.A., I'm stunned to read the story of the flying Maserati killer who got probation. 

That's right, according to the Columbia (SC) Post and Courier, John Ludwig, a wealthy South Carolinian businessman will do no time for killing Frederic Bardsley, this is from the Associated Press account:

 "A South Carolina businessman who pleaded guilty to plowing his speeding Maserati through a house, killing a 62-year-old man inside, will not serve time in prison for his crime, a judge ruled Friday.  Circuit Judge James Williams Jr. affirmed his previous sentence of three years probation for John Ludwig, 37, in the death of Frederic Bardsley.  Bardsley was killed April 25 after Ludwig's Maserati hurtled through a field at speeds of at least 85 mph, launched off an embankment and plowed into the back of Bardsley's Greenville home. Ludwig, whose attorneys say he lost control after swerving to miss several deer, suffered minor injuries in the crash. Bardsley's wife was also home but was not injured.  Ludwig, a former college football standout, was originally charged with murder but pleaded guilty in November to reckless homicide. Williams sentenced Ludwig to serve three years probation and do 500 hours of community service, saying he was impressed by the multimillionaire's charitable works.  'He's admitted his guilt,' [Judge]Williams said. 'It's evident to me that he has been very unselfish.' 

The prosecution was recommending 10 years.  Ludwig walked.

Apparently, Ludwig is somewhat out-of-control, Ludwig avoided jail time for a  prior incident involving an assault on a man Ludwig accused of having an affair with his wife. 

Seems Mr. Ludwig is able to spread a lot of money around, very quickly to make his troubles go away, for instance, noen of the Bardsley family was present at the hearing held by Judge Williams to reconsider the sentencing in light of the outcry by the prosecution--why, wll they were paid $3 million dollars to settle the wrongful death claim.

Look, I'm not saying Judge Williams is corrupt, in fact what I'm able to ascertain from public sources, this is a distinquished jurist;  but, the Judge should not be surprised to find law enforcement scrutinizing his bank deposits, and the bank deposits of family and friends for some time. 

Barry Scheck said something on Talk of the Nation the other day relating to the power of rich white men to positively effect outcomes for themselves under our system that seems to be corroborated by this example.


  1. This Ludwidg dude is a danger to himself and others and he and his judge-pal ought to be put in a jailcell together. Its said down here that this guy drives around like dukes of hazzard and just buys off the troopers when he gets pulled over if he stops at all. What did they do to his license did the judge take that away ?

  2. In OurTown there is a rich young man who ran a major construction company that got caught up in a federal bribery investigation into OurCounty government. Turns out this arrogant, narcissus didn't think the court system and rules were applicable to him. The feds caught him on tape having an ex-parte (one sided) conversation with a Judge presiding over a civil lawsuit he was involved in--now, we await action at the disciplinary level on the Judge.


  3. Bad Lawyer how is it that the doctor gets 5 years in CA and playboy in NC gets probation? Isnt there sentencing standards that all states follow?


    Well it looks like the folks in SC are as outraged as one might expect at Judge Williams' decision in this case. The Judge is having to disclaim involvement in a corrupt conspiracy. It looks like the prosecutor is paying a political price as well.