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.
"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.
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.