Friday, February 24, 2012

I Want Justice!

On February 10, 2012, at 2:35 a.m., I was at work when I got a phone call from the police saying there had been damage to my vehicle and asking me to come over to where it was parked. I told them I was at work and asked if I needed to be there, assuming someone had just tapped my car when trying to parallel park, or something. The officer responded that I needed to get over there immediately.
I ran over to where my car was parked, behind the train tracks on Irving on the gravel road, and was greeted by three police cars and a young male being handcuffed with his head down. I looked over at my car, there was glass everywhere, my back passenger window was completely missing, and my driver’s door handle was completely smashed in. The slab of concrete he had thrown at my car multiple times was laying in my backseat.

I still cannot understand why someone who doesn’t even know me thought it was a good idea to destroy the most expensive and precious thing I own.  

Thankfully, a Domino’s employee happened to be taking out the trash while the incident was taking place, he witnessed the damage being done and called the police.
One of the police officers gave me the incident report and told me to take my car in to get an estimate on the damage and get it back to them as soon as possible. The next day, aside from having to crawl into my car from the passenger door (as I still do), I had to go to the gas station to use the vacuum to get all the glass out from the seats and floor, take my car to the body shop to get an estimate, and bring the estimate to the police station. The damages totaled to $1,973.91. As a college student struggling with budget as it is, I cannot afford that.
 A couple days later, when I was finally able to get on the phone with one of the assistants to the state’s attorney, I was brushed off and spoken to with no respect. However, I was able to retrieve the full name of the perp and the case number. I instantly went on the McClean County Circuit Court’s Public Access page to look up the case, and was shocked. They are charging the kid with Criminal Damage to Property less than $300, a Class A misdemeanor, basically a slap on the wrist, when he clearly committed a felony (damage of $1,973.91).
This really upset me. This kid viscously destroyed something close to my heart for no apparent reason, caused me a load of stress and inconvenience, and is barely being punished for it.
Five days later, my restitution papers came in the mail from the states attorney. Again, where they listed his charges, showed “Criminal Damage to Property less than $300.” I filled out the paperwork and brought it into the states attorney’s office, where I got to speak to a paralegal. I showed her the estimate for the damages and what his charges were, and asked if they will up it to a felony when they see that the damage way exceeded $300, and the defendant had clearly committed a felony offense. She told me that it is a possibility, but will not necessarily happen.
Trying to put myself in an unbiased position (since I am extremely angry at this kid for doing this to me, and want him to be adequately punished), I still cannot figure out any possible way that it can be considered ethical to charge someone with a misdemeanor when he committed a felony! He pled not guilty at his initial appearance, and is having a jury trial. If he is found not guilty of this offense, even with an eyewitness, I will get no restitution or peace of mind.

Someone please tell me how this is ethical!!


  1. I have no way of convincing you it is ethical because I conpletely agree with you. This is just how the system works. Three years ago, my truck was "tapped" by another car in the parking lot of a bowling alley around midnight on a Thursday. The gentleman who hit my vehicle (which I was not in at the time) was nice enough to call the police. When I got there, I saw my truck was now missing a wheel, fender, and bumper because the "tap" came from a Ford Excursion at 30 mph. The guy did not have insurance and as a result, I paid everything out of pocket. The silver lining is that my insurance company did send me a check for all the reapairs about 6 months later (thank you full coverage). So hold on there Rachel, it may all work out for you!

  2. If it was a kid that did this, you need to be thinking about how to get justice for the $2K you are out. That entails a civil suit against HIS parents. But that means a lawyer, so the question is it worth - and can you afford - the legal costs. :-(

  3. I cant even imagine how you feel. Just thinking about this happening to me is absolutely frustrating and makes me feel hopeless. In a country that rates its attorneys based on conviction rates, I feel that victims become even more victimized. Dropping serious offenses for lesser ones in order to secure an easier conviction is a trend that needs to stop. In your case, I don't understand why the state would charge him with a misdemeanor. The evidence/damage is apparent in its seriousness and clearly surpasses the criteria for a felony. Just as Dr. Gizzi suggested, you should definitely look into a civil suit. I am sorry about your situation and I hope you get the justice you deserve!

  4. Wow! Agreeing with what was already said, a civil suit would be your best chance. Hopefully you will be able to get the justice you deserve and you won't have to pay a cent to get your car fixed.

  5. This is crazy! If he is not made to pay the full amount of the estimate you have I would not be happy. This person is clearly guilty for committing this crime. I hope he is charged heavily because this should not be taken lightly when attempting to maybe steal your car. Who in the right mind would do something like this, I wonder why and what made him do something to your car.

  6. You told me about this in discussion group and I still cannot believe it. The things that people do truly astonish me and I have no idea why someone would do this. Clearly the kid was not thinking straight and I am not sure why he decided that smashing a random cars window and door would be fun. I would be extremely upset with the way the county was handling this. The damage that this person did is expensive and the fact that you could end up having to pay for it is ridiculous. I would feel the same way you do and want the person to be adequately charged and also to be reimbursed for the repairs on the car. It's not like you can just leave your car the way this person left it. I feel terrible that something like this happened and completely understand your frustration.

  7. I don't think that he should have gotten charged for a misdemeanor. There was obvious damage to your car that constitutes as a felony- $2K, not $300. It was blatant damage to your car, not even an accident. He should have to not only pay every cost associated with the damage, he should have to face the charges for a felony, not a misdemeanor. Hopefully he pleads out so he is required to pay the damages. If not, you should definitely sue him in civil court.

  8. This is awful to hear! It is so scary that something like this can happen to anyone and that you may have to pay for it even if the person was caught. I don't understand how the State's Attorneys office did not realize that this case clearly was over $300 and that more needed to be done. I understand that they have a lot on their hands but by no means should something like this be dismissed. Last semester someone completely mangled my bike (no where even close as serious as damaging a car), but I was still out a couple hundred dollars because of it. Honestly I would look into getting an attorney to go against his parents, because your attorney could always ask for the parents to pay for your attorneys fees on top of the damage to your car. Good luck!