Saturday, July 3, 2010

An unusual evil punishment

This time during our journey through old cases where Danes have been exposed of acts of xenophobia, we will write about the case against Danish student who had emigrated to the United States with his family when he was little.

Today as far as we know he lives separated from his family in Denmark with little chance of ever rebuilding his life after having served a sentence equal to a life sentence for such a young person. He was a victim of the tough love period in U.S. justice. A sentence he got trying to save his friends from a mexican gang.

He got 8 years in prison for an ordinary traffic accident involving speeding which is quiet normal in Denmark. He was chased by member of one of the widespread Hispanic gang members, when he lost control of his car, but the police and the prosecution had some interest in making a case to warn young drivers and did not investigate that claim. However, he decided to plead guilt because the lawyers made him believe that he would get off with probation only.

Denmark has after introduction of harsher sentences one of the toughest legislation in Europe, but not even the new laws would have made him end up in jail for 8 years. A car accident involving 4 deaths and drunken driving in the wrong lane on a highway resulted in only 2.5 years and 10 years without drivers license - after Denmark have introduced extremely harsh sentences for such incidents!

It is more than double the sentence that he would have become in Denmark, which must be considered a fine example of xenophobia.

Transportation cost lives. An old saying is that you can not make eggs without breaking the shell. It is just sad that a society, which regards themselves as civilized can not realize that.

The story was published in Denmark and sparked outrage due to the clearly improper proceedings. Properly angered by the international crisis, the authorities later attacked the mother - Gitte Lellan. Her son was deported to Denmark in 2004 where he was treated a victim of this unjust justice system. Maybe it is likely for him to make a living some day if he recover from his ordeal. RTC is known for having good results. Until that the Danish welfare system will gladly pay for the result of simple bullying in a foreign system.

Our caseworker did his investigation into this case. Here is what he found.

Sources:
"Streng straf til dansk bilist", danske nyheder, June 22, 2000
Teen Driver Will Plead No Contest, LA Times, April 11 2000
Danske Marcus idømt otte år, BT, June 23 2000
Danske Marcus kørte fire ihjel, BT, April 13 2000
A mother's walking nightmare heartbroken Gitte Lellan copes with the aftermath of fatal collision
, Free Library
Judge rejects Lellan claim driver in fatal clash say plea coerced, Free Library
Realtor to Stay Jailed Until Trial
Lellan Mom Indicted, Santa Clarita Radio
The local population still hells a memorial over their act of xenophobia to a warning to foreigners of a harsh sentence if they want to drive like the local population.
Healing with the Help of Angels, Inside SCV

10 comments:

  1. I grew up where this tragic accident occured. I lived there for 20+ years. Eleven years ago, when this occured there was no gang activity as claimed by Marcus Lellan and his defense team. This area was a very safe place to live and at that time was voted as one of the safest places to live in the United States. The accident is solely his fault for trying to pass another car in the bicycle lane. Had he not done so, then the 4 INNOCENT people that perished that day would still be here. Marcus is continuing to live his life and the 4 deceased victims were to never to return home to their families. That is an injustice...the fact that Marcus only had to serve 4 years for this crime. It has been reported in numerous news accounts that Lellan's passengers had begged him to slow the car down, not speed up as mentioned in the caseworkers account into his or hers botched investigation. In the United States, if you do the crime then expect to do the time to pay your debts to society. I would expect this in any country. In the United States, it is very common for people to not serve enough time for their crimes due to the overcrowding issues in our jails and prisons. Marcus Lellan got off way too easy. I just hope that he thinks about his crime every day of his life, that way maybe he is still being punished. Afterall, the 3 families affected by his crime are having to endure with their heartache every day of their life until it is their time to pass on.

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  2. Maybe he hadn't got a driver education like we have in Denmark. At that speed he should be able to drive safely. Young drivers drive like this here in Jutland where there is room for it.

    He must have been distracted by something. Maybe the gang he stated was following them was for real.

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  3. Examination of the scene showed a speed (prior to the collision) of more than 100mph. There's no way can that speed can ever be safe on an urban road (and you are seriously deluded if you think it's normal in Denmark).

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  4. I drove at that speed just yesterday where I live in Jutland.

    It is kind of normal here. Of course the government over in Copenhagen has set some kind of speed limits but that is because they live in an small island and need to have speed limits so their land seems larger than it is.

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    1. Are you sure it was 103 MPH you drove, and not 103 KPH? The United States still hasn't gone to the metric system, 103mph is the equivalent of 165km/hour. I drive 100 km/hour all the time, that's only a bit over 60mph, but my speedometer on a Ford F150 doesn't even go to 103MPH, it tops out at 100.

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  5. I not only live in the area, and drive that stretch of road daily, but I knew the young man in question. He was a good kid, although the typical product of parents who were over indulgent and in the middle of splitting up. Stereotypically, there was way too much spoiling of the child in an attempt to make themselves feel better about the family falling apart. And perhaps the belief that Marcus's speed was not excessive is simply a result of kilometers vs.miles. If you convert the MPH to KPH, you'll see that Marcus was traveling at about 165 kilometers per hour, and although I've never been in Denmark, I seriously doubt that 165 KPH is normal in a residential area. As for the claim of gang activity? Please, I've lived in this neighborhood since 1987, there are NO Hispanic gangs in this neighborhood, and there most certainly were none when this accident occurred, Marcus was being a stupid teenager, and although it still makes me so sad that stupid can ruin a life, lets not forget that he was in prison for less than four years for the death of four people. The Renolds family lost two sons. Another family, the Ianozzi's lost a son, and Rocky Adams, simply on his way home from the gym, died instantly when Marcus's car flew across the center divider, shearing off a small tree and landed upside down on top of Rocky's car. None of this would have happened if Marcus had not chosen to drive in excess of 165 kilos/hour. It was early evening, and typical lovely California weather. This is a neighborhood of families, children and family pets. This is NOT a graffiti covered, gang infested area. I'm sorry for Marcus and his family, but I'm more sorry for the families of Rocky, Dom, Tim and Dan. Rocky had survived a stroke, and was at the gym rebuilding his strength. Tim, Dan and Dom never got the chance to go to university, to marry and have children, or to grow old. Let's not forget them.

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  6. It was a very unfortunate accident all the way around. The US Court of Appeals found that it was indeed an accident due to lack of mens rea, forethought and planning. The US wrongfully deported Marcus but the Court of Appeals overturned his deportation and forced the re-issuance of his green card and other US-required documents after the clear-cut ruling from the Court of Appeals. A few years back I ran into Marcus who had obtained a college degree and worked in sales and strategic marketing. He seemed like a nice young man just as I'm sure his friends were very nice young men.

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    1. I ran into Marcus in at Vons in Santa Clarita, maybe 2007 or 2008. He was grocery shopping with his girlfriend. For sure Marcus got all his american rights reinstated at the end. He had been in Denmark long enough to obtain a college degree

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  7. Jeg recently saw an article about Ethan Couch. In the case about Ethan Couch alcohol and drugs were involved. Yet he only got probation where Lellan got years in prison and exile before he could try to rebuild his life.

    It sounds like Lellan got an rather unfair sentence.

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  8. I worked on the investigation. Lellan was a rich moron who got off easy. HE KILLED FOUR INNOCENT PEOPLE.

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