This is a nice trick, see if it works for you next time you find yourself facing felony charges:
A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face charges for a hit-and-run because it could jeopardise his job, it has been revealed.
Martin Joel Erzinger, 52, was set to face felony charges for running over a doctor who he hit from behind in his 2010 Mercedes Benz, and then speeding off.
But now he will simply face two misdemeanour traffic charges from the July 3 incident in Eagle, Colorado.
Neat trick, what? Because his employment might be in jeopardy since he would need to disclose his felony convictions to clients and his employer (thus endangering his ability to earn a living, and pay restitution) Erzinger’s charges have been reduced to misdemeanor.
Justice, in this case, includes the capability to pay restitution, says District Attorney Mark Hurlbert:
He said Erzinger, a private wealth manager who manages more than $1billion in assets at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver, is willing to take responsibility and pay restitution.
‘Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger’s profession, and that entered into it,’ he said.
‘When you’re talking about restitution, you don’t want to take away his ability to pay.’
Dr Steven Milo, 34, Erzinger’s victim, a husband and father of two children, faces a lifetime of pain from his injuries and may not work again:
He suffered spinal cord injuries, bleeding from his brain and damage to his knee and scapula, according to court documents.
Over the past six weeks he has suffered ‘disabling’ spinal headaches and faces multiple surgeries for a herniated disc and plastic surgery to fix the scars he suffered in the accident.
‘He will have lifetime pain,’ his lawyer Harold Haddon told the court.
‘His ability to deal with the physical challenges of his profession – liver transplant surgery – has been seriously jeopardised.’
Dr Milo told Hurlbert that the case ‘has always been about responsibility, not money’.
‘Mr Erzinger struck me, fled and left me for dead on the highway,’ he wrote. ‘Neither his financial prominence nor my financial situation should be factors in your prosecution of this case.’
So, when you are next facing felony charges, you better hope (if you are rich) that you have a District Attorney as responsive to wealth as Mark Hurlbert was in this case: that your ability to earn an income trumps the victim’s right to see you punished for your wrongdoing.