About eight months after his 16th birthday, young Joseph Beausang got a speeding ticket in Lake in the Hills, Ill. Now that, in itself, is not such an unusual thing. In fact, when I was 16, I got a speeding ticket. That was 55 years ago, and I still remember it.
This one, however, was a little over the top. Beausang was in a 45MPH zone on Rakow Road. Over the top, you say? How about, over the top of 100MPH! In fact, the Lake in the Hills officer clocked Beausang at 118MPH. That's 73MPH over the speed limit!!! That was back on October 24, 2009.
I wanted to hear the jury trial in this case that was set for 10:00AM in Judge Weech's courtroom. When I showed up and checked the call, the bailiff let me know that he didn't think the jury trial would start today, because a jury trial from yesterday would be continuing. I thought about leaving, until he said he thought the lawyers had just gone to meet with the judge for a 402 conference. I decided to hang around and see if there would be a deal.
And a deal there was. Sort of a deal of a lifetime. Maybe.
Thanks to low voices and other noise in the courtroom, it was impossible to hear everything said between Judge Weech, the prosecutor from the Office of the Village Attorney of Lake in the Hills and Beausang's lawyer from Diamond & LeSueur. Beausang's parents were there with him. I did hear the judge tell Beausang that such a speeding violation could well prevent him from getting a job in law enforcement, but it might not keep him out a job in NASCAR.
I couldn't hear the entire sentence when Beausang pled guilty, but his lawyer told me outside the courtroom that the fine was $100.00.
$100.00? One hundred dollars? ONLY one hundred dollars? That's outrageous! Yes, sure, the judge admonished Beausang about his driving. And he was very serious about it. And Beausang and his parents looked serious.
Until they got outside the courtroom and had a good laugh with their lawyer. I overheard their lawyer say that sincerity had been important. Right. Say the right words. Show the right "look." Be remorseful.
But a $100.00 fine for 73MPH over the speed limit? What does that really say to young Beausang. "Go fast, young man."
The total cost at the courthouse today? $100.00 fine plus $248.00 court costs, for a total of $348.00. Plus, of course, a healthy fee from their attorney.
If Beausang keeps his nose clean for six months, the Secretary of State will never hear about it. How come the cop didn't charge him with Reckless Driving? Why did the prosecutor agree to the plea? Why didn't they go to trial over speeding 73MPH over the limit?
Kind of makes you sick, doesn't it?
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