Friday, May 12
Justice can be a joke. That is proven again with former Raiders wide receiver Henry Ruggs III.
A drunk Ruggs was driving his Chevrolet Corvette Stingray at 156 mph on Rainbow Boulevard and Spring Valley Parkway, a residential street in Las Vegas, in the early hours of Nov. 2, 2021 when he slammed into a car driven by 23-year-old Tina Tintor, whose dog, Max, was in the car with her.
The speed limit is 45 mph. I've driven that street. Go more than 60 mph and you're dangerously speeding. Ruggs was doing 156! Las Vegas police said they'd never seen anyone driving that fast before.
Tina and Max never stood a chance. Her car burst into flames upon impact. She and Max were trapped inside. What a horrible way to die. Ruggs and his female companion weren't seriously hurt.
Ruggs' blood alcohol level was 0.16, twice the legal limit for drivers in Nevada. Ruggs was uncooperative with law enforcement both at the scene of the accident and later at the hospital.
The initial charges were DUI resulting in death, DUI resulting in substantial bodily harm, two counts of reckless driving resulting in death or substantial bodily harm and possession of a firearm while under the influence.
So what are all those serious charges worth? I would think at the very minimum at least 25 years in prison. It would be closer to 50 years if I had a say.
Try three to 10 years in a Nevada state prison. That was the plea bargain arrangement, subject to a judge's approval with sentencing scheduled for Aug. 9.
So Ruggs could get as little as three years of prison time for causing one of the most high-profile, senseless car accidents in Las Vegas history.
How does this happen?
Ruggs, thanks to his rich contract with the Raiders, had the money to hire a top Las Vegas law firm with a lawyer who was notorious for defending UNLV players who got in legal trouble during the crime-infested Jerry Tarkanian era. They launched multiple legal challenges in this case delaying court proceedings for more than 1 1/2 years.
Ruggs' lawyers, David Chesnoff and Richard Schonfeld, argued that police didn't have probable cause to ask a judge for the warrant to obtain Ruggs' blood alcohol test at the hospital even though a belligerent Ruggs refused to cooperate at the scene of the accident.
The prosecution was too afraid to take on Chesnoff and Schonfeld in court. So they caved accepting this plea arrangement. Cowards.
Chesnoff and Schonfeld had the audacity to release this statement following the plea agreement: ''This is the first step toward a fair resolution to this matter and we look forward to closure for all the parties involved.''
How unctuous. Fair resolution? Potentially just three years in prison for Ruggs? Closure for all parties? Who are they kidding?
Tina's family released their own statement. It read: ''Tina's tragic loss has devastated her family beyond a grief they could ever comprehend. Family was everything to Tina and she was the light of her parent's life.''
I've always believed those with money and fame manipulate the system. There isn't equal justice for rich and poor. It's a rigged deck. This case just reinforces those beliefs.