And justice for none: No criminal charges for red-light runner who killed two?

Photo/illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Photo/illustration Ryn Gargulinski

Once upon a time there was this thing called justice.

Sure, it had its flaws, but it was a fine concept to have hanging around. It was strong, bold and put violent criminals and killers behind bars – even if a glove did not appear to fit.

Justice seems to be hiding out lately.

First we had the bloody slaying of Aaron Ham. Although some details have yet to be uncovered, the bottom line is Ham was left brutally killed with a lame excuse of self-defense by a man, with no defensive wounds, who admitted to killing him.

Now we have two dead in an East Side collision caused by a guy who ran a red light while driving around town with a suspended license.

A 2007 Chevy Tahoe cruised through a red light on April 20 at the intersection of East 22nd Street and South Harrison road, slamming into the side of a 2002 Lexus.

Killed were Lorrie Schlecht, 55, and Caia Roden, 4, believed to be grandmother and granddaughter. The Lexus’s driver was a 33-year-old woman, nine months pregnant, who was hospitalized in critical condition.

Even though the Tahoe’s driver, 29-year-old Richard Kinner, had a suspended license and should not have even been driving in the first place, the Associated Press reports he may not face any charges in their deaths:

Tucson police Officer Charles Rydzak said normally Kinner would face a misdemeanor charge of causing a collision involving serious injury or death, but won’t because of city budget cuts.

He said Tucson’s city court lost three prosecutors, and the court wrote a letter in January to the police department saying it would decline to prosecute certain charges because of its limited staff.

Among those charges was causing a collision involving serious injury or death, Rydzak said.

Well, we should be at least a little relieved that Kinner’s not getting off totally scot-free. He was cited for driving around with a suspended license as well as running that red light, AP says.

Oh, yeah. He also got a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.

Isn’t that enough?

Ham’s case went the way of lack of evidence, while the red-light-runner case would be ignored – which it hopefully will not – due to lack of money. Both reasons yield the same results: justice for none.

“There is something definitely wrong with the justice system in this county,” noted a neighbor of Ham’s whom I will name once he gives me the OK to do so. This man’s lengthy e-mail added his daughter’s dance studio is “up in arms” about the reported lack of criminal charges for the red light runner.

He also said he’s had a couple of petty incidents of his own that were eventually thrown out – but not without a giant hassle. “The point to all of this is that they can waste all this man power, money, and time pursuing things that are frivolous and not in the interest of justice, but they won’t lift a finger to try to resolve a case that truly needs to be looked at by the evidence presented that requires justice.”

To be fair, there still is a chance the red light runner case will not fall into the black hole noted in the AP story and produce more than a trio of tickets. There is also a chance that Ham’s case will get a reawakening with more evidence or other factors.

But we know there’s no hope with the glove acquittal.

UPDATE, clarification:

An e-mail from Tucson City Court’s Deputy Court Administrator Christopher Hale noted an incorrect statement in the AP story. He said it was the City Prosecutor’s Office who wrote the letter to the Tucson Police Department; the letter did not come from the City Court.

Officer Charles Rydzak was not correct in stating the court lost three prosecutors and that the court wrote a letter in January to the police department saying it would decline to prosecute certain charges because of its limited staff.

The City Prosecutor and her office are not part of the Tucson City Court. The City Prosecutor is a division of the City Attorney’s Office.

The City Prosecutor wrote the letter to the Tucson Police Department (the Court did not write the letter). Many people often make the mistake of including the Prosecutor and Public Defender as part of the Court but they are not divisions of, or employees of the Court. I would ask your assistance in educating your readers to this.



What do you think?

Is society going to hell in a hand basket – or are we already there?


About Rynski

Writer, artist, performer who specializes in the weird, wacky and sometimes creepy. Learn more at
This entry was posted in Crime, danger, death, life, Police/fire/law, Stupidity and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to And justice for none: No criminal charges for red-light runner who killed two?

  1. azmouse says:

    I don’t even know what to say?
    Are we all being Punk’d!??!

  2. Robert DeShone says:

    Don’t have the money! They seem to be collecting plenty from the cameras. I heaard from a knowledgeable source that is the real reason why there are cameras, even though the city says otherwise. The company that put’s the cameras in splits the money with the city.  I thought the offense would be negligent homicide. It looks like this is one more way for the government to raise taxes.

    • Rynski says:

      hiya robert,
      i, too, would agree the speed cameras are prob. raking in the dough, even though some drivers are so terrified of the ones on river road that they slow down to about 10 BELOW the speed limit.
      thanks for input.

  3. Pati says:

    Isn’t it sad that money is root of all causes…Tell the City manager to wear thicker glasses and really see what’s going on.  I would be mortified if it were MY family member killed.  The City has wasted more money than I ever could in my lifetime!  Get with the program

  4. Sue says:

    Its only going to get worse people!!! with the billion dollar loss hat we have coming due to the new immigration law, its all going down hill from here…

  5. Entropy says:

    Hate to say this, but we do not have a “Justice System”. We have a “LEGAL System”.
    Justice would have been to see the guy rot in jail. A legal system has… well… what he see now.

  6. Celeste says:

    It seems the attitude of “Business as usual” has been adopted by our justice system…as in a financially profitable system.

  7. Nicole says:

    what a load of crap. this guy should be sitting in a cell right now..our system is sadly flawed and should it be overhauled. If this was a family member of mine, geez there’s no telling what kinda justice I’d be looking to serve this guy on my own!! bless the family who have lost more than any family should have to at once.

    • Rynski says:

      i hear ya, nicole.
      bless the family for sure. if it’s any consolation to anyone? the driver did issue a statement via e-mail to kgun9:

      Here is the excerpt from the story:

      In an e-mail exchange with KGUN9 News, Kinner said he wants to make a public apology to the family of the victims. 
      He wrote, “I ask for your forgiveness any may God bless and comfort Lorrie, Caia and their families.  Although I am  sure the Roden and Schlect families do not want to hear from me, I am compelled to write this note of EXTREME apology to the people I have affected. I an truly sorry for the accident and feel intense sadness for the pain, grief and anger for that I have caused.  I can only attempt to imagine. I do have two young boys, ages 3 and 1.5 and if the situation was reverse,  I too would be extremely burdened with anger, frustration and most of all misery. Please understand that I am truly, truly sorry!”

      Kinner went on to say that what happened was just an accident.  He concluded, “Until the day I meet the Lord, I will always think of you, Mrs.Schlecht and Caia…. You are in my prayers and thoughts each and every second of each and every day.”
      ….nice gesture….but still doesn’t fix it.

  8. Fal says:

    10 yrs ago on April 29 my husband was killed in a “road rage” incident and although I don’t agree with what he did to escalate the situation I also don’t think the guy who killed him learned anything by spending just ONE night in jail even though he admitted to a Pima County Sheriff’s detective that he knew he had killed him. Justice? Please don’t make me laugh! How do you explain justice to an 8, 7 & 3 year old child that just lost their daddy and the person that did it never went to jail? I feel greatly for the family of these victims. What a sad world we live in…

    • Rynski says:

      awww, fal, so sorry to hear about your husband.
      also sorry to hear about the “very severe” punishment of the other driver with a single night in jail. geesh.
      thank you for sharing your story – and reminding us all to be careful out there. hope you and your children are healing as best you can.

  9. Hoosier Woman says:

    We were thinking about moving back to Tucson, especially if the illegal immigration problem gets better. However with the Ham story, this red light runner story, and the time 2 men were shot to death in front of a house, for SUPPOSEDLY molesting a little boy…maybe we are safer just staying here?

    • Rynski says:

      hiya hoosier woman,
      the news of late has been a big ball of depression. tucson is not all bad – i love living here – but i do not like some of the stories we’re finding. sigh.

  10. vp2 says:

    Suggested slogans for the Tucson City Prosecuters Office:
    “To Protect and to Serve … unless we’re too busy”
    “Tucson: Where Murder is a Relative Concept”
    “Don’t let a little thing like vehicular homicide ruin an otherwise stellar driving record.”
    Seriously, this is just insane. Please tell me the victims’ families are filing a wrongful death suit. I can’t believe this guy is still out there on the streets where I drive my own children.

  11. Thomas D. says:

    If one of my family members was killed this way i know what I would do!!

  12. zemer says:

    This is unbelievable!!!!    Not prosecuting due to budget cuts….  I commented last week on being afraid to bike or walk in Tucson….Now I’m afraid to drive…..The family’s of those killed deserve justice….

  13. VickiSue says:

    Do you know whether Kinner has explained just what it was that allowed him to drive through a red light? He lacks the excuses/causes of alcohol, drugs, speed and recklessness–unless you consider driving (on a suspended license, but I digress)–unless you consider driving through a red light, killing two people and seriously injuring a third “reckless.” So…what was he doing? Sight-seeing? Talking on the phone? Texting? Not that that’s illegal in Arizona, thanks to our legislature.

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