Illinois Seeks to Extradite Man Convicted of Vehicular Homicide of British Businessmen

June 8, 2011 by David S. Seltzer

As a Fort Lauderdale vehicular manslaughter criminal defense attorney, I was interested to read that the state of Illinois is seeking to extradite Ryan LeVin after his conviction here in Florida. LeVin, 36, is the wealthy Illinois man who pleaded guilty last week to killing two pedestrians in Broward County. LeVin was sentenced to just two years of house arrest after he agreed to pay financial compensation to the families of the victims. However, the Chicago Tribune reported June 6, the state of Illinois is seeking LeVin’s return to that state because he allegedly violated parole stemming from an earlier crash by traveling to Florida for trial without permission.

LeVin’s Florida crash took place in 2009. At first, he told authorities that a friend was driving when his Porsche jumped a curb in Fort Lauderdale and hit Craig Elford, 39 and Kenneth Watkinson, 48. The Porsche left the scene, and LeVin allegedly switched cars with a friend who later abandoned the Porsche on an entrance ramp. LeVin later admitted that he had been drag-racing and accepted responsibility for the deaths. In court, he would have faced up to 45 years in prison, but the Tribune said he had settled a civil case with Elford and Watkinson’s families, who asked the court for leniency.

At the time of the Florida crash, LeVin was on parole for a 2006 Chicago crash that injured a policeman, led a high-speed chase on an expressway and led to the discovery of cocaine in his car. Following the Florida crash, LeVin’s parole was revoked and he spent six months in jail. He was again on parole when he went to Florida to face charges there, but Illinois authorities said he didn’t have permission to travel. He would likely receive less than six months in jail, the Tribune said, before serving the house arrest at his parents’ condo by the ocean.

This case has gotten a lot of coverage as an example of “checkbook justice” in Florida. But as a south Florida manslaughter criminal defense lawyer, I’d like to discuss the issue of extradition to another state. Unlike international extradition, extradition between U.S. states is generally not refused. But that doesn’t mean someone in LeVin’s position has no defense. He has the right to contest the extradition, including the right to ensure that he’s being validly charged with a crime, that the paperwork is correct and that he is the person Illinois is seeking. In this case, the biggest issue might be whether LeVin did indeed violate his parole by going to Florida to answer the charges, which Illinois authorities must have been aware of. As a Miami criminal defense attorney, I handle interstate and international extradition defense whenever my clients need it, so I know that fighting extradition really can delay or even end a prosecution.

If you’re in south Florida and you’re charged with a crime in another jurisdiction, you don’t have to sit in jail for weeks before you can defend yourself. Call Seltzer Law, P.A. today for a free, confidential case evaluation. We’re available seven days a week and 24 hours a day at 1-888-THE-DEFENSE (1-888-843-3333) or via email anytime.