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  1. #1
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Morgan Stanley Financial Advisor Won't Face Felony Charges in Near Fatal Hit and Run

    According to the Vail Daily, "A financial manager for wealthy clients will not face felony charges for a hit-and-run because it could jeopardize his job."

    The financial manager is Martin Joel Erzinger, 52. In his position at Morgan Stanley he oversees over $1 billion in assets for his clients. He'd be forced by law to disclose a felony, which would of course not be good for business. But what about the business of justice?

    Erzinger hit 34 year old Steven Milo as he rode his bike along a highway shoulder. Milo suffered very serious injuries to his brain and spinal cord and was left for dead in a ditch while Erzinger drove away and only stopped several miles down the road to call roadside assistance for his banged up Mercedes.

    DA Mark Hurlbert, who pleaded the case down to two misdemeanor traffic charges says one of the reasons for doing so is to make sure Erzinger retains his ability to pay restitution in the case. Here's Hurlbert in the Vail Daily:

    "Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it... Justice in this case includes restitution and the ability to pay it."

    Hit-and-run cases are often not as cut-and-dry as they seem, and as we experienced here in Portland just a few months ago, add in a wealthy suspect and things get even more complicated.

    Legal chess moves aside, the community has responded strongly to this case. Over 2,700 people have already signed a petition on Change.org urging DA Hurlbert to not drop the felony charges against Erzinger. Another grassroots effort is directed at a boycott of the Vail stage of the upcoming Quizno's Pro Challenge.

    Even with an appreciation of the legal complexities, what Erzinger is accused of absolutely warrants a felony charge and it's shocking that his profession and net worth has even entered into the equation. As it is, the story has already gone viral, so the cat is out of the bag. Now, instead of dealing with the felony charge privately with his clients, Erzinger will become a national villain. I wonder how all this attention is impacting his business?


    http://bikeportland.org/2010/11/08/a...colorado-42320

  2. #2
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    There's a poll if you go through the huff post link, it has about 4,500 signatures now. It requires name and address, so it should have some meaning signing it. Obviously most of us aren't voters in that district, but it creates more and more push for media coverage which is bad news for everyone there until they fix this.

  3. #3
    SERENITY NOW!!! jyossarian's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Huffpo
    Morgan Stanley told The Huffington Post that they are aware of the situation and stressed that it was separate from Erzinger's professional role.

    "This unfortunate situation was not related to the individual's professional activities, but we are continuing to monitor the situation and will cooperate fully with law enforcement, if requested," said a Morgan Stanley representative.
    His employers couldn't care less. As far as they're concerned, he's being charged w/ a misdemeanor and will still be able to make people rich. If you're the victim in Colorado, don't expect justice.
    HHCMF - Take pride in your ability to amaze lesser mortals! - MikeR



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    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    BTW, the victim was an equally wealthy liver transplant surgeon

  5. #5
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    Traffic laws exist to motivate all drivers to act in a manner that is safe for other users of the road, including pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers. To those of us who rely on bicycles for transportation and recreation, enforcement of laws that ensure our safety on the road is vital.

    The enforcement of traffic laws should not differ depending on a driver's ability to write a check, but rather on the ability of the law to motivate drivers to drive safely. What Martin Joel Erzinger is accused of doing is clearly criminal, but dropping felony charges will set a message to drivers that the penalties for neglecting the welfare of others on the road, causing life-altering injury, and showing no concern for the victim might not be as serious as the law indicates.
    http://www.treehugger.com/files/2010...te+(Treehugger)

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    I've got a few dogs in this fight, and I agree with the D.A.'s decision. First, I'm a cyclist like just about everybody else here. Second, I'm the local Ride of Silence organizer, so I see up close & personal the lives that are affected by fatal car v. bike collisions. Third, a local cyclist was killed this summer by a hit & run driver who still hasn't been found. The family doesn't even have the funds for a reward, so a group of us threw in together for it, which was announced by the police and given good media coverage. THAT was the case that comes to mind here. I don't know the facts, but I suspect that cyclist Milo's career as a doctor is over, and not only has his earnings potential gone way down, his future medical expenses have gone way up. All circumstances are different, and I don't know everything about this one, but based upon what I know, if it were me, the money is going to be of a greater benefit to me than knowing Erzinger is behind bars. Especially when Erzinga eventually is released from prison.

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sooner Rider View Post
    ... if it were me, the money is going to be of a greater benefit to me than knowing Erzinger is behind bars....
    The victim doesn't see it that way. He doesn't need money. He wants to see this guy behind bars.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chicago Al's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sooner Rider View Post
    I don't know the facts, but I suspect that cyclist Milo's career as a doctor is over, and not only has his earnings potential gone way down, his future medical expenses have gone way up. All circumstances are different, and I don't know everything about this one, but based upon what I know, if it were me, the money is going to be of a greater benefit to me than knowing Erzinger is behind bars. Especially when Erzinga eventually is released from prison.
    With all respect, not only don't you know the facts, you don't even seem to have read the articles. The VICTIM is outraged by this and wants the perp prosecuted as a felon. Furthermore neither he nor his counsel were consulted by the prosecutor before lowering the charges. Don't you think that Dr Milo, a well educated, highly successful surgeon, is in a perfectly good position to evaluate, with the aid of the legal talent doubtless at his disposal, whether he can recover damages from Erzinger in civil proceedings even with Erzinger in prison?
    I never think I have hit hard, unless it rebounds.

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    DA Mark Hurlbert may be reached (970) 393-2600

  10. #10
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sooner Rider View Post
    I've got a few dogs in this fight, and I agree with the D.A.'s decision. First, I'm a cyclist like just about everybody else here. Second, I'm the local Ride of Silence organizer, so I see up close & personal the lives that are affected by fatal car v. bike collisions. Third, a local cyclist was killed this summer by a hit & run driver who still hasn't been found. The family doesn't even have the funds for a reward, so a group of us threw in together for it, which was announced by the police and given good media coverage. THAT was the case that comes to mind here. I don't know the facts, but I suspect that cyclist Milo's career as a doctor is over, and not only has his earnings potential gone way down, his future medical expenses have gone way up. All circumstances are different, and I don't know everything about this one, but based upon what I know, if it were me, the money is going to be of a greater benefit to me than knowing Erzinger is behind bars. Especially when Erzinga eventually is released from prison.
    Here's why you're wrong. Erzinger almost certainly has the assets and/or insurance to make the victim whole, regardless of the outcome of the criminal case. The claim by the prosecutor that he needs his job so as to make restitution is almsot certainly incorrect. Further, the victim in any criminal case should at least have a say, if not veto power, over the decision to "permit" the defendant to avoid a felony so as to allow him to make restitution if those outcomes are mutually exclusive. In this case, those outcomes are not mutually exclusive, and the victim was not allowed an input into the result. If a victim wants restitution in the criminal case and the defendant needs to work to make it, reducing a charge is justifiable. But if the victim values punishment over criminal restitution, and the victim can be made whole through the civil process, reducing the charge is simply an example of two-tiered justice - one for the rich, the other for the rest of us.

  11. #11
    I'm band already? lubes17319's Avatar
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    Originally heard about this Saturday & it didn't make it into the Denver Post till today around noon.....well after it got pushed nation-wide by outraged people.

    Saw this as well...
    You can contact the Colorado Supreme Court Office of Attorney Regulation Council at 303 893 8121, and lodge your complaint against Vail County DA Mark Hurlburt.
    Who cares what your bike weighs, just ride it!

  12. #12
    Senior Member trek2.3bike's Avatar
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    The conservative majority on the US Supreme Court (Scalia, et al) have graciously and without a word of backing in the Constitution provided scumbag prosecutors like Mike Hurlburt with ABSOLUTE IMMUNITY for their charging decisions (and their lying about evidence, or anything else they may do). Absolute immunity! The guy can, at most, lose his next election.

    What he needs is a public pilloring to make his name synonomous with injustice. Give him his 15 minutes of fame on the national scene.

  13. #13
    -=Barry=- The Human Car's Avatar
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    This post makes a good start of noting Hurlbert is synonymous with injustice http://washingtonwheelman.blogspot.c...e-of-what.html other things not mentioned here that Hurlbert has done are lower punishments for drunk skiing and running over little girls and for white men who go around pulling black women around by their hair.
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Pelotoner's Avatar
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    Money talks in Vail and the surrounding area. This story makes me sick and I hope that DA gets a clue that the scumbag that left the bicyclist on the side of the road needs to spend some time behind bars thinking about what he did... I am sure his liability umbrella policy provider is getting ready to write a large check to Dr. Milo.... I signed the petition and live in Colorado.

  15. #15
    Senior Member donrhummy's Avatar
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    Morgan Stanley Fund Manager's job more important than cyclist's LIFE!

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/1..._n_780294.html

    "Felony convictions have some pretty serious job implications for someone in Mr. Erzinger's profession, and that entered into it," District Attorney Mark Hurlbert said. "When you're talking about restitution, you don't want to take away his ability to pay."

    "We have talked with Mr. Haddon and we had [sic] their objections, but ultimately it's our call," Hurlbert said.

  16. #16
    Human most of the time
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    Restitution for ending a liver transplant surgeon professional career can't be cheap. Leaving the guy for dead - WOW!!!! I understand that everybody gets judged in the end.

  17. #17
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    What needs to be done is take the DA and Erzinger into a dark room tied up. Strip them of their clothes, take out a rusty dull knife and slowly cut off one testicle and shove it into the other guy's mouth. The DA is scum. Scum I tells ya.

    Oh and if someone is tracking this message as a threat, yes it is. My name is Peter Griffin. I live on 276 Evergreen Terrace Levistown, CO 23887.

  18. #18
    Faster but still slow slowandsteady's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by the-one1 View Post
    What needs to be done is take the DA and Erzinger into a dark room tied up. Strip them of their clothes, take out a rusty dull knife and slowly cut off one testicle and shove it into the other guy's mouth. The DA is scum. Scum I tells ya.

    Oh and if someone is tracking this message as a threat, yes it is. My name is Peter Griffin. I live on 276 Evergreen Terrace Levistown, CO 23887.
    Well, that is just a little over the top...
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  19. #19
    vol
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sooner Rider View Post
    if it were me, the money is going to be of a greater benefit to me than knowing Erzinger is behind bars. Especially when Erzinga eventually is released from prison.
    So you'd like to have this driver continue driving on the streets hitting other people and running, and be indefinitely excluded from the jail as long as he has the job?

    It would be interesting if he hit someone of the same profession as him and having equally wealthy clients. Even more interesting if one of his wealthy clients were a patient of the doctor victim waiting for liver transplant.

    P.S. If the opposite happened--if the surgeon was driving and hit the money manager, you bet his wealthy clients will make sure to fine the surgeon as much as the money they lose from losing the manager.

    Here, regarding Hurlbert's comment "We have talked with Mr. Haddon and we had their objections, but ultimately it's our call," I have a layman's question: Is the district attorney Hurlbert being the prosecutor for the victim, or the victim's lawyer Haddon? Can't the victim's lawyer be the prosecutor?
    Last edited by vol; 11-09-10 at 01:36 PM.

  20. #20
    Senior Member Smallwheels's Avatar
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    This story doesn't give enough information from both sides. It might be better that the surgeon gets tons of money instead of nothing from a guy in jail. The DA said that the plea deal will still give the driver jail time for misdemeanors. With a felony conviction the driver would loose his prestigious job and not be able to pay the undisclosed restitution. I wish all criminal drivers would go to jail. Perhaps the victim has enough money to pay for his lifetime of care and would prefer the driver to spend many years in jail. That information is missing from the report.
    Smallwheels

    Take my stuff, please. I have way too much. My current goal is to have all of my possessions fit onto a large bicycle trailer. Really.

  21. #21
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    About Martin J. Erzinger

    Martin J. Erzinger is a director in private wealth management at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney in Denver. He is dedicated to ultra high net worth individuals, their families and foundations. By providing advice founded on a culture of excellence and driven by global insight, Mr. Erzinger is devoted to helping clients preserve and grow their financial, family and social capital. He brings 30 years of capital markets experience and expertise to the planning, design and implementation of clients’ wealth strategies. He is backed by a deep team of professionals with multiple disciplines. He has served on numerous boards and investment committees and is a current director and trustee on the University of Colorado Foundation Board.

    Assets Under Management: $1 billion

    Minimum Fee for Initial Meeting: None required

    Minimum Net Worth Requirement: $5 million

    Largest Client Net Worth: $800 million

    Compensation Method for Planning Services:
    Asset-based fees and commissions (investment and insurance products)

    Primary Custodian for Investor Assets:
    Morgan Stanley Smith Barney


    Martin J. Erzinger
    Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
    370 17th Street
    Suite 2800
    Denver, CO 80202
    800.503.2813
    martin.j.erzinger@morganstanleypwm.com

    http://www.worth.com/index.php/compo...30&view=single
    Last edited by randya; 11-09-10 at 01:48 PM.

  22. #22
    aka Jerome CritEastwood's Avatar
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    The petition is going viral and is up over 9K sigs: http://www.change.org/petitions/view...wealth_manager
    Runnin' With The Pack

  23. #23
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    Important follow up:

    Originally Posted by Mark Hurlbert
    Vail, CO, Colorado;68408629
    Over the weekend, I have received over 1,000 e-mails from all over the country regarding the Martin Joel Erzinger case.

    Because of that I feel the need to explain why I am of...fering the plea bargain proposed in the Erzinger case. Either through the bent of the Vail Daily article or my own inartful comments, I feel that the reason for the plea bargain was not properly conveyed.

    First, let me say that from the start I feel for Dr. Steven Milo and sincerely hope that he has a complete and speedy recovery from his injuries. So why did I offer two misdemeanors on such a serious case?

    Despite what is implied in the Vail Daily, Dr. Milo never asked me to plea Mr. Erzinger to a felony. Dr. Milo asked that I plead Mr. Erzinger to a felony deferred judgment and sentence.

    What this means is that Mr. Erzinger would plead to a felony leaving the scene of an accident, and the judgment would be set aside.

    In either two or four years, as long as Mr. Erzinger met certain conditions, the case would drop off his record and he would be allowed to seal this case. Since there was no alcohol or drugs involved, the only conditions I could legally ask for were that he pay restitution and stay out of trouble.

    Given that he had a clean history, Mr. Erzinger would essentially have been able to write a check, and the case would then be dismissed. On top of that, while Dr. Milo was still probably recovering from his injuries, Mr. Erzinger would be able to say that he had no criminal history and even deny that anything had happened. That is not something I could stomach.

    I therefore offered that Mr. Erzinger plead guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and careless driving causing serious bodily injury.

    This means that for the rest of his life, Mr. Erzinger will have on his record that he carelessly drove, caused another human being serious bodily injury and left the scene. He will lose his driver's license, face potential jail time as determined by the judge and still have to pay restitution, which as I said in the Vail Daily is important to us but not an overriding objective in the plea.

    Obviously there is a benefit to Mr. Erzinger on taking the misdemeanors -- he keeps his job.

    If he were to plead to the deferred charge, he may or may not lose his job. But either way, as mentioned above, in a couple of years he would be able to tell any prospective employer that he had no criminal history.

    There has been much made about Mr. Erzinger's wealth. That is of no concern to me other than as it pertains to restitution to Dr. Milo. I have not asked Mr. Erzinger for any money either to myself or to the District Attorney's Office, and he has not offered. Both of us understand that that would be highly illegal.

    Finally, I appreciate the constructive comments I have received. And even if I have not responded, I have read every single one of them.

    If after reading this, you still feel that I am wrong for the plea bargain, I take full responsibility and welcome any constructive comments.

    But be forewarned that there is not much I can change at this point. I made the plea offer months ago, and the defense has accepted. This means that even if I wanted to change the plea offer, I could not.

    The only person that can reject it at this point is the judge. Again, I welcome any constructive comments in this case.

    Mark Hurlbert is the district attorney of the 5th Judicial District. The case referred to above was an alleged hit-and-run accident in July involving motorist Martin Joel Erzinger and bicyclist Dr. Steven Milo that resulted in serious injuries Milo is still recovering from.
    Great Bicycling Communities are Created.

  24. #24
    Senior Member randya's Avatar
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    ^^^ if that's real it's complete BS

    you don't need to be on drugs or alcohol to be a distracted driver capable of doing grave bodily harm, and there should be serious consequences and a criminal record for the actions of people like Erzinger, he shouldn't get a pass just because he's wealthy and no doubt has a bunch of good attorneys working for him.

  25. #25
    Senior Member Kurt Erlenbach's Avatar
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    It seem odd to me that leaving the scene of an accident involving serious bodily injury constitutes a misdemeanor in Colorado. That's a felony in Florida. I suggest those in Colorado contact their legislators about upgrading that crime.

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