He wasn’t driving drunk, he didn’t hit anyone, but he might still go to jail

Two drivers stopped at a red light one night in April 2007.

One driver was drunk — and not just a little drunk. Jonathan Hernandez was a convicted felon on probation, with enough alcohol in his blood to qualify for an extreme DUI.

The other driver, 19-year-old Jacob Ritter-Clark, had never gotten so much as a speeding ticket. He was sober.

Jacob Ritter-Clark and his fiancée, Kadi Horvath, are terrified that he'll end up in prison.
Michael Ratcliff
Jacob Ritter-Clark and his fiancée, Kadi Horvath, are terrified that he'll end up in prison.

I know you think you know where this is going. Two drivers collided, and their lives will never been the same. Blah blah blah.

But the two drivers didn't collide.

Both cars took off at the light, but Hernandez took off much faster. He gunned his Saturn and cut in front of Ritter-Clark — then lost control, flipping his car and pinning his passenger between the open sunroof and the bloody pavement.

Tests would later show Hernandez had been going at least 88 miles per hour.

But though Ritter-Clark's car never even touched the speeding drunk's, the cliché is still right on one level: In the wake of the accident, both drivers' lives have been irrevocably altered.

Jonathan Hernandez is in prison. No surprise there. But here is the unexpected part: Jacob Ritter-Clark might end up with an even longer sentence.

Ritter-Clark, the sober driver who managed to avoid crashing into the out-of-control drunk felon, pulled over immediately to call 911. Thanks to that act of kindness, he's now facing two felony counts — and a presumptive sentence of 7½ years in prison.


If you've learned about the courts by watching Law & Order, you might imagine that the wheels of justice move quickly. But this is true only in one sense. The initial review of a collision, or a simple assault, is often speedy as hell. Arrests are made. Charges are filed.

After that, the wheels can grind interminably. You won't plead guilty to a lesser charge? Prepare to attend pre-trial hearing after pre-trial hearing. Prepare for trial dates that come and go, with no trial in sight.

That's because, typically, no one wants a trial. Trials are expensive — and bring no guarantee of justice. If you're guilty of anything, you're much better off cutting a deal, getting some charges thrown out, and throwing yourself on the judge's mercy.

Judges know that, prosecutors know that, defense lawyers know that.

Jonathan Hernandez, the kid who caused the accident by driving drunk and speeding, surely knows that, too.

Hernandez, as they say, was "known" to the system — just 23, he'd already racked up five domestic violence convictions, one of them a felony that he was still on probation for. (Two years before the crash, records show that he hid in the bushes, ambushed an ex-girlfriend, and choked her in front of their 2-year-old son.) On probation, he'd managed to total a car by wrapping it around an electric pole, tested positive for cocaine use, and failed to show up for further testing — all without being sent to prison.

Like any good repeat offender, Hernandez knows the game. He took the deal on the table: five years in prison, plus three years probation.

It's Jacob Ritter-Clark who's holding things up. He keeps protesting that he's innocent.

The Mesa police decided that Jacob Ritter-Clark and Jonathan Hernandez were drag racing. That's illegal. Following Mesa PD's recommendation, the Maricopa County Attorney charged both with aggravated assault and endangerment.

Hernandez was guilty, clearly. But it's only after I read the police report that I realized how thin the evidence is against Ritter-Clark.

In fact, if Ritter-Clark hadn't thought of himself as an innocent bystander and immediately returned to the upside-down Saturn to call 911, I can't imagine he'd be facing charges today.

That night, Ritter-Clark and his passenger each told police the exact same story: Hernandez and his buddy pulled up next to them at the stoplight at Greenfield and Main and asked them to drag race. They refused, and the next thing they knew, the light turned green and Hernandez's Saturn cut in front of them — then skidded into the curb, flipped, and thudded to a halt only because it smashed into a Mexican restaurant.

Because Ritter-Clark's car never hit anything, because there were no skid marks or physical evidence left by his vehicle, there is no way that anyone can know how fast he was going that night. But two witnesses told police that Ritter-Clark was driving way over the speed limit — and the cops, after all, had heard from Ritter-Clark himself that he'd been challenged to a drag race.

So, when they saw that he'd bought fancy black rims for his Toyota Corolla, that he had put a Toyota sticker on its hood, and was tricking out the exhaust system, the cops must have thought they had a speed freak.

"The officer was talking about how he likes going fast on his 'crotch rocket,'" Ritter-Clark recalls. He says he asked whether Ritter-Clark had ever been to the raceway.

No, Ritter-Clark answered, truthfully. But he had friends who went and, someday, he'd like to go, he told the cop.

It was only months later, when Ritter-Clark got a summons in the mail, that he realized he was in any trouble.

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63 comments
Steve Tracy
Steve Tracy

there was a time in our country's history when you actually had to have done something wrong to deal with this in-justice system. Yes, there were exceptions such as being a black person who was breathing in one of the southern states like Alabama. Then God knows what could happen to you. This mindless contemporary attitude of law enforcemnt at all costs, with or without compelling evidence is pretty damned scary

robert
robert

So what was the final outcome?

gary
gary

I hope this kid wins the case. There does not seem to be enough evidence. http://www.phoenix-life-insura.... The challenge with the average American fighting for their rights is the other side has unlimited funds with our tax money.

shanie
shanie

This is totally stupid, this guy was just trying to be good and end up in trouble. This is a good example of how that law can be wrong sometimes

shanie
shanie

This is totally stupid, this guy was just trying to be good and end up in trouble. This is a good example of how that law can be wrong sometimes

Mike
Mike

Thanks for another in a long series of articles that show what a totally fucked up state Arizona is, and yet another reason to be thankful I never have to be there, live there, or travel there.

Dan
Dan

What a sad state of affairs. I only wish justice will prevail. If there are any petitions that we can sign, let me know. I can be reached at arcansvp@yahoo.com

GP Gerber
GP Gerber

Please call Robert Shapiro..."Legalese"in California ...he has Arizona attorneys he can assign on the case

SKYounkin
SKYounkin

Has it occured to anyone if the police lied about the involvement of the defendant- they most likely lied about the actions of the deceased?

My thoughts and well wishes to the family of both the deceased Belarde and Ritter-Clark. I hope you get justice.

Mesa resident
Mesa resident

Hey Phoenix resident, I love you too. Now that that's out of the way, let me see, after I'm done drag racing someone, and he gets in an accident, I'll call 911. OK. Someone is still DEAD from HIS actions which were'nt intentional but did lead to the man's death. I'm not sticking up for the other driver, but, the other drivers actions do not negate Mr. Clarks.

antwerp
antwerp

hey phx resident! maybe read the comments next time douchebag! if you had, you would have learned the public defenders office never represented Mr. Ritter (I need to go on weight watchers) Clark. They aren't involved in this story at all. If you were paying attention, the lawyers representing Mr. Clark have all been private attorneys. MR CLARK HAS NEVER HAD A PUBLIC DEFENDER.is everyone clear on that now?

Phx Resident
Phx Resident

Mesa Resident, let me be the first to tell you,...Your and Idiot! Now that that's out of the way, this poor guy tried to perform a samaritan act, and got dumped on by our so-called legal justice system. And the two idiot felons who caused all this are not being blamed at all. I wish candy ass thomas and his cronies hurry up and get force fully removed from public office. This guy is being rail-roaded to the highest extent possible. And the public defenders office is a JOKE! Some justice, yeah right. The criminals in AZ have more rights than the hapless victims.

Mesa Resident
Mesa Resident

Well let's see, I have a tricked out car. I know it's fast. If I didn't have an "Eat my dust" attitude, took off at the light at a normal speed, IGNORED the cars around me and not showing off my manliness, concentrated on just getting home and just being happy that I'm alive, I wouldn't be involved in any of this. Hmmmm, what a concept. That's like the kid who got killed for bullying another kid and got his head bashed in with a baseball bat. No one knows what is going to happen in their lives. Why make it more difficult by being a show-off or a tough guy. Sorry but the law doesn't state anywhere that there is leniency for a FIRST mistake. Especially when someone else gets injured or dies. Let's think about this again, do I be stupid, or do I be smart. He was stupid.

Tom Friend
Tom Friend

Hopefully Mr. Ritter-Clark will be afforded a proper trial. Good luck to him and his family. Feel bad for Mr. Smiley as it appears he has been wrongfully vilified in an election year putsch against County Attorney Thomas by The New Times.

The larger issue at hand is our inane sentencing guidelines which neither reduce, prevent or actually punish crimes, but merely line County coffers, private prison firm bottom lines, assuage large enforcement egos and sustain hapless social workers. It's all about the money.

A good caning would be more appropriate and lasting than our current minimum sentencing boondoggle which only makes us look like a bunch of rubes with 17000 estimated DUI arrests a year, 50,000 plus outstanding felony warrants, etc., etc. and NO REDUCTION IN CRIME.

Sticking Mr. Clark in Prison for 5 years, regardless of whether he was involved or not criminally, is a waste of everyone's time and taxpayer dollars. Attaching a felony to his record only forces him to re-educate himself as a professional criminal during his 5 year stretch.

RECITIVISM is the creation of the incarceration system to sustain, ye verily increase the wealth and power of the police state, and not in a conspiracy subterfuge, rather a very overt and simple money grab.

A pox on all their houses.

Leann
Leann

why is it when a good deed is done in arizona it usually backfires, this has happened to me many times in AZ on a smaller scale, but in other states, it works out great!

dwoodruff
dwoodruff

I seriously doubt he was doing nothing... If the other car was going 88 miles per hour, how was it barely past him enough to cut him off?

It that speed is true, and he was obeying traffic laws, the other car should have been hundreds of feet past him.

Not being drunk does not mean, not breaking other laws

marta
marta

to robin from nyc. you should write for this paper. your research is impeccable. Except the fact that the paper itself published a correction in the last print issue acknowledging that Mr. Smiley is a private attorney and they screwed up with all that "public defender" bullshit. matthewsmileylaw dot net All it would have taken was a simple google search, but this worthless rag of a paper and you couldn't be bothered.

robin
robin

to all the know it alls. a little research will show you that the lawyer is a public defender, his so called private practice failed years ago! 2. its been known to happen and will happen again. i suggest that the jacob ritter family contact the innocence project before your son ends up on death row. we know there are many innocent people who have spent their lives in jails. simply because the prosecution is full of shit and always will be and will refuse to admit they are wrong. even with irrefutable evidence!!! and to those who claim to know this lawyer oh so well. maybe you all better get to hiring a p.i. to give you the truth because its obvious you cant find it from you assholes

patricia jenske
patricia jenske

In regards to, "He wasn't drinking but he still might go to jail', I feel that is so typical of the government in America. People are no longer viewed as human beings with families and feelings. As long as there are so many idiots employed within the judicial system these types of problems will continue in my opinion.

B Peters
B Peters

My prayers are with this young gentleman..hang tough.

Jay
Jay

Anyone who is amazed by this simply hasn't been paying attention. Our police are corrupt, our judges are corrupt, and our politicians are corrupt. Everything they do is self-serving and only serves one cause - bigger paychecks for themselves and their cronies.

eronysis
eronysis

Hey Parents,

Nice work trying to get Smiley back on the case after attempting to get this tried and a good attorney crucified via the New Times. I hope your lying little pork barrel snowflake rots in jail.

MsFenske,

You typify everything wrong with journalism. I would call you a literary prostitute, but I do think you are in fact that talented.

Fuzzy Bender
Fuzzy Bender

Well in summation for all you lice infected mouth breahters and sensation seekers, here is an update on the trial of the decade, or maybe the week... whatever,... Anyway I wanted to say that even though the person who got in the accident to begin with and IS NOW DEAD, cannot speak for himself and tell the truth (i.e. that Ritter-Clark was in fact drag racing with the deceased party)... We ALL KNOW THE FREAKING TRUTH... AND YOU ALL CAN'T HANDLE THE TRUTH... that RITTER CLARK is speed racer *(he's a demon on wheels.)Although Ritter-Clarck tried to get the case tried here in the NEW TIMES, HE FAILED MISERABLY. And a court of law is where he'll find that personal responsibility always beats out the power of the press. The press is having less and less power as the internet grows in its mightiness!!!Anyway I buried the lead.Attorney Smiley was TAKEN OFF THE CASE.and Ritter Clark that 'baby back beeyotch' cried like a wee small infant to have Smiley kept on the case.JUST THOUGHT YOU ALL SHOULD KNOWp.s. you get what you pay for, and paybacks a beeyotch.

You shouldn't TRY THE LAWYER OR THE POLICE IN a court of public opinion. Just stick to the freakin' facts!

DOLLY Weller
DOLLY Weller

to everybody that does think jacob is guilty you are all nuts he is a young man that called 911to report and accident the other driver was drunk and he did not give a shit about anything except drag racing. dont judge jacob cause you were not there. he did the right thing you all need to stop and think if that was your son what would you do . dont be so fast to judge him. get off his back . jacob hold your head up high, god is with you.

Renee'
Renee'

The person who died was a criminal and was drunk the person who is responible for the accident is the the drunk driver who coul not think straight and was the one trying to race not Mr. Clark. He was being threatened at harrased by the other driver and still called 911 when he saw the crasg. Again was not racing was driving and the guys in the other car were drunk and harrassing Mr. Clark. Who are you going to believe a young man who has always made the right choice to walk away from drugs, crime, and gangs, or a copuple of adults who have never made the right choice. Did you read their history in the story at all? You are inocent until proven otherwise or don't you live in the USA!!!!!!

Linda, stop being retarded
Linda, stop being retarded

The human on trial is being accused of recklessly endangering the life of another human who no longer exists. The fact that the human died of natural causes makes this case that much more incredible. And Linda, so you know, incredible does not mean awe-inspiring or amazing in this sense...it means not credible, hard to believe, or unbelievable.

linda
linda

The person that pass away, did not die from any injuries from this accident. Prison records say he died of natural causes.

jay
jay

Mr. Smiley is a public defender. Right. Because as we know, all public pretenders drive BMW 7 series and Mercedes vehicles. Please. Or didnt that information come up when you were checking out his (irrevalant) driving record? I'm pretty sure he's not the one on trial here. Good luck Mr. Clark. I do hope you win.

Forgive Durden
Forgive Durden

The human being who crashed was driving drunk. That human being no longer exists. The human being who did not crash and called the police to save the drunk driver's life was not driving drunk. Throw out the human public defender, not important. To sum it up, a human being driving drunk and speeding is now dead. A human being driving sober and speeding called the police, and is not dead. To those humans who are so convinced of this human's guilt, be careful about having two drinks at dinner and then driving home. I can only hope that one human's life is not ruined because that human dialed 911 in order to save the life of a human with a history who crashed driving his vehicle drunk. Driving his vehicle drunk.

Steve King
Steve King

First off a big shout out to Ken... whatever the name of the dude who pointed out that the Ritter-Clark automobile had to be going only a shade less fast then the other person whose vehicle flipped. Nice detective work Sherlock Holmes. Secondly, let me ask all of you, if that had been your child/spouse/father driving the vehicle that flipped, would you not want the other party to be tried in a court of law? You're all acting like Ritter-Clark is innocent when he is the furthest thing from it. And are we sure there aren't any previous violations in this Ritter-Clarks past that maybe got expunged after he turned of legal age?Something is rotten in Denmark, or Phoenix... or Maricopa county. They say the fish stinks from the head down...and this is one stinky fish story. As for the miscreants in here who believe it's a big not guilty for this Ritter-Clark, I don't see any of you contributing to his lawyers fund to try to hire a lawyer for him. Put your money where your mouth's are. Othewise you're all just 'chin music' in here. But obviously any court of law could tell you in two minutes time by reading the reports, this kid is guilty!

Ken Clark Jr
Ken Clark Jr

Jacobs father here again,a few updates;Since this article came out alot of comments came through and a personal thank you is in order to those expressing the kinder thoughts.Thank you for your thoughts and prayers I think everything will work out in the end,meaning I still have faith and or hope,if I did'nt,I would be giving up and that is another thing i've tought our sons to do,and i'll be damned if I let anyone do that to me.A court was just set for July 16th my wife was notified about this on Friday July 11th,kinda strange,but my son did'nt get the call because he don't have my sons phone number,stranger yet.On the other note is my sons' friend that was with him that night has been recently pulled over going, he says 2 MPH over the speed limit which is legit but he said he was followed for awhile then pulled over,during the stop he was questioned about that night of the article ensuing that he had the right to ask and this young man said you have no right to ask me anything about it.Again this is just hear say to us so nothing is valid just yet.Also, said the officer has been put on some kind of leave.Another update on Wednesday.Oh yeah,Sheriff Joe care to make a comment on this case?You were here did you read any of it? Sincerly Ken Clark Jr

Louis G.
Louis G.

I love the way people use the information from Fenske's own article, fill in the blanks on their own and call her a bad reporter. There are just people out there who think any amount of complaining about a bum wrap is just that, complaining. Fenske noted that the Smiley was a contract attorney, she did not say he worked for the PD office, it was the prosecutor in court who said that. Also, it was the family who said he had not provided a phone number, not the reporter. And you know what, he was late and went before a judge without talking with his client. And any attorney worth his salt would try to schedule a trial date (on a sham trial no less) outside of the honeymoon period. Finally, to the poster who says police would not have pulled him over without issue... they didn't pull him over - he called them to come save the life of the idiot who crashed his car. Want to know why Arizona has such a fucked up legal system? Because of idiot Arizonan's like those on here who think all reporters and all accused are just liars. The point of the article was innocent until proven guilty has fallen away in this state - it is high time we got rid of those in the state legal office who think all they need is an accusation to run us through the mill.

rolly
rolly

This case involves a factual dispute which is resolved by having a trial. Fenske seems to have written a commercial for the private defense bar. What did Franklin do but make promises not kept. This type of hysteria that any private attorney is better than any public defender is not supported by the trial success of the Public Defender's office versus the County Attorney. It is also a shame that a newspaper while standing up for one underdog feels the need to demean the worth of the person who despite what ever miscarriage of justice may be involved is very much dead.

John Stewart
John Stewart

This is an extremely sad example of the criminal justice system in Arizona. However, it is not unusual in Mesa. Officers investigate with preconceived ideas and ask trick questions, have you been to the race track?

With nick names like wild Bill (I'm not making this up) detectives in Mesa evaluate a case and arrange their fact finding to meet their already reached conclusions. This is absolutely nothing new and has been on-going for many years.

A shoot first, ask questions later mentality prevails and has for far too many years.

What I don't understand is why so many are surprised by this. While there are many fine officers on the Mesa PD, this mentality is and has been ingrained in this particular department for at least 30 years.

Dolly Weller
Dolly Weller

I read the article i think jacob is being railroaded i think maricopa police department should be going after real crimanals.Jacob is young and never had anything on his record you need to leave him alone.police officers think they are all above the law i lived in mesa for 5 years and the police department doesnt know what they are doing i wonder if they can sleep at night.jacob doesnt have a good defense with D.A.let the young man go on with his life he has a family.and let his parents get a piece of mine. they no there son better than anybody. Jacob is no threat to society if he gets a feloney his life will be ruin come on take a good look at it. good luck jacob thnik positive god is on your side.

Sheriff Joe
Sheriff Joe

Ken Ferrell is an idiot...period...exclamation point.

M. Cavalera
M. Cavalera

Whoever told ya you can never be freeWhoever told ya you can't seek out that dreamWhoever told ya you can never be freeWhoever told you that is your enemy you see...My life is mine, my right is mineCause it's my life, you see, not your lifeMy life is mine, my right is mineSometimes you have to lose your mind...No Hope = No FearI won't wait for the next lifeThe time is now, the time is rightFollow my heart, I'll get throughIf you're not now, you never wereSo lose yourself to find yourselfDon't need to act like nobody elseSometimes it feels as if the road is blockedI'll find a way, I'll move those rocksFreedom!

Ken Ferrell
Ken Ferrell

From a pure mathematical stand point, this makes no sense. If they were at the stop light together, took off together, and the other driver was going at least 88 MPH before cutting off this guy, they were drag racing.

A Redline Saturn Ion coupe (the performance line for the Ions) requires about 1/4 mile to get to 88 MPH. That takes about 15 seconds. So while Hernandez was going 88 MPH after nearly a quarter mile, and Ritter-Clark was still close enough to be cut off, then Ritter-Clark was going within 1 or 2 MPH of Hernandez. Making them both equally culpable. Ritter-Clark's prior driving history or sobriety are irrelevant facts to the case and do not have any sort of bearing on the investigation.

Without Ritter-Clark close in tow, Hernandez would have likely backed off the accelerator and never lost control. They are both at fault.

This article makes it look like he was driving along at the speed limit with no intent of drag racing. That is a mathematical impossibility based on the evidence. Any traffic investigator will tell you the same thing.

Danny
Danny

What ever happened to sticking up for the innocent? All I'm saying is it appears the facts show this kid is innocent. I'd Take it to trial dude! As far as I'm concerned...Robert Bruce had better arm himself with more than a shitty personality and a thesaurus, cause you just made the list bro....

~ SVS

Sticking by our Brothers, Stand Tall, Stand Proud!

larryb
larryb

I am not friends with Mr. Smiley but do not that he has not been a Public Defender for years. That is a fact that a reporter could have determined with two minutes of research. The contract system is not run by the Public Defenders office which anyone with a basic knowledge of the law would know. The fact he was not cited that night is a silly argument as that is almost always the case when felony charges are pursued. Ms. Fenske with a little of research might have a real story but besmirching a office with no connection to the case and not determing how felony charges are filed hurts her credibility to the point of not being able to believe what she writes.

Linda
Linda

1st to Craig from Tempe: He may not be a public defender, but the courts assigned him to Jacob, so what would you call him?And to Tyler Durden from Tuscon, I really hope your children get to experience life in the real world with a very large, very angry male. If you really think that the police usually don't waste time assigning blame to the not guilty, you must be doing some pretty good drugs!!!!!!!!!! To Abigail, you seem to think that anyone can just go get money for a better attorney, would you like to donate or take care of this for him? You presume he's guilty, SHAME ON YOU!!!!!To Robert from Casa Grande, you might be right about Smiley, my guess is you personally know him. If his caseload is so large HOW can he possible put on a good defense. He was allowed to be late for court, but had Jacob or most anyone else been late for court there would have been consequences. You pointed out you have taken journalism classes. All you have to do is read your journalism skills and realize nothing you have to say is even CREDIBLE. To Susan Smith from Phoenix let me know when you go to court for whatever , I would like to be in the jury. YOUR GUILTY, CASE CLOSED

Jason Coffield
Jason Coffield

My Name is Jason Coffield, I reside in Surprise, AZ. I hold a six year degree from Arizona States Walter Cronkite School of Journalism. For the past eight months, I have followed the intricacies of this case, and I find Ms. Fenskes report truthful and compelling. In my opinion, the comments by Mr. Bruce and "Abigail" are either from Mr. Smiley's personal friends or Legal Associates. Not withstanding they are an issue extraneous and impertinent to the debate. To be completely honest, with the number of traffic citations under Mr. Smiley's belt, I'm not positive I would want him handling my case (especially due to the over burdened case load placed upon him)

If anyone with any integrity has had the opportunity to review the police report, interviews, and other findings; you would understand that Mr. Ritter-Clark was NEVER CITED. HE WAS NOT INVOLVED IN THE ACCIDENT. HE DID NOT CAUSE THE ACCIDENT. Mr. RITTER-CLARK WAS MERELY A DRIVING BYSTANDER WHO STOPPED SO GRACIOUSLY TO CALL EMERGENCY RESCUE RESULTING IN A SAVED LIFE! Mr. Jonathan Hernandez should be thanking his lucky stars for the courageous burden placed upon Mr. Ritter-Clark. For those of you who continue to spill verbal diarhea...you need to have your head checked!

My Prayers are with you and your family. Good Job New Times, Very Good Reporting Ms. Fenske.

You are truly an asset to this community!

~ Jason Coffield, Surprise!

Derek Vinyard
Derek Vinyard

My eyes have seen the glory of the trampling at the zoo, We've washed ourselves in lawyers blood and all the mongrels too, We've taken down the judicial machine Jew by Jew by Jew, / The white man marches on! Suppressing the hard working White Male! FUCK THAT SHIT! Fight The Fight Dude!

Susan Smith
Susan Smith

Well speaking as a totally neutral person with no vested interest in this case. I think the reporter didn't do a very good job in her research. I think the reporter is totally biased towards this kind of pathetic looking 20 year old and she just decided to make the facts fit her story. Meanwhile, Ritter-Clark better get used to spending some time in jail. Too bad we live in a country where they say you're innocent til proven guilty. And not vice versa.Ritter Clark just seems pretty guilty and is making an attempt to try this case in the press. Notice how none of the major papers have mentioned this case. Guys guilty. CASE CLOSED.

Renee'
Renee'

To Abigail and the others if you read correctly Jacob has never ever been in trouble matter of fact has always been the type of person to remove himself from trouble. He himself as a young man asked his mother to allow him to go to a smaller charter school to be away from the gangs and drugs at his public school. Also he was not ticketed that night or sighted of anykind the other man in this case was so drunk he was way past any leagle limits and was a reacurring criminal Jakobs car was not involved in the accident what so ever the other guy wanted to race Jake did not just because your car can go fast this is no proof Just because a woman dresses like she wants it does this mean she should be raped? If looks only defined a person we would never know what a good person was. Jacob stopped after he saw the accident to call 911. Is that an act of a criminal! The other passengers in the car involved in the accident all tried to run if they were able to that is an act of a criminal!

Alex
Alex

And this folks is why many of us have learned the sad lesson to look the other way whenever someone is hurt or anything happens. Because police take it upon themselves to charge the good individual who are trying to do the right thing.

Sadly its no wonder that people walk by crimes ignoring them with prosecutors and police who act like this its to dangerous to get involved.

There once was a time when I would have helped anyone, not anymore. The power police have is stupid, its unbelievable that such power is handed over to the least educated and least intelligent of our society. A few years back it was released in the state of CT that they do not hire anyone with an IQ over 100 for police positions cause they are considered too intelligent and more likely to deduce more rational judgments as well as be more likely to question authority. I don't know about the rest of you, but I believe a cop with an IQ above 100 could have concluded very easily that this guy was doing nothing wrong and in fact was attempting to help.

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden

So let me see if I read this right, Ms. Fenske (your so called diligent reporter) seems to feel that Mr Ritter Clark is getting railroaded by the judicial system. Ignoring the fact that the police usually don't waste time assigning blame to the not guilty, that Ritter-Clark had a tricked out Toyota Corolla that could probably do 150 miles per hour. That he very likely was guilty of drag racing and that the other person suffered very real very serious injuries???? Please ... next try to get me to believe in the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus. And then the defendant has the audacity to blame the public defenders office because Attorney Smiley (whom is sound like had just been assigend the case VERY RECENTLY) didn't call him back. I am sure that this twenty-something person has been molly coddled all his life by his very liberal parents and is now being given a very hard lesson in the realities of PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY. This article made my blood boil. First off it is apparent that the journalist Ms. Fenske did not do her homework. Secondly she was mislead by this Ritter-Clark and was sold a major bill of goods. I cannot believe the editors of the NEW TIMES let this article make it to print let alone on the internet.Meanwhile a very decent attorney is not given any recourse, and I am sure when all the facts are finally put out, that this rag will print a very small apology on the same page where they run the advertisements for "Adult Entertainment".Mr. Smiley is owed a major apology, and this Ritter-Clark should be given a cell with a very large, very angry male...If there is any justice in Arizona, that is exactly what will happen.Ritter Clark I get a feeling you need to worry about the honeymoon ... after your honeymoon.What a pathetic loser. If Ritter-Clark had involved my child in such a drag race incident, it isn't the court of law he would have to be worrying aboutSincerelyTyler Durden

KK
KK

In November 2008 Jacob Ritter-Clark took a plea deal and plead guilty to aggravated assault, a class 3 felony. The sentence was suspended and he was given 2 years of probation.

 
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