Will There Be Civil Justice for Alix Rice?

Dr. James Corasanti -Photo via wivb.com

Dr. James Corasanti -Photo via wivb.com

It’s been almost four years since Dr. Corasanti struck and killed teenager Alix Rice as she longboarded home on Heim Rd. in early July of 2011. What happened after is considered by many to be a travesty of justice. It has always seemed that Dr. Corasanti was afforded much more leeway than someone of lesser means (Dr. Corasanti made over eight times the average wage in Western New York). He hired an expensive and well known Defense Attorney, Joel Daniels, as well as a top notch legal team. Believe me, if your life was on the line, and you could afford him, you’d want Joel Daniels. However, much of Western New York cannot afford him, or his legal team, or the plethora of experts that Dr. Corasanti could. Meaning that most of us, wouldn’t have been allotted those breaks that he could afford.

To this day, many people in Western New York find it hard to believe he was acquitted on murder charges due to the fact that his $90,000 BMW was “Sound Proof.” It ended up being one of the most important pieces of the trial though, and may very well have cost the prosecution a conviction for a felony charge. However, when I spoke with someone with knowledge of the investigation, who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitivity of the verdict and a possible civil criminal trial, he stated, “The prosecutors never came close to proving that he could hear [the sound of the car striking her]” and commented “[investigators] never got in the drivers seat to even see if they could see the damage done to his BMW.”

His mugshot from the day he was arrested - Photo via http://mugshots.com/

His mugshot from the day he was arrested – Photo via http://mugshots.com/

The jurors echoed those sentiments after the verdict had been reached and stated that the prosecutors never reached the burden of proof to charge Dr. Corasanti with the murder of Alix Rice. His blood alcohol has always been a point of contention as he turned himself in over five hours after the accident occurred. The breathalyzer submitted at that time showed that he was still considered legally drunk, FIVE HOURS AFTER he struck Alix Rice! He meanwhile stated that he wasn’t drunk while driving home from Transit Valley CC, where he had attended a golf outing earlier in the day. The doctor admitted on the stand to ordering several rum and Diet Pepsi cocktails, Benedictine and brandy and a white creme de menthe at a “martini golf” outing at a nearby country club earlier that evening. “I wasn’t drunk,” Corasanti responded on stand, however. “I did not feel the effects of alcohol.” 

Even if that was the case, it still leaves us with the sound of someone hitting a human being at upwards of 50mph. It seems incredible that he heard absolutely nothing, but when he got home he noticed the damage then. He even sent his wife down to the area where he surmised that he hit something. She found out that he had indeed struck not just something, but another human being, and that this person was dead. Time to turn oneself in and do the right thing, RIGHT?!? Wrong, he waits more time and arranges through his attorney a meeting point near his home. Again, this is a break not many people are generally going to get in these circumstances. Oh, have I mentioned that Dr. Corasanti was texting while driving that night? No……. at the opening statements of his civil trial, Attorney for the plaintiffs Terry Connors said “Corasanti was texting his mistress the night of the accident.”

Alix was only 18 years old when she was struck and killed by dr. Corasanti - Photo via wyrk.com

Alix was only 18 years old when she was struck and killed by dr. Corasanti – Photo via wyrk.com

This leaves us with the civil trial that has already begun. “In a civil trial, they call it a preponderance of the evidence. Which means 51 percent to 49 percent. Which is a standard much lower than a criminal case.” It means that Dr. Corasanti, who still practices medicine in Western New York, may finally get what many feel is his due. The evidence is monumental for him to overcome in this civil trial. Public outcry at the time of his acquittal has led many to believe he will not be so lucky this time around. As a testament to how emotionally charged the public was during his first trial, half of the jury pool for this civil trial was dismissed on the first day alone. It seems incredibly understandable due to the fact that people have probably come to their own conclusions to his guilt or innocence.

What will all of this accomplish? My feeling is that the money is of little comfort to the parents that lost their daughter that night.  One hopes that this man may finally be forced to acknowledge the simple fact that, on an evening in July, he took the life of Alix Rice, and for that he may have to pay for it.

 

To donate to the Alix Rice Memorial Skate Park, click this link.

 

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