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A Korean immigrant was sentenced to 2 years in prison today, for a hit-and-run collision in which he killed an 18-year-old bicyclist, last summer.

Jin Hyuk Byun was 19 years old when he drove his black pickup truck into Angel Bojorquez, who was walking his bicycle up a hill on Via De La Valle, on his way home from his job as a grocery clerk in Del Mar. The teen’s dead body was found at the side of a road, still wearing a reflective vest, by a private security person in Rancho Santa Fe, the early morning hours of July 6, 2012.

A resident of Del Mar saw a television news story about the incident two days later, and he contacted authorities about a damaged truck that he saw parked next door. California Highway Patrol officers immediately investigated and arrested Byun within hours.

Jin Hyuk Byun pleaded guilty to hit-and-run causing fatality in October 2012.

This afternoon, February 13 2013, every seat was taken in the courtroom of Judge Michael Kirkman, in San Diego’s North County Superior Courthouse, to hear the sentencing.

The defendant’s father, Moon Joo Byun, wept and whispered as he spoke to the court, with the assistance of a Korean interpreter. The elder Byun said that Jin Hyuk Byun was his “first son” and that he has two other sons, and “I try to teach them good attitude and character.” He wept when he said, “Today I am standing here as the father of a criminal” and “I am here with great shame and guilt.” He offered apology and regret to the family of the deceased teen, who filled half the courtroom.

The defendant also wept when he spoke to the court, saying “I am deeply deeply sorry for my actions.” His defense attorney, Charles Quirk, asked the judge to notice that if a prison sentence was ordered, it would probably result in Jin’s deportation. The defendant immigrated to the U.S.A. in 2007, and has already had some trouble in Riverside County as a juvenile which resulted in a “diversion,” according to his attorneys.

The brother and cousins of the teen who was killed also spoke to the court. They were unmoved by the Byuns' apologies and asked for the maximum sentence. Steve Bojorquez said “I think it’s ridiculous” that the maximum possible sentence for the crime was “four years for my brother’s life!” Cousin Yuridia Bojorquez wanted the defendant to know that “When I was younger I ran over a bunny” and that she stopped, and took the injured bunny to the side of the road.

The Bojorquez family was incredulous and outraged that Jin Hyuk Byun first told investigators that he thought he might have run over a mailbox or a dog.

Prosecutor Aimee McLeod told the court that Jin Hyuk Byun was smoking marijuana and drinking alcohol the afternoon that investigators came to his home and asked to look at his truck.

Honorable Michael Kirkman said “Probation is not appropriate” and “this is a state prison matter” before he ordered a 2-year-prison term. “Clearly the defendant knew he struck a human being.” The defendant already has 441 days custody credits, the court noticed.

Defense attorney Charles Quirk said that there is a civil lawsuit pending, which he expected would settle.

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Comments

SurfPuppy619 Feb. 13, 2013 @ 7:17 p.m.

He offered apology and regret to the family of the deceased teen, who filled half the courtroom.

Feel sorry for all, including the father of the perp, but 2 years for a death is a gift.

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Visduh Feb. 13, 2013 @ 7:47 p.m.

Maybe when he gets out, he'll be able to go to a dermatologist. Or is that acne just something he'll outgrow? Interesting to note that he's already "earned" 441 days of "custody credits? in the slammer, so this sentence will just round up to two years. Pray tell, how does he get custody credits and what the heck are they?

This one of a very few such cases that went to the point of a prison sentence in less than a year. We are constantly reading of some sort of "resolution" of an offense that was committed as much as two years previously.

Oh, he'll be deported? Too bad, so sad. Go back to So Korea and make Hyundai cars and get rich. Dad expresses shame, but what does that sort of thing cost? Ans: it costs nothing, and where it might mean something at home, really carries no significance here. I suppose the old man could commit suicide now. Naw, mixing Korean and Japanese metaphors.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 13, 2013 @ 9:35 p.m.

The defendant already has 441 days custody credits, the court noticed.

It means he has been in County Jail for either 441 days, or 220 days, already, so he is not going to spend much longed in the Joint. You usually get 1 day of good time credit for every 1 day served under Penal Code section 4019. So I think he has done 220 days, but has 441 actual credit, which means he will really have only 7 months of actual time in the Joint before he gets out.

He WILL be deported when his time is up. There is no doubt in my mind his dad is very ashamed. Asian culture, especially for older people, is very much about respect and honesty.

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Eva Knott Feb. 14, 2013 @ 11:02 a.m.

Surf Puppy is correct. It was stated on the record, at sentencing, that the defendant already had 221 "actual" days in custody, then 220 "credits" were added, to come to the 441 total, so far. The system resists calling it "good behavior" credits because the public tends to get outraged about it. But it goes on.

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Dave Rice Feb. 13, 2013 @ 9:37 p.m.

To my possibly outdated understanding (a family member of a former in-law was incarcerated in the early 2000s), a county jail inmate receives something like 1 1/2 days credit for every day served in jail...if that's still the case, he got his 441 credits by serving roughly 300 days in county before and during trial, and while awaiting sentencing.

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Visduh Feb. 13, 2013 @ 9:47 p.m.

The problem I was having was that it hadn't been 441 days since the crime, so how did he get credit for that many days? Between you and SurfPup, that is now clearer. But does it make any sense? Not that I can see.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 1:07 p.m.

But does it make any sense? Not that I can see.

We simply do NOT have the money to lock people up for the time frames we have listed on the books, simple money problem, THAT is why they have early release. He is probably going to "local prison", aka "realignment" where he will do his remaining days at County Jail, which are OVERCROWDED too, and are currently giving 10% reductions in addition to the 50% 4019 reductions. The cost for each inmate is $150/day, that is nearly $5K PER MONTH, 90% of which goes into pay/comp of the HS educated sheriff/prison guard and their $250K annual compensation.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 12:52 p.m.

To my possibly outdated understanding (a family member of a former in-law was incarcerated in the early 2000s), a county jail inmate receives something like 1 1/2 days credit for every day served in jail...if that's still the case, he got his 441 credits by serving roughly 300 days in county before and during trial, and while awaiting sentencing.

The 4019 credits change as often as the wind does, it has been changed numerous times in the last 3 years, but today it is 1 for 1. If over crowding persists it will soon be 2 days credit for every 1 day served.

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tomjohnston Feb. 14, 2013 @ 2:55 p.m.

Well, by the dates in the article, he's been in since about July 8 or 9. That's about 220 days.According to the last version of 4019 I found, 2010, a term of four days will be deemed to have been served for every two days spent in actual custody. Reads like 2-1 to me.

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SurfPuppy619 Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:08 p.m.

No, it is 1-1, 1 day of redit for every 1 day actually served.

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tomjohnston Feb. 14, 2013 @ 3:14 p.m.

I think we are saying the same thing in different terms. Serve 1 day and get 1 day added as credit.

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