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Unclassified Info: A healing end to a contentious case

August 22, 2011|By Gary Huerta

Over the next few weeks I am going to spend an unnecessary amount of time preparing to go to court yet again in what feels like a never-ending, and for the most part, avoidable custody battle.

The mere thought of returning to court for my biannual battle with the ex is time consuming, unproductive, expensive and rivaling the Crusades for the longest war known to man. But enough about me for the moment. Everyone has problems, right?

I only bring up my own issues as a point of reference, the proverbial “sign post up ahead” as Rod Serling so famously said. My loathing of endless, angry, unresolved litigation comes in stark contrast to the resolution found last week between two families whose court case involved a matter of life and death.


In Los Angeles County Superior Court. Ani Voskanian, a 21-year-old Tujunga woman, pleaded no contest Friday to striking and killing 80-year-old Glendale resident Misak Ranjbar with her car last year while she was texting and driving. The plea allows Voskanian to avoid a possible guilty verdict, which could have meant serving time in jail.

Instead, Voskanian will serve three years formal probation, 300 hours of community service and lecture junior and high school students on the dangers of texting while driving. Her license was also revoked for three years, according to her attorney.

Like many people, I have been stunned at the site of drivers weaving and swerving just for the sake of checking their Facebook page. And I have often thought of how I might react to having some kind of road mishap because someone thought it was more important to tweet about Michelle Bachman’s latest political gaffe than pay attention to the road.

As I have passionately advocated for stiffer penalties against texting drivers on several occasions in this column, you’d probably expect me to voice some sort of outrage that no jail time will be handed out in a case where a life was lost and texting and driving seemed to be a contributing factor.

I was about to do just that when I read how Roger Ranjbar, son of the victim, decided to react. Evidently, Ranjbar told Glendale police Det. Ashraf Mankarios that the possibility of Voskanian going to jail for years appeared to be more of a punishment than a lesson.

Ranjbar also wrote the court on Voskanian’s behalf in the hopes of reducing her felony charge to a misdemeanor. And he offered to go with Voskanian and lecture on the dangers of texting while driving.

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