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Music exec pleads not guilty in hit and run

Residents in Southern California may have heard about the latest arrest of rap music mogul Suge Knight, who now faces a multitude of serious criminal charges including murder after he allegedly ran over two men in a parking lot.

According to police, Knight used his pickup truck to run over two men, both in their 50's, in a restaurant parking lot near a film set in Compton. One of the men died, while the other remains in serious condition after being rushed to the hospital. Knight fled the scene of the incident, so the criminal charges against him include hit and run.

Knight has been involved in a number of criminal acts throughout his lifetime. In fact , he was out on bail when he committed the alleged hit and run. Knight has a very colorful criminal history which includes a prison sentence of several years for savagely beating a man. He has also been the target of numerous violent acts, including when he was shot six times at a nightclub in West Hollywood in August of 2014. If convicted of these current charges, he may face a much longer prison sentence under California's "three strikes" sentencing laws.

Whenever a person injures or kills another person intentionally, they open themselves up to civil and criminal liability, which are two separate concepts in the U.S. court system. Civil liability for injuring or causing the death of another person generally requires the culpable party to pay damages to the victim, or if the victim is dead, their family. Any person who is injured by someone's intentional act may potentially obtain compensatory damages, which is meant to compensate a person for their pain and suffering, medical expenses and other losses.

But victims of intentional acts may also obtain punitive damages, which can also be significant. People may remember the famous verdict against O.J. Simpson, who was required to pay $25 million in punitive damages in his wrongful death civil suit, even though he was found innocent in the criminal trial. For more information on damages and civil suits, car accident victims should seek advice about their legal rights and remedies.

Source: New York Times "Suge Knight, Music Executive, Is Questioned by Police in Hit-and-Run," Patrick McGeehan, Jan. 30, 2015

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