I’m outside the Beverly Hills Municipal Courthouse awaiting the arrival of Louis “Birdman” Deliz. The air is crisp and full of the murmur of morning gridlock along Burton Way. Louis shows up, I give him a handshake and we wait for more people to make the scene.
I learned about Louis’ devastating hit and run several months ago and just recently we met at the Bikerowave. Louis was allegedly left hooked by Celine Mahdavi, then age 18, and her Mercedes SUV at the intersection of La Cienega Boulevard and Holloway Drive. She is charged with two felony counts: Felony Hit & Run, and Felony DUI under the age of 21. She got out on a $10,000 bond the next morning. Louis wasn’t so lucky: he spent 11 days in the ICU, 9 days in a coma, and 49 days in the hospital. Louis suffered massive injuries to his face, broke both his hands and his hip is now made out of steel. After a 3 year PRO cycling career riding with strongest and fastest cyclists in the world he had to depend on a machine to keep him alive. Celine Mahdavi might have taken away his physique; but, the “Birdman’s” determination to make her pay the price in court is strong.
We’re now in the wood paneled courtroom and taking up a row of seats to support Louis. To our right is Celine Mahdavi with a few family and friends. She looks sullen until a brief conversation with her defense attorney and she casts a short lived, beaming smile. I wonder, to myself, what is that about? We’ve been waiting a long time since the arraignment in February to get to the next step in the case: the preliminary hearing (March 22 was the initial hearing date that was moved to today, June 11). We just want this case to get started so Louis can move on with his life.
The court is called to order, and after a Pledge of Allegiance, Judge Eldon S. Fox calls Louis’ case. Immediately Celine Mahdavi’s defense attorney states that due to being unable to obtain the evidence of Louis’ damaged bicycle he wants the preliminary hearing to be postponed and moved 30 days. A harsh uproar erupts from our side of the courtroom. The defense attorney states that he does not know where the bike is and has no way to let his expert witness to examine the evidence. Another outcry breaks out from our side of the courtroom.
The fact is Louis’ bike is being held by the Sheriff’s Department. It’s locked away in storage locker somewhere. A sad, lonely, mangled bicycle left in a dark corner of The System.
To our dismay the prosecuting attorney accepts the defense attorney’s request and amends it with 15 additional days. 45 days until the preliminary hearing, which we expected to take place today, is just too long to wait again. Our row bursts with anger and upset. After some back and forth about schedules, vacations, and furlough days the Judge sets the preliminary hearing date for July 20, 2010. The attorneys agree and the defendant, Celine Mahdavi gives her consent.
I think I catch a smirk flash across Ms. Mahdavi’s face as she turns to exit the court. It quickly morphs back into a look of dread as we watch her return to the security of her friends and family on the far side of the courtroom. 45 more days until her next court date. 45 more days we wait till justice can take it’s course.
Want to help Louis “Birdman” Deliz and show that his hit and run has hurt the whole bicycling community? Write a statement of how it has affected you and show up to the Beverly Hills Municipal Court on July 20, 2010 to read it. Write a letter to the District Attorney stating your concerns about the case and it’s delay in bringing Celine Mahdavi to justice:
[Celine Mahdavi (Case #SA073459) – Victim – Louis Deliz]
Steven Katz, Esq.
Deputy District Attorney
Beverly Hills Area Office
9355 Burton Way, Room 400
Beverly Hills CA 90210