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Old 11-22-07, 01:13 PM   #1
wheel
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Bicyclist-death DUI case goes to jurors

This makes me so angry, I don't get it how can driving drunk be manslaughter and shooting some in the head be homicide?

The truck is a loaded weapon and you go pointing it around everywhere at people while you're drunk and stupid.
Even worse off!
This person doesn't even have a license and swerved twice before hitting him in the bike lane.
To top it off we have all the facts and she lies.

Tucson Region
Bicyclist-death DUI case goes to jurors
By Kim Smith
Arizona Daily Star
Tucson, Arizona | Published: 11.22.2007
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She knew the minute she tried to remove Paul L'Ecuyer's helmet.
Melissa Arrington knew there was nothing she could do to help the bicyclist she had just struck on Old Spanish Trial.
Still, Arrington told jurors Wednesday, she kept talking to him and patting his chest.
"I kept saying, 'Please wake up; please wake up,' " a tearful Arrington said.
Wednesday was the final day of testimony in Arrington's trial in Pima County Superior Court.
Arrington, 27, is facing one count of manslaughter and two counts of aggravated driving under the influence in connection with the Dec. 1, 2006, collision that took L'Ecuyer's life.
According to authorities, L'Ecuyer, 45, was riding his Schwinn in the middle of a 5-foot-wide bike lane when Arrington swerved off the road, struck him and then continued for 800 feet before stopping.
A blood test taken 2 1/2 hours after the collision showed that Arrington, who was driving on a suspended license, had a blood-alcohol content of 0.156 percent nearly double the minimum DUI level. A witness to the crash, Joanne Jayco, testified that Arrington swerved off the road twice before the collision.
Deputy County Attorney Jonathan Mosher told jurors during opening statements last week that Arrington should be convicted of manslaughter because she showed recklessness by not only driving drunk, but by driving drunk just six months after attending a Mothers Against Drunk Driving event designed to show the results of such behavior.
Assistant county public defenders Matthew Messmer and Michael Rosenbluth contended that the crash was simply a tragic accident.
Arrington testified that she consumed three drinks at Berky's, 5769 E. Speedway, before the crash. She had just signed a lease-purchase agreement for her home in Vail, and she was celebrating with her Berky's co-workers, she said.
When she left for home in her Chevrolet Silverado pickup, Arrington said, she was feeling "completely fine" and "definitely" OK to drive.
A self-described "clean freak," Arrington said she was traveling between 45 and 50 mph when she decided to wash her hands.
"I had reached over to get the hand sanitizer, and all of a sudden my windshield caved in," Arrington said.
Unable to see and fearing someone might hit her from behind, Arrington said she immediately turned on her hazard lights and eased to a stop.
She got out of the truck and walked down the shoulder of the road, thinking she had struck a large animal.
It was only when she got back to her truck that she saw L'Ecuyer in the bed of her truck, Arrington said.
Arrington testified that she got into the bed of the truck twice once to check for his pulse and once to try to resuscitate him. The woman who had been driving behind her called 911, Arrington said.
Arrington told jurors that she failed a portion of the field sobriety tests because she caught sight of her truck during the turn-and-walk test, and it caused her distress. She also said she couldn't blow into the breath-test machine because she was too distraught and "winded."
During cross-examination, the bartender and exotic dancer acknowledged that she was able to smoke a cigarillo before deputies arrived.
She also admitted she had lied to investigating deputies about how many drinks she'd had and where she had consumed them.
Arrington also acknowledged that her co-workers testified they'd served her five drinks that night, and she never told deputies the collision occurred while reaching for her hand sanitizer.
Mosher also asked Arrington if she was using her hand sanitizer the other two times she swerved off the road.
"I never realized I swerved off the road, but I did use my hand sanitizer several times," Arrington said.
The only time she saw the blinking reflective light on the back of L'Ecuyer's bicycle was when she was being driven from the scene, Arrington said.
One of the people who spoke at the MADD event Arrington attended had suffered severe brain damage after being struck by a drunken driver, Mosher reminded Arrington. The other killed his friend while driving drunk and is himself a quadriplegic as a result of the same crash.
Did she not care about the tragedy that had befallen them? Mosher asked.
"I heard what happened, but as far as caring, I don't know how I can answer that," Arrington said.
In answer to a juror's question, Arrington said she couldn't tell she was driving on the dirt before her windshield caved in.
Jurors heard closing arguments after Arrington's testimony and deliberated two hours before leaving court for the day. They were expected to resume deliberations Monday morning.
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Old 11-22-07, 01:37 PM   #2
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This makes me so angry, I don't get it how can driving drunk be manslaughter and shooting some in the head be homicide?
You don't get the difference between an unintended, but predictable outcome of a negligent act, and the intended outcome of an intentional act?

Why not?
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Old 11-22-07, 02:15 PM   #3
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I don't understand why drinking and driving is not premeditated mass murder.
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Old 11-22-07, 02:20 PM   #4
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I don't understand why drinking and driving is not premeditated mass murder.
Do you believe that every drunken driver commits mass murder every time he drinks and drives?

And as far as that "premeditation" charge, when you can prove that in a particular case, you let the D.A. know. Until then, you're just spouting rhetoric.

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Old 11-22-07, 04:12 PM   #5
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Ok, then if they're caught driving drunk but haven't hit anyone, how about calling it attempted murder or reckless endangerment?
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Old 11-22-07, 04:20 PM   #6
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Reckless endangerment might fly, but attempted murder? You guys need to get a grip and learn what "intent" means.

Anyway, without doing some research, I'm not sure at all that the penalty for reckless endangerment is greater than the penalty for drunk driving.
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Old 11-22-07, 05:53 PM   #7
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I'm slightly (read completely) baffled. Do US drivers regularly wash/wipe their hands clean while driving? Is there some health and safety regulation requiring germ free hands on the steering wheel?

Could anyone familiar with this habit explain it please?
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Old 11-22-07, 05:57 PM   #8
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I'm slightly (read completely) baffled. Do US drivers regularly wash/wipe their hands clean while driving? Is there some health and safety regulation requiring germ free hands on the steering wheel?

Could anyone familiar with this habit explain it please?
It's called "Being an asshat behind the wheel" and, unfortunately, too many suffer from this affliction and the only cure appears to be the complete removal of access to gasoline.
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Old 11-22-07, 06:01 PM   #9
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I'm slightly (read completely) baffled. Do US drivers regularly wash/wipe their hands clean while driving? Is there some health and safety regulation requiring germ free hands on the steering wheel?

Could anyone familiar with this habit explain it please?
And eat, use the cellphone, dress and apply makeup(!) and I'd heard of some rude and naughty things too(!!!)

Some people practically LIVE in them and others actually do
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Old 11-22-07, 06:19 PM   #10
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Reckless endangerment might fly, but attempted murder? You guys need to get a grip and learn what "intent" means.

Anyway, without doing some research, I'm not sure at all that the penalty for reckless endangerment is greater than the penalty for drunk driving.
MANSLAUGHTER is the term you seek. Manslaughter is charged when a person causes the death of another in an accident but without malice and intent. Cases of impairment are those in which the suspect cannot be expected to make a rational or safe judgement due to intoxication or other factor preventing it.

If your riding lawnmower throttle broke and you ran over Billy and killed him, you probably did not want to. That's manslaughter. If it did because you knew prior to that the throttle was bad and capable of severe actions yet ignored that, that is gross neglience and it may become more than a manslaughter.

If you wanted Billy dead and got drunk to "gain the courage", that is murder and premeditated plus it is a felony possibly (in the case of using a car, certainly).

The woman in Boise that clipped the female cyclist with her Hummer was stoned and in possesion of drugs that are usually only prescribed or found in Europe...she committed several felonies for possessing controlled substances and her charges for killing the cyclist are much worse due to the drugs.

Why more so than alcohol? I don't know, doesn't make sense but possession of alcohol isn't normally a felony like drugs. Go figure. They keep saying drunk driving laws are becoming tougher but you still hear stories.
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Last edited by Rollfast; 11-22-07 at 06:26 PM.
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Old 11-22-07, 06:29 PM   #11
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The government makes money off the sale of alcohol but not from the sale of illegal drugs, that's why.
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Old 11-22-07, 06:52 PM   #12
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She was pickled to the gills. That's just some ridiculous excuse for her behavior. That said, I know plenty of germ freaks. Antimicrobial everything...

(As I am currently eating olives out of the bowl after petting my brother's dogs, you can safely say that I am not one of them.)
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Old 11-22-07, 07:03 PM   #13
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Not sure, but I think it's OCD. I mean, I'd wash my hands after petting the dog, but before eating...But washing your hands repeatedly-- I think that's OCD.
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Old 11-22-07, 07:05 PM   #14
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An accident is something you have no control over... like smashing my thumb into oblivion this morning.

If you injure / kill someone after choosing to drink (to excess) and then choosing to drive then it should rate a more severe penalty as it's not entirely accidental.. many bad choices have to be made.

On another note...did someone say olives ?

Mmmmmmm.
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Old 11-22-07, 07:10 PM   #15
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The garlic stuffed ones are the best.
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Old 11-22-07, 07:10 PM   #16
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Tease.
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Old 11-22-07, 11:48 PM   #17
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Depending on the circumstances of the incident, we still have a law on the books in California that allows a second degree murder charge. I think it needs to be worse than her actions, though.
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Old 11-23-07, 03:20 AM   #18
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The story says she was driving on a suspended license, and had recently been to a MADD function, but doesn't say why her license was suspended.
If she had a prior DUI and committed a homicide while committing another DUI, that could result in a 2nd degree murder charge in California. We discussed exactly this situation in one of my criminal justice classes a while ago and that fact was made very clear. With no prior DUI convictions, it would probably be charged as manslaughter.

The punishment for gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated with a prior DUI in California is 15 years-life imprisonment (see California penal code section 191.5(2)(d)- www.leginfo.ca.gov is a great place to look up California laws from their source). The punishment for normal 2nd degree murder is also 15-life.

With no prior DUI she'd be looking at PC191.5(a)-gross vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (a felony punishable by 4, 6, or 10 years in state prison) or PC191.5(b)-vehicular manslaughter while intoxicated (a wobbler punishable by up to 1 year in county jail or 16 months, 2 years, or 4 years in state prison). So with no prior DUI convictions one could kill somebody while driving intoxicated and have it punished as a misdemeanor in California.

I know this particular incident didn't happen in California...just clarifying for the previous poster and adding some information for the "penalties aren't harsh enough" discussion.
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Old 11-23-07, 07:17 AM   #19
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It would be instructive to compare various state laws regarding drunk drivers. California's is pretty good, but we have it only because of intense lobbying by MADD and similar organizations. MADD is a nationwide organization, but I suspect it has been more successful in some states than others.

Circa 2000, Michele Young killed Cece Krone, who had stopped to rest on a wide uppaved road shoulder at the end of a climb. Because Ms. Krone had a previous DUI, had about a 0.20 BAC (before 11 a.m., yet), and had her 10-year-old son in the car, she was given a 7-year prison sentence. The public defender was truly inspiring: "Well, I hope the jury got what they wanted -- they just sent a 50-year-old housewife and mother to prison." No, the jury did not get what I wanted; I was hoping for at least 12 years prison and permanent license revocation. Marin County bicyclists deserve credit for organizing a courtroom vigil, in which a group of them stood silently and respectfully in the back of the courtroom, helmets in hand, during many phases of the trial. Numerous other cyclists, myself included, wrote letters to the judge, who actually read every one, even though he publicly declared that he would read letters only from the victim's immediate family members. As far as I know, but have been unable to verify, Michele Young has been out on parole for at least 2 years -- scary thought!
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Old 11-23-07, 10:45 AM   #20
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I see it as a popular crime. So light punishment is handed out or it would seem it is ok to drink to drive.

SECOND DUI/DWI

A.R.S. 28-1381(A)(1)(2)

Class 1 Misdemeanor

When a minority of the population is involved we don't really care all of a sudden.

POSSESSION OF DANGEROUS DRUG

A.R.S. 13-3407

Range from Class 4 Felony to possible reduction to Class 1 Misdemeanor.

The offense shall be treated as a felony for all purposes until the court enters an order designating the offense a misdemeanor.
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Old 11-23-07, 10:52 AM   #21
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You don't get the difference between an unintended, but predictable outcome of a negligent act, and the intended outcome of an intentional act?

Why not?
Cardozo could not have said it more succinctly.
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Old 11-23-07, 11:32 AM   #22
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You don't get the difference between an unintended, but predictable outcome of a negligent act, and the intended outcome of an intentional act?

Why not?
manslaughter
Unlawful killing without intent to kill. It can be voluntary (such as a deadly fist fight) or involuntary (such as an accident caused by a speeding car).


Homocide
the killing of a human being by another human being


I don't see how DWI/DUI is not homocide.
Voluntary your not suppose to be in a fist fight in the first place.
Involuntary there is no accident in getting drunk it is a choice.
Drinking and driving is a predictable outcome you will kill people.

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Old 11-23-07, 04:40 PM   #23
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This makes me so angry, I don't get it how can driving drunk be manslaughter and shooting some in the head be homicide?

The truck is a loaded weapon and you go pointing it around everywhere at people while you're drunk and stupid.
Even worse off!
This person doesn't even have a license and swerved twice before hitting him in the bike lane.
To top it off we have all the facts and she lies.
.
How about the woman who smokes in bed, falls asleep, catches the bed on fire, kills everybody in the house but herself.

Tobacco is a stinky, dirty, destructive addiction - despicable in every respect. Still, does the woman deserve to face homicide charges? Of course not. That is why there is a difference between the charges of homicide and manslaughter.
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Old 11-23-07, 05:09 PM   #24
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This woman's actions are despicable. But think about this. People do all sorts of things while driving that are equally dangerous but are not illegal. Driving while sleepy, dialing, texting, etc. is just as voluntary and just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated. When a driver kills someone because they were reaching for the baby's bottle or yelling at the kids, it's just an accident. When they're driving drunk, it's manslaughter.
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Old 11-23-07, 05:16 PM   #25
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Short answer: Manslaughter IS a form of homicide.

Long answer:

DUI is not homicide if nobody dies because homicide is the simple act of one human being killing another human being.

DUI resulting in death is homicide because one human being caused the death of another human being.

Homicide covers a wide variety of situations, ranging from accidental homicide (not a crime) to premeditated, intentional murder.

Accidental homicide can occur in several circumstances. Using a vehicular example, a child runs out into the road between parked cars. A car traveling at or below the speed limit, with a clean windshield free of cracks or other visual obstructions, with no significant problems affecting the vehicle that the driver is aware of, driver is paying attention to the road, etc. strikes the child and kills him/her. That would most likely be determined to be an accident. There was nothing more the driver could have done, and the driver did not intentionally or negligently kill the child. An accidental homicide could also occur with one person shooting another person in the head. This is most often deemed an accident in the situation where a couple of kids get ahold of a gun, haven't been educated on how to use or handle firearms, and one accidentally shoots and kills the other.

Manslaughter involves the negligent killing of a human being. From the vehicular example above, if the driver was speeding prior to killing the child, that would constitute vehicular manslaughter, which is the unlawful killing of a human being while operating a vehicle in an illegal manner. The same is true if the driver of the vehicle was DUI, since DUI is illegal. With the gun situation, manslaughter could be the negligent shooting in the head of one guy by another drunk guy who didn't mean to do it but shouldn't have been holding a gun while drunk. Manslaughter could also apply to a "sudden quarrel/heat of passion" situation where one person shoots another in the head without thinking of the consequences but with intent to kill that person.

There are already heavier punishments for killing somebody while DUI than while speeding or otherwise operating a vehicle in a negligent/unlawful manner, since for some reason people think driving drunk and otherwise obeying all laws is worse than driving too fast for conditions or while distracted. Going off on a bit of a tangent, I think the same laws that apply to DUI should apply to all vehicular situations. Get caught speeding, get off relatively easy the 1st time. Kill somebody while speeding with a prior speeding conviction, go to jail for 15 years to life.

Some additional reading material (from www.leginfo.ca.gov)

PC 195. Homicide is excusable in the following cases:
1. When committed by accident and misfortune, or in doing any
other lawful act by lawful means, with usual and ordinary caution,
and without any unlawful intent.
2. When committed by accident and misfortune, in the heat of
passion, upon any sudden and sufficient provocation, or upon a sudden
combat, when no undue advantage is taken, nor any dangerous weapon
used, and when the killing is not done in a cruel or unusual manner.

See PC 197 for situations where homicide is justifiable (it's a bit long to post here).
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