It amazes me at the time frame from which the incident occurred and when the trial date is set. A recent and nationally publicized trial took less time from incident to verdict, than just setting a trial date for this incident.
He killed someone a year and a half ago and he's been walking around freely since then?
Even if he doesn't get off quite "Scot free", this is likely to be another example of the justice system being pretty gentle on drunk drivers relative to what sorts of consequences they should face.
I can't think of a single good reason why this prick should ever have been allowed to drive again.Quote:
Branch was booked for his first DWI on Aug. 3, 2006. His blood-alcohol content then was 0.241 percent, City Court records indicate.
Hopefully the legal representation for Mr. Branch can't do the same thing of, lots' of legal maneuvering that amounts to delay after delay.
If he hadn't been drunk, and had "only" killed a cyclist, he probably wouldn't even be going to trial, or it would already have happened and he'd have a few points on his license and have to do 20 hours of community service.
Nobody that drives drunk intends to harm anyone - but they do quite frequently. So how should they be punished? Jail time doesn't seem to work. Taking away their DL doesn't seem to work. If they are contrite and stay on the path of sobriety they attract the sympathy of a jury and oftentimes the victim's family. The stigma and guilt they carry may punish the most, but those emotions are frequently cured with more drink. There are no good answers and therefore no reasonable deterrents to DUI. My personal thought is that they should be required to carry a sign saying they killed someone while driving drunk, but that's probably barred as cruel and unusual punishment.
Wait till marihuana is legalized - you really think people don't already smoke up and drive under the influence of that?
I don't know when standards related to operating heavy machinery were advised - but I think drinking, marijuana usage, texting or any mind/body altering activity fall under that category. Personally, I can't see how lawmakers would even consider the desire of a pro-marijuana / driving advocacy group.
As to what I consider the solution to the whole drinking and driving or driving while under the influence of some other drug(s) or just plain bad or distracted driving (think old style IF, THEN computer loop programming logic):
IF You murder or attempt to murder an innocent person (regardless of how, when, where, etc . . and thus includes driving) that can be demonstrated to have been a deliberate pre-mediated vicious act of aggression THEN you get the death penalty in a system where all death row inmates gets exactly one year to the day to run their appeals and such and have an opportunity to clear themselves if wrongly convicted but not a day less or a day more and then they get put down like the dangerous vicious animals they are after all getting the same one year long fair chance to clear themselves if wrongly convicted.
IF You murder, attempt to murder an innocent person, or attack them so savagely as to be using potentially lethal force against them (regardless of how, when, where, etc . . and thus includes driving) that can be demonstrated to have been a deliberate vicious act of aggression due to anger, rage, etc . . . but is not a pre-meditated act THEN you get some jail time and upon release have a permanent tattoo or cold branding or some such mark placed on your fore-head or cheek or some other visible part of the face that identifies you as a potentially dangerous individual that does not have the ability to control his/her temper and has already killed or come close to killing someone already. This serves as a shaming punishment for an offender and tells others that they are potentially dangerous and to give them a wide birth. In addition you may be prohibited from your weapon of choice in the future up to and including a life-time ban enforced by the death penalty (under the same one year fair chance appeal system) which in the case of a motorists who deliberately runs down a cyclist in a fit of road rage means potentially a life-time ban from operating a motor vehicle enforced by the death penalty if he/she does. For someone else, for example a hunter who shoots his hunting buddy dead in a heated argument in hunting camp then it would be a life-time ban on having his weapon of choice backed up by the death penalty if he chooses to violate that.
IF You kill or seriously injure or maim someone while driving where you are at least 90% at fault but it cannot be shown to be a deliberate vicious act but rather is assumably (that whole assumption of innocence rather then assumption of guilt thing) due to negligence on your part THEN every time this happens you get substantially down-graded in how dangerous of a piece of equipment you are allowed to operate on the public right away with minimum requirements in both time (years) and distance (thousands of miles) that you must make use an alternate form of transportation that makes your negligence less of a threat to others and makes you potentially more vulnerable to the negligence of others so you get to see for yourself what its like to be on the other end of the equation and yes, when necessary that should be backed up by the death penalty if the individual chooses to violate the terms of their initial punishment. For example some trucker high on crack that plows his 18-wheeler into a compact car and kills everyone aboard gets his license downgraded to nothing bigger then a compact car for at least 5-years and 20,000 miles before he can ever drive anything bigger then that on the public right of way and if he gets caught driving anything bigger he will end up on death row and he knows that from the day he walks out of court. So he gets to live on the other side for at least 5-years and 20,000 miles wondering if some big 18-wheeler driver is going to squash him like a tin can because now he is the vulnerable one to the same kind of accident he caused. If someone in a car who just smoke a joint and had a couple beers runs down a cyclist "accidentally" the biggest and fastest thing they are going to be able to drive on the public roads is a bicycle themselves for the next 5-years and 5,000 miles and until they fulfill both those requirements in both time and distance they are going to live life on the other end of the stick knowing full well that if they get caught driving anything bigger on the public roads they are going to end up on death row.
I don't think that is by any means "cruel and unusual" and the only people who would think it was would be those that take the lives of others being inferior to their own convenience. I would be willing and heartily agree to live under those kind of rules myself. The opposite of love is not hate - its selfishness and the raw nearly bloodthirsty selfishness of drivers of all types of vehicles on our public right of ways need to be drastically curbed ASAP. Also note that I made no distinction between negligence and recklessness in operating dangerous vehicles on the public right of way while completely sober and being totally wacked out on drugs/alcohol/etc . . . In my view causing a serious at-fault collision while completely sober or stone drunk are caused by equal acts of negligence and you don't get off easy because you weren't drunk and you don't get off easy because you were. The difference is only in exactly how you decided to go about being completely selfish and disregarding the lives, health, and property of others - the outcome is the same.
And, yes, you guessed it. There are going to be some individuals who end up running down pedestrians in cross-walks with bicycles and seriously injuring or killing them and those individuals who can't even be trusted with a bicycle are going to end up being downgraded all the way down as low as you can go down to just shoe leather because they are so negligent and so selfish they can't be trusted with anything more then then that !!! That's a low as I think it should be possible to downgrade someone as to what they are allowed to operate on the public right of way, and its unfortunate that some individuals will have to be downgraded that far but they are such people out there. Better for everyone if they are burning shoe leather rather then tire rubber on a big heavy fast dangerous vehicle. And when I say "downgrade" I'm talking about downgrading their threat level, I'm not implying that bicycles are inferior forms of transportation to cars or anything like that.