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Drug driver in hit-run wants a shorter sentence as cyclist didn't die

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Drug driver in hit-run wants a shorter sentence as cyclist didn't die

Old 01-16-18, 10:51 AM
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avole
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Drug driver in hit-run wants a shorter sentence as cyclist didn't die

Amazing. For once, I'm lost for words.

Drug driver in hit-run wants a shorter sentence because cyclist didn't die
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Old 01-16-18, 10:59 AM
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I'm assuming "failing to stop" is what we call "hit and run." The article makes it sound like the hit and run aspect was hardly taken into consideration, even though the motive for leaving the scene of the accident was so the driver could metabolize the "ice" (methamphetamine) before being tested.

In the American system, it wouldn't surprise me that a defense lawyer would make the argument. The problem arises if the judiciary takes it seriously.
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Old 01-16-18, 11:57 AM
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I have no idea what Aussie laws are, but in Michigan sentences for hit and run that result in injury are indeed treated differently than those which result in death, both have separate sentencing guidelines: 5 years v 15 years.

Arguing this point would surprise me in no way, as I presume laws are similar there.
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Old 01-19-18, 12:03 PM
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Give him he maximum sentence. That way he can keep busy whining and complaining about his sentence, that is if anyone cares.
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Old 01-19-18, 12:35 PM
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Good grief she immediately left the scene to pull the hood off her car and put a tarp over it.

They're trying for leniency because she admitted to using "ice". Terrible what that drug does, unfortunately being in the Midwest a person becomes jaded in regards to remorse.

Cheers to the cyclist who spoke at her hearing. A reminder to all to keep your head up!
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Old 01-19-18, 01:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jefnvk
I have no idea what Aussie laws are, but in Michigan sentences for hit and run that result in injury are indeed treated differently than those which result in death, both have separate sentencing guidelines: 5 years v 15 years.

Arguing this point would surprise me in no way, as I presume laws are similar there.
Yes, the same is true in Washington and California as well.

Compare it to an assault with a firearm. If the person dies, itís homicide. If the person does not die, it could be at most attempted murder, but it wonít be homicide. The crimes and punishments would be different.
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Old 01-19-18, 01:34 PM
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That's fine, but in the case quoted the law is being asked to admit reduced culpability because of substance abuse.

Do we really want to to down that route?
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Old 01-19-18, 01:46 PM
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An alternative argument would be: If the rider had died, was it because she intentionally drove in such a way as to kill him? The punishment should be for the nature of the driving and any such dangerous driving should attract the maximum sentence, whether or not the injuries resulted in death or crippling.
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Old 01-20-18, 10:45 AM
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You can't blame her for trying. It's her time in prison.

Besides, it wasn't murder, and nobody died. To put her away for life makes a mockery of giving others the same sentence for murdering kids.

But she could do with a few years. She was on drugs, driving whilst disqualified, and fleed from someone who was seriously hurt and needed help.

Given her remorse and efforts to rehabilitate, i think six years would be enough.
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Old 01-20-18, 06:26 PM
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I'd say two in and 8 on parole, with a condition of parole being that she work at least 30 hours a week, with up to 50% of her pay going toward whatever damages the victim can get a civil court to agree to.
While she's in, restitution can only come from whatever assets she already has, (and it's a pain to get it that way if you can at all) and I seriously doubt a mid-20s addict has much in her own name that he could even try to take. Give her plenty to make sure she doesn't want to go back, then tell her she can get out as long as she works her butt off to pay for what she did. Heck, with excellent behavior, drug treatment and maybe some job training, I'd even call it reasonable to let her earn her way to parole in one year. Even with nine years of working, she's highly unlikely to make a dent in what she should be paying him, but it's a start.

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Old 01-20-18, 07:14 PM
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I'm always surprised that folks are appalled that someone would ask for clemency or seek an aggressive defense in court. That's the way it should work - it isn't like the DA is soft-balling their recommendations for sentencing or presenting a weak case.

The accused can ask for whatever. It is up to the court to decide to grant it.


As far as sentencing severity, no one drives drunk thinking it would be okay to only go to prison for two years, but five would really change their actions. People drive intoxicated because they don't think they will get caught or hurt anyone. So the frequency of enforcement is more likely to warn people off than the severity of the punishment (above a wrist slap).
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Old 01-20-18, 07:30 PM
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Heck, these are tough questions.

I'm not for long jail time for "accidents" without obvious intent. Although the hit and run aspect as well as attempting to hide the crime is bad.

However, she should have her drivers license permanently revoked. Then should be put on probation for say 50 years with a weekly "pee in the cup" test at her own expense, and perhaps periodic hair drug tests.

If she can't follow the terms of probation, then she's a menace to society, and should be thrown in jail and have the keys thrown away.
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Old 01-20-18, 07:32 PM
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Oh, and I would have thought that there would have been a written plea deal with sentencing before she entered the guilty plea. Thus nothing to complain about now unless the DA and Judge were on different pages.
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Old 01-20-18, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
As far as sentencing severity, no one drives drunk thinking it would be okay to only go to prison for two years, but five would really change their actions. People drive intoxicated because they don't think they will get caught or hurt anyone. So the frequency of enforcement is more likely to warn people off than the severity of the punishment (above a wrist slap).
2 to 5 isn't really that big of an increase in overall terms; two is long enough to screw a lot of things up for you, (losing your job, steady girlfriend, missing kids' birthdays, graduations, Christmases, etc.) but 5 isn't enough that you're sure you'll be starting over from scratch with few close friends, etc. If they were looking at 10 years guaranteed inside before 10+ on parole, that might make more of a difference; the majority of friends will have moved away, kids gone from preteen to full adult and moved out, most people's lives significantly different, and likely having not even spoken to many of those people since the arrest.

Severity of punishment does matter, but you have to look at it in terms of actual effect on the person's life; if the punishment for rolling through a stop sign was 30 days in jail without possibility of probation, I suspect you'd see a dramatic reduction in it. Just doubling the price doesn't substantially change the amount of hardship associated with it, but disappearing for a month means your employer replaces you, rent and bills don't get paid, you've got to account for a hole in your employment history, etc. whereas disappearing for two months doesn't mean all that much more, except the landlord might have been willing to let you slide for a month.
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Old 01-20-18, 10:19 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH
2 to 5 isn't really that big of an increase in overall terms; two is long enough to screw a lot of things up for you, (losing your job, steady girlfriend, missing kids' birthdays, graduations, Christmases, etc.) but 5 isn't enough that you're sure you'll be starting over from scratch with few close friends, etc. If they were looking at 10 years guaranteed inside before 10+ on parole, that might make more of a difference; the majority of friends will have moved away, kids gone from preteen to full adult and moved out, most people's lives significantly different, and likely having not even spoken to many of those people since the arrest.

Severity of punishment does matter, but you have to look at it in terms of actual effect on the person's life; if the punishment for rolling through a stop sign was 30 days in jail without possibility of probation, I suspect you'd see a dramatic reduction in it. Just doubling the price doesn't substantially change the amount of hardship associated with it, but disappearing for a month means your employer replaces you, rent and bills don't get paid, you've got to account for a hole in your employment history, etc. whereas disappearing for two months doesn't mean all that much more, except the landlord might have been willing to let you slide for a month.
Hence the "above a wrist slap". The punishment has to be meaningful, but above a certain amount isn't going to change much in people's decision making.
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Old 01-20-18, 11:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
Hence the "above a wrist slap". The punishment has to be meaningful, but above a certain amount isn't going to change much in people's decision making.
Unfortunately, a lot of people taking drugs or alcohol, and getting behind the wheel just aren't thinking about consequences.

I'm not convinced a long prison term would necessarily change that. Perhaps for a few...

On the other hand, permanent loss of driver's license. Restitution payments for life. Enforced "clean or prison". Rehab. Etc... will change that one person, and may also affect the choices of others.

In fact, for some, loss of a driver's license may well be almost as traumatic as jail time.

Why is the punishment so much different for all those intoxicated drivers that only do property damage, or get stopped before they hit something?
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Old 01-20-18, 11:38 PM
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Can I point out this is the Australian legal system, which is closer to the UK one than the US. No DA, no plea bargaining - in fact, she’s already served 9 months. She can appeal up to the Senate, but that is costly, and she’s unlikely to win given the crime and the nature of the cyclist’s injuries.
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Old 01-20-18, 11:39 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
Why is the punishment so much different for all those intoxicated drivers that only do property damage, or get stopped before they hit something?
I assume it is because they are two separate charges. Drunk driving + vehicular homicide.


Plus, I don't think victim's families would be okay with someone getting only drunk driving punishment for killing someone, regardless of what the drunk driving sentence is.
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Old 01-20-18, 11:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
I assume it is because they are two separate charges. Drunk driving + vehicular homicide.


Plus, I don't think victim's families would be okay with someone getting only drunk driving punishment for killing someone, regardless of what the drunk driving sentence is.
In this case, there was injury and disability, but not death.

Much of the injury & disability should be covered with a civil claim, which shouldn't necessarily be terminated with the driver's current cash on hand. The driver was apparently young, and may well have financial changes throughout her life.
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Old 01-21-18, 02:33 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
I'm not convinced a long prison term would necessarily change that. Perhaps for a few...
Prison, no, and it's counterproductive in any case where there should be significant restitution; get them out and paying $50,000+ to the victim as a salary withholding, and I think you'd see a lot more impact than longer incarceration. Seeing 20-50% of every paycheck withheld for decades is a strong lesson, and one that's going to be passed on to others.
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Old 01-21-18, 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by KD5NRH
Prison, no, and it's counterproductive in any case where there should be significant restitution; get them out and paying $50,000+ to the victim as a salary withholding, and I think you'd see a lot more impact than longer incarceration. Seeing 20-50% of every paycheck withheld for decades is a strong lesson, and one that's going to be passed on to others.
Precisely. Although, in this case, I think you may be off on restitution by an order of magnitude. $500,000 to $1,000,000, perhaps even more. And, restitution should extend past the victim's lifetime.

Also tie it to the family, so if the woman gets married, no living off the marriage without paying (unmarried living together?)

Of course, there is insurance, but some of this should require a personal commitment. Convince the insurance companies to add exclusions. Or, have the insurance company pay the victim, then restitution goes to the insurance company.

I still think rehab is important. Drug recovery program. Enforced long-term probation. Long-term drug and alcohol tests. No refusal of impromptu tests, education, long-term or permanent loss of driver's license, etc.

It is quite likely that a good percent of the perpetrators would violate the probation terms, and end up in jail anyway. But, they would have the option of going straight if they chose that path.
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Old 01-22-18, 08:01 AM
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Originally Posted by Kontact
People drive intoxicated because they don't think they will get caught or hurt anyone. So the frequency of enforcement is more likely to warn people off than the severity of the punishment (above a wrist slap).
Yeah i agree with that.
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Old 01-29-18, 06:34 PM
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Originally Posted by CliffordK
Or, have the insurance company pay the victim, then restitution goes to the insurance company.
This is what I'd want to see; make it so that the insurance company must compensate victims in all cases, then worry about getting anything in excess of the coverage limit or caused by an excluded act back from their client.
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Old 01-29-18, 07:48 PM
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I have nothing to add besides my admiration and great pleasure to see the discussion proceed so rationally. I mostly come here to impress myself with my long and meaningless posts, but I am not above learning a little bit now and then.

Thank you all.
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Old 01-29-18, 10:17 PM
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Originally Posted by avole
Not amazing.

Tragic is what I would call it.

Injustice happens everywhere, no legal system will ever fix it.

Start looking at the root cause of drug addiction, perhaps that would be a start.
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