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Archive for Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Jake Deckert enters guilty pleas in fatal hit-and-run on West Sixth Street; 14 days in jail recommended

A KU student plead guilty to charges in a fatal hit-and-run accident.

September 30, 2008, 10:57 a.m. Updated September 30, 2008, 3:00 p.m.

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Prosecutors will request that a Lawrence man spend 14 days in jail in exchange for his guilty pleas to four charges stemming from a fatal hit-and-run.

Jake Deckert, 22, admitted Tuesday morning in Douglas County District Court to driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident, failing to report an accident and violating a stop sign.

The charges are connected with a May 4 crash at West Sixth Street and Gateway Drive, just west of Lawrence Avenue, which killed Thomas Crum, 60. The men's vehicles collided, and Crum's car struck the side of a building, at 534 Gateway Drive.

During Tuesday's plea hearing, District Attorney Charles Branson said in exchange for Deckert's pleas he would recommend a two-year jail sentence, though Deckert would be placed on supervised probation after serving 14 days in jail during Kansas University's winter break. He would also serve an additional two years on supervised probation. Deckert is listed as a student at KU.

Deckert could ultimately be sentenced to as much as three years in jail, Judge Robert Fairchild said. Sentencing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 31.

The DUI charge was added as part of the plea deal and marks Deckert's second DUI offense, Branson said. Deckert was also charged with DUI in 2006, court records said. Two of the felony charges were also reduced to misdemeanors as part of the deal.

"I am pleased with this outcome," Branson said in a news release. "Mr. Deckert will receive a lengthier sentence in this case than he would have under the original charges. In addition, we are able to hold him accountable for the DUI he sought to avoid."

Had Deckert been convicted of the initial charges, he likely would have received probation, Branson said.

Terry Campbell, Deckert's attorney, offered brief condolences to Crum's family during the hearing. He also said Crum's blood alcohol content was .158, an amount nearly twice the legal driving limit of .08, when he was pronounced dead at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. Crum's family said they had been celebrating his birthday with him before the accident.

Campbell also said Deckert had been drinking before the accident, though his blood alcohol content wasn't available. Deckert admitted leaving the scene of the accident, and police found him the next day. He has undergone alcohol abuse treatment.

Comments

1029 6 years, 5 months ago

Always remember, people: If you are out in Lawrence driving drunk and happen to kill someone, be sure to immediately leave the scene so that you can deal with your little problem after you have time to sober up and prepare your story. Everything will work out great for you as long as you leave the scene.

MattressMan 6 years, 5 months ago

We'll probably and should hear more about this when it hits the civil courts.

Deja Coffin 6 years, 5 months ago

It has nothing to do with being prefect and has everything to do with being held accountable for your actions. If I committed the same crime, I would hope that the justice system would give me a far worse punishment then 14days. While his own guilt is something he'll have to live with the rest of his life, atleast he gets to LIVE with it. Unlike the other gentleman.

Deja Coffin 6 years, 5 months ago

He not only killed the man, he left the scene and didn't even bother to report it, how is this guy getting off with only 2 years? I feel sorry for the family of Mr. Crum and my thoughts are with them.

bluerose 6 years, 5 months ago

your're right, genius, my bad - for letting the comments mix me up. he only admitted guilt to the four obvious items. however, drinking, driving, wrecking, resulting in the death of another = vehicular homicide in my book, even if the death was not intentional. if there were no drinking involved, i might think "accident", but drinking, then getting into a car and driving seems about the same as standing in the street with a loaded gun shooting.

sammiesays 6 years, 5 months ago

Wasn't the "victim" intoxicated also????? Sounds to me that they both made some poor choices......Who was at fault? Both?

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

jmadison, the plea deal that resulted in the absence of substantial prison time has nothing to do with the appellate opinion. That opinion only established precedent for determining whether a "depraved heart" murder occurred. Nevertheless, the judges are interpreting and applying the laws extablished by our legislature. That is why you so often see private citizens lobbying the legislature for new laws or modifications of existing laws when something tragic occurs. This deal at least will get Deckert a second conviction for DUI-very small, in fact inconsequential consolation to the family.For the reasons I referenced in my 1:02 post, I do not believe Branson could have gotten a conviction on that charge alone. It doesn't mean that prosecutions based on other charges could/should not have been sought by Branson-nor does it mean he could have gotten a conviction had he prosecuted the case. I only commented on the DH murder aspect because Marion raised the topic earlier. Deckert was never charged with this crime to my knowledge. In addition, you can't overlook the fact Branson likely could not have charged Deckert with DUI as he apparently was no longer intoxicated when arrested. Proving DUI is likely an essential element (i.e. commission of a lawful act in an unlawful manner) in obtaining a conviction for involuntary manslaughter. Likewise, I'm not sure how you would prove he acted "recklessly" in the absence of proof Deckert was DUI. He could say sure, I had a couple of beers but Crum pulled out in front of me, I hit him, got scared and left because I knew I was involved in a serious accident and had a prior DUI and didn't want the cops to think I was DUI again. Speculation aside, without evidence of DUI I don't believe you're going to get a conviction for involuntary manslaughter.Also, keep in mind the Court does not have to approve the plea agreement and as noted above, "Deckert could ultimately be sentenced to as much as three years in jail, Judge Robert Fairchild said. Sentencing is scheduled for 11 a.m. Oct. 31." Courteous (and I cannot emphasize that strongly enough!) public input might/might not be considered - send a letter to Judge Fairchild care of the Clerk of the Court if you want to be heard, but that's no guarantee. Rants will be disregarded.As for the felony record issue, unless one of the four charges is a felony Deckert won't have a felony record. A second DUI or leaving the scene/failing to report may be felonies (sorry, don't have the time to research it right now), but they're nothing compared to an involuntary manslaughter conviction. Expungement of a record of conviction can also be sought after a certain period of time, so an expunged conviction essentially no longer exists other than it must be revealed under certain circumstances, eg, applying for a position with law enforcement, for certain licenses, etc. Have a good day. RIP Mr. Crum.

Deja Coffin 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm curious, what did Deckert say on his facebook page? A young man and my brother were in an accident and my brother passed away. The other guy would post things so truly offensive on his myspace page without even realizing how it hurt our family. In our situation though, I think the guy just didn't think or try to think about how what he posted and said on his page would effect other people. Curious if that's how it is with Deckert or if he really was just being an a$$ on his facebook page.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 5 months ago

Pywacket--My point -- and it is a point I've made frequently -- is that I do not care to speculate as to how the other drunk driver may or may not have contributed to the accident. That is a frequent problem with those on this board who complain about "slaps on the wrist" -- they just don't know the facts. One would hope that local media outlets would ask some of the questions that are asked on these boards after something happened.In many situations, the prosecutor's decision is based on the probability of a successful prosecution. Let us say (and I will state that this is a hypothetical and not speculation) that the defendant can make a credible case along the lines of "I had a few drinks, and decided to drive. Poor decision. However, another drunk driver was driving in such an erratic manner that no one -- sober or drunk -- could have avoided the accident, which, unfortunately, claimed the other drunk driver's life." Some punishment vs. a strong possibility of no punishment? It's not an easy decision, nor one I would care to make myself without possession of all the facts.To Marion's credit, though, I didn't take into account involuntary manslaughter -- which does strike me as a little suspect, in that one would think that would be an easy conviction (and now I'm starting to speculate...anyway).People tend to pile on the DA's office when something out of the ordinary happens, but tend to ignore the good work they do much of the time. In my opinion (and feel free to disagree -- I know you all will) this particular DA is pretty good at his job. Granted, this is colored by the absolute incompetence of the previous DA's office, but for all those calling for his head -- be careful what you wish for.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

Marion, this apparently isn't a depraved heart murder. As I understand the following Kansas appellate opinion, Branson must have believed the instant case lacked the requisite "extreme indifference to the value of human life". The significant differences I noted were the absence of an allegation Deckert was using drugs, the absence of failure to heed warnings about reckless driving and other "near or nonfatal accidents shortly before the fatal accident". I think the biggest impediment is no one could conclusively establish exactly what happened when the fatal crash occurred-whether there was excessive speed involved, etc. While we can infer he wouldn't have left the scene if he wasn't responsible for the accident, don't forget he had to realize it was a serious accident and he had been drinking-again-on the heels of a prior DUI convictionhttp://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?court=ks&vol=ctapp/2004/20040806/&invol=90536

George_Braziller 6 years, 5 months ago

compmd - Second DUI, leaving the scene of an accident, moving violation, and killing another man in the process and the DA is happy with 14 days in the pokey? So I guess you think that having a hard time finding insurance is some sort of penalty -- come on. You can't be serious.

imagold 6 years, 5 months ago

Really??? For DUI and killling a man? No wonder people still drink and drive.

jmadison 6 years, 5 months ago

If this deal was based on a ruling by the appellate court, then its time to vote to not retain the judges on the appellate court.They are failing to protect the citizens of Kansas.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

I wish it was Tom doing the fourteen days....How many times is my trite statement: "Lawrence is a great place to be a criminal" going to play out? It has been proven time and again.Our legal system is very soft on crime.

Sigmund 6 years, 5 months ago

I knew it would be lenient, but this? I am speechless ...

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

14 days in jail? wow! and the DA thnks this is acceptable deal? i'm in shock.

John Hamm 6 years, 5 months ago

Time to fire a certain DA!This is the epitome of laziness and saving money.

lmgp 6 years, 5 months ago

I think that the people who are frustrated with this situation have a tremendous allegiance to the members of the community we live in. Many of these people didn't even know the victim, but we are outraged at the value that is being given to his life. To those who are arguing for this ruling, just remember that if something were to happen to you these same people would be fighting for the value and worth of YOUR life. It's a beautiful display of the caring and empathy that is strong in the Lawrence community.Side note: I don't care how nice he was in high school, multiple DUIs and killing a person then LEAVING THE SCENE shows terrible judgment and character. While he may not have those qualities improved through the incarceration process, he won't be behind the wheel of a car. I think he should have his licence permanently suspended because he's shown that he has no idea how to handle the responsibility.

working_momma 6 years, 5 months ago

Well I hope Branson lost enough votes for a re election when his time comes. I wonder if it was his wife if 14 days would have been enough??? I would have been a lot more satisfied with my DA's performance if he had tired this .....person, if he even deserved that title, for the max the law would have allowed and the jury came back with a not guilty verdict. The community would have no one but themselves to blame for letting this hoodlum off. Does anybody know will this kid even have a felony record follow him the rest of his life or is this all misdemeanor stuff? And to rub salt into the wounds of Mr. Crum's family and the Lawrence community, serving the sentence when it is best for Jake, c'mon that is just downright wrong.

acg 6 years, 5 months ago

Well it sounds as if everyone, myself included, is outraged at this ruling. The only thing we can do is try our best to oust the judges and the DA that were in charge of this dog/pony show. I can't believe some of the rulings that come out of the Do. Co. courts. It blows my mind how oddly things are skewed. Seemingly stupid stuff they'll spend tons of time and money on and then this kid gets 2 weeks for killing someone? How is this just? They wonder why people take things into their own hands.

Ogden_michelle 6 years, 5 months ago

You guys make it sound like he wanted to do this. Who wants to do this. who ever knows the full outcome of the choices that we make. no one. That night jake decides to take the chance to drive while under the influence expecting to get where ever safe , that obviously wasn't the case, and unfortunatly it took the life of someone who was most likely a great person.

KansasGirl82 6 years, 5 months ago

Thats a bunch of BULL! He should get more time in jail. It is teaching the younger generation its okay to drink, drive, and kill. This is so sad. If anybody really reads the paper, they will also see that Mr. Crum's son, Travis, just recently got married to his long term girlfriend. Its too bad he couldn't be there to celebrate that joyous day with them.

been_there 6 years, 5 months ago

I had no intention of voting for Branson, but there are no republicans running for me to vote for.

ukillaJJ 6 years, 5 months ago

A slap on the wrist for purposefully putting everybody on the road at risk, killing someone, and then trying to evade the police? Absolutely ridiculous!!! Who cares if he put in guilty pleas -- he apparently was guilty!Why don't we just give him a blue ribbon for his "honesty" b/c he is obviously an upstanding citizen.As for "other information" -- why does it matter? If you get in an accident and leave the scene, then you are an irresponsible a-hole that doesn't care about the safety of others. If you drink and drive, then you are still an irresponsible a-hole, and you deserve serious punishment to keep it from happening again.

bluerose 6 years, 5 months ago

fourteen.days.in.jail??for DUI and vehicular homicide?????what a stupid world...no wonder so many people are total A--heads these days. there is no accountability any longer. only excuses. no punishment. only tiny slaps on hand. from the small fish to the big fish. getting away with murder and theft so easily. sickening.

GSWtotheheart 6 years, 5 months ago

hey geniusman...missed this..."Terry Campbell, Deckert's attorney, offered brief condolences to Crum's family during the hearing. He also said Crum's blood alcohol content was .158, an amount nearly twice the legal driving limit of .08, when he was pronounced dead at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. Crum's family said he had been celebrating his birthday before the accident."Although it's immaterial, the article did state the deceased's BAC.

123 6 years, 5 months ago

it must be nice to be as perfect as all of you

kally27 6 years, 5 months ago

P.S. I forgot to mention how helpful the D.A.s office was to Tom's family. I urge everyone to channel their outrage at the current laws on the books in Kansas, not at Mr. Branson.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 5 months ago

All I have to say to Jake is:I hope the memory of that night haunts you every day of your life. I hope you can see Tom's face in your dreams, and the echos of the reaction here to your slap on the wrist will encourage you to leave our community and never return. You stole the life of an incredible human being, who had more respect for others in his little finger than you could ever realize in your entire irresponsible life.

geniusmannumber1 6 years, 5 months ago

Read the article. There is no vehicular homicide.Perhaps -- and I know this may surprise you -- there is information which we are not privy to. For example, the BAC of the deceased. Or the deceased's role in causing the accident.

jmadison 6 years, 5 months ago

To which party does DA Branson belong?

Paul Geisler 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree that this sentence is very f****d up, but given Deckert's previous lack of sound judgment I won't be at all surprised if he violates his probation and ends up serving the full 2 years in jail!!! Given the nature of his crime I suspect he'll be subject to random UA screenings for those two years of supervised probation since. That's a tall order for any 22 yr old college student, but especially for someone like him (remember his FaceBook page)! For the Crum's family I hope he does screw up again (without hurting anyone but himself!) and ends up serving the full 2 years in jail. I'm also very irritated that they would allow him to negotiate serving his 14 days in jail over KU's winter break! That makes it sound like they are coddling him instead of punishing him!

Kyle Reed 6 years, 5 months ago

I don't need a degree in anything to recognize this recommendation is complete bullsh*t. A guilty plea with what amounts to zero consequence is worthless. He'll have a hard time finding car insurance? That's seriously the plus side you're trying to sell us? Lets see...he drinks and drives, leaves the scene, oh sure I'm positive he won't drive without the proper insurance. Wake up.

satar 6 years, 5 months ago

Lets see sell some pot and get 10 years kill someone 2 weeks? umm

grimpeur 6 years, 5 months ago

What is the impact on the killer's driver's license? Jesse Fray, we need more information on the status of the license. This person, like other habitual DUIs, needs to have his license revoked. Sadly, the legal loopholes remind us that we're more interested in protecting the individual's mythical "right" to drive than in protecting the public from these rolling menaces.Here is how we protect the rest of society from Deckert: take away his license, and change his life big-time, with big jail time, if he decides he's going to drive anyway. Not the max of 3 years, either. I mean triple his normal max if he strays during his probation. When the jail term is up, whether 14 days or 6 years, we need to be certain that this dangerous person does not get behind the wheel any time soon. If there is not a revocation, then public safety has not been served at all.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

A drivers license is a privelige, not a "right". Nevertheless, mere possession of a valid license isn't a prerequisite to turning the ignition switch or a subsequent DUI. Many, many repeat offenders drive on suspended or revoked licenses. They just don't give a s**t about anything but their needs. Just pray you or a loved one doesn't get in their way...

compmd 6 years, 5 months ago

Everyone complaining about Branson is fully versed in the statutes with which Mr. Deckert was charged with violating, right? And they are also fully versed in the crimes and punishments that may be prescribed, right? And they are also familiar with the requirements for conviction in criminal court, right? To the best of my knowledge, DUI convictions cannot be expunged. He's not going to have a pleasant time finding car insurance. Also, the point of the district attorney isn't to throw the book at everyone charged with a crime. The point is to charge someone with what you think he can be convicted of. Deckert's guilty plea was a win for the people. You'd all just be screaming more if he was acquitted of more serious charges. And I can't imagine the clamor from the peanut gallery if he was convicted, and then the conviction overturned on appeal.I'm sure none of you like it when people tell you how to do your jobs. I'm certain that people who have juris doctor degrees and actively practice law don't like it when you tell them how you think they should do their jobs.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

couranna, abuse your own pets, not me ;-) It's not my opinion, merely that of the second highest tribunal in Kansas. Read the opinion and note the factual differences. If you still don't like it take it up with the legislature-I won't argue with you.bndair, he may have had a diversion or sufficient time had passed between the two offenses such that his license was reinstated in the interim. I'm not certain of the current penalties for first time DUIs, but it used to be a one month suspension followed by a one month restricted period for traveling to/from work/school.As I noted above, a valid drivers license isn't a prerequisite for drinking and driving. If you get hold of some keys and gain access to or steal a car, you can certainly commit DUI and kill someone. The only difference with a stolen car is you may have just committed felony murder.I truly am sorry for your loss as well as the Crum family. I believe Deckert's conduct was both heinous and cowardly.

brush_josh 6 years, 5 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

been_there 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm a liberal, and he is too liberal even for me

compmd 6 years, 5 months ago

Akreed, George,Don't complain to me, complain to your state representatives. I'm just telling you how it is. The district attorney's office did its job as best as it could and scored convictions. I mentioned the auto insurance bit as an example of the most immediate problem; whether or not he will be able to afford it is an issue, and most states now (including Kansas) are mandatory insurance states, so you can't even legally own a car without being able to pay for insurance on it. If he can get insurance, it quite likely will be out of the reach of a full time student's financial means, unless of course his parents pay for it. Also, his drivers license will likely be subject to a statutory suspension for the DUI conviction.Also, reading comprehension seems to be at an all time low here for most people on this article. Deckert hasn't been sentenced yet. He still faces the possibility of three years in prison. I'm glad bad_dog pointed that out; it seems he is one of the only other people here who really understands how the criminal court system works.As was earlier pointed out, Mr. Deckert will probably get hit with a civil suit, and will most likely end up liable for the death of Mr. Crum. The pitchfork and torch crowd should be appeased then.

Ogden_michelle 6 years, 5 months ago

Ok all of you need to get off of jake's back. i went to school with him when he was a little kid, and his family was know as to being a family that raised there kids with great values, which as i remeber lived by very well. yes he screwed up who hasn't. He knows he screwed up thats why he plead guilty, and i know from my experince of knowing him he plead guilty cause it was the right thing to do. and what ever punishment he recives from this he will take like a man and face it. Thats the jake i know. How many times have you been forgiven, for the wrong that you did whether big or small.

Ogden_michelle 6 years, 5 months ago

Just see what i am trying to say---- all of you have good points, jake should get more time, that 14 days is crap ,he is guilty for what he did, he shouldn't of ran off cause the out come could of been different.it was wrong of what he did. my point my main point is the hate and hateful words or actions are not going to bring mr. crum back. jake is going to be rembered for this the rest of his life. he's not going to forget.

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

Brush, was that one of those "law degree" come backs? If so, you should ask for your money back.

missmagoo 6 years, 5 months ago

"Had Deckert been convicted of the initial charges, he likely would have received probation, Branson said."--really? someone please explain to me how this is possible--a drunk hit another drunk, one drunk died. was the COD of mr. crum from the accident or partially because of his BAC? what role did he play in the accident? mr. deckert 'violated a stop sign,' whatever that means, but my guess is they either believe mr. crum was partially at fault or they have no evidence to support it either way. that's my 'uneducated' guess, but if they knew that mr. deckert was drunk AND 100% at fault for the accident, i think we'd see different charges.--rip mr. crum and your family is in my thoughts

compmd 6 years, 5 months ago

daman,How do you get to work every day? Do you, by chance, drive? Try reading the rest of my posts and thinking about them instead of just the parts you find inflammatory. bndairdundat,Thank you for a level headed reply. I have been the victim of a drunk driver myself and understand the pain. What people close to Mr. Crum (and others interested in this case) should be doing is seeking reason and understanding of what is going on in this case. Being charged with emotion and wildly pointing fingers going on a witch hunt is no solution. Keep in mind that the 14 day plea agreement has not yet been approved by a judge, and that it is entirely possible the judge may choose to completely ignore the district attorney's recommendation and sentence Mr. Deckert to the full three years in jail. Also, given the facts of the case and the charges that Mr. Deckert has now been convicted of, I am quite confident he will be found liable for the death of Mr. Crum in civil court, and thus the way he lives his life will be tempered by his actions on May 4. He will likely be paying for his actions for a very long time. Remember that the sure conviction is better than risking acquittal for the district attorney if he doesn't think he can prove greater charges at trial. If Deckert were acquitted of more serious charges (the result of "having the book thrown at him") then he'd walk away with a clean slate, and finding civil liability would be more difficult. jayhawkbarrister,Good post. I wish the masses would listen.

brush_josh 6 years, 5 months ago

Daman,Your the smartest person I have ever met! If you don't believe me just look in the mirror and ask yourself. Then look down with your magnifying glass at your so called stones!

George_Braziller 6 years, 5 months ago

Only 14 days and then when it seems to be convenient with Deckert's schedule? Please tell me that this is some sort of bad reporting of the facts and not true. I thought that a second DUI alone was automatically 30 days in jail.During Tuesday's plea hearing, District Attorney Charles Branson said in exchange for Deckert's pleas he would recommend a two-year jail sentence, though Deckert would be placed on supervised probation after serving 14 days in jail during Kansas University's winter break. He would also serve an additional two years on supervised probation. Deckert is listed as a student at KU.

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

compmd, yes I drive to work. I suppose your argument would be, if I killed someone driving my car while drunk I would have a difficult time getting insurance so I might lose my job = just served. Oh, to be fair you also mentioned he might not be able to get his license back anytime soon and have to pay out the nose in a civil suit. If that's the only punishment I'd get for driving drunk and killing someone then I got off! Oh wait, those 14 days in county,now that hurts. Please dude, don't peddle that b.s. in here and expect us to think somehow the DA did us a favor. You even said the judge doesn't have to honor the agreement and could sentence Deckert to three years, which means you don't even think the DA did the right thing by agreeing to this b.s. deal of 14 days. God forbid your loved one gets struck by a drunk driver who leaves the them to die and your told 14 days in the county is a good deal.

George_Braziller 6 years, 5 months ago

I was wrong. The penalty for a second offense isn't 30 days, it's 90. This is copied directly from the KDOT website:"SECOND DUI OFFENSE You will receive 90 days to one year imprisonment and will be fined $1,000 to $1,500 plus court costs, probation and evaluation fees."

brunette_beauty07 6 years, 5 months ago

THE ULTIMATE PRICE WAS ANOTHER MAN'S LIFE AND ANOTHER MAN'S FATHER. ONE YOUNG MAN IS WITHOUT A FATHER NOW..AND THAT'S A HORRIFFIC EVENT TO GO THROUGH. THEN ONE YOUNG MAN'S FUTURE IS TARNISHED BY HIS LAPSE IN JUDGEMENT. ALL I CAN IS MY PRAYERS ARE WITH THE CRUM FAMILY. AS THEY HAVE BESTOWED THE SAME COURTESY AND WARMTH TO ME AS THEY NEED NOW.

acg 6 years, 5 months ago

puggy, you're an idiot. First of all, this kid is doing 14 days. They won't send him to prison. He'll do his time in county, and if you've ever been there you'll know that Do. Co. jail is in great shape, practically brand new, and a very comfortable place to be in jail (if one must be in jail). He'll have three decent meals per day, a decent disease free place to sleep and access to television and the phone. Can the victim say the same thing?

compmd 6 years, 5 months ago

daman said:"God forbid your loved one gets struck by a drunk driver who leaves the them to die and your told 14 days in the county is a good deal."compmd said at 1:07pm:"I have been the victim of a drunk driver myself and understand the pain. "No, good sir, you will not find me peddling BS on this topic.Actually, I do think the DA did the right thing by offering Deckert a plea agreement. As I said before, these convictions will greatly enhance the civil suit against him. I would rather have that than the DA losing a shaky case with greater charges and less chance of a successful civil suit against Deckert. With Deckert losing a hypothetical future civil suit, he would never be indebted to the Crum family for his actions. I don't agree with the DA's recommendation of a 14 day jail sentence (I never said I did), but if that's what's necessary to bolster his [likely] perpetual servitude to the family whose loved one he killed, then so be it. If it were one of my loved ones who was killed by someone like Deckert, I would put myself in the position to practically own the perpetrator until the day he dies. For taking a life, I would exercise my abilities to exert as much control over his quality of life as the law permits.

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

"I am pleased with this outcome," Branson said in a news release. "Mr. Deckert will receive a lengthier sentence in this case than he would have under the original charges. In addition, we are able to hold him accountable for the DUI he sought to avoid."This is outrageous! "Pleased with the outcome"? 14 days in jail are you serious? "a lenghtier sentence in this case the he would have under the original charges". Those were your charges Mr. DA. Perhaps you should have charged higher to begin with."held accountable for the DUI he sought to avoid"? whoopie freakin' doo, he KILLED someone. You got him Mr. Branson, now he has a 2nd DUI on his record and 14 days in jail for KILLING someone. What a freakin' joke.

classclown 6 years, 5 months ago

Looks like it's not only athletes at KU that that get off easy. Apparently anybody can be a POS that gets coddled and allowed to get away with everything as long as they're associated with KU.We shut down Last Call as a way of dealing with life's general garbage. Time to do the same with KU.

Evan Ridenour 6 years, 5 months ago

I would like to add that just because the prosecutor is recommending that sentence does not mean the judge has to go along with it.

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

compmd, twice you posted how the defendant was going to suffer dire consequesnces regarding his auto insurance. Please, don't add insult to injury by peddling that garbage, he KILLED someone and you think the fact he'll have a hard time getting insurance means something? Then you talk to the rest of us like we don't know what we're talking about when it comes to the law. Some of us do know the law and those that don't can see that 14 days in jail is a complete joke. So, you can stop posting about how much the defendant will suffer as he has to shop around for insurance and how we don't know what we're talking about because you're wrong on both pointsKally27, I'm glad to hear the DA's office was good to the family, they should be, that's their job. However, the DA sold this one out to avoid yet another trial. No doubt this would have been a tough case to try for a number of reasons but this plea is unacceptable. You tell us to channel our anger at the legislature to enact stiffer penalites, we can do that. However, the current offenses allowed for up to three years, not the 14 days the DA agreed to. Although three years isn't much, it most certainly is much more meaningful the 14 days in the county jail. Three years in the joint is a lot harder than 14 days in K-10 country club. For those that say, "well the judge can still give him 3 years even though the DA agreed to 14 days", two things there, one, that's passing the buck. The DA needed to do his job and not put it on the judge to go against a plea agreement. Second, 99% of the time the judge will go along with the sentencing recommendations if both parties agree and in this case both have agreed to 14 days. DO NOT put this on the judge or the legislature, it's the DA that sold out here plain and simple.

Charles L Bloss Jr 6 years, 5 months ago

There is no deterrent, or reason to obey our laws, when stupid sentences like this are given. I am very disappointed. Expect more of this, because people know that hardly any meaningful sentence will be imposed. Just as Judge Martin in this county, and Judge Dowd in Shawnee County, slap people who have sex with our children on the wrist. Until we start locking these people up for a long time for killing someone, or having sex with our children, it will just continue. Thank you, Lynn

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

Actually, he'll probably go into the assigned risk pool and be eligible for auto insurance. Whether he can afford it or not remains to be seen. Nevertheless, those "hardships" and 14 days in the local pokey don't mean diddley compared to Mr. Crum's loss of life.

kally27 6 years, 5 months ago

I, too, was in disbelief that all original charges were level 2 felonies (with level 10 being the highest felony). I'm comforted by all of you who are outraged by the sentencing and initial charges. You all have the power to change the laws in Kansas and I hope you all will write to your legislators demanding stiffer penalties for people such as Jake. Jake left a bar, ran through a stop sign, hit Tom broad side and caused him to die.We can all grieve about losing Tom and understand that traffic accidents do happen. But for me, the most painful part is that, without remorse, at a time of life or death, Jake CHOSE TO LEAVE Tom there to die. Jake chose to leave him there all alone suffering from massive injuries, without care by immediately leaving the scene, without calling anyone to help Tom, stashing his jeep, and hiding out and hoping to escape punishment. For that selfish, cowardly act, I can never forgive Jake Deckert for his total disregard for another human life.Jake, I can assure you that if the tables were turned that night, Tom would've never left you there to die without trying to help you.Again, you all have the power to change your laws in Kansas and I hope you are all are so outraged that you will write to your judges and to your legislators. Tom cared so much about his friends and family that it is a shame how he was left there all alone in his final moments of life.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

To collect on a negligence claim in Kansas you must first establish that the person causing the injury was negligent. Assuming you can establish the offending party owed a duty of care to you, failed in that duty and you suffered damages as a result of that failure, you still have to deal with the issue of "comparative negligence". What this means is that if you sue someone for a negligent act and your "carelessness" contributed to your injuries, the amount of damages you can recover is reduced proportionately.Kansas follows a modified comparative fault rule which means if your negligence exceeds 50% you are not entitled to recover anything. Again, if you are 50% or more at fault you cannot recover under Kansas law. If it is 49% or less, you can recover a portion of your damages, but the amount of any recovery will be reduced by the percentage of your fault. Don't misinterpret anything I'm saying as advocating for anyone or attributing fault to Mr. Crum in any way. I'm just pointing out potential issues should civil litigation ensue. Also, keep in mind the fact that aside from motor vehicle insurance, Deckert may not have many personal assets to pay a judgement even if a jury finds him completely at fault. He could be what is described as a "judgment proof" debtor due to inability to satisfy a judgment. In such cases (in the absence of the ability to establish another cause of action against a third party such as negligent entrustment of a motor vehicle), an injured party has little recourse other than to take the insurance policy limits and move on.I know this sucks folks, but it is the law in this state.

Ragingbear 6 years, 5 months ago

Once again, we see that if you want to kill somebody you just run them over with your car.

phoggyjay 6 years, 5 months ago

"Campbell offered brief condolences to Crum's family during the hearing. He also said Crum's blood alcohol content was .158, an amount nearly twice the legal driving limit of .08, when he was pronounced dead at Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan. Crum's family said they had been celebrating his birthday with him before the accident."-they both shouldn't have been driving

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

compmd, then we are simply going to have to agree to disagree. You would rather have $ and I would rather have my pound of flesh. You are making a huge assumption that Deckert has a pot to p*ss in now or in the future. I have no problem with plea agreements, I understand they are necessary evils at times and at times necessary because a case goes south, but if this plea was a result of getting something rather than run the risk of losing than maybe it was overcharged to begin with. Why is that? Perhaps because the DA wanted the "I'm tough on drunk drivers" label when it came across his desk and now that the rubber is hitting road he's not so tough. If you're going to be tough on the front end, stay tough (unless the case falls apart). This type of overcharging and backing down undermines the confidence in that office. If I were a defense attorney, I would smell blood in the water. Look at that office's record on "tough cases", they lose or hang. DA playing the political game and he got caught on this one and it won't be the last.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

I agree DUIs are not expunged compmd-didn't mean to create that inference-just got in a hurry...

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

Brush, first of all, the DA is an elected official and we (the citizens of Douglas County) have every right to scrutinize his office, that's our right! We don't have to get a law degree to do that. Second of all the fact that Crum was intoxicated is totally irrelevant. Now had Crum hit someone when he was drunk then I would be all over him as well, but he didn't. I guess I wouldn't be as angry if Deckert had have stopped to render aide or at least wait for the police, but he didn't. He fled and hid, why? Because he knew he just committed a crime, knew he was drunk when he did it. He was TOTALLY looking out for himself even if it meant leaving Crum to die. That is what really pisses me off. So for that, 14 days? I don't think for one second a jury lets him walk. I don't think for one second a judge goes easy on him. However, the DA swung a deal to avoid trial and agrees to 14 freakin days like that somehow serves justice. I say, try the case with the more serious charges and if the community finds he's not guilty then so be it but Branson robbed us (the community) from making that call, why? Because he's tired of losing tough cases and knows that means votes. I may not have a law degree but I have something much better, common freakin sense and a set of stones to do the right thing.

Lindsey Buscher 6 years, 5 months ago

Well, unfortunately going to law school, becoming a lawyer or eventually a judge is no match for the smarts on this board. You know, there are enough bloggers here to start a petition to get an issue on the ballot. I think we should all band together and get a law passed so that criminals are presumed guilty a*holes and tried in the court of blog. You are all so smart. So, so smart. Really, seriously, smart smart smart.

Lindsey Buscher 6 years, 5 months ago

Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart

Lindsey Buscher 6 years, 5 months ago

Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart Smart smart.What is the average handicap of the men's golf team at the K-10 Country Club? Sounds nice, I'd like to join.You are so smart, so, so, so, so smart. Smarter than the DA. I mean, the DA is really stupid because going to prison is like joining a country club, right? So smart you are, smart smart smart.

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

side note: Would it bother any of you if Decket's attorney (Terry Campbell) was a contributor to Branson's campaign?

acg 6 years, 5 months ago

It doesn't matter if he meant to do this or not. I'm sure this kid didn't mean to get into the car, drunk and kill someone. But, the fact of the matter is, that's what he did. He's been in trouble for DUI before. And it's not like he was unaware of the possible consequences. You have to be living under a rock to not know that driving under the influence is a dangerous and stupid thing to do. It's time for the younger generation to grow the hell up and start taking responsibility for their piss poor decision making. I don't feel any pity for this guy at all. He gets off scot free. 14 days is crap. I know someone who did 10 for driving with a suspended license. And ogden_michelle, as far as him knowing what the outcome was going to be when he got behind the wheel, it's pretty simple. When you're sober, you know the chances of you killing someone in a drunken accident are pretty slim. He knew, when he got into that car, that he was taking a big risk. He gambled, he lost, screw him!!

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

dat, don't disagree with you one bit. however, when a deal like this is struck sometimes you have to search for the reasons why. there may be a very good explaination but I haven't heard it. so, we look to other possible motives for this sort of deal. DA just trying to get convictions by making huge sentencing concessions, perhaps. DA "paying back" a campaign contributor? perhaps. A deal this bad, and it IS bad, warrants scrutiny otherwise where's the accountability. Should we simply look the other way and let "boys be boys"? I won't, a life was lost here.

jayhawkbarrister 6 years, 5 months ago

For those of you railing against the proposed sentence in this case, your anger is misdirected. Aim it correctly at the Legislature that makes certain factual homicides punishable by a year in jail (not prison). Aim it at the Legislature that determined that if you are convicted of a 2nd DUI, your license is suspended for a year and then you have to have an interlock device installed on any car you drive for another year. Period. Aim your anger at the Legislature that determined that if convicted of a 2nd DUI, you would have to serve 5 days (Branson got an agreement to nearly triple the legislatively mandated sentence). Aim your anger at the Legislature that determined that driving DUI, causing a collision that results in death, and then leaving the scene are three separate (and relatively small in punishment) crimes, rather than one really serious crime with the kinds of punishments that many would like to see. If you want the DA, regardless of whether s/he is Democrat or Republican, to 'throw the book' at certain crimes, then the Legislature has to give him a big enough book.And then be prepared to have your taxes raised to pay for prison space.All those who voted in the last state election (less than 40% last time), please stand up.

daman 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm missing something, what is dat's "closeness" to this situation?

Ogden_michelle 6 years, 5 months ago

acg i agree with you. i agree with you that the 14 days is crap i am frustrated with everyone being hateful. all of you being hateful doesn't look any better. i understand especially for the loved ones to the victim that you are mad. you wanted more time for jake. to help with the pain of losing your loved one, i think he should get more time cause 14 days you are not going to learn you lesson with, but being hateful is not going to help. i think that there is so much anger on this event ( and its completely understandable) that in us being hateful were looking like animals. the hate is not going to bring the victim back.

x96merrill3 6 years, 5 months ago

Suspended license means one more rider on the T. Blame Grassroots Action for the light sentence...they are doing everything they can to give the perception of an increase in ridership.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

bndair, I hear you and my heart goes out to you and the others affected by this tragedy. That is why I have offered my comments on this topic, in an effort to assist with understanding the legal circumstances involved.Daddy's money may never even come into play as far as satisfying a civil judgment, unless as I alluded to above, you successfully establish an independent cause of action based on the tort of negligent entrustment or some other tort that allows you to go after the assets of a third party.bndair, I hope you and the others that loved and cared about Mr. Crum find peace. Having said that I recognize that mere words don't go far, but mine are sincere. I too would be very angry and find it difficult to reconcile this tragic loss-particularly given the circumstances, were I in your position.Take care.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

back at 'ya bndair. I also appreciate your taking the high road in your response to daman, particularly given your closeness to the subject matter.daman, I also appreciate your concerns, but as noted by bndair, "We can only hope that professionalism prevails."Later.

Ogden_michelle 6 years, 5 months ago

why would you wish that on someone, you didn't want it to happen to your friend. so why want it for someone else.

bad_dog 6 years, 5 months ago

"I'm missing something, what is dat's "closeness" to this situation?"See the 12:51 and 2:51 posts from 9/30/08...

tollef 6 years, 5 months ago

For you civil suit folks, what kind of assests do you think a 22 year old college student has? With loans et al he probably has a negative net worth. Even if a substantial civil judgement is obtained, he can use the laws and declare bankruptcy, thereby nullifiying the judgement. He will have credit problems for 7 years but he can still come out at 30 and say "hello world here I come". Even if "Daddy" has money, you cannot go after him as he is not liable.A civil suit from the family will only add financial and emotional pain to an already distraught family. My thoughts go out to them. 14 days is an insult. The only thing we can hope for is that a judge will grow a pair in the next 30 days and reject the "deal". If he does not then we can throw him out of office. (Does anyone know whether he, the judge, is up for re-election this time around with sentencing being October 31 and the elcection being the first week in November?) That is all that will save the people that think this is unfair.If he is up for re-elction, watch out that that sentencing date might just get moved back until after the election.

brandx 6 years, 5 months ago

Politics as usual? People supported this very political D.A., expecting they would get favors in return. Is this another one?

kally27 6 years, 5 months ago

Ref: 10/1/08 1:51 p.m. posted by Daman"Would it bother any of you if Decket's attorney (Terry Campbell) was a contributor to Branson's campaign?"Daman: Yes, it bothers me...and I'm shocked and mortified!!! Now all of the puzzle pieces are fitting together. I'm sickened. I've read all of your entries and I have to say, I totally agree with your postings. Thanks for the eye opener!Reference: 10/1/08 6:17 a.m. Posted by: Ogden_michelle "Ok all of you need to get off of jake's back. i went to school with him when he was a little kid, and his family was know as to being a family that raised there kids with great values..." All I have to say is... We will never know what Jake's blood alcohol content was because he RAN away and left Tom there only thinking of himself. Is Jake remorseful? No... in fact I hear that he tried to change the story to say that Tom hit him, at first. Police investigation says N-O-T! Family values? Run and leave someone suffering and dying? No one from the Deckert family has even uttered one word of condolence to the Crum family. Two little darling girls lost their grandfather and three sons lost their dad and two sisters lost their brother. I think that equates to a little more than a 'boo-boo," don't you think?I hope every one who is outraged writes to your local judges and legislators. The current laws seem to REWARD those who leave the scene of a fatal accident. Until the laws are changed, I fear that 'hit and runs' will continue to happen in order to get light sentences.

toms1friend 6 years, 5 months ago

for those of you who did not know tom ... he was a kind,gentle,generous,warm hearted man-- he would help anyone who needed him.... he was Murdered in a hit and run....you can't say accident.. because the MURDERER did not even stop to give comfort to a dying man .. a man he KILLED!!! the d,.a. should have know tom or he would never pull this 14 days in jail over christmas ...because the MURDERER has school --- yes school... he's going to be a teacher... and what will he teach your kids ... to lie... to cheat... to have no soul... to run and hide... and tom's son's... missed every christmas...every father'sday and every birthday;but this one!!! Why did they come to this one ...because tom paid for it!!! IF THEY HAD NOT AGREED TO COME TOM WOULD STILL BE HERE.... i only hope the judge sees through my eye's --- someone who really loved Tom and will forever miss him and givethat murderer everyday in jail he can!!! FOR TOM -- I LOVE YOU BABY AND I'LL ALWAYS LOVE YOU -- I'LL MISS YOUR JOKES AND YOUR SMILE -- EVEN IF THE JUDGE AND YOUR SON'S DON'T GET JAKE -- ------- -- there is going to be a special place in hell for you jake derkert...you murdered a wonderful man!!!

tcrum 6 years, 4 months ago

Hey coward (toms1friend), I paid for his party and i loved him . How about ACE hardware where he worked since they opened, we did not recieve even a card from them, why dont you go barking where it is deserved " bff" . You don't know half as much as you think you do about us. And if you cared for him like you say you do then you wouldn't insult his FAMILY on the internet. By the way where were you that night! for that matter where were you on his court dates? I think you have our phone number. If you are not a coward then call us or even stop by for that matter, plane tickets are cheap for a #1 friend. I do beg anyone to stop by if they have a problem with us! I'll scream it LOUD this time so you can hear it, i loved my father and what your going through is'nt anything compared to the heartach my FAMILY is going to go through the rest of our lives, while to you he'll be long forgotten. And (to spare you any more confusion) my brother is going to post something for you next

GCrum 6 years, 4 months ago

I just wanted to also add a few things for (Tom1friend). First of all if you WERE a true friend you would have known Tom's 3 sons, my husband and my 2 brothers.For starters if you were with Tom at his 60th B-day, you would have seen how proud he was to have spent it with his family and his real friends. You would know that the boys did spend time with their father:like maybe the time my husband missed his daughters first B-day pictures because he was out fishing with his dad or maybe the Saturday mornings when I made breakfast before I left for work so that Tom could come over and have breakfast with his sons. Who are you to judge if our family was not there that night he would still be alive!You have NO idea what my husband and brothers have been through. Maybe if you were there through the sleepless nights, the anxiety attacks, the heartache then you may be able to begin to understand.Yea, you could act like his sons didn't spend enough time with their dad:they could have spent every day with their dad and it still wouldn't have been enough to replace the fact that their dad was taken away from them! It wouldn't have been enough for his sons to go out and dig their father's grave with their grandpa's shovel so they could bury him. It wouldn't have been enough to replace not being able to have their dad at their wedding, the birth of their kids, or sitting in the back yard telling jokes all night, early morning fishing trips, or his grandkids birthday parties. So do you think I am being personal? Yes, I am! Why? Because I'm not just a friend, I am family and I am the one who is going through it all with the rest of my family. I am the one who has to comfort my husband on Father's Day when he is suppose to enjoy spending it with his kids, but he can't because thoughts and memories of his own dad are going through his head. I am the one that has to see the hurt and pain in her brother's eyes at the court dates, I am the one that has to explain to my 4 year old daughter why her daddy is so sad, I am the one who has to explain to her daughters what a funeral is and why we a burying their grandpa that they will never be able to have a real memory of, I am the one that will stand up for her family and defend them when someone thinks they know what they are talking about when they don't have a clue!

budwhysir 6 years, 4 months ago

Well, Im normally a little silly about how I respond but let me say this, real facts, my real thoughts and during a sober mind.This is just plain nuts. Todays way of life is way out of control. If I get this correct, we spend days printing articles, having protests, passing laws, and clogging up our court systems trying to determin if we will allow some kind of bogus marriage. (im neither for against but thats another day) BUT..... if you go out and get drunk, kiil someone and then go home, we are so busy we will only impose a 14 day jail sentence. And we will do this during spring break?????? dont we have a special "UNIVERSITY" this man can attend. Good thing Im not in charge, people like this would never see the light of day. They would be able to enjoy the rest of thier life only they would do this in a 4 x 4 cell. Thats righ 4x4 Im not a liberal, I would give just enough room to NOT move.All I know is when they catch the cat killer we have here in town, probably wont even be a trial. I would say an offense such as that here in our fine county would call for a mere traffic ticket of jaywalking or littering.

rcrum 6 years, 4 months ago

Dear, Eddy - I'm so sorry about your confusion about our family and our life. You don't know nearly as much as you think you do. My brother Travis paid for the party as a gift to our father as a birthday gift.. How would you possibly know what and where we spent time with our father? I can't believe the audacity you have to suggest that if we didn't go to the party, he would still be here. You've never even met him face to face. If you were his #1 friend, why didn't you come to his 60th Birthday party, or the funeral? How about the court cases? You are a truly desperate and pitiful person and obviously don't have anything better to do in Chicago. How could a person that cared so much about my dad set here and bash his kids? My dad would fight for us or anyone he loved and he surely wouldn't stand for the way you've treated his sons. So, shame on you Eddy for dishonoring our fathers family and his memory by spewing your confused and misrepresented thoughts for everyone to see. There's enough people in this world that think they know more than they do. People that supposedly love my father should be the last ones to do what you've done. Please feel free to call me if you would like to discuss. I I still have his old phone number. I can elaborate if your still confused.

GCrum 6 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if YOU have family! You must not have ever really lost a loved one! If you did you would know that what you are doing is WRONG and is only hurting the family more. We have a lot to deal with on a daily basis and we don't have time to sit around and correct simple minded people. And if you think you are such a good friend, please keep us in mind because when it comes time for my family to have to explain to our children what their grandpa was like:I would like you to hear our stories:I am sure you have nothing that will compare!My father-n-law will not ever be able to be replaced. He will hold a special place in a lot of people's hearts. So I would suggest before you go voicing your opinion you need to stop and think about someone else besides yourself for once.On another note, I would like to thank our Real Friends and Family for all of your support through our family has gone through.

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