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Vehicular manslaughter laws leave both sides with suspended lives

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She was 21, the mother of two toddlers, intoxicated to twice the legal limit and out having a fun time on a Friday night.

He was a loving husband, the father of three, grandfather of one. He was headed home from a late evening out.

She was in a car. He was on a motorcycle.

Witnesses say they were flirting with disaster when they began flirting with each other.

He would speed up and then slow down to remain in her line of vision. She had a pretty smile. She spent more time watching him than she did the road.

He's been dead for 17 months, her life's been put on hold until the slow clanging legal system decides to move forward with her case.

His family mourns him daily, and holidays, once a time of joy, travel and laughter, are now almost unbearable. His friends and family members have extra time to remember and miss him.

Her family waits for the other shoe to drop. They're contacted before each holiday and told her arrest is eminent. Her parents, siblings, sons and friends are all affected too. She'll lose all of them while she's imprisoned. They feel as though they're already lost her.

No plans for travel are made, each time there is a telephone call, or a knock at the door, the very real fear that she'll be arrested comes to mind.

She has been told her case will be dropped because there is no proof she was the one driving the automobile, even though she was given a blood alcohol test, even though there were no passengers and she admitted being the driver. Less than two months later she is told her arrest is eminent on a Monday that came and went two weeks ago.

Where is her due process? Will the year and a half she's spent waiting to be arrested be subtracted from her mandatory minimum sentence of ten years? (mandatory sentencing varies by state and is anything from community service with parole, to fifteen to twenty years of imprisonment)

Where is the justice for either side?

Comments

Kontum1972 4 years, 3 months ago

i think this was on pay for view ....on sunflower

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

No, Kontum, but it could be once there is an outcome besides the loss of a man's life.

I'm usually one who thinks there are plenty of laws, but examples such as this one make me think a key one is missing and that is the one where there needs to be a right for the defendant to be charged in a timely manner. My belief is that it would benefit both parties.

jafs 4 years, 3 months ago

We currently already have a constitutional right to a speedy trial - not sure we need any more laws.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

This isn't about a speedy trial, that entire process doesn't begin until she's charged. Now I'm assuming there is a statute of limitations stating how long they have to charge and arrest her - that's when this process truly begins. I'm not sure if that process varies from state to state or even from offense to offense.

Do you have knowledge along those lines?

Matthew Fowler 4 years, 3 months ago

Not to make light of this tragedy, but flirting can sometimes get you into trouble.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

You seem to be speaking from experience. Care to share more information, Matt? :)

Matthew Fowler 4 years, 3 months ago

Um, well, there was this one time I got the brush off from this nice lady that wrote down a bunch of adjectives for the term "get lost." It was so funny afterwards that I now use it in my own repertiore.

schula 4 years, 3 months ago

Tell us more about these adjectives for "get lost" they may be something others of us can use

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

She sounds delightfully intelligent and thoughtful. I suspect she's also funny and a knock out. You should likely continue trying. I would hate for you to be a victim of your handwriting. Perhaps she was involved at the time, but situations do change.

Matthew Fowler 4 years, 3 months ago

She is all of those things, and trust me...i've tried!

schula 4 years, 3 months ago

Don't give up on her! Eventually she might give in!

schula 4 years, 3 months ago

Even though we currently have a constitutional right to a speedy trial -- once you are convicted you should start serving your sentence. None of this waiting around that is happening to the young woman in this story. As hard as it is for the family of the victim, it is just as hard for the family of the young woman. Can you imagine what it must be like for her children and father? The not knowing when the knock will come and she will be taken away.

schula 4 years, 3 months ago

I meant say parents not father in my above post

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

I agree, Schula. It is a horrific tragedy that this woman took the life of a husband, father, grandfather, brother, son, friend. It shouldn't have happened. It did. Young people, as do older people, make mistakes. This one cost the ultimate, but I don't see how this delay serves either side. I would think the family of the deceased is as heart broken by this endless situation as the family of the responsible daughter.

RoeDapple 4 years, 3 months ago

Curious, was his BAC checked? Was his "late evening out" taking place at the same location where she became intoxicated? Who initiated the flirting? Was his death a result of a collision with her or because of her? I assume the details provided are her side of the story, but if they were both involved in this 'flirt tag' then he shares the responsibility of inattentive driving and is possibly equally at fault. A motorcycle weighing 300 pounds or more and a car weighing 3000 pounds are both very unforgiving when games are played on the street. Who is informing her that an arrest is imminent? Sounds like a LEO sympathetic to the family of the deceased.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

These are all terrific questions. I know that they did not know each other and I don't believe his blood alcohol was prohibitive. The family lawyer is the one telling them she'll be arrested. In my opinion it would be the attorney's job to push this forward or insist it is dismissed.

I've asked a family member to answer any questions they can, if they care to. It sounds as though you're blaming the victim some what.

Mel Briscoe 4 years, 3 months ago

"Even though we currently have a constitutional right to a speedy trial -- once you are convicted you should start serving your sentence. None of this waiting around that is happening to the young woman in this story."

co-sign.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

She has never been charged or convicted. There is due process once that occurs.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

Clip from Wikipedia: "In the American judicial system, a continuance is the postponement of a hearing, trial, or other scheduled court proceeding at the request of either or both parties in the dispute, or by the judge without consulting them."

From what I've been told, and yes I could name names, the number of continuances granted in DUI cases is simply a joke. Except it's not a very funny one, and in some cases the joke goes on for literally years.

And guess what - in the meantime you don't even have a DUI on your driving record!

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

To my knowledge, this case hasn't ever gotten to 'the point of a delay or continuance.

She is waiting to be charged and she has had her license suspended. No driving for her.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

My gut reaction would be to say, you have no idea how many people drive anyway. But considering, I'm sure you have a very good idea!

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

Yes, far too many. When I think about drivers who are drunk, intoxicated, drugged, mental, angry, upset, sleep deprived, physically ill, inattentive, texting, talking, sexing, well, there are many reasons to stay in. :)

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

I had an interesting conversation with a retired police officer just last week. He made the claim that in about one out of every six stops for a traffic infraction, someone is going to jail for one reason or another.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

Yes, I'm sure it's an extremely high rate. How else do they get to work, etc.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

Dale, you are correct in that there is a great deal of conflicting information - not from me (notice I'm taking myself off the hook) but from what the family is receiving from their attorney. I'm not sure about your thoughts, but I'd rather not have someone telling my daughter the charges would likely be dropped and give everyone that false hope and then it doesn't come to fruition. That's very cruel.

This case is in Florida. One of the reasons I wrote it was to bring light to what both families are going through by having such a lengthy time frame before there is justice for any, let alone for all.

It sounds as though you have a legal background, one of the most startling g things about tthese cases is how varied the law is state by state.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

Excuse my mistakes in the previous paragraph - my iPhone only shows what I'm writing up to a certain point.

I would think the docket is full in the county where this case took place and that has baring on how soon her process will begin.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

Thanks, Dale. I believe the time frame is three years in this instance, depending how and if she's finally charged.

I agree with you that we have wanted our laws to vary state by state or they wouldn't be operating as such. There sure is a huge disparancy though. I personally think some are much too lenient.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

If you're intoxicated to twice the legal limit, how can you remember exactly what to do with the key to make the car engine start?

And how do you remember which of P, R, N, 2, and 1 makes the car go forward?

Just, you know, wondering.

Ron Holzwarth 4 years, 3 months ago

Forget a manual. That ain't gonna happen!

Ronda Miller 4 years, 3 months ago

True enough, rail.

I certainly agree that each day should be lived fully since none of us know what the next day brings, but a young person at that age often doesn't have enough life experience to appreciate, comprehend, or act upon that concept. Let's hope she does and also has some joy and peace in her life.

grimpeur 4 years, 2 months ago

The laws regarding crimes committed by motorists need to be strengthened and the loopholes, continuances, diversions, fake traffic classes and payoffs in lieu of points on the driving record must be eliminated. And yes, the process should be sped up in the name of public safety.

You ask: how else do they get to work? I say: they should think of that before they get behind the wheel while drunk or stupid or aggressive.

Dear reader: does your family depend on your car to get you to work and earn an living? Then you're an even bigger loser for risking it. And no, the fact that your car is that important doesn't mean you shouldn't be suspended, then jailed and your car impounded like the forfeitures in drug busts if you get caught driving while suspended. It just means you're one of the particularly stupid ones.

Ronda Miller 4 years, 2 months ago

Grim, you state it well. You didn't say anything I disagree with. I think of the 'inconvenience' for families and friends who take turns driving a loved one to work or activities - I think of not having a loved one in my life due to a drunk driver - yeah, not even close.

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