Thursday June 14, 2012

I am writing to express my gut-wrenching thoughts as to the outcome of two recent trials wherein one defendant was sentenced to 30 days in jail for taking a life while driving negligently and the second offender received a continued without a finding for leaving the scene of an accident which resulted in horrific injuries to the victim.

My young son also had an accident in which he was under the influence of alcohol and fell asleep at the wheel of his vehicle and crashed into a house. Unfortunately, the house was destroyed and I realize that this caused some hardship for the people living there as well as for the homeowner. My son used poor judgment and is aware of his mistake and has accepted responsibility for such.

At his trial, his attorney and the DA’s office came to a verbal agreement of a lesser sentence, but the judge would not accept the plea and sentenced him to 18 months. (I have been informed that the standard punishment for this crime is typically a 14-day treatment program). Due to his incarceration, not only did my son lose his job which assists him in supporting his family but he also lost the ability to be with his two small children on a daily basis.


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Now, I ask of this community and of our judicial system how does taking the life of a person or running down a person without stopping (God only knows as to why she didn’t stop) and the destruction of a house compare to these three sentences by the courts? It is mind-boggling and makes me wonder, "What if I had the resources and ability to hire a criminal attorney to represent my son, or what if my son’s family was a prominent force in the community -- what would his sentence have been? I would like the opportunity to be able to demand how a judge can sentence a person for 18 months when no life was taken, other judges can be so lenient as to give a person 30 days for taking a life or a continued without a finding for severely injuring another?

When, if ever, is the punishment going to fit the crime? You wonder why most don’t have faith in the judicial system.

KIMBERLY CRAVISH

Pittsfield