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Author Topic: Guilty in Texas
kuba walda
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posted 26 June 2003 05:05 PM      Profile for kuba walda        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I don't have much respect for Texas justice ... but I remember when this happened and was absolutely horrified.

http://makeashorterlink.com/?P1B723115

I don't know about life in prison, but she should do some time.


From: the garden | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
Babbler # 3469

posted 26 June 2003 05:22 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Unbelievably callous. Actually, strike that. It's getting so nothing is unbelievable anymore.
From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Tommy_Paine
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posted 26 June 2003 05:43 PM      Profile for Tommy_Paine     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The older I get, the more small c conservative I get on "crime".

I wouldn't say life without possibility of parole, but a life sentence was not out of line in my books.


From: The Alley, Behind Montgomery's Tavern | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 26 June 2003 08:43 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This court case validates my belief that murder by vehicle should be treated equivalently to murder by a gun or knife.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 26 June 2003 08:53 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A cousin of mine, mother of two children and with a good job and loving family, was murdered over 20 years ago - quite deliberately, by a homicidal driver, in the leafy Montreal suburb of Dorval. He got a slap on the wrist. Fortunately things are changing, but not fast enough. I'm terrified of agressive SUV drivers.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
jeff house
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posted 26 June 2003 10:07 PM      Profile for jeff house     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
This court case validates my belief that murder by vehicle should be treated equivalently to murder by a gun or knife.

The Criminal Code does not distinguish as to weapon used. If you plan to run someone down and kill them, you are guilty of frist degree murder. In fact, police often charge "attempt murder" for those who, they say, drove a car at an officer.


From: toronto | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 26 June 2003 10:54 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So why do most drunk drivers who run people down end up getting lame charges like "vehicular manslaughter" and 3 years' suspended sentence?

If I wanted a bulletproof way to kill someone and get off scot-free, that's how. Get drunk off my feet, stumble into my car, and have a confederate throw my enemy in front of my vehicle doing 70 klicks down a back alley.

Boom.


From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 26 June 2003 11:08 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
So why do most drunk drivers who run people down end up getting lame charges like "vehicular manslaughter" and 3 years' suspended sentence?

In a word, intent. (And while IANAL, I don't believe that "vehicular manslaughter" is a "lame charge," any more than that "most" such offenders get "3 years' suspended sentence).

Most people who kill someone while driving drunk had no intention of doing so, any more than most people do who kill someone while driving sober. Drunkenness is not a mitigating factor, but (so far as I know) counts as evidence of negligence.

If it could be shown that you'd had something against Individual X whom you'd had Confederate Y thrown in front of your car, you'd face a first-degree murder charge. Drunkenness, again, would not be considered a mitigating factor.


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
DrConway
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posted 26 June 2003 11:23 PM      Profile for DrConway     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Driving drunk is an example of monumental irresponsibility, in the first place, and as such the element of drunkenness in negligently operating a vehicle unsafely such that you ran someone over should be an aggravating, not a mitigating factor in sentencing.
From: You shall not side with the great against the powerless. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
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posted 27 June 2003 10:23 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Most people who kill someone while driving drunk had no intention of doing so...

They also had no intention of not doing so.

If they did, they'd take a cab, walk, or sleep in the backseat. I don't think the government would be out of line to demand a little more responsibility from drunk drivers, and if treating them like murderers instead of "tragic victims of chance" would save even one life, I say go for it.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 27 June 2003 11:14 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Yes, but tehnically drunk driving is NOT murder (intent to kill) but manslaughter (wantonly taking life while commiting another criminal act).

This is not to excuse drunk driving, hell, I don't even like sober driving! But this crime is taken far more seriously now than it was a generation ago.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
kuba walda
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posted 27 June 2003 11:33 AM      Profile for kuba walda        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Yes, but tehnically drunk driving is NOT murder (intent to kill) but manslaughter (wantonly taking life while commiting another criminal act).

That's why there should be harsher penalties.

During the Gordon Campbell fiasco I was surprised to learn that in the US its still a misdemeanour.


From: the garden | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
paxamillion
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posted 27 June 2003 11:39 AM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I thought vehicular homicide was a felony.

Despite my care and concern for people who desire to recover from alcoholism, I'm generally in favour of stiff sentences for drinking-and-driving offences.

I also support an increase in provincial funding to drug and alcohol treament facilities. The Tories' cut was disgraceful.


From: the process of recovery | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 27 June 2003 11:48 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
During the Gordon Campbell fiasco I was surprised to learn that in the US its still a misdemeanour.

quote:
I thought vehicular homicide was a felony.

Driving drunk may be a misdemeanor in some states. Kill someone, and yes, it's a felony.

Personally, I favour the approach of some European countries to drunk driving, namely, drive drunk once and never drive again. Only here in North America, shrine to the Holy Car, could we possibly consider that to be cruel or unusual punishment. Many people, myself included, don't drive, and I don't feel punished. Driving should be treated as a very fragile privelege, not the Gawd-given right that it's treated as now.

quote:
But this crime is taken far more seriously now than it was a generation ago.

Yes, relative to 20 years ago, but still not all that seriously. You get plenty of chances to drive drunk a second, third, fourth time, or more. About once a year we'll read about some recidivist drunk driver who finally gets some real punishment after their nth conviction. How many chances does someone need??


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
LocoMoto
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posted 27 June 2003 11:49 AM      Profile for LocoMoto        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
During the Gordon Campbell fiasco I was surprised to learn that in the US its still a misdemeanour.

A misdemeanour in the US is generally understood to be a crime that is punishable by up to but not more than a year in prison. Is a DUI in Canada more severely punished than that?


From: North Carolina | Registered: May 2003  |  IP: Logged
kuba walda
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posted 27 June 2003 11:55 AM      Profile for kuba walda        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
My point was that by considering drunk driving a misdemeanour diminishes that public perception of just how serious it is.
From: the garden | Registered: Sep 2002  |  IP: Logged
paxamillion
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posted 27 June 2003 11:57 AM      Profile for paxamillion   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Personally, I favour the approach of some European countries to drunk driving, namely, drive drunk once and never drive again. Only here in North America, shrine to the Holy Car, could we possibly consider that to be cruel or unusual punishment. Many people, myself included, don't drive, and I don't feel punished. Driving should be treated as a very fragile privelege, not the Gawd-given right that it's treated as now.

Which countries? Do those countries also have transit systems that provide effective coverage throughout the system? Would taking away someone's ability to drive permanently for a DUI constitue cruel and inhumane punishment given the state of public transit in at least parts of this country?


From: the process of recovery | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 27 June 2003 12:09 PM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Which countries?

I'm not totally certain, but I think it was the Netherlands...?

quote:
Would taking away someone's ability to drive permanently for a DUI constitue cruel and inhumane punishment given the state of public transit in at least parts of this country?

So they walk, take a cab, or bum a ride. No matter where you go in Canada or the U.S., you'll find people who don't drive, either because they can't afford a car, they never learned, or they simply don't care to. If they can manage, so can anyone.

Oh, and if part of your job involves driving a vehicle, then perhaps you'd better be a little extra careful not to drink and drive. Personally, I've no patience for a drunk driver trying to hold society hostage with the argument that now he/she can't support themself, so we should make an exception for them. If your livelihood is that important to you, then show some responsibility. If getting hammered and driving is more important, then don't whine to us about having to change jobs. Too bad, so sad.


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
'lance
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posted 27 June 2003 01:32 PM      Profile for 'lance     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
I thought vehicular homicide was a felony.

[ pendantry ]

So far as I know, the distinction between "felonies" (serious offences) and "misdemeanours" (less serious ones) is a feature of USian, not Canadian, criminal law.

jeff house can correct me, but in Canada, criminal offences are either "indictable" (serious) or "summary" (less serious).

Judges here don't use gavels either, or call counsel up to the bench for "sidebars."

We now return you to your mulberry bush.

[ /pendantry ]

[ 27 June 2003: Message edited by: 'lance ]


From: that enchanted place on the top of the Forest | Registered: Jul 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 27 June 2003 01:45 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
In the Netherlands there is public transport just about everywhere.

Given our ageing population, provision must be made for transport for the may people who cannot drve safely. Wilful DUI is only part of this. Medication or sensory impairment can also be a problem.

No allowance should be made for drunk drivers.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Mr. Magoo
guilty-pleasure
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posted 28 June 2003 02:29 AM      Profile for Mr. Magoo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
50 years.

Even I find that a pretty big sentence.

The link heading is 50-year sentence in windshield death, followed by the subhead Texas woman could have faced life for murder. Whew! She dodged a bullet there, huh? In 2053, it's sweet, sweet freedom!

[ 28 June 2003: Message edited by: Mr. Magoo ]


From: ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°`°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø,¸_¸,ø¤°°¤ø, | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 28 June 2003 05:59 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The victim was homeless, right? This is just a side-comment, really. But did you notice that his 20 year-old son testified at his trial about how sad he is that his father is going to miss all his milestones? And that she has ruined the lives of the Biggs' family?

All I could think through this is, where was this family when this poor homeless fellow was alive, unless the rest of his family was homeless too (which just might be possible). I feel terrible for their loss, but a victim impact statement from the family of some poor fellow who was homeless rings a bit hollow to me. I can't see my family allowing me to be homeless unless they were homeless too.


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
dianal who asked to be unregistered
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posted 28 June 2003 01:31 PM      Profile for dianal who asked to be unregistered     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I read today that the victim, Mr. Biggs, had been diagnosed in the past 2 years with bipolar and mild schizophrenia. This man was known to SOMEONE, even if he was living on the streets, for that information to be shared.

In my work with homeless folks, many families have called for their family members, shown up and begged them to come home or to a family event, and have told me of their trials and tribulations with the family member who, due to mental health or substance use issues, are on the streets. My work at women's shelters was similar in that family members would cajole, threaten, beg the woman to return 'home'

No one can be forced to live somewhere they choose not to, unless it's prison or in some other way they are held captive.


From: There is a deep lack of respect in the belief that we know what others need... | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 28 June 2003 01:48 PM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh, I see. I didn't realize there was that factor involved, since all homeless people are not mentally ill.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
SHH
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posted 28 June 2003 02:12 PM      Profile for SHH     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
During the Gordon Campbell fiasco I was surprised to learn that in the US its still a misdemeanour.
DUI laws are generally established at the state level and many if not most states have statues that allow for felony prosecution given the right circumstances. In my state we have ‘aggravated DUI’ which is a blood alcohol % >.15. It’s a felony and it’s prosecuted with all seriousness. Jail time is a virtual certainty.

From: Ex-Silicon Valley to State Saguaro | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged

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