From an emotional standpoint, a case where someone is accused driving under the influence and killing another person is one of the toughest. With the victim, you usually have someone who did not deserve to die. They are often young, in the prime of their lives. They are usually also close to the driver. The victim is often a spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, or sibling of the accused. Unfortunately, that person is not available to express forgiveness to the driver.
As for the driver, you often have a person who has never been in trouble in his life. He may be college educated, have a great job, and a loving family. But for this horrible incident he would have continued to be an upstanding citizen.
Recently, a San Jose woman pled guilty to gross vehicular manslaughter after hitting and killing a 79 year old grandmother. She is waiting to be sentenced by a Santa Clara County judge. Her maximum possible sentence is 12 years in the state prison. In fact, the judge is precluded from granting this woman probation unless he finds “unusual circumstances” where the interests of justice require it. According to statements, the family of the victim has forgiven the defendant, and believes that the victim would forgive her as well. Unfortunately, California DUI sentencing law provides somewhat less opportunity for the Court to forgive her.
As a former prosecutor, I can tell you that, regardless of the outcome, nobody wins in these cases. Regardless of what side you are on there is nothing but tragedy in these cases. An innocent victim loses her life, and a contrite survivor is cast into the hell of the California prison system.
If Governor M. Jodi Rell’s proposal passes, Connecticut casinos will be allowed to have a 24-hour bar. Governor Rell and Republican lawmakers have made this proposal in the hope of stimulating the economy and to bring more money to Connecticut.
Currently, Connecticut has a potential $1.35 billion deficit and this proposal could produce around $5 million every year for the state.
However, democrats are opposed to this plan for many reasons, including the risks to drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Many believe that Connecticut would have to spend extra money on DUI enforcement and roadblocks, since there could potentially be many more drunk drivers on the roads. The proposal was not unusual, as Nevada and New Jersey already allow casinos to serve alcohol around the clock.
There is a fear that if this plan passes, there would be more drunk driving accidents in Connecticut. The body burns off alcohol at approximately .016 BAC per hour, which is usually equivalent to one drink. People who are consistently drinking are generally not pacing themselves that way. Drinking and gambling at all hours of the night and morning could cause more people to get behind the wheel drunk in Connecticut.
According to an article posted on Dailycampus.com, a bar that is not open 24 hours, does not necessarily deter people from drinking, as many people have liquor hidden away somewhere.
Those in agreement with Governor Rell’s plan believe that casinos with 24-hour bars can help the economy, but the casino should take measures to prohibit late night drinkers from driving.
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