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Old 03-13-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
Papa-Ken
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Is justice served?

This is the end result of the death of Robert Wilson a fellow rider that rode with the Oldfarts many times. His death was a tragic accident and in my opinion justice was not served with the decision of the court. The following is copied from the Sacramento Bee..........Ken


Texting driver gets 5 years in prison for hitting motorcyclist who died in Sacramento



afurillo@sacbee.com

Published Tuesday, Mar. 13, 2012

Anger burned all over Preston Wilson. He was mad at the woman whose text messaging behind the wheel of her car resulted in his father's death. He was mad she got only five years in prison for it.

"In my mind, he was murdered," Preston Wilson told Sacramento Superior Court Judge Lawrence G. Brown on Monday, about the traffic death of his 64-year-old father, Robert Wilson. "An accident is something you stop and help at. That's killed. Murdered is when you see what happened and drive off. That's what happened here."
What also happened just before 10 p.m. Oct. 24 on the northbound Capital City Freeway near El Camino Avenue is that Sequoia Monay Jones driving on a suspended license, and without insurance was texting a friend on her phone. With her head down, she clipped the right side of Robert Wilson's blue Suzuki motorcycle. Then she parked her Volkswagen Beetle and walked away after another car ran over Wilson and killed him.

"The part that makes me mad is this lady is going to get to go home in less than five years," Preston Wilson said, while "my kids never get to see their grandfather again."
Brown imposed the term on Jones with harsh words about how a young woman's preoccupation with her communications gadget took the life of the North Highlands Navy veteran who was a longtime motorcycle enthusiast.

"Much has been said about the dangers of text messaging while driving, and yet it persists," Brown said. "This case serves as a tragic precautionary tale. The defendant engaged in reckless and senseless behavior, and now as a result of the incident, a son, a husband, a father, a grandfather, a brother, a brother-in-law, an uncle is dead."
The text-messaging vehicular manslaughter case may be the first of its kind in Sacramento. Officials in the District Attorney's Office said they are not aware of any others in their jurisdiction.

Elsewhere in Northern California, texting fatalities have produced disparate sentencing results.
Eric Kenneth Dungan, the text-messaging drunken driver who ran over and killed Rocklin police Officer Matthew Redding in 2005, was sentenced to 15-years-to-life in prison on a second-degree murder conviction.

Sonoma State University student Kaitlyn Dunaway, meanwhile, pleaded no contest to misdemeanor vehicular manslaughter after she texted-while-driving and killed a 2-year-old girl in a Rohnert Part crosswalk. She received a 120-day county jail term, 115 to be served on electronic monitoring. The case featured a dispute over the fault of the girl's mother, who stepped in front of Dunaway's car, according to media reports.

In Sequoia Jones' case, she pleaded no contest to felony vehicular manslaughter along with felony hit-and-run. She also lied to authorities by telling them a flat tire precipitated the wreck, according to her probation report.

"I hope you never get another cellphone when you get your freedom back," the 38-year-old Preston Wilson told her in court. "And I hope you're smart enough to stay the heck away from cars. Because you, my friend, don't deserve freedom. You don't deserve a vehicle. You don't deserve a cellphone. You don't deserve your life."
Jones, 22, worked two jobs to support her daughter, according to her probation report. She had completed two years of a certified nursing program. But she also had the equivalent of a juvenile conviction for driving under the influence of alcohol, according to court papers filed by the District Attorney's Office. Her driver's license had been suspended a month before the fatal collision for failing to appear in another case, the records said.
In a letter to the court, Jones apologized for "my failure to appreciate the dangers of driving and texting."

"I sit in my cell and I'm always thinking about what I did and I lay in bed and mourn for Mr. Wilson and his family and how my careless and stupid acts brought such hardship," she wrote.

Her lawyer, Donald Heller, said Jones was driving home from a cousin's house at the time of the wreck. Heller said the messages she sent were never recovered.
"She said it was just innocuous texting, which kids do all the time," Heller said.

Brown, in sentencing Jones, told Preston Wilson the woman could have been sentenced to a maximum of seven years but that she benefited by entering her no contest plea before trial. Brown said there were "no guarantees" she would have been convicted.

"Mr. Wilson," the judge said, "if you think the law is too lenient for that offense, I would encourage you to go talk to the folks down the street at the Legislature and have them look at the statute to see whether or not it needs to be strengthened."

Outside court, Preston Wilson said he has begun to make inquiries.
"If someone gets killed from texting, it's not justifiable," Wilson said. "It's not an accident. You've consciously made a decision."

State Sen. Joe Simitian, D-Palo Alto, the California lawmaker most closely associated with distracted driving legislation, said his focus is more on increasing fines for text messaging while driving than on adding punishment in the few cases of horrific consequence.

"In this case, it's another tragedy that could have been avoided," Simitian said.
California Police Chiefs Association lobbyist John Lovell said Monday the Wilson case caught his attention.
"In the wake of this sentencing and the judge's comments, we're bringing this issue before the legislative committee of the association to see about backing a bill to make changes," Lovell said.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:45 AM   #2
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Re: Is justice served?

No and it rarely (if ever) is...here. With budget cuts and over crowding in prisons etc she will not see justice on this side of the veil Ken. But then if self centered behavior got max punishment we would all be doomed.

Quote:
"I sit in my cell and I'm always thinking about what I did and I lay in bed and mourn for Mr. Wilson and his family and how my careless and stupid acts brought such hardship," she wrote.
Perhaps this sentiment (if true) is punishment enough? The behavior she exhibited at the scene and after screams sociopath to me but hey what do I know?
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:58 AM   #3
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Re: Is justice served?

In my opinion available space in prison should not be an excuse or have any bearing on the length of sentence served for a criminal offense. In this case 5 years might be enough for this young woman to understand her error, but maybe not. I agree with Preston that when you pick up a cell phone and start texting while driving, you have indeed made a conscious decision to immediately increase the chances of injury to others and yourself. It is no different than making the choice to drive under the influence (DUI)
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Old 03-13-2012, 11:35 AM   #4
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Re: Is justice served?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sglide4me View Post
In my opinion available space in prison should not be an excuse or have any bearing on the length of sentence served for a criminal offense. In this case 5 years might be enough for this young woman to understand her error, but maybe not. I agree with Preston that when you pick up a cell phone and start texting while driving, you have indeed made a conscious decision to immediately increase the chances of injury to others and yourself. It is no different than making the choice to drive under the influence (DUI)
Amen to that... I've got a few friends that I no longer will ride with due to their fixation with things on the little screen. Even the "safe" hands-off flavors result in stupidity.

And the comparison of drinking to self-induced distraction is dead nuts-on.
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Old 03-13-2012, 12:43 PM   #5
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Re: Is justice served?

Well beyond time to make this as serious a crime as a DUI ... technically it is driving under the influence ... of technology. Hit a man, caused his death, parked her car and walked away. Just inexcusable behavior.
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Old 03-13-2012, 01:14 PM   #6
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Re: Is justice served?

Quote:
Originally Posted by sglide4me View Post
In my opinion available space in prison should not be an excuse or have any bearing on the length of sentence served for a criminal offense. In this case 5 years might be enough for this young woman to understand her error, but maybe not.
First, while I agree that folk should do serious time for serious crimes (like this one)...California will not do so. It matters very little what we want when the economy and laws of this State determine the time spent and for what. Sad truth is this person will do only a fraction of the five years anyway. I even wonder if she will end up in a county jail instead of the prison she was sentenced to...y'all are aware our Governor recently made that a reality aren't you? The counties are scrambling to make this work. That means her actual time will be reduced even more.

Reality sucks at times. Here's another reality many will not like; Prisons don't rehabilitate because you can't push a rope. The inmate has to want to change and all the sweet talking or positive thinking in the world will not cause that to happen. In my former line of work I have seen three generations of repeat customers...most of whom I knew by name. She will most likely become even more hard of heart than she already is. Might even learn how to steal your identity etc while there.

So lest you think I have gone all squishy and all...
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Old 03-13-2012, 03:50 PM   #7
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Re: Is justice served?

I dunno about Cali, but I do know that in Oregon:

Engaging in intentional / knowing (you know you're causing death, or intending to cause death) conduct causing a death = murder. Use a gun, use a knife, use your bare hands, drive a vehicle, sober, and aim for a person, that is murder: You intend to kill them. Life sentence, minimum 25 years.

Engaging in reckless conduct (knowledge of a risk of death and intentionally engaging in conduct that is likely to cause a death) = manslaughter. Voluntary intoxication (who cannot know, at this stage of the game, that driving drunk can cause serious injury/fatal crashes) or other reckless conduct; anger, texting, other behavior engaged in on purpose but not with the intent of causing death; that is manslaughter (we have degrees 1 (20 years) and 2 (10 years).

Engaging in criminally negligent conduct (you should know your conduct is dangerous and you don't) is Criminally Negligent Homicide, and is a 5 year hitch.

The decisions we've made; to hold people more accountable for intentional acts makes a lot of sense. It does not justify, in any stretch of the imagination, the death of a person by any of these other, non-intentional means, but it is a decision that society has made. Oregon has added enhanced penalties for DUI drivers with multiple offenses, and for hit and run fatalities, but the bottom line is (at least up here) intentional = murder; stupid a$$ conduct = Manslaughter.

I have seen DUII fatalities (3 crashes in the same month that I investigated) prosecuted as Man I, Man II and Neg Hom. Very weird. I know that every DUII crash that I investigate that causes even minor injury gets the highest degree of assault that I can articulate, and the same is true with cell phone caused crashes. Some people just shouldn't be allowed to drive, period.
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Old 03-13-2012, 10:22 PM   #8
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Re: Is justice served?

Eye for an eye...

The world needs to remember what it means to be accountable for your actions.
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Old 03-14-2012, 12:28 AM   #9
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Re: Is justice served?

hmm the big question is .. as the original poster asked .. was justice served ?
and I would simply add --- it never is .. unfortunately
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:48 AM   #10
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Re: Is justice served?

Was justice served?

Only time will tell.

At face value it appears that she got off lightly (no real justice)

The "only time will tell" opinion refers to how long she will actually spend behind bars... as well as what the tragic incident's (light) sentence will result in down the road in harsher penalties for future convictions of texting induced accidents.
i.e.; Could she become a "poster child" for stricter punsihments?

Will the time behind bars wake this idiot up to reality and lead them down a different path than what they were on? (I know... who cares, she killed someone)
I am aware of the problem with jails and prisons in regards to recidivism. Over his career my Dad went from teaching and coaching to the VP level at a juvenile correctional facility in Oregon.

Will this tragedy open anybody elses eyes and prevent future texting tragedies?

None of this is a consolation to the loss of life. Tragic and sad.

My condolences to you Ken. You've been through some tough days lately.
Keep your chin up. The clouds will clear and family and friends will gather to continue seeking the best in life with you.
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