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Is Life Sentence Too Harsh For Man Convicted of Ninth DWI?

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posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 03:59 PM
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reply to post by onequestion
 


On the other hand, maybe it is not how society is dealing with this guy but that he is just broken and cannot be fixed.

Stupid is unfixable, this man shows signs of being stupid. Ignorance can be fixed; this man shows no signs of ignorance. Sometimes we have to understand that it is the individual who keeps making the mistakes and stop blaming society of the woes of everyone. People need to learn that we are responsible for ourselves. Society is not the one causing us to be the way we are but it is us who is making the decisions to do what we do.


Edit to add: What you said in your post could apply to this man as well.


Raist


[edit on 8/14/10 by Raist]




posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 04:08 PM
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In fairness, he should have got the life sentence after his second DWI charge - not his ninth.

Why do so many people treat drink driving with such leniency ?
One of the key aspects of morality is responsibility, and getting in your car while over the limit is irresponsibility of the highest order.

While it might be fair to give a drink driver a second chance, only on the proviso that if he ever re-offends, then he serves life in prison.

If you drink drive again after being previously convicted of the same offence, then it shows you are extremely reckless, irresponsible, and have no concern for what harm you may inflict on innocent members of the public.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 04:19 PM
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What qualifies someone as stupid? Clearly he is making the mistakes. When we are handing out punishments that are more or less using fear as a tool to create control over a persons behavior without first understanding the behavior without creating positive results, WE are pushing the boundaries of stupidity. Saying this person is just plain stupid is a cop-out. There is an underlying issue within this persons realm of perception that isn't being properly addressed. It is our responsibility as outside objective observers to realize this issue for this person and turn them on to it so they can fully understand what's going on with them. That is the point of community.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by againuntodust
 



I'm pretty sure second degree murder in that state is a 20 year sentence. So life for driving drunk seems a little excessive.


Disagreed.

The man deserves what he got. He didnt learn his lesson and he's where he belongs.

The other side of your quote above shouldn't be that "Murder is only 20 years, so why should they sentence for drinking?"

It should be "This guy got life for DWI, so why is murder only 20 years!!?"

I agree with you, 20 years for murder is horse #, Murder should be a life sentence every time. First offense or not.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 04:49 PM
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IMO not too harsh a punishment at all - too many are getting killed by drunk drivers. Alcoholism is considered a disease - buts its a self inflicted disease just as drug addicition is. I don't see where it should be used as an excuse to drive and put human life in danger. If a person can't stay from behind the wheel when drunk - lock them up!



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 05:26 PM
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hardly a life sentence, he'll be eligible for parole in 5 years. Rap sheet includes burglary, identity theft, and supplying booze to a minor, oh yeh and 9 dui's. At what point do we deem a person incapable of living amongst other humans and get rid of them? What will happen in this case is he will serve 5 years or so, say he found jesus and then he will get paroled. Then he will get his 10th dui, and THEN, he will serve his life sentence.

[edit on 14-8-2010 by inbound]



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 05:36 PM
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I sincerely doubt the life sentence will stick as it's not clear what section of the penal code was invoked - highly doubtful that DUI sentences can run that long. Perhaps theres a habitual criminal statute. We don't know what the circumstances wer on those other convictions, but if there were any auto accidents with injuries in those cases, perhaps the judge's sentence is appropriate.
Even if it does stick, there's virtually no way the guy will serve more than 20 years.

gj



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 05:41 PM
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Originally posted by onequestion
What qualifies someone as stupid? Clearly he is making the mistakes.

Burning one's hand on a hot stove once is a mistake; twice is carelessness.

Burning one's hand on the same hot stove nine times is stupidity. This man shows a reckless disregard for the safety of others.

While it's likely he has deep mental issues that cause him to not care about his or any other persons lives, not learning from the first several commissions of his "mistake" is without a doubt, stupidity.

You want to study him and his problems? Feel free to do so while he is in the confines of a jail cell, well out of reach of a set of car keys.

[edit on 8/14/2010 by eNumbra]



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:07 PM
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it is harsh. And you can't lock him up for life because he MIGHT kill someone. If thats the case we need to start locking up young, black males since they are more likely to kill someone in this country too.

I hope none of you who are in favor of this sentence have EVER driven drunk,high, on prescription meds or hell, even tired.

I've driven drunk more times than I can count when I was young. I COULD have killed somebody, I didn't. But I should definitely be in jail for life in that judges eyes. Just give the man an ankle monitor. If he takes it off, jail him for a year. When he gets out repeat. If he does it again lock him up again. But dont just keep him locked up for life.

The likelihood that someone COULD kill someone shouldn't get them jailed for life. This is the U.S.A.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:26 PM
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Yes, it's insane to give this guy a life sentence.

The guy is obviously diseased. Nobody in their right mind get's 9 freaking DWI's. I got one last year and haven't drove with a drop of alcohol in me since. We should be funding studies to figure out how to help true alcoholics .. In fact, that's already been done decades ago. Someone earlier said that alcoholics anonymous has a dismal 15% success rate.
Cults suck. Why not try a high-hose of a water soluble vitamin instead??



[edit on 14-8-2010 by unityemissions]



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:36 PM
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Law enforcement have sophisticated ankle monitors that detect the
slightest alcohol content in the blood. Although the technology, as of now,
relies on uploading the information from the monitor once daily. So this
won't stop the man from driving drunk in real time. But it will catch him
after the fact. These units are also equipped with GPS and track in real
time, so his whereabouts are always known to LE.

It is hard to imagine a 9 time loser. It is an easy assumption that he has
driven under the influence hundreds of times without getting caught, but
life in prison is too much.

On the surface this ruling seems more akin to preventative detention
than punishment for a crime.

I don't know what the solution is, but life in prison is too harsh a punishment
when no actual harm has been done to anyone. I can sense people
jumping out of their chair right now at my opinion, but this is not the
movie Minority Report we are living in...this is the real world of the
US justice system, and there is no pre-crime division at the present moment.

I think 5 to 10 years in prison and then extended parole with ALL the current
technological safeguards in place would be appropriate.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 06:52 PM
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reply to post by indigothefish
 

Unfortunately, a large percentage of people with no license continue to drive. As for the suggestion of a breathalizer-linked ignition on his car by some, it is very easy to circumvent. I saw an episode of the A&E show "Intervention" recently which featured a girl with a breathalizer setup on her car. All she would do is have her boyfriend breathe into it, start the car, then he would get out and let her drive away.

As was mentioned earlier, the judge likely wanted to send a serious message to this guy. The sentence will probably be shortened after appeal.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 07:11 PM
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reply to post by rogerstigers
 


I work for my county's Sheriff's Electronic Monitoring Unit and for individuals that have multiple DUIs (never as many as 9 though, that's just irresponsibility of the courts)
they are sentenced to electronic monitoring with another device called ViCAP. Check out the link because it gives a great basic overview of the device. (FYI: Our devices are not through that company.)

While your point is good in intentions, there's some points I'd like to make.

--The problem I've experienced with habitual drunks on our program is that no matter how closely monitored they are (which is another beast altogether due to recent budget cuts)
they are going to violate and will violate numerous times. Regardless to the fact that ANY alcohol in a client's system is means for a violation of our rules, we can only sanction them so many times to our Work Program before we NEED to send them back into custody for the remainder of their sentence.
It would be highly irresponsible for the unit as part of a law enforcement agency to know that we have clients who are habitual violators and have the capacity to hurt or kill another person while in our custody due to their history of alcohol abuse.

--In regards to calling them after seeing they've gone over a certain MPH, I would recommend to throw that entire idea out, just gone with no looking back. If we have a client whose got several DUIs (3+), then we know from their DMV history that 95% of the time they'll have a revoked license. So if we found that they were driving at all, then we have the capacity to bring about new charges against them. We would be calling them anyway to see why they're going anywhere if it's not during their free time or other scheduled and approved outings. And if there's no answer back from them in 2 hours after we left a message, we violate them.

--One of the best tools we have for DUI offenders that can still drive is the DUI Ignition Lock (Example). It's the best way to completely stop them from attempting to DUI.

The main purpose of allowing people who commit DUIs that are placed on alternative sentencing programs is to provide rehabilitation through AA classes and treatment for their addictions without the need of keeping them in custody at the tax payer's expense. We really want people to get rehabilitated. There's nothing sadder than getting to know someone only because they're always committing a crime. I'm at 4 right now.
With this group of multiple DUI offenders, they are the people who have been through the system many times with the opportunities to bring their problems under control yet still commit these crimes. It's clear that not only do they not care about themselves but they have complete disregard for the people they love and the general public when they get behind a wheel drunk.

I'm angry at this situation in the OP because of the failures of the court system where these dangers to society are allowed by judges to walk free (in the sense of an embarrassing sentence) only to commit "attempted murder" by again DUI. It only takes that one time... Like this.
And here's what ended up happening to the guy... 9 DUIs later...

Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating prison sentences to those that mess up that one time, because this can happen to anyone but this is a small minority that puts society as a whole in danger due their disregard and they need to be locked up even if it means a life sentence to stop them. I wouldn't rule out parole if they can be rehabilitated.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 07:12 PM
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I say let them rot in prison. Too many people die these stupid deaths because some idiot gets behind the wheel drunk high or both. In my home town 5 teens were killed in a drunk driving accident. 6 months previous a 3 week old baby, mother and the father were killed by a drunk truck driver. He got off with man slaughter. Not triple homicide. Manslaughter. It sickens me to my very core. I'm the daughter of a functioning on and off again alcoholic, and sometimes I wish I could call to have some one lock them up. My Father has driven so intoxicated that I would get calls at 2 am when the bars closed that I don't think I could understand 1 word of it. A slap on the wrist isn't good enough anymore. Jail time is needed if by the 9th DWI they haven't the need to serve some long term jail time.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 07:33 PM
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reply to post by againuntodust
 


As per "cruel and unusual". I'll have to find the judicial source, however there was a Supreme Court case where a judge nicely explained how to be in effect not "cruel or unusual" the punishment must in fact fit the crime.

For instance...

To be deprived of life, you must have deprived someone of theirs.
To be deprived of property, you must have deprived someone of theirs.

etc, etc with varying degrees.

But yes, to put it simpler. Giving a man a harsher sentence than a convicted murderer for driving while intoxicated is beyond asinine.

(I didn't read the full story... did he even hurt anyone?)

EDIT:

Ok... "hit another vehicle, injuring the driver". Seriousness of injuries undisclosed.

I wonder if they filed charges on behalf of the injured driver or on behalf of the State


[edit on 14-8-2010 by mryanbrown]

EDIT AGAIN:

I thought only JURIES could impose life sentences!?

[edit on 14-8-2010 by mryanbrown]



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 08:32 PM
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reply to post by inbound
 


This is a harsh sentence, but somebody had to stop this man now.
I agree that parole will come early and then the re-offense will eventually happen, leading to the remainder of his sentence.

The case of Edward Schaefer posted by Mistafaz is an eye opener.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 08:47 PM
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Another example of the court using a heavy solution where a lighter targeted one is available.

Remember where the family had named their son "Hitler" etc.? They removed the children from the home. What they should have done was renamed the kids, by court order.

Here they locked him up. What they should do is revoke his license permanently, give him a "life sentence" of being unable to drive.

Courts should not be looking for excuses to use heavy sentences when a little thought will reveal a neater, lighter alternative. It is the court's responsibility to find these alternatives.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 08:54 PM
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reply to post by oniongrass
 





Here they locked him up. What they should do is revoke his license permanently, give him a "life sentence" of being unable to drive.

Do you really think that just taking away his license would stop him from driving? Driving legally maybe, but not in fact and reality. He could just as easily put a key into the ignition and drive without that little card in his wallet (his license) as he could with it and illegally drive intoxicated repeatedly.



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 09:03 PM
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To everyone who says "well, he would have just done it again and then he probably would have killed someone", I urge you to look very seriously, however distasteful and morally repugnant it may seem to you, to look very deeply at the sentiment you are expressing there.

It is a fundamental facet of our criminal justice system (at least, it is supposed to be) that in order to be convicted of a crime, there must be the mental element of a crime, the 'mens rea', (be that malicious intent, negligence, or recklessness) present along with an actual physical act which one can be indicted for - the 'actus reus'.

By your logic, it is perfectly acceptable to lock people up and hand them a very long sentence not for committing a crime (although yes, the man in question was convicted of driving whilst impaired by alcohol, he was not convicted of a crime that would normally warrant a life sentence by statute) but for placing themselves in a set of circumstances wherein it was possible that they may have killed someone. A fortiori, should we lock up people who get drunk or angry and who are gunowners, on the basis that they might lose control and murder someone with their firearm?

I realize that given the set of circumstances, it is a very difficult and bitter pill to swallow, but we must be vigilant and keep our senses, despite whatever nonsense MADD and our politicians (both R- and D-) who are all to willing to please their middle-american electorate by propagating the mad ideas of MADD, and maintain the integrity of our justice system. Are we to live in a society modelled on 'Minority Report' where we convict not for actual actions but (potential) future misfeasances? Obviously, the example I am using there is hyperbolic, but the logic behind the argument remains the same.

What shocks me more about this crime, however, is not that the man was convicted for life, but that he was somehow out and about after being convicted NINE times for DWI. How he managed to escape a lengthier prison sentence in a State Penitentiary that would have kept him off the roads, I do not know...



posted on Aug, 14 2010 @ 09:03 PM
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This thread brings to mind one of my worries about our society as a whole - that we tend to house those we don't have a rational place for in prisons.

Obviously this man should be prevented from driving while in his current state and probably perpetually. I doubt any sane person would try to debate this serial offenders lack of a right to operate a motor vehicle.

But science indicates that alcoholism is a disease. We know enough to know that you can't incarcerate a sick person into a state of health. Sure, prison would sober him up (even that isn't definite) but it wouldn't address his disease at all.

A person with this level of illness is habituated and would require a lengthy program of therapy and possibly medication to learn to manage and control his disease. Prison is simply not the optimal environment for this. An institution, certainly, but not a penal one. A psychiatric hospital specializing in chemical dependence would be the proper setting for this offender. Not a token 28 day stay, but a long-term, supervised inpatient stay followed by a long period of outpatient care.

My point is that this man might be so lost at this point that he may not even understand that he's endangering others. We shouldn't judge him thusly until we are positive that he is capable of understanding the consequences of his actions.

*edit for clarity*

[edit on 8/14/10 by Hefficide]




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