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December 22, 2010

Drunk driver who killer Angeles pitcher and others gets 51 years in prison

As detailed in this local article, a "construction worker who was on probation for felony drunken driving when he ran a red light and killed rookie Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two other people was sentenced Wednesday to 51 years to life in prison."  Here is more:

A judge sentenced Andrew Gallo, 24, amid sobbing from the victims' family and friends who earlier heard him apologize for the 2009 crash.  Prosecutors said Gallo's blood-alcohol level was nearly three times the legal limit when he blew through a red light at an Orange County intersection on April 9, 2009, and T-boned the car carrying Adenhart and three friends.

Also killed in the crash were 20-year-old Courtney Stewart and 25-year-old Henry Pearson. A fourth passenger, Jon Wilhite, was severely injured. Before sentencing. Stewart's sobbing father, Chris Stewart, told the judge each day that goes by "is one more day I'm without my daughter."

Gallo was frequently moved to tears by the statements from family members of victims. He acknowledged before sentencing that he had taken the three lives and ruined his own after getting behind the wheel after hours of drinking....

Gallo was convicted in September of three counts of second-degree murder and single counts of drunken driving, hit-and-run driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing great bodily injury. He was sentenced by Judge Richard Toohey to 15 years to life on each of the murder counts, with the additional six years added for the other crimes. Prosecutors had sought the terms of 15 years to life....

Gallo's attorney had called for one sentence of 15 years to life, saying her client never intended to hurt anyone. Attorney Jacqueline Goodman said in court papers that Gallo's stepbrother was supposed to be the designated driver that night, but that Gallo took the wheel when his stepbrother became too drunk to drive.

December 22, 2010 at 04:10 PM | Permalink

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Comments

I don’t want to suggest Gallo is a sympathetic figure: as drunk drivers go, his crimes are the worst of the worst.

Nevertheless, 51 years is excessive. Taking his life away (as this sentence in essence does) in no way brings back the lives he ruined, so in that sense it’s pointless. It’s yet another person remanded to the state’s care well into, and perhaps beyond, his old age.

A sentence around 20 to 25 years (as many years as he has lived to date) would serve all the goals of sentencing, eliminate the expense of caring for him as a geriatric, and at least give him an incentive to turn his life around.

There is also some count-stacking here: “single counts of drunken driving, hit-and-run driving, and driving under the influence of alcohol and causing great bodily injury.” It’s hard to see how “drunken driving” and “driving under the influence of alcohol” are different; and “causing great bodily injury” is surely subsumed within the separate second-degree murder charges. If anyone knows a way to kill someone in an automobile without inflicting great injury, I’d like to hear about it.

Posted by: Marc Shepherd | Dec 22, 2010 4:50:54 PM

It's sad that our society is punishing this guy much worse than others who shoot and kill others WITH INTENT.

Posted by: Nemo | Dec 22, 2010 5:01:08 PM

i'm kind of with you marc this is one of the perfect examples of govt overstacking of charges....for the same 5 min's of stupidity with the knowlege that it will either scare the defendant or his/her lawyer into accepting a plea...or if it goes to trial SOMETHING will stick.

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 23, 2010 1:08:58 AM

I want fairness credit for this defense concept.

The defendant is a victim of outcome bias.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Outcome_bias

It is the tendency to scapegoat after a terrible result of a decision.

It is one of many cognitive biases.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_bias

This list,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_cognitive_biases

should be used as a defense checklist, which has never been used. Each represents a violation of the procedural due process right to a fair hearing. These biases are as invalid as those against race, sex, and religion. They should represent reversible error due to wrongheadedness.

Never been done by the criminal defense to my knowledge.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 24, 2010 7:45:22 AM

When three people are dead because of someone else's extreme disregard for the law, a comment that 51 years imprisonment is "excessive" is breathtaking.

Posted by: federalist | Dec 24, 2010 11:08:21 AM

Fed: I favor making all crime strict liability crimes. This liability would eliminate the church based intent requirement for each element, a doctrine cribbed from the analysis of mortal sin in the Catechism. First, intent does not exist in nature. Second, it is from a church and violates the Establishment Clause. Third, it was used as a loophole because the sole punishment available was the death penalty, too harsh for the killing of a rabbit on the King's lands. With our greater variety of consequences, it is no longer necessary.

However, that is not how the law is today. This was more of an accident, and the defendant had no knowledge nor desire nor malice nor reason to harm the victims. The way the law is today would have the sentence be too harsh.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 24, 2010 3:00:52 PM

shame on you SC

" This was more of an accident, and the defendant had no knowledge nor desire nor malice nor reason to harm the victims."

I take it you didn't read the original article! if you did you must have missed this part!

"A construction worker who was on probation for felony drunken driving when he ran a red light and killed rookie Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart and two other people was sentenced Wednesday to 51 years to life in prison."

Not sure HOW you missed it since it was the first peragraph of the article.. But the man is a REPEAT offender. He's fully aware that it's a CRIME to drive drunk and that ran a high risk of hurting or KILLING someone if he did it again after his LAST CONVICTION....

Sorry bye-bye idiot! maybe in 51 years you will finally get the message.

Posted by: rodsmith | Dec 25, 2010 1:58:14 PM

Rod: I am the one supporting making all crime strict liability crime. That would end the unlawful mind reading required today. Intent does not even exist in nature. It is copied from the analysis of mortal sin in the Catechism. It is anti-scientific garbage. But that is not the way the law is today. The entire criminal law is garbage, but that is the way it is today. Stop voting for garbage promoting lawyers.

Once intent is removed from the criminal law, the sentencing becomes the responsibility of the executive branch, with full accountability in torts to the future crime victims of the defendant. Those who loosed this irresponsible, aggressive mass murderer should be made to pay to the last pail in the last fire station. I hope we can agree to that, at least.

More people are killed by drunk drivers than by murderers. These deaths are caused by their aggressiveness, not by their blood alcohol level. If you stop all drivers at a checkpoint, 10% are legally drunk. They are the ones driving more slowly and carefully. The criminals should be killed based on their character, since the beneficiary of the criminal law are always, the future people not victimized by the deceased.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Dec 26, 2010 12:40:50 AM

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