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April 10, 2007

Another example of victims seeking leniency

As I have stressed before, the role of victims in sentencing is always dynamic and nuanced (and victims are not always seeking severe outcomes).  A good example of these realities comes from this state sentencing story out of Missouri:

A former MU student was sentenced Monday to five years' probation for driving drunk and causing a crash that killed his best friend in May 2006.  Adam Droesch, 22, of St. Louis, pleaded guilty on Jan. 8 to first-degree involuntary manslaughter and two counts of second-degree assault.  He was facing up to 30 years in prison, but the victim's parents asked the court to show leniency in deciding Droesch's sentence.

"No amount of jail time would ever compare to the amount of remorse he feels," the victim's father, Gerald Keeven, said, reading from a letter he had written to Boone County Circuit Judge Gene Hamilton.  He told the judge that he made the request without "misgivings or hesitation."...

As part of his probation, Droesch will complete 200 hours of community service, which will include participating in victim impact panels and doing other work with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving.

April 10, 2007 at 09:15 AM | Permalink


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This is obviously a somewhat unusual case.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 10, 2007 9:55:57 AM

What's unusual about it? One guy gets drunk, drives, gets in an accident, and kills another guy. Happens multiple times every day.

Where's the righteous indignation, federalist? Shouldn't the defendant here get the maximum penalty possible as a consequence for his actions? You do the crime, you do the time, right?

Posted by: Anon | Apr 10, 2007 2:29:49 PM

Have I ever argued that people should always get the max? I think my posts are pretty utilitarian for the most part. I just know that you cannot let violent criminals out on the streets, e.g., Willie Horton, else others get hurt. And I find it a moral failing to let these people out. DUI is a much tougher nut to crack.

Here, it's pretty obvious that the dead kid's parents are facing up to the reality that their child was likely part of the reason why the driver got behind the wheel in such a state. That's what makes the case somewhat unusual.

I don't know what to do with first time DUI offenders. Which is why you don't see me post on the issue.

Posted by: federalist | Apr 10, 2007 3:10:01 PM

Some sensible sentencing the USA - what an oddity. courtesy of the victims not the legal system.

The USA is the only country in the English speaking world to have the concept of DUI Manslaughter enshrined in law.

A number of things should be observed about this crazy concept.

1. The USA has one of the highest drunk driving death rates in the developed world

2. Alcohol consumption per capita is LOWER in the USA than most countries in the developed world

3. Sentencing for death or injury in a drunk driving accident is 2 - 3 times greater.

4. Most countries permit access to alcohol at 17 or so with much less restrictive laws on sales.

Clearly the USA DUI laws are in are pretty much an ineffective waste of time.

What has been shown to work is.

1. Catching the drunk drivers before they kill someone
2. Severe initial penalties for DUI
3. Liberalising alcohol sales

Posted by: Andrew Stone | Jun 22, 2007 2:59:12 AM

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