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May 8, 2008

Has quadriplegic been punished enough already?

771espinozaembeddedprod_affiliate A helpful reader altered me to this fascinating sentencing story out of California.  These sad facts provide an extraordinary setting to debate the purposes of punishment (not to mention the purposes of a public trial and the concept of closure):

The sentencing of a quadriplegic accused of killing a 69-year-old woman in a car crash was postponed this morning because his attorney is withdrawing his plea.

Danny Espinoza, 25, had pleaded no contest to felony vehicular manslaughter in the death of Dorothy Anne Walter. Espinoza was driving west on Stockdale Highway on March 5, 2006 and went into the eastbound lane near Buena Vista Road and slammed into Walter’s car. Walter later died at Kern Medical Center.  Espinoza was paralyzed from the accident.

Espinoza faces up to six years in prison. Judge Michael Lewis said this continuance is impeding closure and “this is a difficult sentence for all people.”  Espinoza’s attorney, Bruce Blythe, did not say in the hearing why he chose to withdraw the plea.... Laurie Kolkman, Espinoza’s mother, said a trial will help bring the truth about what happened in the crash. “I think it will be good,” she said.

Prosecutor Michael Yraceburn said the withdrawal was a surprise and that the defendant is having “buyer’s remorse.”... Walter’s family were scheduled to speak at the sentencing. Espinoza’s next hearing is scheduled for June 5.

May 8, 2008 at 06:10 AM | Permalink


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Why is the defendant's current physical state relevant to the sentencing equation? It if it is, it should only be slightly relevant. The defendant killed an innocent person through his own selfish acts. The 69 year probably has children and grand children. They will suffer immensely. Hopefully, the judge will impose a sentence close to the max... The purpose of sentencing, at least the primary purpose, to PUNISH.

Posted by: gary | May 8, 2008 5:12:24 PM

The killing of Dorothy Anne Walter, March 5,2006. The innocent victim, of the man who was street racing;
Daniel"Danny"Espinoza the 25 year old man from Ventura, California.

A slap in the faces of the victim's family; the judge Michael Lewis gave the killer five years Probation for the DEATH of Dorothy Anne Walter.
This is another sad day for the victim's family. First, the killing of "Dorothy Anne Walter" by Daniel" Danny" Espinoza. Now there is NO accountability for the killing of an innocent person.The family of the killer "won," they got their way. The killer, Daniel Espinoza goes home with his family, while the family of Dorothy Anne Walter get to visit her grave. So... if you Break the LAW, Street Race at over 94 miles an hour, drive with your headlights turned OFF in the dark, drive a car WITHOUT INSURANCE, KILL an Innocent Person, then injure yourself in the process...you will Not be held ACCOUNTABLE in Bakersfield, California
Why have any LAWS at all?
The judge; Michael Lewis felt sorry for the Killer Daniel Espinoza, he doesn't even have to report to probation in person. Just send a letter each month and tell them what he is doing. He never has to come back to Bakersfield, California again, So…is that really Probation ?
1)KILL an Innocent Person [ Dorothy Anne Walter]
2)STREET RACE at over 94 miles an hour [ on a city street ]
3)Driving with his Headlights TURNED OFF,In the dark .
5)This was the 4th time "killer" Daniel Espinoza was caught EXCESSIVE SPEEDING [ That I Know Of ]There is No Justice, No accountability Why have LAWS at all.
6)(According to court documents)There has been no remorse from Daniel Espinoza or his family for the killing of Dorothy Anne Walter. He, his family, and friends glared at the victims family every time they were in court.The killer was home by 6:00 pm that DAY a FREE MAN.


Posted by: Lucio | Sep 14, 2008 9:58:15 PM

The judgment is bittersweet; it is an emotional victory for the family of the victim Dorothy Anne Walter. This comes on the third anniversary of the killing of an innocent person.


The judgment against Daniel “Danny” Espinoza the 25 year old man who was Street Racing two other cars March 5, 2006 when he killed Dorothy Anne Walter a mother and grandmother. Daniel Espinoza was convicted of felony vehicular manslaughter with gross negligence for killing an innocent person: hopefully this will send a message to all Street Racers.

Posted by: Lucio | Mar 4, 2009 4:01:46 AM

With scarce resources already, does the state of california really benefit anyone by putting a quadriplegic in prison?

Posted by: Matthew | Jun 9, 2012 2:15:16 PM

As a defense attorney for over 15 years I can say, the Judge's decision was correct. Sentencing this young man, a quadriplegic needing 24 hour care, to prison would have been cruel to the defendant and unfair to the taxpayers of California.

Posted by: Matthew | Mar 26, 2013 1:01:49 AM

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