A lack of punishment

To the Editor:

The front page headline — “Fatal crash case: Driver gets 6 months” — in the Sentinel on Thursday disturbed me greatly.

Six months? Drinking (and getting high) and driving isn’t very wrong in Martin County. Public service announcements we see state that drinking and driving are enforced in our state, and when a life is involved and lost, people will do some serious time. Not in Martin County. My mouth is still agape in befuddlement as I re-read the article.

A beautiful young woman is dead, and two little children no longer have a mother. The driver did a stupid thing. He got drunk and high and drove. That he did not mean to do it and cause her death and that he is heartbroken, I have no problem believing is true. The tragedy of driving impaired and what can be the consequences is sad. But because it is illegal and the taking of a life is a serious matter, there needs to be a serious punishment for what is a serious crime — felony criminal vehicular homicide.

I hate to add the following, but in light of the paltry sentencing, how cannot a reasonable person wonder if it is the case here? Racism. That word seems to have so little meaning any more because one side of the political spectrum says it in almost every word they utter. And I despise that party for it. But the fact is a white man caused the death of a Hispanic woman. Had the victim been white, would it be a bigger deal to the prosecutors or judge? I am wondering.

Was the victim represented by an advocate in this sweet deal for the defendant? Was her family adequately represented? There must be a state agency that reviews such matters? My suggestion is that such an agency must investigate this and, if appropriate, bring the prosecutors and judge to justice. This stinks to high heaven.

Jack H. Hansen



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