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AJC: Pedestrian convicted of vehicular homicide in own child's death


Beans

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"

Raquel Nelson, 30, could be sentenced to up to 36 months at a hearing July 26, said David Savoy, her attorney. She was convicted Tuesday of homicide by vehicle in the second degree, crossing roadway elsewhere than at crosswalk and reckless conduct, said Savoy.

Jerry L. Guy, the driver who admitted hitting the child when pleading guilty to hit-and-run, served a 6-month sentence. He was released Oct. 29, 2010, and will serve the remainder of a 5-year sentence on probation, according to Cobb court records.

Nelson was attempting to cross at the intersection of Austell Road and Austell Circle with her three children when her son was struck by a car, said Savoy. The child later died from his injuries. Nelson and her younger daughter suffered minor injuries and her older daughter was not injured.

Guy confessed to having consumed "a little" alcohol earlier in the day, being prescribed pain medication and being partially blind in his left eye, said David Simpson, his attorney.

"This still affects [Jerry] to this day," Simpson said. "It is tragic all around."

Guy was originally charged with hit and run, first degree homicide by vehicle and cruelty to children. Charges were later dropped to just the hit and run charge."

http://www.ajc.com/news/cobb/pedestrian-convicted-of-vehicular-1014879.html

I'm sorry, but someone needs to fix our crappy justice system. People need to be aware of the moral shortcomings and gamemanship of prosecutors. Dude was drinking on pain-pills, and they let him plea out to hit and run? Hit and ****ing run? Seriously, hit and run? Yet the mother is charged with vehicular homicide? WTF? Am I dreaming?

If something like this happened to me...I probably shouldn't type that.

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DA's over charge to pressure citizens into accepting deals

DA's as a general rule can be some lazy POS... A good PD or private defense attorney is essential in overcoming charges... cause it's not just about the MERIT of the charges, but what the DA charges... even if a DA makes a complete BS charge, the small risk of a heavy prison sentence is enough to bully innocent people into giving up their freedom. But this is just what happens when people elect "tough on crime" DA's. It doesn't help that DA offices are chock full of politically ambitious, self-important wind bags, who have delusions, not only of adequacy, but of grandeur.

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Isn't there a thread about this somewhere....or is this another case?

Didn't see it. I know this is slightly dated, but it's pretty freakin outrageous.

I guess the ladies conviction is just another feather in the cap of the prosecutor. Gotta keep that conviction rate up if ya wanna go places.

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DA's over charge to pressure citizens into accepting deals

DA's as a general rule can be some lazy POS... A good PD or private defense attorney is essential in overcoming charges... cause it's not just about the MERIT of the charges, but what the DA charges... even if a DA makes a complete BS charge, the small risk of a heavy prison sentence is enough to bully innocent people into giving up their freedom.

Trust the system.........:doh: Seriously, and people wonder why lawyers are hated.

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Trust the system.........:doh: Seriously, and people wonder why lawyers are hated.

hey now, show an aspiring Public Defender some love

although I find it weird that people still end up respecting DA's more than PD's. Their jobs are easier, they're less fun people as a general rule, and they take away life and liberty on a regular basis... whereas those of us on the defense side just want to maintain our/your Constitutional rights.

whatevs.... can't spell Dumb Ass w/o DA

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hey now, show an aspiring Public Defender some love

I just hate the gamesmanship, this is law not a contest.

although I find it weird that people still end up respecting DA's more than PD's. Their jobs are easier, they're less fun people as a general rule, and they take away life and liberty on a regular basis... whereas those of us on the defense side just want to maintain our/your Constitutional rights.

No, it's that PD's get criminals off easy....or at least that's the perception....or that PD's are losers who couldn't get into the DA's office. At least that's what they say on Law & Order. :D

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:ols: now ya dunnit

All in all the system works fairly well, both sides can be perceived as *******s, but as long as they are both responsible, honest, and dedicated, the outcome is more or less justified most of the time (And the *******s/zealous advocates cancel each other out). These sorts of cases are rare, and usually an outcome of an attorney being too clever/smart for his own (and everyone else's) good.

Our country needs more lawyers.

I know you're sarcastic, so that's good. We don't need more lawyers, we just need good ones at low prices. Bad or over worked lawyers in the crim justice system mean innocent people lose their life or liberty. I dunno if you're cool w/ that.

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nah it's really not that bad, I've met some pure **** attorneys, but also a lot of excellent folks who would go to bat for their clients... and since they are PD's they are pretty much cheap by definition. Legal Aid Societies also have some damn fine, dedicated attorneys.

Granted, those are fairly niche sections of the legal industry... you are probably right in regards to the other 90% of the legal system.

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I'm interested in knowing what the mother did. The article doesn't really say much about that other than to tell us the charges on which she was convicted.

I see parents using their children in strollers to stop traffic all the time around here. They don't look - they just thrust the stroller out in front of them and go. If she was doing that and someone hit her child when she was not in a crosswalk (where a driver is obligated to stop for her) then I'd say she shares responsibility for the death.

Am I being too harsh here?

All I know is that I get really angry when I see parents doing that - it's irresponsible and dangerous.

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I'm interested in knowing what the mother did. The article doesn't really say much about that other than to tell us the charges on which she was convicted.

I see parents using their children in strollers to stop traffic all the time around here. They don't look - they just thrust the stroller out in front of them and go. If she was doing that and someone hit her child when she was not in a crosswalk (where a driver is obligated to stop for her) then I'd say she shares responsibility for the death.

Am I being too harsh here?

All I know is that I get really angry when I see parents doing that - it's irresponsible and dangerous.

agreed.

i am perfectly willing to stipulate that there is PLENTY of blame to share between both driver and mother.

(that said... vehicular homicide is complete BS, unless she PUSHED her children in front of the car. Reckles endangerment, or something along those lines, for the win)

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agreed.

i am perfectly willing to stipulate that there is PLENTY of blame to share between both driver and mother.

(that said... vehicular homicide is complete BS, unless she PUSHED her children in front of the car. Reckles endangerment, or something along those lines, for the win)

Especially because the guy who actually HIT her got allowed to plead guilty to hit and run :doh:
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The result of this accident was one grieving family at the loss of a child. The state steps in and charges both of them. They both get some jail time. The new result of this tragedy? Surviving children now have no mom. The goodness the state was there to "help".

I remember believing this nations justice system was "the best in the world"...

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none of us were at the trials, so none of really know anything about, little things like facts and details and meaingless stuff like that....

but that said, i don't have a hard time conceiving of a situation where the mother CRIMINALLY failed in her duties and obligations to her child. in THAT situation, both jail time and removing the survivng children from her "care" would be fully appropriate.

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Never ever speak to a police officer or a prosecutor without a lawyer present.

I was told this by a friend who is a lawyer a long time ago. I always figured if I was innocent, that I had nothing to hide.

Something simple as a traffic ticket made me realize that my friend was right. Short version is one day I was sitting at a stop light. I dropped a cigarette butt out my window. (It was dumb but it happened). An officer pulled me over and asked me if I knew what I did. I wasn't sure at first because it didn't cross my mind. Then I said I dropped the cigarette out of my window at the stop light. He told me that was correct and wrote me $140 ticket for throwing an injurous substance on the highway.

So I took it to court. When the judge asked the officer to read the charges, he did and then at the end of it, the officer said..."He admitted his guilt to me at the time". He took a conversation and used it in court against me. The judge asked me how I was going to plead and I said not guilty. The judge asked me why I felt I was not guilty when I admitted that I did it. I said that I disagreed that a cigarette butt was an injurious substance. The judge said lets see and pulled out his law book. The judge found me not guilty because it was described as a broken bottle or something like that in the law.

That situation which happened about 8 months ago proved to me that my friend was right. Even saying something that is minor and you think has no bearing can be used against you as a statement of guilt and can be used in court.

I am going to get into an argument of right or wrong of it, but wanted the show the example of how something you can say can hurt you without even realizing it at the time.

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I'm interested in knowing what the mother did. The article doesn't really say much about that other than to tell us the charges on which she was convicted.

I see parents using their children in strollers to stop traffic all the time around here. They don't look - they just thrust the stroller out in front of them and go. If she was doing that and someone hit her child when she was not in a crosswalk (where a driver is obligated to stop for her) then I'd say she shares responsibility for the death.

Am I being too harsh here?

All I know is that I get really angry when I see parents doing that - it's irresponsible and dangerous.

I'm gonna go ahead and say that losing a child is punishment enough.

Never ever speak to a police officer or a prosecutor without a lawyer present.

I was told this by a friend who is a lawyer a long time ago. I always figured if I was innocent, that I had nothing to hide.

Something simple as a traffic ticket made me realize that my friend was right. Short version is one day I was sitting at a stop light. I dropped a cigarette butt out my window. (It was dumb but it happened). An officer pulled me over and asked me if I knew what I did. I wasn't sure at first because it didn't cross my mind. Then I said I dropped the cigarette out of my window at the stop light. He told me that was correct and wrote me $140 ticket for throwing an injurous substance on the highway.

So I took it to court. When the judge asked the officer to read the charges, he did and then at the end of it, the officer said..."He admitted his guilt to me at the time". He took a conversation and used it in court against me. The judge asked me how I was going to plead and I said not guilty. The judge asked me why I felt I was not guilty when I admitted that I did it. I said that I disagreed that a cigarette butt was an injurious substance. The judge said lets see and pulled out his law book. The judge found me not guilty because it was described as a broken bottle or something like that in the law.

That situation which happened about 8 months ago proved to me that my friend was right. Even saying something that is minor and you think has no bearing can be used against you as a statement of guilt and can be used in court.

I am going to get into an argument of right or wrong of it, but wanted the show the example of how something you can say can hurt you without even realizing it at the time.

Erm... it's a bit of a stretch to use a story in which you directly told a cop that you did something that he thought was against the law, and then you were found not guilty when it turned out that the cop was wrong, to prove that you should "never talk to a police officer without a lawyer present."

I've gotten out of two minor traffic violations in the past year by being polite and respectful, acknowledging that I understood why I had been pulled over (OMG admitting guilt), and explaining what happened from my POV. Both times, the cop had a short but reasonable conversation with me and told me to go on my way. If you really have done something wrong, that strategy will get you a lot further than if you stonewall and just keep repeating that you won't say anything without a lawyer, which will set off all sorts of red flags and probably make the police think you've got cocaine in the glove compartment or something.

(Not official legal advice in any way, of course. Just a counter to the suggestion that the silent treatment would somehow get you out of a fine for throwing a cigarette butt out of your window—which is a misdemeanor in a lot of places—after a cop watched you throw a cigarette butt out of your window.)

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DA's over charge to pressure citizens into accepting deals

DA's as a general rule can be some lazy POS... A good PD or private defense attorney is essential in overcoming charges... cause it's not just about the MERIT of the charges, but what the DA charges... even if a DA makes a complete BS charge, the small risk of a heavy prison sentence is enough to bully innocent people into giving up their freedom. But this is just what happens when people elect "tough on crime" DA's. It doesn't help that DA offices are chock full of politically ambitious, self-important wind bags, who have delusions, not only of adequacy, but of grandeur.

Is there anything that can be done to a trigger happy DA, or does the defendant have to defend against all charges regardless? Basically, can a defendant turn plantiff against the DA if found "not guilty" and the claims were over zealous to begin with?

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Especially because the guy who actually HIT her got allowed to plead guilty to hit and run :doh:

It's not about being "allowed" to plead to hit and run. It's about a guaranteed conviction. I work in the Solicitor's Office here (same as the DA's office, we just call them Solicitors), and I've seen the file for every single DUI for the last few months. Numerous ones plead down to reckless driving. Benefit for them because and alcohol related conviction does not go on their record (which personally I think is BS), but it's a win for the Solicitor's Office because who knows what can happen at a jury trial, which is what all these DUIs are. I've seen plenty of juries come back with a not guilty. I've also seen cases where it was dismissed for having a bad in car police video where the video screwed up during the field sobriety test. So the Solicitor offers a plea down to reckless and still get a conviction as opposed to going to trial and potentially losing on a technicality.

That being said, I'd have to see the case file from the DA's office to know what else was going on. I don't see the basis for lowering the charges on the guy. Any jury sympathy would be with the mother, even though she was a complete idiot (I've seen child endangerment charges for mother's pulled over for speeding and the kid didn't have a seatbelt on, so jaywalking with your kids then getting hit by a car would fall under that). But the DA still has to weight the whole guaranteed plea v. going to trial and having something unexpected happen.

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Is there anything that can be done to a trigger happy DA, or does the defendant have to defend against all charges regardless? Basically, can a defendant turn plantiff against the DA if found "not guilty" and the claims were over zealous to begin with?

I don't know, and this is not legal advice

but my guess is "hell no"

Erm... it's a bit of a stretch to use a story in which you directly told a cop that you did something that he thought was against the law, and then you were found not guilty when it turned out that the cop was wrong, to prove that you should "never talk to a police officer without a lawyer present."

I've gotten out of two minor traffic violations in the past year by being polite and respectful, acknowledging that I understood why I had been pulled over (OMG admitting guilt), and explaining what happened from my POV. Both times, the cop had a short but reasonable conversation with me and told me to go on my way. If you really have done something wrong, that strategy will get you a lot further than if you stonewall and just keep repeating that you won't say anything without a lawyer, which will set off all sorts of red flags and probably make the police think you've got cocaine in the glove compartment or something.

It's a HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGGGGGGGGGGEEEEEEEEEE stretch to use some little **** traffic violation as a reason to talk more than you need w/ the cops. Neither the cops, nor the DA's have your best interest at heart. I would never, ever, ever, ever, say anything to police who were investigating a crime w/o a lawyer. Cops and DA's want to convict, they don't give a **** about you being a nice guy. If you are an idiot and say something they can use against you, they will use it against you. Simple as that.

In my experience, being a servile ***** is usually the correct course of action w/ violation or traffic tickets, but for crimes? Foolish.

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