Category : Vehicular Homicide
A Look at the Prosecutorial Decision Making Process
The Vera Institute of Justice’s study entitled The Anatomy of Discretion: An Analysis of Prosecutorial Decision Making, with the support of the National Institute of Justice, analyzed how prosecutors make decisions in criminal cases. The Vera Institute conducted their study by looking at such factors as initial case screening and charging decision, plea bargains, recommendations for sentencing and case dismissal filings. The purpose of the study was to determine whether the current prosecutorial decision making process lack of public oversight is really serving the goals of the criminal justice system and fairness to defendants and victims.
The study found that while prosecutors said they were “committed to doing the right thing,” prosecutors had differences of opinions on what is considered “fair treatment” of victims and defendants, preferred different plea bargaining strategies and had different constraints placed upon them. However, the study revealed that there were two common questions that prosecutors asked themselves, which influenced the outcomes of their decision making process-Can I prove the case? And should I prove the case?
Results of the study reflect that prosecutors used the strength of evidence as the primary factor in their decision making process balanced by other factors such as the seriousness of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal history, fairness to the victim and defendant as well as contextual factors such as office polices, constraints of lack of resources such as shortage of courtrooms and judges and their relationships with colleagues and other actors in the criminal justice system including law enforcement officers, judges and defense attorneys in making their decisions. The study recommended that future research should focus on the magnitude of these constraints and the pressures they have on influencing prosecutorial decisions.
How a Criminal Defense Attorney Can Help?
Since the investigation and prosecution of defendants is a very complicated process of rules and procedures, influenced by the constraints placed upon prosecutors, it is necessary for defendants to seek the advice and representation of an experienced criminal defense attorney to help them fight their charges and make sure they are being fairly represented.
If you are facing criminal charges for a misdemeanor or felony including DUI, vehicular manslaughter, drug crimes, white collar crimes, violent crimes, property crimes, possession of marijuana, domestic violence or sex crimes, having the proper legal representation can influence the outcome of your case. Imhoff & Associates-Criminal Attorneys understand how to navigate the criminal justice system. We have earned a reputation for working with prosecutors and law enforcement to make sure that you receive a fair and just defense. Your Imhoff criminal defense lawyer will thoroughly investigate all the evidence against, build a strong defense on your behalf and negotiate with the prosecutor to either get your charges reduced to a lesser offense, negotiate alternative sentencing for you or try to get the case dropped for lack of sufficient evidence.
Dallas Cowboys defensive lineman Joshua Price-Brent, 24, was arrested by Irving, Texas police and charged with intoxication manslaughter after an accident that occurred in the early morning hours on Saturday, December 8, 2012. Per authorities, Price-Brent was allegedly speeding when his vehicle hit a curb and flipped over before resting on the middle of the service road, killing his passenger and teammate Jerry Brown, Jr. a linebacker on the team’s practice squad. According to FOXSportsSouthwest.com, the two had joined a dozen teammates Friday night at a Dallas club “Privae” where comedian Shawn Wayans was appearing.
When police arrived on the scene, Price-Brent was pulling Brown, 25, from his 2007 Mercedes, which had caught on fire. Brown was unresponsive, transported to a local hospital and pronounced dead. Police suspected that alcohol may have been involved and asked Price-Brent to perform field sobriety tests. Based upon police observation and the results of the field sobriety tests, police arrested Price-Brent. He was taken to the hospital for a mandatory blood draw and also treated for minor scrapes. The results from the blood test will take several weeks. As a result of Brown’s death, Price-Brent was subsequently charged with intoxication manslaughter. He was released Sunday on a $500,000 bond. The investigation in currently ongoing. If convicted, Price-Brent faces two to 20 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.
Brent released a statement on Saturday through his agent, Peter Schaeffer, expressing his grief for the loss of his close friend and teammate Jerry Brown and his family and friends stating “I will live with this horrific and tragic loss every day for the rest of my life. My prayers are with his family, our teammates and his friends at this time.” Brent’s attorney, suggested that ongoing construction in the area of the crash may have played a role in the accident. Cowboy’s owner Jerry Jones also expressed his prayers and sympathies to Jerry Brown’s family and friends.
Price-Brent was also arrested in February 2009 near an Illinois campus for driving under the influence, driving on a suspended license and speeding, for which he pleaded guilty in June 2009, and received 60 days in jail, two years probation, 200 hours of community service and a $2,000 fine. Under a plea bargain, one count of aggravated DUI/no valid driver’s license charges were dropped. Accordingly to court records, Price-Brent completed his probation in July 2011.
Texas Penal Code Section 49.08
Under Texas Penal Code Section 49.08, intoxication manslaughter is considered a felony of the second degree and deals with “recklessly causing the death of another while intoxicated” by accident or mistake. An intoxication felony conviction in Texas carries a two to 20 year prison sentence and a $10,000 fine.
Texas Criminal Defense Attorney
If you have been arrested and charged with intoxication manslaughter in Texas or are facing DWI (driving while intoxicated) charges, you should contact a Texas criminal defense attorney immediately to represent you. Imhoff & Associates –Criminal Attorneys specialize in defending clients charged with intoxication manslaughter and DWI/drug offenses. Your Imhoff intoxication manslaughter/DWI attorney will vigorously represent you by reviewing all police and accident reports and BAC and field sobriety tests raising strong defenses that there were mistakes such as improper calibrations in the breathalyzer machine, contaminated blood or urine samples or your Miranda or other constitutional rights were violated to get your charges reduced to a lesser crime or get your case closed based on individual case circumstances.
Florida DUI laws are extremely tough. Under 316.193, F.S., you are considered driving under the influence if your BAC is .08 or above. If you are arrested for DUI in Florida, your license will automatically be revoked, and you may receive jail time, fines, penalties and/or community service depending on your BAC level, the circumstances of the DUI and whether you have had any other recent DUI convictions. Persons who refuse to take a BAL test will have their license suspended whether or not they are innocent of these charges. Further extenuating circumstances such causing serious injuries to someone else, vehicular manslaughter or leaving the scene of a crime related to a DUI are considered a felony, and could carry up to a 30 year prison sentence. (316.193, F.S. 322.271, F.S. and s. 322.28,F.S. 316.656, F.S., s. 322.2615 F.S.)
John Goodman DUI Case
Recently, John Goodman, founder of the Palm Beach International Polo Club, and the heir to a multimillion dollar air conditioning fortune, was found guilty of vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide in connection with the traffic death of 23 year old Scott Wilson, a Florida college graduate which occurred in February 2010, after Goodman, who had been drinking, hit Wilson’s car with his Bentley, and caused Wilson’s car to flip into a canal. Goodman left the scene of the accident on foot and waited approximately one hour later before reporting it to 911. By the time rescuers arrived at the scene, Wilson had drowned and was found trapped behind the wheel of his car. Goodman’s blood alcohol level three hours after the accident was more than twice the legal limit. Goodman also received attention when he recently adopted his 42 year old girlfriend. Goodman’s attorneys say the adoption was to protect a $300 million trust fund for Goodman’s two biological children, who are now suing him because they are opposed to the adoption of his girlfriend as their new sister.
Goodman’s attorneys plan to appeal the case citing multiple errors committed before and during the trail, which he claims played a role in denying his client a fair trial. Sentencing is scheduled for April 30, 2012. Goodman could face as much as 30 years in jail.
Florida DUI Criminal Attorney
Florida DUI laws are complex. If you have been arrested for a Florida DUI, you should contact a FL criminal lawyer to defend you. The attorney understands the Florida DUI laws and can get your charges reduced to a lesser charge, probation, community service, get your enrolled in a drug or alcohol treatment program, help you obtain a hardship reinstatement license if you qualify or get your case dismissed.
Section 2903.06 of the Ohio Revised Statutes makes it a crime to operate a motor vehicle, including a motorcycle, snowmobile, watercraft or aircraft which causes the death or serious injury of another or of an unlawful termination of another’s person’s pregnancy. You could be charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter. If convicted, you face fines, jail time and/or suspension of your driver’s license. You may also face a civil lawsuit filed against you by the victim or their family.
Aggravated Vehicular Homicide
The following offenses are considered aggravated vehicular homicide in Ohio:
Operating a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol or drugs causing serious death or injury to another person or unlawful termination of a person’s pregnancy. It is considered a second-degree felony. You face a mandatory jail time of two to eight years, a lifetime suspension of your driver’s license and a fine up to $7,500.
Operating a motor vehicle recklessly in a construction zone, which results in the death or serious injury of another person. It is considered a third degree felony. You face a discretionary prison sentence of one to five years, a driver’s license suspension from three years to lifetime and a fine up to $5,000.
The following offense is considered a vehicular homicide in Ohio:
Operating a motor vehicle negligently or with excessive speed. It is considered a misdemeanor of the first degree. You face an optional jail sentence up to 180 days, a driver’s license suspension up to one to five years and a fine up to $1,000.
Operating a motor vehicle that causes the accidental death of another person. It is considered a misdemeanor of the second degree. You face an optional jail sentence up to 90 days and a fine up to $750.
Charges of misdemeanor vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, violation of assured clear distance and failure to proceed in marked lanes of travel were filed on May 3, 2010 in Chardon Municipal Court against 21-year-old male. The person charged was driving his vehicle on December 17, 2009 when he turned and struck a 48-year-old woman from behind while she was walking with traffic. The woman died as a result of her injuries.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol investigated the accident and determined the driver was not driving his vehicle in a reckless manner and that no drugs or alcohol were involved. Therefore, prosecutors made the decision that misdemeanor charges were appropriate. If convicted, he could face a jail sentence of up to six months and a fine up to $1,000. He pleaded not guilty and a pre-trial has been set in Chardon Municipal Court on June 1, 2010. Investigators at the scene found some front-end damage to the vehicle on the grill, hood and radiator. The accident occurred in a clear visible area of the road with a 25 M.P.H. speed limit.
The victim’s husband has filed a civil lawsuit against the driver in Geauga County Common Pleas Court for negligence and wrongful death causing pain and suffering to his wife. His lawsuit claims that the driver was negligently operating the motor vehicle.
If you are charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular homicide or vehicular manslaughter in Ohio, you should hire an Ohio criminal defense attorney to defend you. The attorney may be able to plea bargain serious aggravated vehicular homicide charges to a reduced charge such as speeding or negligence or get you into a drug and alcohol counseling program which would give you a suspended sentence or probation or get your vehicular homicide charges or vehicular manslaughter charged reduced to lane changing.
Circumstances surrounding an incident involving vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter determine whether or not a person is charged with a misdemeanor or felony in Virginia. For instance, under Section 46-2-852 of the Virginia Statutes, driving at high speeds when there is only property damage is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor crime. However, it is also common for other charges such as DUI or reckless driving under Section 46.2-852 of the Virginia Statutes to be filed along with vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter charges. Sections 188.8.131.52 and 18.2-266 make it a crime of aggravated involuntary manslaughter, which is a Class 6 felony crime, when operating a motor vehicle in Virginia while intoxicated with a BAC level of .08 or more or while under the influence of drugs if the person was driving in a manner which shows reckless disregard for human life causing the unintentional death or serious and permanent injury of a passenger or another person. Under age drivers are also subject to the same penalties.
If convicted under this statute for aggravated involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving, then under Section 46.2-391, the driver faces revocation of their license. If convicted of two or more crimes under the Sections 184.108.40.206 in the past 10 years, their license will be revoked for three years, and if they have been convicted of three more crimes under this Statute within the last 10 years, their license will be permanently revoked. An involuntary manslaughter charge of maiming someone with a motor vehicle while intoxicated or driving under the influence of drugs stays on your Virginia driving record for 11 years. Mandatory prison sentences vary from 1 to 20 for traffic charge deaths involving a drunk driver or one under the influence of drugs.
An unnamed 16 year old male plead guilty to charges in Juvenile Court to aggravated involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving in the death of his Kempsville High School varsity baseball teammate, which occurred on March 7, 2010. The accident occurred near the intersection of Avalon and Normandy Avenue. The vehicle swerved off the road, hit a tree in which the teammate died at the scene of the accident. The police investigation revealed that the driver had been drinking alcoholic energy drinks, which are popular among underage persons. Police viewed a video which showed the teens buying alcohol. The parents of the victim expressed their wishes that the driver not be tried as an adult. The driver was released from electronic home monitoring after his hearing, but still has an alcohol detection device. The juvenile could face a maximum sentenced to be served at the Department of Juvenile Justice. Sentencing is set for July 1. 2010.
Vehicular manslaughter or involuntary manslaughter and reckless driving charges are serious in Virginia. You should hire a Virginia criminal defense attorney. The attorney may be able to get the charges reduced to speeding, lane changing, accelerator sticking, illness or improper driving under Section 46.2-869, which is considered a traffic infraction and punishable by a $500 or less fine. The attorney may also be able to get the sentence suspended or probation with attendance of an alcohol or drug treatment program.
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