We all know the wheels of justice turn slowly. Sometimes I wonder if they are really just spinning out and going nowhere.
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I’ve been following two court cases for the last year. One was that of Mary Wild and the show dog heat stroke deaths which resulted in a shockingly lenient sentence for Ms. Wild including no jail time, far from the eight years in jail plus $8,000 in fines that could have been imposed.
The other was that of Lora Hunt, who could have been sentenced to five years in jail for reckless homicide in the death of Anita Zaffke. Ms. Hunt is the nail polish killer, who, because she was painting her fingernails while she drove, rear-ended and killed Ms. Zaffke, who was stopped at the light on her motorcycle.
Sentencing was yesterday. And in this case, too, I am saddened and disappointed by another too-lenient sentence. Ms. Hunt received only 18 months of jail time. Not only is this far less than the maximum penalty of five years asked for by the prosecuting attorney, Ms. Hunt is also allowed to leave during the day for work, community service, and counseling. What the hell is that?
Here is a link to news coverage at ChicagoBreakingNews.com: Woman whose nail painting caused fatal crash gets 18 months
I’m also dismayed by some of the public comments on news reports and blog posts about this case. “Ms. Hunt is truly remorseful” and “is also suffering” and “people committing worse crimes on purpose are getting lighter sentences” — these statements may all be true, but none of them are reason not to impose the maximum possible penalty in this case. I truly cannot think of too many things more reckless than painting your freaking fingernails while driving, and if that caused someone’s death, it should be punished with an appropriately long jail term. Then again, these are probably the same people who had no problem with Ms. Wild’s suspended sentence because “it was dogs that died, it was not like she killed people.”
I especially fail to understand the thinking that because we have problems with more serious crimes, lesser ones should not be punished appropriately. I definitely agree that more serious crimes are a problem. I live in a city where three police officers were shot and killed in the last two months, so yes, there are huge problems. Punishing all crimes appropriately should be the issue. And in Ms. Hunt’s case, the maximum penalty allowable would have been most appropriate.
I truly admire Greg Zaffke II and the entire Zaffke family for their grace and class throughout this whole ordeal, and they remain in my thoughts.
(NaBloPoMo | July ’10: 23 of 31)