Some are more deserving of harsher penalties due to not learning the lesson; however, many if not most offenders are first time offenders who just happened to drink, drive and were involved in a traffic collision that led to the death or serious bodily injury of another person. This is not to say that these offenders should be absolved of punishment; but the punishment must fit the facts and circumstances of each individual case. The fact that some could view the sentences of some as either too lenient or too harsh depends on the facts of circumstances of any given case, most of those facts are not known to the general public when all they may see is the imposition of the punishment. This then leads to subjective interpretations of whether the sentence is “fair” or not.
This is the potential problem with this program. As was stated, the program could put too much pressure on judges to impose a harsher sentence for a defendant who might not otherwise deserve to be treated so harshly due to mitigating circumstances, which in turns leads to the conclusion that the program is unethical. There are certainly valid and justifiable arguments on both sides of the equation; but until one knows all of the facts and circumstances of a given case, they should be cautious and reserve judgment until they learn of all the facts and circumstances of any given case. This is why juries are to be fair and impartial triers of fact so they can render a decision that comports with the facts and circumstances of a particular case. Generalities often lead to absurd results and in this author’s opinion, that statement could not be more appropriate with regard to this new program.
Blog Entry: MADD Social Media DUI (Peter F. Iocona, Attorney at Law)